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17 Best Breakfast Cereals

America’s favorite cereals to start the day with

Many American breakfast cereals have made a name for themselves not only across the country but across the globe. 

Variety of cold cereals, quick breakfast for kids overhead shot

The most popular cereals may be sweet, fruity, crunchy, healthy, or just plain delicious, but they are all certainly popular for a reason. 

It’s easy to find a particular cereal you like and stick with it every morning, but if you’re interested in stepping out of your comfort zone to start your day with some different flavors, I’ll walk you through 17 of the best American breakfast cereals. 

I’ll describe each type of cereal in more detail than the box can convey so that you won’t have to waste your hard-earned money trying something you might not actually enjoy. 

Most Popular Cereals 

Soon enough, you may just have a few more boxes competing for the top spot in your food cabinet and, more importantly, some variety in your daily breakfast.  

Cheerios

Cheerios are one of the most popular and classic breakfast cereals there is. Their small, ring-shaped appearance looks simple enough but holds many vitamins and minerals along with a tasty flavor. 

Speaking of flavor, you have options when it comes to which signature flavor you want your circular whole-grain treats to carry. 

After the original, Honey Nut Cheerios is one of the most popular flavors, given the basic yet inviting combination of honey and whole grains. This is why I choose Honey Nut Cheerios over the standard version every time. 

Some other popular flavors include Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate, Oat Crunch, and Berry. They also offer Fruity Cheerios, which somewhat resemble Fruity Pebbles from a distance. 

If you love the original Cheerios, that’s all the more reason to give some of these other flavors a try!


Rice Krispies

Rice Krispies are toasted grains of rice and sugar paste that are delightful to eat, especially when sweetened with sugar. 

The Kellogg’s company created this crispy and crunchy that is almost as nice to listen to as they are to eat. Once you pour milk into your Rice Krispies cereal, the toasted, expanded, and hallowed walls of each grain begin to collapse, creating a “snap, crackle, and pop” sound. 

The original Rice Krispies are the most popular kind, but you can also choose between Cocoa Krispies for a chocolate flavor, Cinnamon Sugar for a dynamic sweet taste, and Frosted Krispies for an addictively sweet flavor. 

People also know Rice Krispies cereal for the popular grab-and-go snack, Rice Krispies Treats.

You can grab a box of these delectable, sticky bars made with Rice Krispies cereal, butter, and marshmallows at the store, or you can easily make them yourself.


Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a top-selling cereal that people love, especially kids and cinnamon lovers. 

The cinnamon flavor is strong enough to be tasty and delightful without overwhelming the senses. And paired with a sugary taste, it’s hard not to keep taking bite after bite. 

In addition to its addictive sweetness, I love the warming cinnamon flavor that goes so deliciously well with cold milk. This is also a well-loved cereal because of how well it flavors the milk, even once the cereal has finished.

Drinking the “Cinnamilk” at the end is arguably just as tasty as eating the cereal! 

However, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is one of the most popular cereals for eating straight out the bag without any milk as well. 

Finally, there are plenty of intriguing flavors to choose from beyond the original, including Chocolate, Graham Cracker, Apple Pie, Churros, Sugar Cookie, Coffee Creamer, and even Dulce de Leches. 


Frosted Flakes 

Like Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes is another popular Kellogg’s brand cereal loved by people of all ages. 

Though, its famous mascot named Tony the Tiger, who exclaims, “They’re GREAT!” in the commercials, is noticeably meant to target kids. 

Made of sugar-coated corn flakes, this breakfast cereal is not the most healthy but certainly one of the more tasty and sweet options that will still provide ten vitamins and minerals to help start your day with energy. 

It is also a fat-free cereal, which is helpful if you’re on a strict fat-free diet. 

They also offer Chocolate, Honey Nut, and Marshmallow versions of the cereal to compete with similar brands, but I prefer the original version with some chopped strawberries on top. 


Raisin Bran

Raisin Bran combines whole-grain bran flakes and raisins for a delicious and nutritious breakfast cereal with dynamic consistency.

The flakes are crunchy, and the raisins become soft, plump, and delightfully chewy once they’ve soaked in milk for just a few seconds. 

This is one of my favorite American breakfast cereals, given its taste and high fiber content. It also is relatively low in saturated fats and cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy cereal.  

Raisin Bran Crunch is my favorite variety, as it keeps the crunch factor present – even after the cereal has been in milk for a longer period of time – with the flavorful assistance of honey-nut granola clusters. 

However, you can also grab this cereal with Cranberries, Bananas, Toasted Oats, or Crunch-style with Vanilla Almonds. And don’t worry, as each of these varieties still all includes those juicy raisins. 


Lucky Charms

Lucky Charms is a cute, kid-friendly cereal distributed by the General Mills company.

It combines shaped toasted oat pieces with shaped marshmallow pieces for a fun and engaging breakfast experience. 

Kids love eating shaped foods, and parents may enjoy describing each shape to their kids. 

The original Lucky Charms shapes are Irish-inspired symbols. They include arrowheads, bells, fish, clovers, and X’s for the oats, in addition to pink hearts, orange stars, yellow moons, and green clovers for the colorful marshmallows. 

Now, they’ve included more marshmallow shapes like a purple horseshoe, a red balloon, a multicolored unicorn, and even a rainbow. 

In addition to the variety of shapes and colors, there’s also a variety of Lucky Charms cereal flavors to choose from, including Chocolate, Honey, Fruity, and Clusters. 

Plus, there’s also a gluten-free version made with gluten-free grains.


Corn Flakes

Corn Flakes is a more basic, simple, and less sugary cereal marketed more towards adults than many other kinds of cereal on this list. 

Made by toasting corn flakes, it is similar to frosted flakes without the additional frosted sugar on top, allowing consumers to taste more of the corn flavor. 

It’s one of the most popular cereals to use as a base for combining other ingredients, such as sliced berries, sprinkled granola, or a dollop of yogurt. 

However, some people like it simple with plain milk and a tiny bit of sugar. 


Apple Jacks

When people think about fruit with cereal, berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries tend to come to mind first. 

But with Apple Jacks, the fruit flavor prioritized is what you’d expect from the name – apples!

The apple flavor is at least the intention behind the cereal. However, I don’t think they taste much like apples at all. 

They taste more like cinnamon and sugar, which is delicious in itself, but not what you might want from an apple-focused cereal. 


Cap’n Crunch

While many of the most popular cereals gained popularity from having an incredibly sweet flavor profile, Cap’n Crunch is more savory, with an inviting and bold buttery taste. 

However, you’ll still get a bit of sweetness due to the brown sugar used in the baking process. 

Ultimately, it comes off as a crunchy baked good, making it pair deliciously well with milk. 

The only thing I don’t find appealing about Cap’n Crunch is that the rough texture and pointy edges of the cereal tend to hurt the roof of my mouth at the end of a bigger bowl. 

If you have a sensitive mouth, perhaps try to eat smaller bowls of Cap’n Crunch or opt for smaller individual bites. 


Life 

Life is a relatively healthy, heart-friendly cereal that provides five different B vitamins and 24 grams of whole grains per cup. 

You can get this whole-grain cereal in Original, Chocolate, Vanilla, or Cinnamon. 

Each of these varieties has an agreeable level of sweetness that kids won’t necessarily get addicted to but still enjoy, and adults won’t feel it is too sweet but still find it tasty without adding any extra sugar. 

The Vanilla flavor is a bit buttery and warm, making it my favorite of the bunch. 


Froot Loops

Froot Loops are similar to Apple Jacks but combine the flavor profiles of various fruits instead of focusing just on apples. 

The notes include lemon, lime, lemongrass, and grapefruit for a tasty overall flavor. 

However, although some might assume that the different colors of each loop represent a different flavor – similar to candy-like Starbursts – this is not the case for Froot Loops. 

All of the loops taste exactly the same, with only hints of fruity flavor layered over the grain and sugar flavors that dominate the cereal. 

This is probably one of my favorite cereals to look at, but not necessarily to eat. 


Frosted Mini Wheats

Frosted Mini Wheats is a cereal with an incredible ten layers of whole wheat packed into sweet, crunchy, and frosted pillow-shaped bites. 

I love how this cereal is the perfect level of crunchy after pouring milk on top. However, if you leave it in there for too long, they start to get quite soggy, which isn’t as enjoyable to eat. 

This is why it’s best just to eat a small bowl of this cereal or two small bowls if you’re hungry.

Frosted Mini Wheats also come in Blueberry, Strawberry, and Chocolate flavors, although I think the original is best.

If you want to include a berry flavor, chopping up real berries tastes a lot better than these varieties. 


Honey Bunches of Oats

Honey Bunches of Oats is my favorite cereal of all American breakfast cereals. 

Since it mixes three different types of whole grains – whole wheat, whole oats, and corn – it provides a dynamic and delicious flavor and texture that always leaves me wanting another bowl. 

I appreciate that the flavor is actually focused on honey and does not just taste like basic white sugar. 

Plus, it’s on the healthier side of cereals with plenty of vitamins and minerals, only one gram of saturated fat, and four healthy grams of fiber. However, it does still have a notable amount of sugar. 

My favorite versions of this cereal are the Original and the Almond, but the Vanilla, Cinnamon Bunches, Strawberry, and Maple versions are all quite delicious as well. 


Fruity Pebbles

Like Honey Bunches of Oats, Fruity Pebbles is a Post brand cereal marketed towards children with the help of happy-go-lucky Flintstones characters on the box.  

If you’re looking for a kid’s cereal that actually has a fruity taste, I would go with Fruity Pebbles over Froot Loops.

However, neither of them tastes much like real fruit, and the quality has seemed to decrease over the years. 

However, it’s still a fun-looking cereal that kids appreciate eating, especially given its sugar content. 


Honey Nut Cheerios

As discussed previously, Honey Nut Cheerios is a version of the classic Cheerios cereal.

But Honey Nut Cheerios are so delicious, and arguably so incredibly different tasting than the original Cheerios, that it deserves a separate mention.  

Like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Bunches of Oats, many people find the taste of Honey Nut Cheerios so delicious that they’ll eat it without milk.

The honey flavor is sweet but not too sweet, and it also has an appealing nutty hint. 


Cap’n Crunch Berries

Another standout variety cereal from a classic brand is Cap’n Crunch Berries.

It wouldn’t be surprising for someone not to enjoy the buttery, biscuity flavor of Cap’n Crunch unless the sweet and fruity berry flavors are there to complement it, and Cap’n Crunch Berries get the job done.

Don’t expect real, dehydrated berries in this as you would for a cereal such as Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries. 

But you can indeed expect some notes of fruity flavor in colorful balls that make the cereal more visually appealing as well. 


Special K 

Lastly, Special K is a rice-based cereal that is a wonderful option to use for cereal recipes like cereal bars and yogurt parfaits. 

Given its light and pleasant flavor, it also goes well with strawberries, raspberries, bananas, and chocolate. 

Plus, I appreciate getting 11 vitamins and minerals and 13 grams of protein when eating a serving of Special K cereal.

The nutritional factor makes it an excellent cereal to eat before a workout or a highly active day. This is a great healthy breakfast option!


Most Popular Cereals 

  1. Cheerios
  2. Rice Krispies
  3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  4. Frosted Flakes 
  5. Raisin Bran
  6. Lucky Charms
  7. Corn Flakes
  8. Apple Jacks
  9. Cap’n Crunch
  10. Life 
  11. Froot Loops
  12. Frosted Mini Wheats
  13. Honey Bunches of Oats
  14. Fruity Pebbles
  15. Honey Nut Cheerios
  16. Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries
  17. Special K

Final Thoughts

There are many fantastic American brand cereals that have become popular all around the world, either sold as is or created into off-brand versions with the same basic concepts. 

While these breakfast cereals vary in terms of sugar content, flavor profiles, and specific grain types, all of the most popular cereals have something about them that stands out among the rest. 

Some stand out due to their real honey, others stand out due to their dynamic consistency and crunch factor, while others stand out given their colorful or creative appearance. 

Whether you’re looking for a new cereal for yourself, your kids, or the whole family, I hope this article helped you figure out which cereals might be the best American breakfast cereal for you. 

These cereals go great with any type of milk, whether you drink cow’s milk or a dairy free option like almond milk, oat milk, soy, or another alternative.

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Written by Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.