What is the Difference Between Rye and Wheat

The main difference between rye and wheat is that wheat has more calories, protein and fats, while rye has more carbohydrates.

Rye and wheat are cereal grains belonging to the same family. We use both for baking various types of food and for making beverages like beer and whiskey. They have a similar appearance, but they also have distinct characteristics like the taste and nutritional profile.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Rye 
     – Definition, Features
2. What is Wheat
     – Definition, Features
3. What are the Similarities Between Rye and Wheat
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Rye and Wheat
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Rye, Wheat

Difference Between Rye and Wheat - Comparison Summary

What is Rye

Rye is a cereal grain that is closely related to plants like wheat, barley, millet, and sorghum. These are edible grasses that include various edible components like the germ, endosperm, and the bran. It’s a sturdy plant growing well in cold climates and can tolerate frost and drought. It is especially popular in Eastern European countries, and most of the world’s rye crops come from Russia, Poland, and Germany.

Main Difference - Rye vs Wheat

We use rye for both human and animal consumption. Rye flour is known for being low in gluten and high in soluble fibre. Some common food and beverages like bread, crackers, beer, and whiskey contain rye. Rye flour is like wheat flour and is used for baking. When making bread, rye is often combined with wheat flour. Bread made entirely with rye is flat and has a dense texture. But gluten in wheat flour allows the bread to rise and become airy. We use whole grain rye in breakfast cereals and a variety of baked goods, as well. As mentioned above, rye is also used to make beverages like beer and whisky. Jack Daniels, Bulleit, and Rittenhouse are rye whiskies. Rye beer, on the other hand, is a substitute for traditional barley.

What is Wheat

Wheat is one of the most used cereal grains in the world. Wheat flour is used to make different types of popular food such as bread, cake, pasta, noodles, and various baked goods. In fact, wheat flour is one of the most common types of flour. It is made by grinding up parts of the wheat grain. Wheat grain has three main parts: endosperm, germ and bran. There are different types of flour as all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cake flour, bread flour, self-rising flour. Whole wheat involves all three parts, while white flour only contains the endosperm and brown flour only contains the bran and germ. Moreover, white flour is often bleached or mixed with chemicals to give it a white colour.Difference Between Rye and Wheat

Wheat contains gluten, which is the protein that gives baked goods their structure. When we knead a dough, glutens develop and become more elastic. Strong flours made from hard, high-protein wheat have higher gluten content. Weak flour, which is made from low-protein, softer wheat, has less gluten content.

Similarities Between Rye and Wheat

  • Rye and wheat are cereal grains belonging to the same family.
  • We can use both rye and wheat for baking.
  • They are used in the production of distilled spirits like whiskey and beer.

Difference Between Rye and Wheat


Rye is a hardy cereal plant that tolerates poor soils and low temperatures while wheat is a cereal grain grown in temperate countries and act as a staple worldwide food.


Rye typically has a lower gluten content than wheat.


Food made from rye tends to have a more sour and dense taste than food made from wheat.

Growth Conditions

Rye can grow in very cold climates, while wheat grows in warmer climates.


Rye contains larger amounts of carbohydrates compared to wheat.


Moreover, rye contains vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin B2 and vitamin B6, while wheat has more vitamin B varieties like vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B3,  and the folate form of vitamin B9.


Wheat has more calories, protein and fats, while rye has more carbohydrates. Rye also has more types of vitamins, including B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K. Moreover, rye typically has a lower gluten content than wheat. Thus, this is the main difference between rye and wheat.


Moncel, Bethany. “Rye Finds Its Way Into Bread, Whiskey, and More.” The Spruce Eats, Available here.
Rattray, Diana. “All About Wheat and Wheat Flours.” The Spruce Eats, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Rye bread” By Tiia Monto – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Wheat flour 01” By congerdesign – (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.

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