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What Is Farina (Cream Of Wheat)?

Last Updated on August 29, 2023

Farina may be an unfamiliar ingredient to many home cooks, but once you know what farina is and understand its uses.

This well-known culinary staple will soon become a must-have ingredient in your kitchen!


In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of farina – from its origins to its many applications.

So you can get up to speed on this most mysterious of grains.


Farina is a pre-cooked wheat cereal from milled wheat, which is produced by milling the endosperm of wheat kernels into a fine powder.

Basically, it is a type of milled grain that is often consumed as breakfast cereals.

You can either use it in your hot cereal, wheat porridge, or baked goods such as pancakes and muffins. 

cream a wheat

It is believed to have originated in ancient civilizations, such as Egypt and Mesopotamia (the ancient region of Mesopotamia was located in what is now Iraq, Kuwait, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, as well as parts of Iran and Saudi Arabia).

At that time, people usually ground grains into fine powder or flour in order to make hot porridge, bread, or other baked goods. 

In other parts of the world, such as the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

It has also been used as a component of a variety of traditional dishes. Throughout history, it has been enjoyed by many different cultures, not only in one region or country.

What Does The Word ‘Farina’ Mean?

According to etymology, the word “farina” in English is borrowed from the Latin farīna (“flour, meal”), from far (“kind of grain”).

The word farina in Latin and other languages means “meal” or “flour”. Farina is often prepared as a hot oatmeal-like dish and served for breakfast. 

In Italian, “farina” means “wheat flour.” An ingredient that serves as the basis for a wide variety of baked goods is flour.

Known as farina (feminine, plural: farine) in Italian (that’s why we often see flour from Italy labeled farina 00). Similarly, “farina” means “wheat flour” in Spanish.

Different Types

There are several different types of farina available from which to choose.

Generally, the type that you purchase will depend on how you plan on using it and what you prefer for taste or texture.

pre-cooked wheat cereal

For example, cream of wheat is a type of pre-cooked or boiled farina. It has a smoother texture than regular farina but can still be prepared relatively quickly. 

Semolina is another type that is made from durum wheat which has been ground into a flour-like consistency and creates a creamy porridge when cooked!

The most popular type is usually referred to simply as ‘farina‘. It commonly comes in either white or brown varieties and is made by grinding grains such as wheat, rye, and barley into fine particles.

This basic grainy form typically must be cooked slowly over low heat for about 15 minutes to produce a smooth porridge-like consistency.

This version typically has a higher nutritional value since it contains all parts of the grain including B vitamins, iron, and fiber.

Instant farinas are also available which contains pre-cooked cereal that only needs to be rehydrated with hot liquid for a few minutes before consuming.

These cook much faster than traditional uncooked versions but have fewer nutrients than uncooked versions.

What Does Farina Taste Like?

It has a mild taste and has a mealy texture when cooked and tastes like a creamy, nutty, lightly sweet cereal that can be enjoyed alone or used as an ingredient in various recipes.

It also has a soft and fluffy texture that makes it a deliciously satisfying meal. The flavor is mild but nutty and slightly sweet.

Is It Gluten-Free?

Because it’s made from wheat, farina does contain gluten, therefore it’s not gluten-free.

However, its gluten content varies depending on the type of wheat and how it is processed.

For instance, farina that is produced from durum wheat is higher in gluten than farina produced from soft wheat.

Additionally, it contains less gluten than all-purpose flour or bread flour because it is milled from wheat endosperm, which is lower in gluten than bran and germ.

Farina vs. Oatmeal

People often confuse farina with oatmeal because the two look quite similar and are both cooked in a hot liquid to create a warm cereal.

Plus, they are different in several ways.

  • It has more of a fine, flour-like consistency compared to oatmeal’s thicker, more porridge like texture. 
  • While oatmeal typically contains oats that are partially or fully processed, farina is made from wheat grains have been dried and finely milled into fine particles.
  • It cooks up much faster than oatmeal does – usually in just five minutes! 
  • It is also much creamier than oatmeal since it contains more starch due to its finer grind. 

While they may look similar on the surface, these two are far from the same thing; they differ widely in terms of their ingredients, textures, and cooking times.

Nutritional Benefits

Along with being an economical and time-saving food choice, it also provides several nutritional benefits.

Including helping to build your recommended daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals, along with helping to maintain energy levels.

wheat flour

When purchasing, make sure the package is unopened and is within the expiration date.

When cooked, it provides several key macronutrients along with B vitamins.

One cup of cooked farina contains about 177 calories, 2 grams of fat, less than one gram of dietary fiber, and 8 grams of protein.

In addition to these macronutrients, farina is also high in protein, B vitamins such as thiamine (B1) niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, and folate. 

Other essential minerals provided by consuming this cereal include:

  • Phosphorous for healthy bones and teeth;
  • Zinc for immune system health;
  • Iron for strong muscles;
  • Calcium for muscle contractions;
  • Magnesium is required for muscle movements;
  • Manganese which helps form bones & cartilage;
  • Potassium is needed by cells to function normally;
  • Copper is needed to absorb iron;
  • Selenium is necessary in small amounts as part of antioxidant protection;
  • Plus lots more all working together to help your body perform many vital functions each day!

For those looking to add some healthy grains into the mix while making sure their body’s nutritional needs are met. It could be an excellent addition to your meals!

Whether it’s satisfying a craving by having warm Farina topped with cinnamon & brown sugar or adding it to other dishes like soup or stews.

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy this versatile grain!

(Source: Healthline)

How to Cook Farina

Farina is usually used as a hot breakfast cereal, but it can also be added to soup or as an ingredient in baking.

It has a bland taste so you can enhance it with sweeteners such as maple syrup or brown sugar.

You can also add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, some dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, or currants.

cooking porridge in a pot

If you’re preparing farina, first measure the desired amount of farina in a bowl.

Use approximately 1 cup of farina per 3 servings. Add 4-5 cups of water or milk, or substitute water for milk to the farina and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and boils.

Reduce heat to low and continue stirring for at least five additional minutes. Add desired seasonings, sweeteners, and dairy products before serving.

How to Use It in Recipes

How to use it in your recipes?

If not cooked correctly, it will have a gritty taste that some people find unpalatable.

It’s also important to note that while it is low in fat and calories per serving, farina can rapidly go bad if not stored in an airtight container or refrigerated after cooking.

wheat porridge with fruit toppings

When purchasing, look for enriched or fortified products that contain extra vitamins and minerals including B Vitamins and iron.

This will provide an added nutritional boost compared to regular Farina products.

Plus, look at the ingredient list; some types of commercial farinas may contain recognizable ingredients such as sugar and food coloring which should be avoided if possible.

Common Questions about Farina

Q: Is Cream of Wheat a Type of Farina?

cream a wheat

Yes, it is. In a sense, cream of wheat is a porridge mix that is prepared from semolina flour (a type of farina).

Q: Where is farina originated?

It is believed to have originated in ancient civilizations, such as Egypt and Mesopotamia (the ancient region of Mesopotamia was located in what is now Iraq, Kuwait, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, as well as parts of Iran and Saudi Arabia).

At that time, people usually ground grains into fine powder in order to make hot porridge, bread, or other baked goods. 

Q: is Malt O Meal the same as farina?

malt o meal

You can use Malt O Meal as a replacement for farina if you are unable to find a package labeled farina. It’s a wheat product that you can make into a creamy cereal.

Q: How to use farina for cooking?

You can use it to make your breakfast cereal, as well as for thickening soups, sauces, and stews.

You can use it in your bread dough to give it a richer texture. Many people are unfamiliar with Farina but it is available in most grocery stores, either in the baking aisle or near the breakfast cereals.

Q: How to cook farina?

For breakfast, lunch, or dinner – it’s very versatile and you can use it to prepare everything from pancakes, muffins, porridge, and even desserts like puddings.

When cooking with farina, it’s important to use the right amount of liquid to get the desired consistency: too little liquid will result in thick and gluey dishes while too much liquid will give you a watery porridge that doesn’t hold its shape well.

You can also add fruit or yogurt to enhance the flavor and texture of your farina dish.

Whether you’re using it for breakfast cereal or baked goods like pancakes, Farina is an enjoyable addition to your meal!

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More Food Info You’ll Like…

wheat porridge with fruit toppings

Hot Farina Porridge Recipe

Farina may be an unfamiliar ingredient to many home cooks, but once you know what it is and understand its uses, this well-known culinary staple will become a must-have ingredient in your kitchen!
5 from 17 votes
Print Rate
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 269kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN



  • Mix almond milk, water, vanilla extract, cream of wheat, salt, vanilla, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar in a medium saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat while stirring or whisking constantly to prevent sticking.
  • After it comes to a boil, add butter and lower the heat to a very low setting. Keep stirring until it reaches the desired consistency, taking into account that it will get thicker as it cools. The consistency should be thick but still liquid.
  • Remove from the heat and divide into individual servings. If desired, sprinkle with nutmeg and top with fruits or nuts. Serve warm.


Serving: 1serve | Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 178IU | Vitamin C: 0.003mg | Calcium: 463mg | Iron: 15mg

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