Blog | I try ALL of General Mills’ Ne . . .
I try ALL of General Mills' New Gluten-Free Oatmeal
Elizabeth Barbone - July 09, 2014
Hey! What's up? It's July. So let's talk about...oatmeal. (record scratch) I know. I know. For some, oatmeal is a winter-only food. If you are one of those people, come back to this post in the fall. I'll wait!
I eat oatmeal all year. It's filling. It's good for you*. And it's so pretty! Okay. Scratch that last one. But, seriously, I love oatmeal.
*Some gluten-free eaters don't do well with oatmeal. I understand this. If oats don't agree with you, avoid them.
So when General Mills sent me samples of their new “Chex” gluten-free oatmeals, I was excited to try them.
First up: Instant Plain Oatmeal
My favorite, favorite, favorite in the bunch. I have to admit, I don't love presweetened oatmeal. But plain oatmeal? Come to mama! Like other instant oatmeals, this is easy to make. Just heat some water, add the oats, wait a few minutes, and enjoy.
Since it's instant oatmeal and not old fashioned oats, the texture is soft but good. I usually stir some peanut butter or almond butter into my oatmeal. So I did this with the Chex oatmeal. It held up well to the addition.
This oatmeal doesn't surprise you, which, I think, is what you want in a bowl. I liked it. A lot.
Next Up: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
As I said above, I don't usually eat presweetened oatmeal. That said, I enjoyed the sweet apple cinnamon oatmeal!
It tasted like the instant oatmeal I ate as a kid. Sweet, cinnamony, and--the best part--dotted with pieces of dried oatmeal. You know how I said that I usually add peanut butter to my oatmeal? That's true. But in the fall, I add a chopped fresh apple. Of course, that meant that I loved the apple pieces. My only complaint is that there could have been more apples. But that's just me.
Would I buy it again? No but that's only because I don't eat presweetened/preflavored oatmeal. If I did, this would go into my cart!
Grade: A+ if you like sweet oatmeal/ avoid if you don't eat sweet oatmeal
Finally: Maple Brown Sugar
Confession time: When I was a kid, I sometimes ate instant oatmeal right from the package. That is, I did until my mom caught me and then made a bowl with whatever remained. My oatmeal of choice? Maple and Brown Sugar!
It's been years since I ate Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal and I outgrew the habit of eating it raw but, man, did this bring back memories.
Like the Apple Cinnamon variety, this oatmeal was sweet and tasted like dessert to me. A really good dessert!
Grade: A+/ avoid if you don't eat sweet oatmeal
Finally, part deux: Bulk Bag Gluten-Free Chex Oatmeal
Here's a laugh. It took me a few minutes to figure out if this was old-fashioned oats or instant oats. My package didn't clearly say which it was. Finally my brain woke up, kicked me, and said, “Um, look at the cooking time. That'll tell you.” I thanked my brain and it promptly went back to sleep.
Since the cooking time for one bowl is only one minute, these are instant oats. Now, my package might be different since it was a sample package but it would be GREAT (ahem) if General Mills made it a little clearer that these are instant oats.
I'd already tried these oats in the individual package. So, for this, I baked with them. Know what I made? These babies: flourless peanut butter oatmeal cookies. Sometimes, like in the case of my “Chewy Granola Bars” recipe, you want to bake with instant, not old fashioned oats. The oats behaved well. Those cookies are amazing. You should make them!
Overall Thoughts:I love that gluten-free oats, which for a long time were hard to find and expensive, are hitting the mainstream. I'm not sure why General Mills branded these as “Chex.” That's odd to me. When I think gluten-free Chex, I think corn and rice, not oatmeal. (shrugs). I'm sure it has something to do with brand recognition but I'm food writer, not a marketer; so what do I know?
My biggest concern was how “gluten-free” the gluten-free oats were. I reached out to General Mills. Here's their answer:
“The oats used for this product are sourced from a vertically integrated gluten free oat source. Additionally General Mills performs testing at the ingredient and finished product level to test for the presence of gluten above 20 ppm. We also validate our cleaning and changeover methods at the plants for any system/line that will run a gluten free product. Ongoing verification gluten testing is performed at the finished product level.
Please keep in mind that this ingredient, allergen and labeling information is for the package in hand. For the most up to date ingredient information we recommended referring to the product's package.”
How exciting is this? Makes me want to visit Minneapolis to see the General Mills factory. I'd be like Charlie in the Chocolate factory ONLY I wouldn't deviate from the tour, sample a “Fizzy Lifting Drink” and almost die. OR WOULD I? You don't know! (Note: One of my fellow writers at Serious Eats did visit General Mills HQ. If you're a Cereal Lover and haven't seen her slideshows, you.are.missing out!)
I haven't seen the gluten-free Chex oatmeal locally yet. When I do, I'll update this page with store information and pricing.
Note: General Mills sent me samples. However, I was not asked to write a review or provide a positive review of the oatmeal. All opinions are mine. I just really liked the oatmeal. Over and out.