Oatmeal is a product of ground oat groats (i.e. oat-meal#Etymology 2, cf. cornmeal, peasemeal, etc.) or a porridge made from this product (also called oatmeal cereal). In the United States and Canada, 'oatmeal' can refer also to other products made from oat groats, such as cut oats, crushed oats, and rolled oats. The groats are coarsely ground to make oatmeal, or cut into small pieces to make steel-cut oats, or steamed and rolled to make rolled oats. The quick-cooking rolled oats ("quick oats") are cut into small pieces before being steamed and rolled. "Instant" oatmeal is pre-cooked and dried, usually with sweetener and flavor additives. Oatmeal is used to make porridge, as an ingredient as in oatmeal cookies and oat cakes, or as an accent as in the topping on many oat bran breads and the coating on Caboc cheese. It is also used as a thickener in some foods such as canned chili con carne. Oatmeal is also used in some alcoholic drinks, cosmetics, soaps, external medical treatments, and is sometimes added to animal feed products.
Some of the items added to oatmeal porridge to enhance its flavour include: salt, white sugar, brown sugar, stevia, cinnamon, honey, jam, molasses, maple syrup, butter, chocolate, soy sauce, soy milk, milk, vinegar, condensed or evaporated milk, and cream. Various types of fruit and nuts are also often added, including: strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, mangos, bananas, raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, pecans, walnuts, and peanut butter.