To investigate the concentrations of rare earth elements in cereals and assess human health risk through cereal consumption, a total of 327 cereal samples were collected from rare earth mining area and control area in Shandong, China. The contents of 14 rare earth elements were determined by Inductively Coupled Plasma—Mass Spectrometry (ICP—MS). The medians of total rare earth elements in cereals from mining and control areas were 74.22 μg/kg and 47.83 μg/kg, respectively, and the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The wheat had the highest rare earth elements concentrations (109.39 μg/kg and 77.96 μg/kg for mining and control areas, respectively) and maize had the lowest rare earth elements concentrations (42.88 μg/kg and 30.25 μg/kg for mining and control areas, respectively). The rare earth elements distribution patterns for both areas were characterized by enrichment of light rare earth elements. The health risk assessment demonstrated that the estimated daily intakes of rare earth elements through cereal consumption were considerably lower than the acceptable daily intake (70 μg/kg bw). The damage to adults can be neglected, but more attention should be paid to the effects of continuous exposure to rare earth elements on children.