Is Cereal A Soup? The Hot-Button Debate Explained

If you were given a bowl of Cheerios and a bowl of soup and told to explain the difference, would you be able to? You could say tha one is cold and the other is hot. You could also say that one is breakfast food and the other is eaten for lunch. Cereals usually don't have pieces of meat and vegetables in them would be another suggestion.

There are all good comparisons, no doubt. But have you ever considered what exactly defines "soup?" Merriam-Webster defines soup as "a liquid food especially with a meat, fish, or vegetable stock as a base and often containing pieces of solid food." What is cereal, if not pieces of solid food swimming in a base of liquid milk? But cereal is eaten cold, unlike most soups. However, Reader's Digest notes that some soups like gazpacho are eaten cold as well. You also eat both dishes out of a bowl with a spoon, don't you? And don't certain varieties of hot cereals also exist? At some point, it seems as if Tony the Tiger and the Campbells Soup Kids are two sides of the same coin.

What does the public think of this issue? Surely there must be someone who can answer this elusive question and let us get back to breakfast in peace.

The debate rages on

Not every body agrees that cereal should be classified as a soup. According to Virginia Law Weekly, cereal is not soup due to several factors: cereal being cereal no matter what you put it in, the difference in time soups and cereals are eaten, the savory properties of soup versus the sweetness of cereal. The outlet even compared the issue to the Nix v. Hedden Supreme Court case in 1893, which declared tomatoes were a vegetable based on the way people commonly spoke about it. By that logic, the breakfast dish was not a soup simply because of the common understanding that the two food items were different.

On the other side of the debate, 64 percent of users on seem to agree that cereals are a soup. "It's all about the chunks," said one anonymous user.  "Soup is made of many things. But to narrow it down, It's liquid and chunks. The same is with breakfast cereal. What more do I have to say? It's that simple. If you disagree, You are wrong." Other users claimed that both soups and cereals are composed of liquids with solids floating in them and are both eaten with spoons, so there is no difference definition-wise.

No matter what side of the debate you are on, nothing beats a bowl of Frosted Flakes or other cereal when you have the hunger for it.