The aim of the present study was to compare Fe absorption from industrially-manufactured and home-cooked cereal foods. Fe absorption was measured using the radiolabelled Fe extrinsic tag technique in thirty-nine adult human subjects from cereal porridges manufactured by extrusion cooking or roller-drying, and from the same cereal flours after home cooking to produce pancakes, chappattis or bread. One series of cereal porridges was amylase-treated in addition before roller-drying. Fe absorption was relatively low from all products, ranging from 1·8–5·5% for rice, 2·5–3·5% for maize, 4·9–13·6 % for low-extraction wheat, and <1% for high-extraction wheat foods. The phytic acid content remained high after drying of the cereal porridges being about 1·20, 1·70, 3·20, 3·30 mg/g in low-extraction wheat, rice, high-extraction wheat and maize products respectively, and could explain the low Fe absorption. There were little or no differences in Fe absorption between the extruded and roller-dried cereals, although amylase pre-treatment increased Fe absorption from the roller-dried rice cereal 3-fold. This was not due to phytate degradation but possibly because of the more liquid nature of the cereal meal as fed. There were similarly few or no differences in Fe absorption between the industrially-processed cereals and home-cooked cereals made into pancakes or chappattis. Bread-making, however, degraded phytic acid to zero in the low-extraction wheat flour and Fe absorption increased to 13·6%, the greatest from all cereal foods tested. It is concluded that Fe absorption from extruded, roller-dried or home-cooked cereal foods is similarly low and that only those cooking procedures such as bread-making, which extensively degrades phytic acid, or amylase pre-treatment, which substantially liquifies cereal porridges, improve Fe absorption.