Is Cereal A Soup Or A Salad?

Don’t worry. We know why you’re reading this. And don’t worry, it’s a question that gets asked a lot more than you might think!

Cereal is a staple breakfast meal for many people across the world. Small flakes of wheat, sugar, or puffed rice make for a great wake-up call and provide us with all of the energy we’ll need for the day ahead.

Is Cereal A Soup Or A Salad

However, many people, sitting down to enjoy their morning bowl of lucky charms, find themselves asking: ‘Is cereal a soup or a salad’? While a rather humorous question, it is still a totally fair and worthwhile question. After all, a standard cereal meets our usual criteria for both of these categories.

But does cereal actually count as a soup or a salad? Or is it in a totally different category of its own? In fact, what makes a salad a salad, or a soup a soup? Let’s find out once and for all so that you can put this question away for good!

Is Cereal A Soup Or A Salad? (ANSWERED)

You’ll likely be glad to hear that cereal is, in fact, neither a soup nor a salad. This will be a comfort to many who might have found it rather off-putting to compare their bowl of cereal to minestrone or a caesar salad!

However, for many others, this just raises a totally different question. What can cereal be categorized as?

What Can Cereal Be Categorized As?

Luckily, the answer to this question is also rather simple. ‘Cereal’ can merely just be categorized as ‘cereal’… This is probably rather disappointing to any of you hoping for a grand revelation.

However, you could also categorize cereal as ‘breakfast’, since that’s when most people tend to consume it. How cereal is categorized depends entirely on the person categorizing it, and as such, there is no one single category for it.

Technically, cereal is defined by some as any kind of plant that creates edible grain, hence why so many cereals are made from grains. Thus you could categorize cereal as a form of grain, but many do not.

Why is Cereal Not a Soup? What Makes Something a Soup?

Even though cereal cannot be classified as a soup, it’s interesting to take a look at why people very often attribute it as such.

To be classified as a ‘soup’, a dish must contain meats, fish, or vegetables with other ingredients, and it may even be boiled and simmered (excluding cold soups such as Gazpacho).

Of course, your morning bowl of cereal doesn’t contain any fish, vegetables and certainly not any meat. That would be rather disgusting after all.

As well as this, your cereal is very unlikely to be boiled or simmered, let alone ever eaten at a warm temperature. People enjoy their cereals with fresh and chilled milk and would likely gag at the thought of warm milk on their cereal.

However, many people, despite all of this, still, jokingly, refer to cereal as a soup. This is likely because of its mostly wet consistency. Most people’s breakfast cereals consist of mostly fresh milk with chunks of cereal floating around.

This matches, to some degree, with our image of a very standard soup. This is likely why so many people refer to cereal as a ‘soup’, whether they are saying it in jest or not!

Is Cereal A Soup Or A Salad

Why is Cereal Not a Salad? What Makes Something a Salad?

Many people also classify cereal as a form of sweet breakfast salad. The general reasoning behind this is that the milk acts as a form of ‘salad dressing’, while the cereal itself is the salad.

To a degree, it’s easy to understand how cereal could be viewed as a salad. Cereal itself usually comes in the form of lots of small individual chunks which are tossed together and then eaten as a sort of medley.

However, we can definitively say that cereal does not count as a salad, despite meeting certain criteria. Many would define a salad as a dish that contains lots of varying raw greens and vegetables that are tossed together, and then usually served cold!

Of course, we’d hope that you aren’t putting rows of raw green beans or carrot sticks in with your cereal in the morning. That’s why cereal isn’t a salad, and never will be.

Also, as mentioned earlier, most bowls of cereal tend to consist of a majority of milk. The ratio of milk to cereal is usually weighed in favor of the milk. If this ratio were applied to a salad then it would be a salad with way too much ranch dressing!


So there you have it. Cereal is neither a soup nor a salad. Now, if someone tries to bring up this overplayed joke with you, you can simply tell them exactly why it fits into neither of the two camps.

It’s easy to see how cereal might have been put into one of the two camps. Our mental image of cereal does align with our mental image of a salad or a classic soup to some degree. This is how our brains work. They look for patterns and repetition to create a sense of rhythm in life.

The reasoning for trying to categorize cereal into one of the two camps comes from the basic human desire to categorize things. We like to feel a sense of order and that we have the world figured out.

We dread the sense of chaos that comes from the world being confusing or difficult to grasp. However, living without strict categories is very freeing and is very much worth trying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is milk a soup?

No. Definitely not. Though it is often used in tandem with cereal to create a soup-like cereal, milk itself is not inherently a soup. In much the same way that a milkshake, a soda, or a glass of water isn’t a soup simply because they are liquid.

Is a pizza a sandwich?

No. In order to be a sandwich, the main ingredients of said sandwich would need to be ‘sandwiched’ between two slices of bread. That’s what makes a sandwich a sandwich.

Is tea a soup?

Though soup and tea seem similar due to their applications of hot water, tea differentiates itself by its brewing method. Soup, on the other hand, is simmered.

Jess Smith

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