This is by no means a comprehensive list of the cooked, hot, whole grain cereals available to the consumer, but hopefully it will provide incentive for you to try some. If you’re not used to eating whole grain cereals and suspect they may be too strongly-flavored for your liking, start with the opposite type—cereals that are very mild in taste. You may find they’re just right for you, or you may want to try something with a heartier flavor.
Cereals are categorized here according to the grain(s) they contain. Within categories, cereals are listed in alphabetical order. Where a cereal is certified kosher, this is so noted.
Although “chewy” can have negative connotations in some food references, such is not the case here. A “chewy” cereal is one that has some texture and gives you something textural. It’s not unpleasantly chewy, but it is the opposite of mushy or gooey, qualities that have turned some people off to oatmeal.
Remember, too, that your preferences may differ. What’s indicated here as a favorite or ours may not necessarily turn out to be a cereal that floats your boat. The point here is to get you thinking about these cereals and doing some experimenting of your own. All cereals, even within the same category here, are definitely not alike.
All cereals listed were prepared according to package directions using water (milk was an option for some) and a stovetop. Some were made in the microwave on a separate occasion as part of a sampling to see if microwave directions were viable for cooked hot cereals. In every case, microwaving was successful. Although most instant hot cereals are flavored or presweetened (or both), most cooked hot cereals are not. There are exceptions that were tried here, and any flavoring or sweetening is described in the listing of the individual cereal.
Holly’s Oatmeal is available in three flavors plus Gluten Free.
Of the 43 products we tasted, these 13 were our favorites: Bob’s Red Mill Organic Kamut Cereal, Cream of the West Roasted Rolled Oats, John McCann Steel Cut Oat Meal and their Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oat Meal, Macroom Organic Oatmeal, Silver Palate Quick and Rough Oatmeal, Hodgson Mill Cracked Wheat Hot Cereal, Cream of the West Roasted 7 Grain, Old Wessex Ltd. 5 Grain Cereal, Pompanoosuc Porridge, Roman Meal Granola, Vermont Morning Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal and their Organic Wheat-Free Hot Cereal. Since the original review, we have added another favorite, Holly’s Oatmeal, which has flavored and gluten-free blended hot cereals.
Old Wessex Ltd. Irish Style Oatmeal, no website or phone number but available from WellnessGrocer.com, RaisinRack.com and others, as well as at some grocery stores. Some texture, though less than longer-cooking oats. Slightly stronger oat flavor than many.
Old Wessex Ltd Scottish Style Porridge Oats, no website or phone number but available from WellnessGrocer.com, RaisinRack.com and others, as well as at some grocery stores. Nice rough texture with a mild oat taste.
Quaker Quick-1 Minute Oats. Only slightly more texture than instant oatmeal; I think this is better in baked goods. Mild flavor. Kosher.
Roman Meal Cream of Rye (Organic). Lots of good texture. Don’t let the dark color of the cereal fool you; it does not have anywhere near as strong a taste as the color implies. Kosher.
Cream of the West Roasted Wheat. A little texture, with a very mild flavor that will take on the character of whatever you add to it. A good introduction to whole grain hot cereals, especially for kids.
Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli. Oats, wheat, rye, triticale, barley—also date crumbles, raisins, sunflower seeds, almonds, flaxseed and walnuts. Very good mix of distinctive textures. Taste is very strong, in large part because of the sunflower seeds. Although muesli if often eaten cold in the U.S., this can be (and was) prepared as a hot cereal according to package directions. Kosher.
Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal. Wheat, corn, rye, triticale, oats and five other grains (plus oat bran). Moderate amount of texture. A strong flavor that fades quickly. Kosher.
Cream of the West Roasted 7-Grain. Two kinds of wheat, oats, barley, rye, triticale, spelt and wheat bran. Brilliant mix of al dente textures with a moderately strong taste. A favorite.
Fiddler’s Green Farm Organic Oat Bran & Brown Rice Hot Cereal. Despite the name, brown rice is the first ingredient, so this is predominantly a whole grain cereal. Very light-colored with little texture; described on the package as “our children’s first cereal.” Initial mild flavor leads to a fairly strong aftertaste.
Fiddler’s Green Farm Organic 12-Grain Cereal. Wheat, corn, oats, rice, rye, and seven other grains, including soy grits and soy flakes. Porridge-like, with some texture contrast. Initial mild taste leads to very strong aftertaste.
Hodgson Mill Multi Grain Hot Cereal. Oats, wheat bran, flaxseed, soy grits, wheat germ, and cracked whole wheat. Minimal texture. Initial mild taste a precursor to a much stronger aftertaste that fades quickly. Kosher.
Holly’s Oatmeal. A blend of oatmeal and six other whole grains, in three flavors: Apricot With Hazelnuts, Cranberry Almond and Goji Berry. A NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. A favorite.
Izzie’s Irish Oats (Organic). Steel cut oats, millet, and almonds. Different textures from the two grains and nuts. A good combination of mild flavors. See overnight soaking method on package for a time-saving tip.
Old Wessex Ltd. 5 Grain Cereal, no website or phone number but available from WellnessGrocer.com, RaisinRack.com and others, as well as at some grocery stores. Oats, rye, triticale, barley and golden flax. Interesting multidimensional texture and good flavor blend. A favorite. Kosher.
Pompanoosuc Porridge. Steel cut oats, white wheat bulgur, and flax seed. Great distinctively chewy grain texture. Somewhat stronger tasting. A favorite.
Quaker Multigrain Hot Cereal (The only mention of this product I found was in the “Buy hard-to-find products online” section). Rye, barley, oats and wheat. Moderate amount of texture with modest flavor. Kosher.
River Valley Porridge. Oats, wheat, bulgur, flax seed and millet. Interesting medley of textures. Flavor is mild at first, then becomes very strong.
Roman Meal Granola. Oats, wheat, almonds, soy powder—also brown sugar, coconut oil, coconut and honey. Looks like granola in the canister. Lots of texture, helped along by the almonds and coconut. Presweetened, but not too sweet. A favorite. Kosher.
Roman Meal Hearty Hot Cereal (Apple Cinnamon). Wheat, oats, flaxseed meal—also dried apples, brown sugar, raisin juice concentrate, cinnamon and nutmeg. Multitextured, due partially to the fruit. Presweetened, but sweetness is minimal. Good amount of spice. Kosher.
Roman Meal Hearty Hot Cereal (Raisins, Dates, Almonds). Oats, wheat—also raisins, brown sugar, dates, raisin juice concentrate and almonds. Multitextured, due partially to the fruit. Presweetened, but not excessively; raisins and dates add a kick of sweetness. Good amount of spice. Kosher.