Cheerios vs Special K – What’s the Difference?

Original Cheerios and Special K are two of the healthier options found down the cereal aisle. Naturally, many people wonder what the difference is between the two.

Here you will find a comparison between Original Cheerios vs Special K. If you already have a favorite between the two cereal brands, be sure to vote for it in our poll below.

Cheerios vs Special K


Most readers have likely tasted both of these cereals and have an opinion on them. Please vote for your favorite in the poll below.


The nutrition facts below are just for the dry cereal without milk. Of course, the type and volume of milk used will impact the nutrition. For example, soy milk will generally have fewer calories than regular whole milk.

Overall, there are no major differences regarding the nutrition facts of each cereal outside of the sodium and the daily values of some of the vitamins and minerals.

Original CheeriosOriginal Special K
Serving Size1 1/2 Cup (39g)1 1/4 Cup (39g)
Total Fat2.5g0.5g
Saturated Fat0.50g
Trans Fat00g
Polyunsaturated Fat1g0g
Monounsaturated Fat1g0g
Total Carbs. 29g29g
Dietary Fiber4g<1g
Total Sugars2g5g
Incl. Added Sugars2g4g
Vitamin D10%10%
Vitamin A10%10%
Vitamin C10%10%
Vitamin E10%
Vitamin B620%20%
Vitamin B1220%20%


Below we compiled the prices of Original Cheerios and Special K for their 18 oz. box sizes to give you an idea of what you’ll pay for each. Based on the data from various grocery stores located in the U.S., you will generally pay more for Cheerios over Special K.

Original Cheerios (18 oz.)Original Special K (18 oz.)
Krogernot available$4.79
HEB$4.10not available
**Prices may vary. See stores for the most recent prices.**


The common cereal grains include wheat, rice, corn, and oats. The most noteworthy difference between these cereals is that Cheerios are made from whole grain oats whereas Special K is made from rice and wheat gluten as their primary ingredients.

Original Cheerios

Whole Grain Oats, Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness.

Vitamins & Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Iron and Zinc (mineral nutrients), Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), A B Vitamin (niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin A (palmitate), Vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), A B Vitamin (folic acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.

Original Special K

Rice, wheat gluten, sugar, defatted wheat germ, contains 2% or less of salt, malt flavor, BHT for freshness.

Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced iron, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), niacinamide, vitamin E acetate, beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin D3, vitamin B12.


Here is who owns each cereal brand along with a brief history of Cheerios and Special K:


Cheerios is a brand of General Mills. It was initially called CheeriOats when it was introduced in 1941. Its name was later shortened to Cheerios in 1945 after a dispute with Quaker Oats over using the word “oats”. Its first advertising campaign was on the Lone Ranger radio show which reached an audience of around 20 million.

Special K

Special K is owned by Kellogg and was introduced by the company in 1955. As Mr. Breakfast notes, it was the first high-protein cereal. In its early days, it had more protein than other leading cold or hot cereal brands.

Through the years it was marketed for its ability to help people lose weight. The Kellogg Company actually designed a diet around Special K products referred to as “The Special K Challenge“. The 14-day program purportedly could help individuals lose up to six pounds.

Special K Image – Mike Mozart/flickr CC
Cheerios Image – Ted Eytan/flickr CC