Wondering what the difference between cream of wheat and oatmeal is? I was served both of these almost every single morning growing up in my parent's home, so I have a few thoughts on each. I will also include my favorite method for making Cream of Wheat cereal too.
I have made so many different oatmeal recipes for the blog, if you want to check a few of them out, click the links below!
- Brown sugar oatmeal recipe
- Blueberry oatmeal
- Carrot cake oatmeal
- Leftover cranberry sauce oatmeal
- Overnight protein oats
What makes the cream of wheat and oatmeal different?
- While these 2 breakfast cereals have quite a bit in common, they are also very different! They are both considered plant-based foods and are delicious in their way. Let's dive right into this.
The main difference is oatmeal is made from oats, while Cream of Wheat is made from wheat. Those are strong differences for sure.
What is Cream of Wheat?
Cream of Wheat is a porridge that is just a brand name. It is just a type of farina. It is milled wheat made by cracking the grain and removing most of the wheat bran. This is one of the reasons is a lighter color.
Cream of wheat is similar to grits (how about this delicious Instant Pot grits recipe), grits are made with corn, and Cream of Wheat is made with wheat. Some people do find their texture pretty close. I think Cream of wheat has a smoother texture.
What is oatmeal?
There is nothing like a bowl of oatmeal to start your day. Oats are whole grains that are gluten-free and perfect for those with celiac disease. They come from oat groats, which are the whole oat kernel. With so many good breakfast options, let me share these 2 with you.
Oatmeal is made from oat groats and comes in different varieties. Listed below are a few varieties:
- Regular oatmeal (old-fashioned oats)- They are also called rolled oats and are made with a process of steaming the oat groats and rolling them through a roller.
- Quick oats (instant oats) - They are made similarly to old-fashioned oats but rolled even thinner and steamed more. This allows them to cook much quicker than regular oats.
- Steel-cut oats- these oats are also known as Irish oats and pinhead oats. They come from chopped whole oat groats. I love these as they have a chewier texture. Steel-cut oatmeal takes longer to cook and is more expensive, but they are worth the extra cost and time!
- Whole oat groats- These make a great hot breakfast cereal, you can check my recipe for Instant Pot oat groats if you want to try them. They are a better option if you want the whole oat groats intact.
Cream of Rice
I also want to add a few notes about Cream of Rice. While we are discussing types of hot cereals, let me throw this one out there too. It is a different cereal completely than Cream of Wheat.
It is made of finely ground white rice and has a smooth texture that most people love.
It is a better choice for individuals with gluten intolerances and allergies as it is made with rice instead of wheat as the Cream of Wheat is.
How to cook Cream of Wheat cereal
Cream of Wheat is so simple to cook, but it does require you to stir constantly. Here is my basic preparation method, but in the recipe box below, I will share my mom's recipe she used when I was growing up. Note that there are different cooking methods, but this is my go-to.
I use a ratio of 4:1 for my liquid to farina. 4 cups of liquid (hot milk or water. I like to use almond milk) to 1 cup of Cream of Wheat. Now, here is where my recipe differs from others. I also add a few tablespoons of 7-grain cereal to my recipe. This is the way my mom made it and the way I love it even today.
Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Slowly pour in the Cream of Wheat into the hot water while stirring constantly. Lower the heat to low and continue stirring.
It will cook quickly, so keep an eye on it, usually about 2-4 minutes.
Remove it from heat and serve immediately.
I love to top it with a little butter and maple syrup. But if you want to dress it up a bit, top it with fresh fruit, seeds, nuts, etc. If you aren't opposed to it, you can also sweeten it with a little bit of sugar (either granulated or brown). I have also heard of people who like to sweeten with sucanat.
There is a whole wide world of porridge out there and I can tell you I am here for all of them! Cream of Wheat and oatmeal are just 2 of those delicious breakfast cereals. If you want another whole-grain option, what about spelt porridge?? Spelt is an ancient grain that most people don't consider when they think of breakfast options.
Cream of wheat recipe
- 2 cups almond milk
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons 7-grain or 10-grain cereal Optional, but I love adding this in.
- 1 cup Cream of Wheat
- 2 tablespoons butter for topping optional
- maple syrup for topping optional
- chopped pecans for topping optional
- Bring the water, milk, and salt to a boil over medium heat.
- While you are pouring in the Cream of Wheat and then the grain cereal be sure to whisk constantly.
- Continue to whisk another 3-5 minutes until the Cream of Wheat is cooked and thickened.
- Spoon into your bowls for serving.
- I love to top my Cream of wheat with a little butter, maple syrup, and chopped pecans.