Malt-O-Meal is the stuff nostalgia is made of! Many are familiar with waking up to that distinct wheaty smell of a hot bowl of Malt-O-Meal in winter mornings.
It is the perfect comfort food and the best way to add a bit of fiber and nutrition to your breakfast. Similarly, Cream of Wheat is yet another porridge dish that will bring back many memories. But are they both the same thing?
What is the difference between Malt-O-Meal and Cream of Wheat? Both porridges are made using farina, which is just milled wheat. The difference in both lies in their texture, as Malt-O-Meal is a bit lumpy while Cream of Wheat is known to be more runny.
Read below to learn more about these delicious porridges, their differences, how they taste, nutritional information, and more!
Malt-O-Meal consists of farina which is a widely used ingredient in many porridge recipes.
In essence, farina is just milled wheat that is refined and enriched in different ways to give it different properties. It can be used in both porridges and savory foods. For example, farina is widely used in Chinese and other Asian cuisines to thicken gravies and curries!
Malt-O-Meal on its own is a bland porridge with a lumpy texture. It makes for a thick breakfast snack that can easily fill you up and keep you going throughout the afternoon. Its thickness comes from gluten.
Combining it with water and heat will create gluten strands that will eventually give it a thicker consistency. There is no known variety of Malt-O-Meal that is free of gluten because it is made using flour.
If you want gluten-free substitutes then you can perhaps try Cream of Rice, which offers more or less the same flavor and consistency.
A traditional Malt-O-Meal bowl can be mixed with many different ingredients and flavors. Here’s a list of things that you can pair this porridge with:
- Fresh fruits
- Dehydrated fruit
- Frozen fruit
- Herbs and spices
Malt-O-Meal can be prepared in different ways and every region has its version of this delicious breakfast meal.
For example, in the USA, Malt-O-Meal comes prepackaged and can be mixed with milk, fruits, and sugar to give it a balanced flavor. It is also available in over 30 different varieties!
In other regions, Malt-O-Meal even has culinary uses where it is added to water and used as a natural thickener.
As discussed, on its own, Malt-O-Meal doesn’t taste like anything. It can be described as having a mild wheat flavor that may become further diluted if you add more water or milk to the porridge.
You may also compare its flavor to non-sweetened oatmeal. The Malt-O-Meal brand also provides its products in different flavors and textures so you can get one that best fits your palette.
Malt-O-Meal is best served with fruits or with added sugar. However, this may also be counterproductive as it may negatively affect its nutritional profile.
You can use healthy alternatives like fresh fruit, brown sugar, and skimmed milk for a more nutritionally balanced meal.
When it comes to texture, Malt-O-Meal is lumpy and can also be described as grainy. This brand uses a mildly refined version of farina compared to what Cream of Wheat offers (more on this in a bit).
Since Malt-O-Meal is made from ground wheat kernels, it inherently gives it a high gluten content that greatly affects its texture and many people agree that Malt-O-Meal makes you feel fuller than other porridge brands.
You can try whisking the porridge to lessen the lumps but you might still end up with clumped-up pieces, especially when using less water or whole milk.
How To Make Malt-O-Meal At Home
Most prepackaged porridges and breakfast cereals are high in sugar which makes them delicious but also highly addictive and unhealthy. Malt-O-Meal offers a healthier alternative to sugar-coated cereals.
While it is easy for one to get bored of having the same tasting porridge every day, there are a few things that you can do to change things up!
Here’s a quick and basic recipe that you can use to make a healthy bowl of Malt-O-Meal at home:
- 2 cups water or milk
- A 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 1/3 cup Malt-O-Meal
- Table or brown sugar, to taste
- Milk, to taste
- Sliced bananas
- Drizzle of honey for garnish
- In a saucepan, place in the cinnamon stick and fill the pot with water. Bring to boil and wait for 5 minutes. If you use milk instead of water then don’t boil the mixture, just bring it to a simmer and follow the rest of the recipe as-is.
- Bring the heat down to medium and pour in the Malt-O-Meal while continuously whisking the mixture. Continuously whisking it will minimize the formation of lumps.
- Once the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes or until it has thickened.
- Turn the heat off, remove the cinnamon stick, and add in sugar and milk. Whisk everything together until fully incorporated.
- Top with your favorite fruits and drizzle honey over the bowl for a neat finish!
Cream Of Wheat
Cream of Wheat is the same as Malt-O-Meal except that this brand produces porridge that is smoother and has a runnier consistency than Malt-O-Meal.
Ingredient-wise, both Malt-O-Meal and Cream of Wheat are the same, as they are both made from farina. Interestingly, not one brand is more popular than the other, as there is a solid demand for both these porridges!
However, with increasing competition in the cereal market and with customers demanding more flavorful and healthy variants, Cream of Wheat has diversified its product line to include many other flavors and versions of its classic farina-based porridge – much like what Malt-O-Meal has done.
Cream of Wheat and Malt-O-Meal have a similar flavor and both can be considered to be bland. Nutritionally, each brand is a bit different, but largely the same in terms of macros.
Here is a quick overview of their nutritional information:
|One Cup (241g) in Water||Malt-O-Meal||Cream of Wheat|
Keep in mind that these figures show the nutritional information of both products in water. If you cook them in milk along with other additives like sugar and fruits, then the nutritional profile for both will be vastly different.
Texture Of Cream Of Wheat
Cream of Wheat looks similar to Malt-O-Meal but varies a bit when it comes to its texture.
This porridge is runnier and does not have a lumpy texture like you would find in a bowl of Malt-O-Meal. For many people, this difference is very important as it makes Cream of Wheat much more convenient and easier to eat than Malt-O-Meal.
The runnier consistency is achieved by using a finer mixture of farina, which doesn’t lessen the gluten content, but makes the porridge smoother.
How To Make Cream Of Wheat At Home
Here is how you can make Cream of Wheat at home. This recipe makes a healthy serving of porridge and is a departure from the recipe that you will commonly find at the back of the box.
Like Malt-O-Meal, we recommend that you keep changing the recipe and introduce different add-ons to make it taste different and better every time!
- 2 cups of water or milk
- 1/3rd cup of Cream of Wheat
- Pat of butter
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar
- Drizzle of honey
- In a saucepan, bring the water or milk to boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Ideally, you would want to use either water or milk but you can also go with a mixture that is half and half. We recommend adding 1 cup of whole milk to 1 cup of water for a healthy and easy-on-the-gut mixture.
- Add the Cream of Wheat and whisk thoroughly until everything is homogenous.
- Cook until you have reached the desired consistency for the porridge. Then bring the heat down and add sugar and salt. Whisk everything together thoroughly.
- Turn off the heat and move the contents to a cereal bowl. Garnish with a piece of butter and a drizzle of honey!
- Add in a bit of fruit or dried fruit to the mix for added flavor and health benefits. Alternatively, you can also use processed foods like jam or peanut butter to turn this humble porridge into a decadent treat!
If you have already grown tired of this basic recipe and want more out of your Cream of Wheat then here is another great Puerto Rican recipe that will surely be something to look forward to every morning!
Here is how to make Puerto Rican Crema De Farina:
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 3 small cinnamon sticks
- 1-star anise
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.25 cups Cream of Wheat
- 2 tbsp butter
- Heat a saucepan on low heat and add milk, water, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add butter and whisk in Cream of Wheat and cook for 3-4 minutes on low heat.
- You can also use Malt-O-Meal or regular farina for this recipe! Just make sure that you thoroughly whisk the mixture when using Malt-O-Meal to prevent lumps from forming.
- Now add honey and whisk everything. Keep the heat on low to prevent the Cream of Wheat from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You will have to stir occasionally after every 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce the mixture until you have achieved the right consistency. If you find that the mixture is too thick then add either water or milk to dilute it and then let it come to a simmer.
- Once done, mix in the vanilla extract and remove all the spices from the mixture. Move contents to a bowl and garnish with a piece of butter, a light dust of cinnamon powder, and honey!
Like with other recipes, you can use dried fruit, fresh/frozen fruit, or even other additions of your liking to change the flavor of this delicious treat!
Alternate Uses For Malt-O-Meal And Cream Of Wheat
Since both these products are made using farina, you can also use the plain and simple version of both porridges in savory dishes as well.
For example, farina can be mixed with water and added to soups, sauces, chili, gravies, and curries.
This is a common practice in many regions and rids the need to use cornstarch entirely. Also, farina thickens food efficiently but requires more to do the same job as cornstarch.
Since cornstarch is pure starch while farina only partially contains starch, you will need to use 2 cups of farina for every 1 cup of cornstarch to get the same effect.
For people with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, the best way to enjoy farina is to try Cream of Rice, which is a product of Cream of Wheat that offers more or less the same flavor, texture, and nutrients without gluten!
Malt-O-Meal and Cream of Wheat are both the same thing but come from different brands. Both are based on a version of farina which is just refined and milled flour.
However, when it comes to the consistency of the porridges, Malt-O-Meal is known to be lumpier while Cream of Wheat has a smoother and runnier texture since it uses extra refined flour.
These brands sell multiple variants of farina-based porridges and cereals but if you are after the health benefits of wheat, then we recommend that you start with its most basic and plain offering.
You may also want to tweak the flavor and nutrients of both these porridges by adding other ingredients like fruits, butter, sugar, chocolate, and more!
Now that you know the difference between Malt-O-Meal and Cream of Wheat, here are some related questions for both these products:
Can you mix Malt-O-Meal and Cream of Wheat?
Yes, both porridges can be mixed to create more or less a same-tasting porridge. However, you will likely get mixed textures when using both as Cream of Wheat contains highly refined and milled flour compared to Malt-O-Meal.
Can you store leftover porridge in the fridge?
Yes, you can store leftovers in the fridge by moving the porridge to an air-tight container and keeping it in the fridge at 40°F. The porridge will remain edible for 2-3 days but we recommend that you consume it earlier.
To reheat, just add a splash of water or milk and heat in a saucepan – while mixing thoroughly.
Can you make farina at home?
Making farina at home is possible but requires a lot of handiwork. It would rather be best if you get milled flour from a local milling shop and use that to make porridge from scratch!
You can even ask for varying quantities and combinations of wheatberries (kernels) for different consistencies and flavors.