Highest-Fiber Whole-Grain Hot Cereals, with Gluten-Free Guide.

Bowl of Hot Cereal

Whole-grain hot cereal (sometimes called porridge) is a great way to get fiber into your diet. You can make it yourself easily, saving money, and it will probably be healthier too, with less sugar and other additives.

I’ve provided a list of 20 whole-grain cereals in order by fiber content. Further below is a chart in alphagetical order with information on whether or not the cereal is gluten-free (there are 8 gluten-free options). And cooking info is further down.

  1. Barley, 15.6g
  2. Bulgur, 12.5g
  3. Freekeh (tie with steel-cut oatmeal), 11.2g
  4. Steel cut oatmeal (tie with freekeh), 11.2g
  5. Kamut berries, 11.1g
  6. Spelt berries, 10.7
  7. Rye flakes, 10.4
  8. Buckwheat groats, 10.3g
  9. Buckwheat (AKA kasha) (tied with instant oatmeal), 10g
  10. Instant oatmeal (tied with buckwheat/kasha), 10g
  11. Millet, 8.5g
  12. Wheat berries, 8.3g
  13. Teff, 8g
  14. Quinoa, 7g
  15. Amaranth (tie with sorghum), 6.7g
  16. Sorghum (tie with amaranth), 6.7g
  17. Farro, 6.6g
  18. Grits 5.4g
  19. Brown rice, 3.4g
  20. Polenta, 2.9g
Bowl of Barley

Barley is the highest fiber whole grain cereal. At 15.6 grams per serving, it provides 25% more fiber than the second highest cereal, bulgur. And it’s over four times as much fiber as found in polenta (AKA corn mush), which has the lowest fiber on this list. The third highest-fiber creal is a tie between freekeh and steel-cut oatmeal, at 11.2 grams per serving each. Among the top four, only steel cut oatmeal is gluten-free.

Cereal, uncooked
(100 grams*)
Barley (pearled)15.6No
Buckwheat (AKA kasha)10Yes
Buckwheat groats (roasted)10.3Yes
Kamut Berries11.1No
Oatmeal—Steel Cut11.1Yes
Polenta (corn meal mush)2.9Yes
Rice—Brown (medium grain)3.4Yes
Rye Flakes10.4No
Spelt Berries10.7No
Wheat Berries8.3No
Table Showing Fiber and Gluten-free Status of Hot Cereals in Alphabetical Order

* 100 grams is around 1/2 cup to 1 cup, depending on the weight of the cereal.

† if you are looking for gluten-free products, make sure the package labels it as such. Even naturally gluten-free products can pick up gluten at the manufacturer.

How to Cook Hot Cereal

Follow the instructions on the package. In lieu of that, here are the proper proportions of cereal and water to use. Rinse the cereal, then combine it with the water and heat it up on the stove top until the grain is chewy/tender or your preferred texture for hot cereal.

Cereal (cups)Water (cups)
Barley (pearled)12 1/2
Buckwheat (AKA kasha)12
Buckwheat groats (roasted)11 3/4
Kamut Berries13
Oatmeal—Steel Cut16
Polenta (corn meal mush)13
Quinoa11 1/2
Rice—Brown (medium grain)12
Rye Flakes12
Spelt Berries13
Wheat Berries13
Table Showing Cereal and Water Proportions for Cooking Hot Cereal

How to Flavor Hot Cereal

Customize your hot cereal by adding any combination of these flavorings and toppings:

  • Sliced bananas, berrires, chopped apples or other fresh fruit
  • Acai powder
  • Dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, dates, goji berrires
  • Almons, walnuts, or other nut
  • Chia, flax or other seed
  • Cacoa nibs
  • Seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg
  • Maple syrup, honey, stevia (I avoid eating straight up sugar)
  • Pinch of salt

Cook your cereal with water or any milk, dairy or non-dairy. I don’t drink cow’s milk, but love hot cereal with almond milk or soy milk (I prefer unsweetened).

Summing it Up

All of these cereals are nutritious, delicious, and good choices for adding fiber to your diet, with the exception of polenta, which is lower in fiber. Barley, bulgur, freekeh and steel cut oatmeal are the highest fiber options.

Because steel cut oatmeal is probably the easiest of these to find in your local U.S. grocery store, it may be a good place to start. It’s also gluten-free. Then expand your repitoire to some of the other choices, all of which can be found on amazon.



USDA FoodData Central


Vicki Spellman

Vicki Spellman is a certified Holistic Nutritionist (AFPA) and Senior VP at a large healthcare communications firm.

Recent Posts