20 Best Breakfast Cereals, Ranked

Breakfast Cereals come in more shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors than anyone can keep up with. Do you enjoy waffles for breakfast? There's a cereal for that. Trying to add extra fiber into your life? There's a cereal for that. Are you maximizing protein intake for muscle recovery? There's a cereal for that. Craving chocolate as soon as you wake up? There's a cereal for that. too. And oh wait, there's another cereal and even more cereal. Add in cereal's versatility — milk or no milk? how about chocolate milk or alternative milk? — with absolute convenience, and you can't go wrong. But oh my goodness, you can go terrifically, totally right. 

This list of the best breakfast cereals aims to lay out the top 20 in the breakfast game. You'll want them at any hour. Imagine the funny conversations you'd have at work if you stuck a carton of milk in the office fridge and showcased a new box on your desk every Monday. Maybe it's more realistic to imagine coming home after a long day, burnt out, with no desire to cook dinner. So, don't: Pour yourself your favorite bowl of crispy flakes, squares, or biscuits. Or cook yourself some chicken and rice like a real adult, but afterwards, placate your inner child with a bowl of cereal for dessert. Best idea of all, cereal as a midnight snack is, inarguably, when it tastes best. The only question remaining: Which box is worth your dime? 

20. Annie's Homegrown

Annie's makes wholesome cereals that feature her signature bunny. Though each flavor has the word "organic" in front of the name, it's a pretty moot point because organic is the name of Annie's game. As far as taste goes, the flavor is complex and a little deeper than most thanks to the mixture of corn, oat, and rice used in the products. 

You've got to try the Birthday Cake flavor, which comes to you by way of a festive bunny mascot celebrating in style. Each puff is dappled with confetti sprinkles, but definitely not with high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors. It's nice to know that the red specks aren't made out of petroleum, isn't it? Annie's is committed to certified organic goodness, so there's nothing to worry about here. If Birthday Cake for breakfast isn't your jam, go simpler with Cinnabunnies, or get in your daily dose of chocolate with Cocoa Bunnies.

19. Kellog's Crispix

Kellogg's Crispix is great at multitasking. This breakfast cereal is made of light, crispy rice on one side with hearty, savory corn on the other side. And really, how many cereals have a subtle ombré look that adds to their bowl aesthetic? Even if you couldn't care less about aesthetics and just want to eat a bowl of cereal to get to work on time, Crispix is a great choice.

There's nothing intimidating, wild, or garish about Crispix, but it still manages to be a little feisty with that duo of grains contributing extra flavor. The cereal has many longtime fans who have faithfully stuck to this classic for years, and voiced their support for Crispix, eschewing the crazy trends with this simpler pick. So if uncomplicated cereals are your favorite, Crispix is one of the best you can find. People say breakfast cereal is a comfort food or one that brings back childhood memories, but don't feel left out if you never had Crispix as a kid. You can start creating new breakfast memories any day you like.

18. Rice Krispies

Rice Krispies are likely Kellogg's cleverest product. I mean, Snap, Crackle, and Pop? Name a more iconic trio. Okay, sure, maybe the Three Stooges or the Three Musketeers or the Three Blind Mice or the Three Billy Goats Gruff, but eventually, you'd get to these mischievous mascots. It's time for a classic! There really is no other cereal that provides this level of auditory satisfaction. Everyone knows you eat with your eyes first, but Rice Krispies could make the case that you can eat with your ears, too.

You can have a ton of Rice Krispies at once because they are light as air. Paired with milk, they are truly a fun, unique cereal to go for when the mood strikes. You've probably heard of Cocoa Krispies, the more dessert-like manifestation, but did you know that there are still more flavors of Krispies popping up all over the place? Frosted Krispies give the cereal nuggets a sweet glaze, and Cinnamon Sugar Krispies are like minuscule churros. Snap them up now!

17. KIND Cereal

KIND makes good granola and granola bars, but it also makes good cereal. Apparently, the founder of KIND, Daniel Lubetzky, is on a mission to make the world a little kinder one snack and act at a time. Wouldn't it be nice if all the world's problems could be solved with snacks, or especially, cereal snacks? Until food scientists figure that out, spread regular old KIND(ness) by pouring your friend a bowl of delicious cereal. Or, you know, just compliment their shirt or something.

There are some great flavors of KIND cereal to choose from. It's a miracle that so few other brands have come up with a Dark Chocolate Almond variety themselves. If chocolate in the morning seems a little much, channel your favorite Starbucks macchiato with the Caramel Almond flakes. Or, hedge your bets a bit with the comforting Apple Cinnamon-flavored grains. Whatever flavor floats your boat, you're still getting in plenty of whole grain oats, sorghum, quinoa, and amaranth.

16. Special K

Of all its offerings, Special K gets to wield the most power of the Kellogg's name. The brand of the big "K" is bold, brash, and confident in its status as one of the most notable producers of cereal. This one is more nutrient-dense, as opposed to flamboyant sister brands like the unabashed Frosted Flakes, the wild Froot Loops — and yes, that is how the cereal is actually spelled — or the exuberant Apple Jacks. 

Now don't get too put off by the whole nutritious aspect, if you're someone who really just wants the cereal to taste good. Options like Chocolatey Delight and Red Berries are delicious. And, come to think of it, they would be even more delicious put together like a chocolate-covered strawberry! While the Original is pretty bland, some people like that, and if you're one of them, be proud. No judgement here. To clarify, judgment of cereal is the whole point, but judgment of people is not the point. You get it, hopefully. 

15. Cheerios

General Mills makes lots of cereals, and the world at large makes a lot, but, is there a more quintessential cereal than Cheerios? The brand has expanded to include many varieties, but it would seem almost sacrilegious to put any other flavor than the Original as the featured image, wouldn't it? It's heart-healthy, made with 100% gluten-free whole grain oats, and has a verifiably cheery golden box. It's a family favorite: a favorite of moms and of tiny children beginning to understand what it's like to have teeth. But is the original a favorite of everyone else? Maybe not so much. It's a little bit dated. 

So, back to those flavor varieties! There's the almost equally well-known, and fairly well-renowned, Honey Nut Cheerios. There's the whole grain that's taken it a step further, Multi Grain Cheerios, which is surprisingly delicious and incorporates bran, millet, sorghum, barley, and more. But it you want to go full-on oat, try the new Oat Crunch variety with granola ingredients — a fun twist. Cheerio, readers — hopefully, you read that in a British accent!

14. Honeycomb

Does anyone else find it odd that this breakfast cereal is called Honeycomb and not Honeycombs? Anyway, the cereal, brought to you by Post, breaks the mold with its cute shape. It's actually somewhat impressive that they manage to create such pretty little florets every time. Imagine a field of Honeycomb flowers growing in real life — the bees would go absolutely bonkers. They truly taste like honey because the sweetened corn and oat cereal is made with real honey. 

This is not a cereal for those who need a big protein, or any push of nutrients. Instead, it's the perfect cereal for cereal lovers with a sweet tooth. Though Honeycomb seems best for kids, don't feel bad if you're an adult, living your best life and buying a box just for yourself. If eating a bowl of these plain is a little much, though, they would also be lovely sprinkled atop a honey or vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt. 

13. Cap'n Crunch

Cap'n Crunch, surprisingly brought to you by Quaker, is one of those cereals that has undergone many transformations in the modern food era. You can have a fruity twist with the addition of Berries (a generous definition of berries, though, very very generous). If you really enjoy those berries, you can get a box that's entirely berries called Oops!. And it seems there's always a peanut butter option in cereals, which is true for Cap'n Crunch. There's also almost always a chocolate option, but is there always a chocolate caramel option? Not so much. The Captain's got you there!

But, Cap'n Crunch is also one of those breakfast cereals that's best in its purest form. The original is so, so sweet already, tasting inexplicably but strongly with its own distinct flavor. What is that flavor? Maybe it's best described as "golden." Or, maybe it's just sugar. Either way, it's delicious, nostalgic, and crisp, so crisp that you have to watch out or you'll tear up the roof of your mouth. But what's life without a little risk?

12. Golden Grahams

General Mills does it again. Golden Grahams is not trying to be the most wholesome, allergen-free, high-protein choice on the list. But this cereal is everything it claims to be: It's golden, tastes like graham cracker goodness, and pairs well with milk. These crunchy, sweet, ridged squares are very satisfying when first poured into the bowl and given that splash of milk. Sadly, the Golden Grahams squares get soggy extremely quickly. Maybe you won't mind because when it happens, the cereal mush becomes similar to the graham cracker crust for a pie. 

Most cereals have a ton of alternative flavors to choose from — some good and some bad. But there are no Silver Grahams or Bronze Grahams (a fantastic marketing idea for the Olympics, now, isn't it?). Some cereals have graham flavors, sure, but when you want the real deal, there's only one golden cereal to rule them all. Try a bowl with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows mixed in when a s'mores snack attack strikes. 

11. Life Multigrain Cereal

Speaking of Life ... there's a cereal that is literally called that! Life is another breakfast bowl that you probably didn't know is sold by Quaker. Life is a multigrain cereal that is is also sweet, simple, and somewhat delicate. You can enjoy this breakfast cereal vanilla-scented, powered by chocolate, jazzed up with cinnamon, or in its original form. Each little square has extremely fine interwoven strands of grain, leaving only the slightest hollow space within. If you threw in some blueberries, as suggested on the cinnamon box, you might crush them. 

But that whimsical delicacy is one of the things that makes Life a unique cereal. It really does differ from other woven-textured options like Crispix or Chex. Sure, it's not the most exciting cereal you can buy, but hey, that's Life! Sorry, it had to be done. Anyway, even without crazy flavors of unexpected mix-ins, the pleasant taste will sneak up on you, promise.

10. Magic Spoon

Magic Spoon bills itself as a "healthy cereal that tastes too good to be true." So, how do each of those claims stack up? Is it healthy? Is it tasty? Is it true? Okay, that last one is easy: It's true. A recent addition to the cereal market, two college grads started Magic Spoon wanting to make a product that appealed to a 21st-century consumer. It's definitely not your nostalgic classic like Cheerios and doesn't try to be. Each stays in its own lane. 

How healthy is Magic Spoon, really, when plenty of other cereals are bursting with whole grains, fiber, and vitamins? Magic Spoon's magic comes from its unicorn combo of low carbs and high protein. By all means, enjoy every last bite of your high-carb, high-sugar, low-protein favorites without even a smidgen of guilt. But if you want your cereal to provide both a nutrient and flavor punch, try this cereal. The 14 grams of protein in each bowl is a major win. That last claim about tasting good is legitimate, too. The biggest caveat here is the price tag, and accessibility is always an important consideration.

9. Envirokidz

Nature's Path makes foods that are playful, organic, and best of all, utterly delicious. Nature Path's mission, or "path" as the brand calls it, proclaims: "In everything we do we aim to work in harmony with nature . . . from water and the soil to tiny pollinators and birds, we're passionate about protecting our planet." 

One of their charming offshoots is a lineup geared towards young cereal-eaters called Envirokidz. The products are named for different wild animals. The boxes feature animals front and center in cheerful color: there's Koala Crisp, Gorilla Munch, Panda Puffs, and more. Like Barbara's line of breakfast cereal, Nature's Path has micro-lessons on caring for the planet written on its boxes, so while you're enjoying these cereals, enjoy the learning process. And with each box of EnviroKidz you buy, a portion of the sales is donated to support endangered species. A win for you and the planet.

8. Corn Flakes

Kellogg's Corn Flakes aren't the squeakiest wheel on this list, but they deserve a fair mention. The website says, quite simply and boldly, that they are "the original and the best." While they certainly are original, comparing Corn Flakes to something like Fruity Pebbles or Dulce de Leche Toast Crunch isn't even comparing apples to oranges; they're like entirely different food groups. But there is something immensely satisfying in the simplicity of a bowl of this reliable standby.

There isn't too much to say about Corn Flakes. They are as golden as an ear of perfectly sun-drenched corn in late summer: crisp, light, and crunchy. Yes, they soften quickly in milk, but that's just a good reason to scarf them down quickly. Kellogg's does note that people have been enjoying Corn Flakes for over a century, so one must tip a hat to a classic standing the test of time. If it's been a while since you bought a box of these flakes, go get some and prepare for rediscovery. 

7. Kashi

Kashi makes all types of foods, but it's best-known and best chosen for its variety of Kashi breakfast cereals. The brand sinks deep into its heart-healthy marketing, so if you're a Scrooge, Grinch, or hardened individual, those hearts on the box might put you off from buying. For everyone else, though, Kashi cereal is a reminder that you're choosing a cereal that's healthy for your physical heart and your metaphorical, emotional, eco-conscious one. 

The Kashi brand's "our planet, our responsibility" tagline leads into a well-crafted webpage detailing its understanding of the link between food and climate change, including greenhouse gasses, carbon offset, and more. The brand makes a commitment to take climate action, which is so good to see in the food industry. Take note, everyone! But of course, you're here because you like the taste of cereal. While its mission is all well and good, if the cereal tastes off ... no one's going to buy it. Thankfully, that's not an issue here. So go ahead, warm you heart with some Organic Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal, and share with the Scrooge in your life. 

6. Honey Bunches of Oats

Honey Roasted Honey Bunches of Oats is easily recognizable. Post really hit the nail on the head with its product design. First of all, you have the honey dipper that's golden-brown and positively dripping with sweet ambrosia. That dipper is also in the center of a golden, shining sun with a beaming halo of light emanating from it. And there's a little honey pot below the sun, just in case you want more sweetness than is already on the wand. Yes, this cereal is very self-aware. 

The best part of this cereal is obviously the "bunches" and not the flakes that fill in the gaps. The flakes are pretty good, basic and satisfying, but the clusters are where it's at. The original is a great choice, but incorporating some fruit (as long as its real, fresh fruit) is usually a good idea. The sleeper hit, however, is a version that's a little tough to find on shelves: Maple Pecan. These particular nuts go so well with honey, and maple provides a nuanced sweetness that's very breakfast-y in the best way. Cereal that makes us think of pancakes and waffles, but isn't too overt about it? We recommend giving this top-10 breakfast cereal a try!

5. Raisin Bran

Kellogg's Raisin Bran cereal may bring up images of your grandma or grandpa, hunched (happily, however) over the same breakfast cereal for the past few decades of their long lives. But maybe their placid longevity is thanks to that cheerful Mr. Sunshine on the box of their favorite cereal? The world may never know, but a study should definitely be done as to the relationship between grandparents and Raisin Bran. Of course, this link is more theory than fact.

But all grandparents aside, Raisin Bran is a great cereal for any age, especially if you can convince your kids that those are chocolate chips and not raisins (though the kids would have to be really young and unable to read the word "raisin" on the box). And while everything you've heard about the high sugar content of this cereal is true, when it tastes this good, who cares? Somehow, the mahogany flakes are deeply flavorful and molasses-y, and the raisins add both an all-natural sweetness and burst of chewy texture. This isn't old-fashioned; it's vintage, and it's great.

4. Puffins Cereal

Barbara's is a lesser-known brand for breakfast cereal, but products like its line of merry Puffins should be on your radar. You'll feel delighted by this brand's cute designs, wholesome branding, and array of fun foods to try, such as Cheese Puffs, that you'll feel better about feeding your kids, or yourself, of course. But, if you're reading this list, you're here for the cereal, which brings us back to Puffins. 

Puffins are unique little, well, puffs. They're not as crunchy as something like Kix, or as porous as shredded wheat cereals, although Barbara's does offer their spin on the classic. Instead, Puffins are a nice combo of the two. They slowly soften in milk, so if you take your team eating, you get almost three different cereal experiences. First the squares are crisp in pure milk. Then, the pillowy squares are lightly flavored by milk. Finally, you get a wonderful, mushy mess of Puffins that have gotten very puffy indeed from all the liquid. With six flavors to choose from — the amazing Peanut Butter is one of the best breakfast cereals by the brand — there's plenty of Puffins to go around. And you can even learn from the cereal box about the real birds that inspired the name!

3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon Toast Crunch may well be General Mills' pride and joy because this breakfast cereal is gets its share of attention. Just look at all the crazy, zany, and potentially brilliant flavor spinoffs the original has inspired: CinnaGraham Toast Crunch for those of you who enjoy the nuanced cheesecake-crust-like taste of graham crackers. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros is a highly logical application of the existing flavor profile. Dulce de Leche Toast Crunch is somehow even more dessert-like than the churro option, and the sensational, sophisticated (okay, forget sophisticated) breakfast mashup French Toast Crunch. Yes, it's a crazy world out there for flavor-packed cereals.

If all of these varieties strike you as overkill, you're probably just fine sticking with the original, and you would be quite fine in doing so. Very little can compete with the crisp, light, cinnamon-sugar-dusted squares that become a soggy mess much too quickly. But it's really not a huge problem because cereal-flavored milk is the perfect way to finish.

2. Chex

Chex is one of those chameleon breakfast cereals that is the perfect vehicle for flavor. It transforms into a savory sensation when made into Chex Mix. Try a duck-fat Chex Mix recipe or a chicharrón Chex Mix recipe to snack on while arguing about which is the best part of this popular party snack — the mini pretzels or the tiny slices of bread? On the other side of the spectrum, you've got Muddy Buddies (that's Puppy Chow to you Midwesterners), which turns into a holiday party appetizer with a little creativity. With such famous recipes associated with Chex, sometimes the basic version can get swept under rug.

No matter your taste and personality, there's a Chex for you. Honey Nut Chex is probably the best breakfast cereal of the bunch: not too sweet and not too savory but perfectly honeyed with an almost glazed-donut shimmer. If you're going sweet, Cinnamon is simply lovely. Meanwhile, the straightforward Corn is reminiscent of old-fashioned cornbread. All of the cereal styles are also gluten-free, except for the Wheat Chex cereal (obviously). General Mills' flashier cereals often get all the attention, but Chex is one of its finest.

1. Frosted Mini Wheats

Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats are the G.O.A.T., otherwise known as the best breakfast cereal on this list. Do you want to know why even after reading through all the competition? These biscuits are perfectly constructed for maximum enjoyment. Time to break it down. First: Frosted Mini Wheats are the best size and shape. 

Exhibit A: Frosted Mini Wheats aren't too large to be difficult, but small enough to give you options when eating: select one biscuit in a delicate fashion, or go big and stuff two or three — if you're bold — into one big bite. Also, the squares expand upon contact with milk. Depending on your preferred bite size, you can let it soak for longer or shorter spans of time. Exhibit B: The interwoven strands of hearty, whole wheat are a phenomenal texture. Each mini wheat is spun into a perfect pillow that floats serenely on its milky sea. One side softens slowly from steeping in the milk, while the frosted layer stays crisp and crunchy. 

Exhibit C: The frosting is not sickly-sweet or overpowering like some frosted cereals. This layer offers a pleasant, complementary flavor. Exhibit D: Frosted Mini Wheats appear in fun varieties like Strawberry (pink milk!), Blueberry (basically a muffin), and Pumpkin Spice — which is highly recommended whether you're "basic" or not for liking pumpkin spice products.