Cream of Wheat has been a breakfast staple for years. For the most part, the name gives you an idea of what’s in it: cream (by milk) and wheat. But what about “farina,” and is that better or worse than Cream of Wheat? What are the differences between farina and cream of wheat?
Cream of Wheat is a brand of farina, which is the part of the wheat grain that isn’t used during milling. When mixed with warm milk, farina creates a thick porridge that people can eat for breakfast. In other words, Cream of Wheat and farina are the same.
Now that we’ve resolved the confusion let’s have a closer look at farina, its uses, and its nutritional information.
Is Farina the Same Thing as Cream of Wheat?
Farina is the same thing as Cream of Wheat. In fact, it’s a brand made by B&G foods, meant to market farina as a breakfast item. They aim to introduce it to households as an alternative to oatmeal or porridge.
Farina and the Cream of Wheat brand were first introduced in 1893 by a wheat miller in South Dakota named Tom Amidon. After facing reduced demand and lower prices for wheat flour, Tom decided to use his wife’s recipe for a breakfast porridge using wheat middlings.
The product proved popular, as evidenced by its continued existence even today. You could say that Tom Amidon created the Cream of Wheat brand while his wife spearheaded the use of wheat middlings for consumption.
Farina vs. Cream of Wheat: Differences
The only difference between farina and Cream of Wheat is the name. Cream of Wheat is a brand, while farina is the term used to describe the part of wheat that isn’t used when milling for flour.
Cream of Wheat isn’t the only brand for farina, either. Other brands also use farina as their main ingredients, such as Malt-O-Meal (mixed with malted barley) and Farina Mills.
Is Cream of Wheat Healthy for You?
When used as a basic breakfast porridge, a 33-gram packet of dry farina contains about 4 grams of protein, 9.3 milligrams of iron, and 260 milligrams of calcium, along with other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. It also contains roughly 24 grams of carbohydrates. 
In other words, Cream of Wheat is a healthy breakfast item to eat daily. Mixing it with milk boosts its calcium and vitamin D levels even further. 
When you add other toppings such as syrup, cheese, butter, etc., Cream of Wheat starts losing its health benefits.
How Can You Use Cream of Wheat?
Cream of Wheat, or farina in general, can also be used in other recipes aside from just being a humble breakfast porridge. Here are some things you could make using Cream of Wheat:
- Cream of Wheat Pancakes
- Banana Split Cream of Wheat
- Cream of Wheat Cake
- Soup with Farina Dumplings
- Shrimp and Cheese Cream of Wheat
The idea is to substitute Cream of Wheat instead of the usual ingredients. For example, you’d use farina instead of regular flour to make Cream of Wheat pancakes. The same applies to dumplings and just about any other recipe that calls for flour.
Can You Add Any Flavors to the Cream of Wheat?
If you’d rather stick to Cream of Wheat as a breakfast porridge but want to spice it up a bit instead, don’t worry. You have plenty of options for sprucing up your otherwise dull bowl of cream of wheat.
The quickest choice would be to add quick toppings such as sliced fruits, nuts, granola, or even savory items such as bacon and eggs. They provide a quick burst of flavor to accompany the otherwise gentle taste of the cream of wheat.
Or you can mix something with the porridge, such as butter, sugar, syrup, peanut butter, and jelly. If you’re unsure how something will taste, test it on a spoonful before you commit to it. That way, you don’t waste an otherwise delicious porridge.
Can You Substitute Cream of Wheat for Farina?
While it’s true that Cream of Wheat is just a brand of farina, the former comes in a finer form than pure farina. That means if your recipe calls for something coarse, use pure farina instead of Cream of Wheat.
Are There Other Brands Like Cream of Wheat?
Cream of Wheat might be synonymous with farina for some people, but there are other brands of breakfast farina. If you want to explore beyond Cream of Wheat, you can try Farina Mills, Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Wheat, or Malt-O-Meal, just to name a few.