The Ultimate Ranking Of 90s Breakfast Cereals

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In this age of uncertainty, rapid inflation, and global unrest, '90s nostalgia is at an all-time high. For many, the decade represents a simpler time, one in which the Tamagotchi, not the iPhone, reigned supreme. Notably, it was also an era when we didn't preface brunch by taking pics of our food for the 'gram.

From reboots of "Frasier" and the "Fresh Prince" to Hanson announcing a reunion, our appetite for all things '90s is evidently insatiable, much like our appetite for our favorite snacks of the era. Cereals, in particular, represent a unique sentimentality of the decade. Neon boxes that concealed sugary goodness, not to mention the free toys to boot, have come to encapsulate the sprightly mood of the seemingly idyllic '90s. Yes, when it comes to cereals, the '90s were it and have arguably never been matched by subsequent decades.

But in the vintage cereal wars, which one comes out the breakfast of champions? Don your favorite oversized plaid shirt, pop a mixtape in, and let's head back to the '90s for this ultimate ranking of '90s breakfast cereals.

11. Teddy Grahams Breakfast Bears

Teddy Grahams have been a beloved addition to cookie jars since they launched in 1988. Simply put, they're adorable (okay, even if they did mercilessly attack Homer Simpson that one time, but nobody's perfect) and delicious. Nabisco sought to incorporate the popular cookies into the most important meal of the day, and thus the spinoff all pre-Y2K kids wanted, Teddy Grahams Breakfast Bears, was born in late 1989, reports The Retro Network.

The cereal remained a breakfast staple in the very early '90s, per the Chicago Tribune. A T.V. commercial for the product exhibits peak late '80s/early '90s nostalgia, with life-size anthropomorphic bears flexing their biceps as they perform rock music in a family's kitchen, as you do. Breakfast Bears were touted as being loaded with vitamins and contains less sugar than other leading brands of kids' cereal. But this was one venture that turned out to be short-lived, with critics being ruthless.

According to some Reddit users, the cereal was barely edible, leaving a grizzly mess behind. The bears were known to turn into soggy clumps once they came into contact with milk, not appetizing for consumers looking down at their bowl of bear muck. As the Chicago Tribune notes, sales were poor and Teddy Grahams Breakfast Bears proved to be a massive flop. Suffice it to say, this is one cereal that won't be milking a comeback anytime soon.

10. Sprinkle Spangles

Imagine delicious cupcakes with sprinkles on top. Now, imagine those cupcakes submerged in milk. Such was the genius food science behind Sprinkle Spangles. General Mills launched the sugary cereal, which, we must admit, sounds like something the adorkable Jess from "New Girl" would invent, in 1993, per Deseret News. But taste testers who spoke to the outlet were less than thrilled with the sickly sweet breakfast offering. Dad of five Don Russell lamented that the "sweetened star-shaped corn puffs... tasted like cupcakes." Meanwhile, mom, Laura Schmidt, remarked, "Even my 6-year-old, who loves sprinkles on everything, could hardly gag this one down. Sprinkle Spangles were sickeningly sweet. We thought we were eating a bowl full of sugar." Big yikes.

Indeed, an animated commercial from the '90s, featuring a not-so-subtle nod to the Genie from "Aladdin" (although this time voiced by Dom DeLuise of "Cannonball Run" fame), presents viewers with an onslaught of garish confetti-adorned cereal pieces. Just watching this is enough to give you a sugar rush. By most accounts, this was one cereal that belonged in a candy store as opposed to the grocery aisle.

Not everyone was quick to dismiss Sprinkle Spangles as a glorified confetti cake batter in milk, however. Per comments on In the 80s, some felt the breakfast treat was absolutely delectable and mourned its absence from grocery store shelves. And with DIY sprinkle cereals going viral on TikTok, one could very well argue that Sprinkle Spangles was ahead of the curve.

9. Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal

Nothing spells the late '80s and early '90s nostalgia like the "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" franchise. Before Keanu Reeves was a social media treasure who we all stan, he was rocking out with his onscreen BFF Alex Winter as the air-headed, air guitaring pair embarked on gnarly time-traveling adventures. Naturally, as with every good '90s franchise, the film spawned its own animated show, copious amounts of merchandise, and breakfast cereal.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal came out in 1991, per The New York Times. Its T.V. commercial boasted of "cinnamon oats and marshmallow notes," but did the breakfast spinoff live up to its name? During an appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show," Winter expressed ambivalent feelings about this marshmallow concoction. "Sure, it will kill you in five years, but it's really good," he mused when a reluctant audience member was invited to do a taste test. The actor has since confessed that the cereal wasn't so gnarly. "The cereal was particularly tragic, I must say," Winter told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was made by Purina, which makes dog food. Not a good start."

According to a review by Cereal Time TV, the cereal did indeed resemble dog food and was rather bland (despite its colorful and fun marketing), with many of those in the comments section agreeing. Ouch. This was one not-so-excellent venture.

8. Fingos

We're all guilty of stuffing our hands into the box and enjoying dry cereal. General Mills sought to capitalize on this when they released Fingos in 1993, per the Chicago Tribune. That's right, this was hailed as the first cereal intended to be eaten with, as the name suggests, one's fingers. "We're not discouraging Fingos consumption with milk, but it's the kind of product that we see being consumed without it," the brand's then-marketing manager, Barry Davis, told the outlet. As The New York Times highlights, General Mills went all out with this ad campaign, making history by dishing out $34 million to promote the product. An animated commercial for Fingos features an anthropomorphic cereal box karate-chopping a spoon and encouraging viewers to tuck into the snack, which came in both cinnamon and honey-toasted varieties.

So, were Fingos a finger-licking success? As one Reddit user says, "I was one of the 23 people who actually ate some before it vanished. As memory serves, it was ok but nothing special." Unfortunately, after tens of millions of dollars spent and just one year on shelves, Fingos was discontinued in 1994, and has thus been pinpointed as an example of a major marketing fail, per "The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook." We can't help but think this all sounds like a harebrained scheme straight out of the wacky mind of another '90s mainstay, "Seinfeld's" Kramer (he did, after all, pioneer the make-your-own pizza place, but that's a story for another day).

7. Frosted Cheerios

With different Cheerios flavors hitting the shelves, one would be forgiven for forgetting about Frosted Cheerios. In 1995, General Mills cooked up the recipe for folks who love to sprinkle their Cheerios with a smattering of sugar. The company debuted Frosted Cheerios as a "sweet yet healthy" alternative to the original multigrain hoops, per the Los Angeles Times. In a bizarre ad from 1997, none other than Gilbert Gottfried is tasked with promoting the breakfast treat. In his signature shrill shriek, the comedian exclaims that the cereal is "stupendous!" while claymation icons Gumby and Pokey inexplicably make an appearance too, proving that the '90s reign supreme as the sovereign of non-sequiturs.

A 1995 review by The Spokesman argued that Frosted Cheerios were too sugary in comparison to the original flavor, but Cheerios aficionados disagree.  The Influenster adds folks love that the cereal can be enjoyed both in milk and as a tasty snack on its own. "Loved this as a kid, love this as an adult... adding sugar on it is the icing on the cake," says one reviewer, who adds that they "will absolutely eat them dry out of the box."

Although Frosted Cheerios never quite reached the popularity of the brand's biggest spinoff, Honey Nut, as The New York Times notes, the sugar-coated variety remains much loved (more so than the cereals ranking below it on this list). Those with cash to spare can find unopened boxes on eBay, including the miniature 1-ounce variety for $11.99.

6. Reptar Crunch

"Rugrats'" impact on culture is undeniable. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the Nickelodeon series due to its ubiquity in the world of memedom, namely in the form of Millennials' suffering an existential crisis after realizing that Tommy Pickles' parents were only 33 years old, ScreenRant notes. As much as Tommy and the gang are iconic '90s emblems, so is the show's resident dinosaur, Reptar. Testament to Reptar's popularity, he even got his own cereal. As fans of the animated series know, Tommy avidly watched commercials for Reptar Crunch, which promised to "turn milk green" and "make you want to shout, 'Reptar!'"

Reptar Crunch came out in 1999 and was on shelves for a few months, per the Tribune Chronicle. As peak '90s nostalgia goes, Reptar Crunch really cuts the mustard. As Cereal Time TV explains, the cereal consisted of bright green and purple rice pieces in the shape of dinosaurs. Meanwhile, the box is a kaleidoscope of vintage prismatic tints, with the neon green character mascot presiding over equally garish cereal pieces. Despite its fleeting presence on grocery aisles, the dino-themed cereal appeared to be a hit. "Oh man, nobody has even got close to making a cereal this good. I want it back so bad," comments one Reptar stan, who gave the cereal a 5-star rating. "Eating this cereal was like eating rainbows and unicorn laughter sprinkled with fairy dust," says another eager commenter reminiscing about those halcyon days of overly color-saturated breakfasts.

5. Oreo O's

There's seemingly no end to the weird Oreo spinoffs, from beer to churros. But Oreos and milk have long been the go-to concoction of the crème-filled cookie, so it only makes sense that Post launched Oreo O's cereal in 1998, per Today. The cereal commercial presents a barren post-apocalyptic world not dissimilar from that which we witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Except, instead of people fighting over toilet paper, there's an Oreo O's crisis, and a family must rely on farming a pet cow in order to satisfy their cereal obsession. Truly, it was a simpler time.

Insider describes the original '90s incarnation of Oreo O's as "a bowl of cookies disguised as cereal." On Mr. Breakfast, reviews are mixed, ranging from 3 to 5 stars. "I used to be totally addicted to Oreo O's," a zealous muncher writes. On the other hand, another reviewer admits, "It scraped my mouth like Captain Crunch, but it really did have an Oreo taste to it." One Reddit user agrees that these were rather difficult to wolf down, recalling, "I legit choked on this and had to give myself the Heimlich over a chair because no one was around." Yikes.

Despite being a potential choking hazard at the time, Oreo O's was an immensely popular breakfast offering, until being discontinued in 2007. However, the product made a comeback a decade later, Teen Vogue reports, so cereal stans can once again enjoy this '90s staple in all its glory.

4. Pop-Tarts Crunch

Have you ever put milk on a Pop-Tart? Milking the success of everyone's favorite toaster pastries, Pop-Tarts Crunch debuted in 1994, per Bustle. The cereal boasted two (admittedly moreish-sounding) flavors, "Frosted Strawberry" and "Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon." In a TV commercial, a would-be Kurt Cobain strums his guitar and laments that Pop-Tarts are just too darn big to fit into a cereal bowl. In come Pop-Tarts Crunch, hailed as "Pop-Tarts — for your spoon." Another ad for the product features "Full House" star Marla Sokoloff, who loves Pop-Tarts Crunch so much that she nonchalantly injures her dog when jumping for joy.

According to comments on Mr. Breakfast, the cereal really was good. "I would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then again as a midnight snack," wrote one fan. Meanwhile, another enthused, "This had to be possibly my favorite cereal too now that I think about it. I remember buying a few boxes of the Strawberry Pop Tart version and they were so good."

In fact, the cereal was so beloved that there was even a petition to bring it back. The cereal gods listened and Pop-Tarts Crunch made a comeback in 2018, as Bustle notes. Per Influenster, reviews for the reboot are decent, but it seems the recipe doesn't quite capture the essence of its '90s glory days.

3. French Toast Crunch

Folks love French toast. Folks love cereal. Why not merge them for a scrumptious breakfast? No, this isn't born from the fantasy of an overzealous foodie blogger on TikTok. Rather, the coalescence of the deep-fried breakfast favorite and the cereal bowl was spawned by General Mills, and French Toast Crunch was born in 1996, reports the Chicago Tribune. With its quintessentially '90s polychromatic commercial boasting that the cereal was every kid's dream, French Toast Crunch offered consumers a sugar-coated, crunchy concoction to tantalize one's taste buds.

The unique cereal, which was described as "little French toast-shaped sweet corn puffs" by the Chicago Tribune upon its release, proved to be a success. Those who enjoyed the cereal during its pre-Y2K heyday remember it fondly. "Growing up, this was the box of cereal I would beg my parents to get me... the maple syrup flavor and cinnamon, and once mixed with milk, it just tastes perfectly like mini French toast crisps," writes an Influenster reviewer. And as one particularly avid Reddit user bewails, "I've dreamed about these every day since they stopped selling them."

Yes, that's right: The cereal felt the crunch, and thus the French Toast Crunch dream burned out, only remaining in grocery stores for a decade before being pulled in 2006, per General Mills. As with a number of popular '90s cereals, however, it did make a return in 2014. Nevertheless, people are still selling this fan favorite on Amazon for around $59.36 for four boxes.

2. Waffle Crisp

We've got to hand it to Post for coming up with ingenious new product ideas in the list of '90s cereals that could double as dessert. In 1996, the company showcased Waffle Crisp, which was a box of mini waffles to dunk in milk. As the Post website enthuses, "Pair this waffle goodness with your favorite milk and feel like you're indulging in a bowl of waffles!"

A bizarre commercial for Waffle Crisp, which aired when the product first came out, sees a grandma-led workforce taking orders from an elderly lady on a crane, yelling into a megaphone. As the ad declares, the throng of senior workers is baking each waffle individually to ensure that "every scrumptious bite of Waffle Crisp cereal tastes just like grandma's homemade waffles in syrup."

The breakfast treat, which was discontinued in 2018 and relaunched in 2022, was a hit. On Influenster, a majority of reviewers rated it 5-stars, and it seems that reviewers could waffle all day about the joys of this cereal. "These are 2-pound bags of maple syrup scented heaven. The cereal has a very nice crunch, a sweet aroma, and a taste that cannot be replicated," writes one user. And another reviewer proves that Waffle Crisp achieves what the ill-fated Fingos never could, "I eat them [dry] and they are the best!" This is one cereal that remains extremely popular: a pack of four boxes will set you back $56 on Amazon.

1. Reese's Puffs

Imagine a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Now imagine it submerged under a sea of milky goodness. Sounds pretty rad, right? The concept of candy for breakfast stirs the inner child in all of us. So, to capitalize on the success of Reese's brand, General Mills partnered with Hershey's to launch Reese's Puffs, a corn puff cereal, in 1994, per the Chicago Tribune.

A 1995 commercial features a young boy waxing lyrical about "the smooth combo of peanut butter and a chocolatey taste swimming in milk, attacking my taste buds." Creative ads seemed to be part of Reese's Puff oeuvre. Famously, the company launched a much memed 2009 commercial, which proclaims that you can live your best life just by eating Reese's Puffs, as a little boy is treated to an impromptu hip-hop concert in his own home after indulging in a bowl of the peanut buttery delights.

This one ranks high, with the cereal receiving near-unanimous praise from consumers. A fan on Influenster confesses that Reese's Puffs turned them into a "cereal junky." According to Cereal Time TV, it not only tastes delicious but smells great too, "That salty peanut butter and chocolate taste: Honestly, I don't know how people can't like this stuff." Decades since it debuted, the cereal is still immensely popular, and is now sold worldwide; British consumers can even purchase the stuff in the swanky department store Selfridges.