Cheerios are one of the most beloved cereals on the planet. Those toasty little rings are just about impossible not to like, and they’re good right out of the box or with milk. For the first several decades of the cereal's existence, we were happy with just a couple varieties: original and Honey Nut, which was introduced in 1979. But in recent years there’s been an explosion of Cheerios varieties, and we took it upon ourselves to rank as many of them as we could get our hands on.
Ask anyone to name as many Cheerios variations as possible, and they’ll most likely run out of ideas after four or five (Team Cheerios don’t count; they stopped making those years ago). In reality, there are at least 16 flavors currently available: Original, Honey Nut, Multi Grain, Ancient Grains, Honey Nut Medley Crunch, Frosted, Apple Cinnamon, Fruity, Banana Nut, Multi Grain Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Multi Grain Dark Chocolate Crunch, Dulce de Leche, Cinnamon Burst, Protein Cinnamon Almond, and Protein Oats and Honey. We shopped around in the New York area and found every variety except for Dulce de Leche (which is only available at Publix, whose stores are limited to about half a dozen Southern states, according to the company), Cinnamon Burst, Protein Cinnamon Almond, and Protein Oats and Honey — and we put them all to the test.
In order to conduct our comparative tasting, we arranged bowls of each cereal around a table, and each taste tester was given his or herr own small bowl and spoon. We spooned a little of each cereal into our bowls, poured in some one-percent milk, and let each participant taste. Each cereal was given a score between 60 to 100, 100 being best, and we jotted down our thoughts, judging them on overall flavor as well as balance, sweetness, whether they taste as they’re advertised to taste, and how they stand up to (and flavor) the milk.
In the end, there were some clear winners and some clear also-rans. While all were tasty (when it comes to Cheerios, there are no duds), a few left us scratching our heads, while others rose to the top of the pack. Some are sweet, some aren’t, some are fruity, some aren’t, and some are composed of more than just little rings. Read on to learn about which Cheerios were our favorites.
#12 Honey Nut Medley Crunch (Average score: 72.3)
“Get these flakes outta my Cheerios!”
“It feels like someone ran out of cereals so they mixed two together to achieve a full bowl.”
“Not a good balance of flavors.”
“Tastes like a ‘healthy’ cereal from the 1990s.”
#11 Chocolate (Average score: 74.0)
“I’d much rather just have Cocoa Puffs.”
“Tastes like Swiss Miss powder mixed with cardboard.”
“It tastes like the same generic chocolate you find in all other chocolate cereals, but at least it makes the milk taste like chocolate milk.”
This article was originally published March 19, 2015.