Cream of Wheat vs Oatmeal: What’s the Difference? We Compare


Cream of Wheat and oatmeal are two popular breakfast foods with similarities. They are cooked the same way causing some people to ask, is Cream of Wheat the same as oatmeal?

Cream of Wheat is a brand of breakfast cereal made from wheat farina which is milled wheat. Oatmeal is made from whole oat grains chopped or rolled and is manufactured by many different companies. Cream of Wheat is whiter than the beige colored oatmeal and has a smoother texture. 

This article will include a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in both. In addition, I’ll examine their tastes, textures, glycemic index, satiety index, prices, storage methods and health benefits.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Cream of Wheat vs Oatmeal: The Difference

Depending on what area you’re from, one of these two foods may be unfamiliar with you. Oatmeal is more popular and is on every breakfast place or diner menu. Most menus don’t offer Cream of Wheat as an option.

For this reason, some people don’t know much about Cream of Wheat. Let’s discuss some of their differences. What is the difference between Cream of Wheat and oatmeal?

  • Cream of Wheat is made from the endosperm of the wheat grain. Oatmeal is made by hulling and steaming whole oat grains. 
  • Cream of Wheat is a brand of breakfast cereal made by the Company B&G Foods. Oatmeal is a type of cereal made by many different companies.
  • Cream of Wheat was released in 1893. Oatmeal has been consumed for thousands of years, first by the ancient Greeks.
  • Cream of Wheat’s color is whitish while oatmeal has a tan to beige color.
  • Cheese and butter are common additions to Cream of Wheat but not for oatmeal.

Cream of Wheat comes in the following flavors:

  • Original
  • Whole grain
  • Maple brown sugar
  • Banana walnut
  • Bananas and cream
  • Cocoa nut with almonds
  • Mixed berry

There are four main types of oats: 

  1. Rolled: Rolled oats are the classic oats used in oatmeal. These are also called regular or old-fashioned oats. 
  2. Steel-cut: Oatmeal made from steel-cut oats is typically chewier and heartier. You can also use these oats as a substitution for traditional rice dishes, like risotto. 
  3. Stone-ground: Stone-ground oats make creamy oatmeal. 
  4. Quick: Quick oats, often called instant oats, are thinner rolled oats. These are often used in instant oatmeal and microwavable versions because the oats don’t take as long to cook. 

Cream of Wheat vs Oatmeal: Nutrient Comparison

Cream of Wheat and oatmeal have similar nutritional profiles, although there are key differences between the two.

The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in a 100-gram serving of cooked oatmeal and cooked Cream of Wheat.

  Oatmeal (100 g)

Cooked

Cream of Wheat (100 g)

Cooked

Calories 71 62
Protein 2.54 g 1.84 g
Carbohydrates 12.0 g 13.1 g
Fiber 1.7 g 0.6 g
Fat 1.52 g 0.24 g
Sugar 0.27 g 0.07 g
Vitamin A 0 IU 773 IU
Beta-carotene 0 mcg 0 mcg
Vitamin C 0 mg 0 mg
Vitamin B6 0.005 mg 0.30 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 6 mcg  62 mcg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.07 mg  0.23 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.01 mg  0.21 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.22 mg  3.09 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 0.31 mg  0.08 mg
Magnesium 27 mg  6 mg
Phosphorous 77 mg  18 mg
Potassium 70 mg 20 mg
Iron 0.90 mg 4.96 mg
Copper 0.07 mg  0.04 mg
Calcium 9 mg 64 mg
Zinc 1.00 mg  0.17 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 2

Cream of Wheat and oatmeal contain the same types of nutrients. At first it’s difficult to determine which one provides a higher percentage of nutrients than the other. This causes many people to ask, which is more healthier Cream of Wheat or oatmeal?

Oatmeal is healthier than Cream of Wheat due to its higher percentage of protein, fiber and minerals. Oatmeal provides more B5, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and zinc. Cream of Wheat contains gluten while oats are naturally gluten-free. Oatmeal is lower in sodium.

Cream of Wheat is also healthy and provides a higher percentage of B vitamins, iron and calcium than oatmeal.

Choosing one or the other may depend on your particular goals. One of those goals may be weight loss.

Oatmeal is better for weight loss due to its higher percentage of fiber and protein which help appetite control. Oatmeal has a better satiety score of 209% which means it makes someone feel full after consuming it. 

What has more protein Cream of Wheat or oatmeal?

Oatmeal contains more protein than Cream of Wheat per serving. Cooked oatmeal contains 2.54 grams of protein per 100 gram serving while Cream of Wheat contains 1.84 grams.

Which has more fiber Cream of Wheat or oatmeal?

Oatmeal contains more fiber than Cream of Wheat. Cooked oatmeal contains 1.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams while cooked Cream of Wheat contains 0.6 grams.

Which has more carbohydrates Cream of Wheat or oatmeal?

Cooked Cream of Wheat contains 13.1 grams of carbohydrates per 100 gram serving while cooked oatmeal contains 12.0 grams. If you’re on a low carb or Keto diet, cooked oatmeal is the better choice.

Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.

Which is better for bodybuilding, Cream of Wheat or oatmeal?

Oatmeal is better for building muscle and athletic performance due to its higher percentage of protein and calories. The extra calories and protein contained in oatmeal help to gain weight, muscle and repair muscle.

Find out which had more nutrients, oatmeal or granola in my article, Granola vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare.

cream of wheat and oatmeal nutrient comparison

Cream of Wheat vs Oatmeal: Taste and Texture

When comparing two foods, it’s not always about the nutrients provided. Many times people choose one food over the other because of its taste or according to their mood.

Since both are mostly breakfast foods, many people wonder and ask, does Cream of Wheat taste like oatmeal?

Cream of Wheat and oatmeal both have a bland flavor which is unsweet and not bitter. Oatmeal has a chunkier texture than the smoother and creamier Cream of Wheat. Cream of Wheat is grainier from the wheat it contains. Both are moist and can be thicker depending on the amount of liquid added.

What does Cream of Wheat taste like?

Cream of Wheat is bland and unsweet. It’s not bitter and has a creamy texture. The grains of the wheat are prevalent in the creamy mixture. The ingredients added can change the taste of the Cream of Wheat.

Old-fashioned rolled oats have a chewier texture than the smoother instant oatmeal.

I polled people in food groups and some of my readers. I asked, do you prefer the taste of Cream of Wheat or oatmeal for breakfast?

  • 52% said they preferred the taste of oatmeal.
  • 38% said they preferred the taste of Cream of Wheat.
  • 10% said they had no preference.

Find out how oatmeal compared to quinoa in my article, Quinoa vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.

How to Cook Cream of Wheat

Original Cream of Wheat is prepared by following this method:

  • Bring water or milk to a boil. 
  • Slowly pour in the ground wheat while stirring.
  • Let it simmer for 2 1/2 minutes after the wheat and liquid is blended.
  • Cool slightly and serve.

1 minute Cream of Wheat is prepared the same way as the original except it simmers for 1 minute instead of 2 1/2.

If you prefer a thinner cereal, stir in an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or milk. For a thicker cereal, let stand for a few minutes longer.

Cream of Wheat additions:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Raspberries
  • Maple syrup
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Chopped mixed nuts

How To Cook Oatmeal

Old-fashioned traditional oats are added to boiling water and cooked for about five minutes over medium heat.

Traditional instant oats are added to boiling water or milk and then let stand for two minutes.

Steel cut oats are added to boiling water and then simmered over low heat for 25-30 minutes.

Oatmeal additions:

  • Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Chopped mixed nuts
  • Seeds

Find out if grits or oatmeal has the better satiety in my article, Grits vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.

Cream of Wheat and Oatmeal Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 3. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 4

Knowing the GI of the food consumed is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. 

How blood sugar levels are affected:

  • Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.

How foods on the GI scale are categorized as:

  • Low-GI foods: 55 or under
  • Medium-GI foods: 56-69
  • High-GI foods: 70 or over

Knowing what the glycemic index is, and how it affects blood sugar, let’s answer, does Cream of Wheat or oatmeal have a higher GI?

The glycemic index of Cream of Wheat is higher than oatmeal. Cream of Wheat has a GI of 66. Rolled oats have a GI of 55. Steel cut oats have a GI under 55. Instant Cream of Wheat has a higher GI rating. Instant oatmeal has a GI of 79. 

Steel-cut oats have a lower GI because they are the least processed. Rolled oats are a little higher because they’ve been partially cooked. Quick oats have been steamed and rolled into thinner pieces to cook quicker. This process increases their GI.

Find out how oatmeal compared to white rice in my article, Oatmeal vs Rice: Which Is More Healthy? (We Find Out).

Cream of Wheat vs Oatmeal: Satiety Index

Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of being full and the loss of appetite which occurs after eating food. The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating a certain food. 

The satiety index was developed in 1995 from a study which tested 38 foods. The foods were ranked how they satisfied a person’s hunger. Foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling and foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling 5.

The table below shows the satiety scores of breakfast cereals with milk.

Food Satiety Index Score
Muesli 100%
Sustain 112%
Special K 116%
Corn Flakes 118%
Honey Smacks 132%
All-Bran 151%
Porridge 209%
Oatmeal 209%

Oatmeal and porridge scored 209%. They scored the highest of the breakfast cereals tested. The study results didn’t mention if the porridge is grits, cream of wheat or something else. Technically, grits, oatmeal or other dishes are a type of porridge if ingredients are added.

The oatmeal though didn’t have any added ingredients, only milk. Therefore, oatmeal has a higher satiety index than Cream of Wheat alone.

Of all the 38 foods, oatmeal and porridge scored the fourth highest only beat by oranges, ling fish and boiled potatoes.

High satiety food and oatmeal are likely to have a high satiety score for the following reasons:

  1. High in protein.
  2. High in fiber.
  3. High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
  4. Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight).

Oatmeal seems to fit into all four listed above.

  1. Oatmeal contains 7.9 grams of protein per 3/4 cup.
  2. Oatmeal provides 6.1 grams of fiber per 3/4 cup.
  3. Oatmeal weighs a good amount when prepared in relation to its calories.
  4. Cooked oatmeal only has 71 calories per 100 grams.

Find out how oatmeal compared to brown rice in my article, Brown Rice vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.

Cream of Wheat and Oatmeal Prices

It seems every time I go to the supermarket my total cost is higher than the last visit. The cost of food certainly matters to most, especially with the rising costs of everything else.

The price may sway your decision about which one to use in your meals more often. Therefore, which costs more, Cream of Wheat or oatmeal?

The price for Cream of Wheat and oatmeal are similar although Cream of Wheat costs slightly more. The average price for quick oats is $0.25 per serving. The average price for Cream of Wheat is $0.29 per serving. 

I decided to conduct a search of various different stores.

I checked Shoprite supermarket for the prices of Cream of Wheat and oatmeal:

  • Cream of Wheat Instant
    • $4.99 per 12 oz box (12 servings) equaling $0.41 per serving
  • Quaker quick oats
    • $4.99 per 18 oz container (13 servings) equaling $0.38 per 1/2 cup serving

I then checked Walmart for Cream of Wheat and oatmeal prices:

  • Cream of Wheat Original
    • $3.92 per 28 oz box (24 servings) equaling $0.16 per serving
  • Cream of Wheat Instant Packets
    • $3.92 per 12 oz box (12 servings) equaling $0.32 per serving
  • Quaker quick oats
    • $4.98 per 42 oz container (30 servings) equaling $0.17 per 1/2 cup serving
  • Quaker quick oats
    • $2.73 per 18 oz container (13 servings) equaling $0.21 per 1/2 cup serving

Check out Amazon for Cream of Wheat and oatmeal products. Their prices are often more affordable and there are bulk options.

a bowl of cream of wheat with fruit
Cream of Wheat with fruit

Cream of Wheat vs Oatmeal: Pros and Cons

Cream of Wheat Pros and Health Benefits

  • Easy and quick to prepare: The original Cream of Wheat only takes 2 1/2 minutes after the liquid has come to a boil.
  • Affordable compared to other healthy boxed cereals.
  • Helps provide energy throughout the day: Cream of Wheat is rich in complex carbohydrates. This helps to fuel the body without raising blood sugar too high.
  • Rich in calcium which helps with the following:
    • Help the muscles to function properly.
    • Build and maintain strong bones.
    • Helps nerve function.
  • Rich in iron which helps with the following:
    • Essential in the creation of red blood cells.
    • Vital for growth and development. 
  • Rich in B vitamins which help with the following:
    • Nerve function.
    • Brain function.
    • Cardiovascular disease.
    • Red blood cells.
    • Digestion.
    • Energy levels.

Find out if there is a difference in benefits between steel cut and regular oatmeal in my article, Steel Cut Oatmeal vs Oatmeal: Which Is Better? Let’s Compare.

Cream of Wheat Cons

  • Contain gluten: This product contains gluten. Gluten-sensitive people or those with celiac disease may suffer adverse side effects consuming gluten-containing foods.
  • Higher in sodium than oatmeal: Especially if adding salt as per their cooking directions when using water.
  • Not made from whole grains: The whole germ is removed from farina during processing.

Oatmeal Pros and Health Benefits

  • Help to promote weight loss: It’s high in fiber, protein and satiety index. Cooked oatmeal is low in calories.
  • Gluten-free: Oats are naturally gluten-free, although it’s important to check the label. Due to cross-contamination not all oatmeals are gluten-free.
  • Rich in potassium:
    • Helps reduce sodium and fluid build-up.
    • Helps reduce blood pressure.
    • Help the kidneys function properly.
  • Rich in magnesium:
    • Blood pressure
    • Insomnia
    • Nerve function
    • Blood sugar
    • Muscle
  • Rich in phosphorus:
    • Muscle contraction and recovery.
    • Promote bone and teeth strength.
    • Promote healthy nerve conduction.
    • Help the body store and manage energy.
    • Help the kidneys remove waste.

Oatmeal Cons

  • Bland tasting: Most people add something to improve the taste. Often the added ingredient may be unhealthy.
  • Contain physic acid: This could hinder the body’s absorption of essential minerals and vitamins found in oats. Some people soak the oats over night to reduce the physic acid.

Is there a difference between overnight oats and oatmeal? Find out in my article, Overnight Oats vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? We Compare.

How To Store Cream of Wheat and Oatmeal

Whichever you choose or have on hand, proper storage is crucial. How you store Cream of Wheat or oatmeal can affect how they taste or how long they last. Therefore, how do you store Cream of Wheat and Oatmeal?

Cream of Wheat and oatmeal have similar storage methods. Store unopened Cream of Wheat or oatmeal in a cool, dry place away from the heat and sun. Opened Cream of Wheat or oatmeal should be tightly covered in its original container, glass or plastic container or resealable bag.

Opened, uncooked Cream of Wheat or oatmeal does not have to be refrigerated.

Cooked Cream of Wheat or oatmeal should be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Additional Article Resources  6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Is oatmeal better than eggs? Find out in my article here, Eggs vs Oatmeal – Which Is Better? Let’s Compare.

Read Next – More Oatmeal vs Food Articles!

Muesli vs Oatmeal – What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare

Instant Oatmeal vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference?

Oatmeal vs Cereal – Which is Better? Let’s Compare

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. USDA: Cereals, oats, regular and quick, unenriched, cooked with water (includes boiling and microwaving), without salt[]
  2. USDA: Cereals, Cream Of Wheat, instant, prepared with water, without salt[]
  3. Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods[]
  4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes[]
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods[]
  6. Cream of Wheat: Cream of Wheat[]
  7. Cream of Wheat: Products[]
  8. Cream of Wheat: Cream of Wheat Original 2 1/2 minutes[]
  9. Cream of Wheat: Original[]
  10. Cream of Wheat: About Cream of Wheat[]
  11. Wikipedia: Cream of Wheat[]
  12. Quaker: How to Prepare Quaker Oats[]
  13. Quaker: How does Quaker make Gluten Free Oats?[]
  14. Harvard T.H. Chan: Oats[]
  15. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Intake Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial[]
  16. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten sensitivity: when gluten free is not a fad[]
  17. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Oatmeal-Containing Breakfast is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Higher Intake of Key Food Groups and Nutrients Compared to Other Breakfasts in Children[]
  18. Oldways Whole Grains Council: Whole Grains A to Z[]
  19. University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Oatmeal – Whole Grain Goodness[]
  20. Iowa State University: Nutrition Education: Oatmeal[]
  21. UChicago Medicine/ Celiac Disease Center: Frequently Asked Questions[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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