Special K (Original) vs. Honey Bunches of Oats (Honey Roasted)

Among the countless choices down the cereal aisle, Special K and Honey Bunches of Oats stand out as two breakfast time classics.

In this article, we’ll take you on a journey of ingredients, nutrition, and beyond to explore the differences between Special K (Original) and Honey Bunches of Oats (Honey Roasted). By the end, you should have an idea about which cereal is best for you or your family!


Given the popularity of these cereals, we assume that many readers have already tasted both of them at least once. If you are one of these people, please consider voting for your favorite in our poll!

Nutrition Facts

Here is a summary of what is found in the table below reflecting the nutrition facts for Special K versus Honey Bunches of Oats:

Special K has fewer calories, less fat, more protein, and lower sugar content than Honey Bunches of Oats. It a lighter and potentially more suitable option for those watching their calorie and sugar intake.

Honey Bunches of Oats, on the other hand, offers more dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals but is higher in sugar.

Your choice, ultimately, should depend on your dietary preferences and nutritional goals.

Kellogg’s Special K – OriginalHoney Bunches of Oats – Honey Roasted
Serving Size1 1/4 Cup (39g) – No Milk1 Cup (41g) – No Milk
Total Fat0.5g2g
Saturated Fat0g0g
Trans Fat0g0g
Polyunsat. Fat0g0.5g
Monunsat. Fat0g1g
Total Carb.29g34g
Dietary Fiber<1g2g
Total Sugars5g9g
Incl. Added Sugars4g8g
Vitamin D2mcg, 10% DV2mcg, 10% DV
Calcium0mg, 0% DV10mg, 0% DV
Iron10.9mg, 60% DV16.2mg, 90%
Potassium10mg, 0% DV60mg, 0% DV
Vitamin A10% DV50% DV
Vitamin C10% DV
Vitamin E10% DV
Thiamin20% DV40% DV
Riboflavin20% DV30% DV
Niacin20% DV40% DV
Vitamin B620% DV40% DV
Folate 435mcg (260mcg folic acid), 100% DV240 mcg folic acid, 100% DV
Phosphorus6% DV
Magnesium4% DV
Zinc10% DV
Vitamin B1220% DV100% DV

SEE ALSO>>>Cheerios vs Special K – What’s the Difference?


Here is what is in each of these cereals along with a brief description of each ingredient. If you just want a summary of the key differences, scroll below the ingredients.

Kellogg’s Special K (Original)

  • Rice: A primary ingredient, providing carbohydrates for energy.
  • Wheat Gluten: Adds protein content and helps with texture.
  • Sugar: Provides sweetness but should be consumed in moderation.
  • Defatted Wheat Germ: A source of dietary fiber and essential nutrients.
  • Salt: Adds flavor but should also be consumed in moderation.
  • Malt Flavor: Enhances the cereal’s taste.
  • BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene): A synthetic antioxidant used to preserve freshness.
  • Vitamins and Minerals (listed ingredients):
  • Reduced Iron: An essential mineral for blood health.
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): An antioxidant that supports the immune system.
  • Niacinamide: A form of vitamin B3 important for metabolism.
  • Vitamin E Acetate: An antioxidant that supports cell health.
  • Beta-carotene: A precursor to vitamin A, important for vision and skin health.
  • Folic Acid: A B-vitamin important for cell division and DNA synthesis.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride): Supports nervous system function.
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride): Important for energy metabolism.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Supports energy production.
  • Vitamin D3: Essential for bone health and overall well-being.
  • Vitamin B12: Important for nerve function and the production of red blood cells.

Honey Bunches of Oats (Honey Roasted)

  • Corn: A primary ingredient, providing carbohydrates.
  • Whole Grain Wheat: Adds dietary fiber and nutrients.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness.
  • Whole Grain Rolled Oats: Adds dietary fiber and texture.
  • Rice: Another source of carbohydrates.
  • Canola and/or Soybean Oil: Used for frying or baking purposes.
  • Wheat Flour: Adds texture and structure.
  • Malted Barley Flour: Adds flavor and texture.
  • Corn Syrup: A sweetener derived from corn.
  • Salt: Enhances flavor.
  • Molasses: Adds sweetness and flavor.
  • Honey: Adds natural sweetness.
  • Caramel Color: Used for color.
  • Barley Malt Extract: Adds flavor and color.
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor: Enhances taste.
  • Annatto Extract (Color): A natural coloring agent.
  • BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene): Preserves freshness.
  • Vitamins and Minerals (listed ingredients):
  • Reduced Iron: Supports blood health.
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): Important for metabolism.
  • Vitamin A Palmitate: Essential for vision and immune function.
  • Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6): Supports nervous system function.
  • Zinc Oxide: An essential mineral important for various bodily functions.
  • Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1): Important for energy metabolism.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Supports energy production.
  • Folic Acid: Important for DNA synthesis.
  • Vitamin D3: Essential for bone health.
  • Vitamin B12: Important for nerve function and red blood cell production.

The key ingredient differences between Kellogg’s Special K (Original) and Honey Bunches of Oats (Honey Roasted) are as follows:

Special K (Original) primarily contains rice for carbohydrates, wheat gluten for protein and texture, and defatted wheat germ for dietary fiber and essential nutrients. It includes sugar for sweetness, salt for flavor, and malt flavor for taste enhancement. BHT is added for freshness.

The listed vitamins and minerals in Special K include essential nutrients like reduced iron, vitamin C, niacinamide (B3), vitamin E acetate, beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), folic acid, vitamin B6, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), vitamin D3, and vitamin B12, which support various aspects of health.

Honey Bunches of Oats (Honey Roasted) is made primarily a whole grain wheat and corn-based cereal for carbohydrates, with sugar for sweetness and whole grain rolled oats for dietary fiber and texture. It includes rice as another source of carbohydrates, canola and/or soybean oil, wheat flour for texture, malted barley flour for flavor and texture, and corn syrup as a sweetener.

Other ingredients include salt for flavor, molasses for sweetness and flavor, honey for natural sweetness, caramel color for color, barley malt extract for flavor and color, and natural and artificial flavor to enhance taste. Annatto extract is used for natural coloring, and BHT preserves freshness.

The indicated vitamins and minerals in Honey Bunches of Oats include reduced iron, niacinamide (B3), vitamin A palmitate (essential for vision and immune function), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), zinc oxide (essential mineral for various bodily functions), thiamin mononitrate (B1), riboflavin (B2), folic acid, vitamin D3 (essential for bone health), and vitamin B12 (important for nerve function and red blood cell production).


Special K is owned by Kellogg’s and was introduced in the United States in 1955 by the company.

Special K has become a popular brand known for its various cereal products, including the original Special K cereal as well as other variations like Special K Red Berries, Special K Chocolatey Delight, and more.

Special K is often marketed as a cereal option for those looking to manage their weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle due to its lower calorie content, nutrients, and other beneficial aspects.

Honey Bunches of Oats is owned by Post Consumer Brands. This cereal brand was introduced in 1989 in North America. It was invented by Vernon J. Herzing by combining different existing Post cereals.

Today, the company makes various flavors of Honey Bunches of Oats including with real strawberries, with almonds, vanilla, and maple & pecans. They also are a brand of granola cereal and granola chips.


We took a look at the prices of each cereal to see if there was a material difference between them. The data came from 11 popular U.S. grocery stores.

Based on the prices in the table below, the average price of Special K Original was approximately $5.74 and the average price of Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted was approximately $5.93. The size of the cereal we used for comparison was 18 ounces which is the family size box.

While on average Honey Bunches of Oats was a bit more expensive, you can potentially find it cheaper than Special K if you shop around.

StoreSpecial K Original – 18 ozHoney Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted – 18 oz
Food Lion$5.59*$5.69
Shop Rite$3.99*$5.49
Winn Dixie$6.99$6.59
Average Price$5.74$5.93
Prices may vary by location, sales, price fluctuations, and other factors. Visit your local grocery store for the most accurate price near you.
* = on sale price

Image credit – mike mozart/flickr/SpecialK/Honey Bunches of Oats