It’s August. You’re still sticking to every chair you touch. But for the forward thinkers out there, it’s time to start thinking about pumpkin spice.
When I got word there was going to be a new pumpkin spice Cheerios flavor, I was more than mildly excited. I’ll take pumpkin in any form, no matter how clichéd it increasingly becomes (although I’d draw the line at toothpaste—please, never). The new Cheerios join an all-star lineup of specialty O’s, though this is the first time the limited-edition pumpkin spice flavor will be released. The arrival of Tiny Toast deflected my attention for a brief moment in time, but getting a box of pumpkin cereal at my desk felt like Christmas come early.
This earth-shattering event called for an urgent taste test, so I gathered the editorial team, a stack of bowls and three different milk options. One of my coworkers thought they tasted similar to Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. I respect that, seeing as both make sense in fall, but this one differs in a couple key ways: The main ingredient is pumpkin instead of apple (obviously), and there’s a crucial addition of nutmeg and cloves. The idea that the cereal tastes like a candle—minus the waxy aftertaste—as was noted, is truly a compliment as far as I’m concerned.
Before you claim PSL fatigue and roll your eyes, know that these don’t deserve to be classified as merely part of the pumpkin spice frenzy. Though they surely pass the “Can I mindlessly snack on these at 3 p.m.?” test, they’re bona fide breakfast material. The prominent spice flavor paired with the oat nature of America’s best-selling cereal brand is almost like you made pumpkin-flavored overnight oats and they magically froze in place.
In fact, if you let the cereal soak in a milk bath long enough, it even crosses slightly into oatmeal consistency. Plus, it’s indeed made with real pumpkin—no artificial flavoring involved. There’s also less sugar than even Honey Nut Cheerios, and I ate those for six consecutive years of breakfasts and turned out fine.
Pumpkin Spice Cheerios are being released in stores this month, so keep an eye out in your supermarket. Besides being eaten by the bowlful, these would be great in marshmallow cereal treats or trail mix for aspirational foliage hikes. They’re begging to be ground up and turned into (gluten-free!) crust for pumpkin pie, which I fully intend to do. But I can wait. It’s still August after all.
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