The List: Definitive ranking of breakfast cereals

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive

In Alive's super-secret, intense, rigorous and sometimes volatile The List meetings, the discussion over topics and whose job it will be to render these topics is often fierce.

Such was not the case with this list (though I do have a bit of a quarrel with the qualifier “breakfast” in front of cereal). With that said, pass the milk.

14. Trix/Lucky Charms

These two share a listing due to their collective nastiness. Flavor, texture … ugh. I'd even rather eat…

13. Grape-Nuts

Featuring neither grapes nor nuts, this cereal was among the first mass-produced, grain-based breakfast foods. That it requires a lengthy soaking in milk to even be edible probably isn't the best thing.

12. Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles

Do kids even know who the Flintstones are anymore? Yet these cereals have survived, despite there being better choices for both chocolate- and fruit-flavored cereals.

11. Life

Preferable in flavored (Brown Sugar, Cinnamon) form, the best thing about Life is the '70s commercial with Mikey, who later did not die after eating Pop Rocks and drinking soda.

10. Golden Crisp/Honey Smacks

Competing puffed, sweetened cereals that both dropped “Sugar” from their names while retaining sugar as their first ingredient. I prefer Smacks.

9. Cheerios

The original Cheerios have a fair reputation as bland and cardboard-like in texture, with the Honey Nut version a vast improvement. But either one serves as a quality base for adding banana, blueberries or strawberries.

8. Corn Flakes/Frosted Flakes

Flakes of corn also serve as a fine base for adding fruit. Points here for recognizing that sugar and a tiger mascot improve the original article.

7. Raisin Bran

The original “we already added the fruit to our bland cereal” cereal.

6. Wheaties/Total

See Cheerios, above. That said, dad always had Wheaties in the house and my grandparents always had Total, so points for nostalgia.

5. Honey Bunches of Oats

Supposed employees telling you how good a cereal is instead of a cartoon mascot is a questionable marketing strategy. But the execution here is solid, and the flavor is so tasty. Knocked down a few rungs because the flakes get soggy the minute you add milk.

4. Cinnamon Toast Crunch/Golden Grahams

We alternated these two regularly when our daughter was growing up. Either of these is a winner for taste, and they're too hard to choose between, so why should you have to?

3. Rice Krispies

Another entry in the plain-grain field, Snap, Crackle and Pop rate nearer the top of the list due to the near-perfection that is Cocoa Krispies. Don't even come at me with another chocolate cereal.

2. Cap'n Crunch

Yeah, I'm again combining multiple flavors here. Original, Crunch Berries and Peanut Butter Crunch are all winners. But why does something so delicious also have to tear up the roof of your mouth?

1. Frosted Mini-Wheats

These are the mullet of cereals. But in this case, that's a good thing. I won't insult you by explaining the metaphor. Your winner, ladies and gentlemen.