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Oat Bran vs. Oatmeal: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 22, 2023
Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat grain, while oatmeal is the inner portion made from hulled oats.

Key Differences

Oat bran refers to the fibrous outer layer of the oat kernel. It's known for its high fiber content and often used as a supplement or ingredient in various dishes. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is derived from the inner part of the hulled oat grain, and it's a staple breakfast food for many people around the world.
While oat bran is mainly appreciated for its dietary fiber, especially the soluble fiber called beta-glucans which can help lower cholesterol, oatmeal offers a balanced nutrient profile, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Its texture is creamier compared to the granular nature of oat bran.
Oat bran can be incorporated into baked goods, smoothies, and yogurt to boost their fiber content. Oatmeal, with its smoother texture, is commonly cooked with water or milk to make a hearty porridge. Flavors like fruits, nuts, and spices can be added to enhance its taste.
Although both oat bran and oatmeal come from the same grain, their nutritional profiles are distinct. Oat bran's primary draw is its fiber, while oatmeal provides a more rounded nutrition with its vitamins, minerals, and energy-providing carbs.
Oat bran is often recommended for those looking to increase their fiber intake for digestive health or cholesterol management. Oatmeal, while also nutritious, is a popular choice for those seeking a filling, energy-providing meal, especially at breakfast time.

Comparison Chart

Part of the Grain

Outer layer of oat kernel
Inner portion of hulled oats



Primary Nutrient

Dietary fiber
Balanced carbs, protein, fats

Common Use

Breakfast porridge

Health Benefits

High fiber, lower cholesterol
Energy, vitamins, minerals

Oat Bran and Oatmeal Definitions

Oat Bran

Oat bran is often used to boost fiber in foods.
Bakers sometimes add oat bran to bread for a nutritional punch.


Oatmeal is a porridge made from hulled oat grains.
Every morning, I start my day with a bowl of oatmeal.

Oat Bran

Oat bran is the exterior layer of the oat kernel.
You can sprinkle oat bran on your yogurt for added fiber.


It's a popular breakfast choice for its nutritional value.
Oatmeal is packed with essential nutrients, making it a breakfast favorite.

Oat Bran

It can help in managing cholesterol levels.
My doctor recommended oat bran to help lower my cholesterol.


It's versatile and can be flavored in numerous ways.
For a twist, I added blueberries and honey to my oatmeal today.

Oat Bran

It's known for its high soluble fiber content.
Consuming oat bran can help with digestion.


Oatmeal has a smooth, creamy texture when cooked.
I love the creamy consistency of my oatmeal when I cook it just right.

Oat Bran

Oat bran can be used in a variety of dishes.
I tried a new recipe that replaced breadcrumbs with oat bran.


Oatmeal offers a balanced energy source.
Before my workout, I fuel up with oatmeal to get sustained energy.


Meal that is made from oats; rolled or ground oats.


Which has more fiber, oat bran or oatmeal?

Oat bran typically has a higher fiber content compared to oatmeal.

Can oat bran help lower cholesterol?

Yes, the soluble fiber in oat bran can help reduce cholesterol levels.

Is oatmeal good for energy?

Absolutely, oatmeal provides a balanced source of energy due to its carb, protein, and fat content.

Can I eat oat bran raw?

Yes, oat bran can be eaten raw, sprinkled on foods, or added to smoothies.

Can I lose weight by incorporating oat bran into my diet?

Oat bran is high in fiber which can help with satiety, potentially aiding in weight management.

Can oatmeal help with digestive health?

Yes, oatmeal is a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber which can support digestive health.

How does oatmeal differ from oat bran?

Oatmeal is the inner portion of hulled oats, used mainly as a breakfast porridge.

Can I use oatmeal as a thickening agent?

Yes, oatmeal can act as a natural thickener in recipes like soups or stews.

How should I store oat bran to keep it fresh?

Oat bran should be stored in a cool, dry place, preferably in an airtight container.

Can I use oat bran as an alternative to breadcrumbs?

Absolutely, oat bran can be used as a nutritious substitute for breadcrumbs in many recipes.

Are oatmeal and oat bran suitable for diabetics?

In moderation, both can be part of a diabetic diet, but it's crucial to monitor blood sugar levels and choose versions without added sugars.

What is oat bran?

Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat kernel, rich in dietary fiber.

Can I use oat bran in baking?

Yes, oat bran can be added to baked goods to boost their fiber content.

Is oat bran gluten-free?

While oat bran is naturally gluten-free, it can be contaminated with gluten during processing, so always check labels.

How does the texture of oat bran compare to oatmeal?

Oat bran has a granular texture, while oatmeal is smoother and creamier when cooked.

Do both oat bran and oatmeal come from the same grain?

Yes, both oat bran and oatmeal come from the oat grain but represent different parts of it.

How do you typically prepare oatmeal?

Oatmeal is often cooked with water or milk to make a creamy porridge.

How long does cooked oatmeal last in the fridge?

Cooked oatmeal can last in the fridge for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container.

Are there any health benefits associated with oatmeal?

Oatmeal provides essential nutrients, supports heart health, and offers sustained energy.

Is oatmeal considered a whole grain?

Yes, especially when you opt for whole or steel-cut oats, you're getting the benefits of a whole grain.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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