Best Cereal for Kids: Our 8 Favorites, Ranked from Sensible to Fun

The best cereal for kids is fun to eat, even if it’s not loaded with sugar. 

It seems like a well-known thing that kids don’t do well with sugar. My impression is that they’re kind of like gremlins, but instead of turning into destructive little monsters when they’re fed after midnight, they turn into destructive little monsters after a slice of birthday cake or an entire pack of Starburst. 

It’s interesting, then, that most of the cereals marketed to kids are sugary. as. hell. When I set out to create this list by tasting some of the most popular kids’ cereals on the market, I took sugar content into account—but I also didn’t eliminate cereals just because they’re high in sugar. Everyone needs a morning treat now and then, even gremlins. Without further ado, here’s the best cereal for kids.

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best cereal for kids

Best of the Best

Nature’s Path Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs

I tried this cereal for the first time when we did our tasting of the best Trader Joe’s cereals, but I felt like I couldn’t give it the top spot because it’s not technically a Trader Joe’s cereal, just a cereal Trader Joe’s happens to sell. All of that’s to say: This cereal absolutely rules and I am deeply in love with it. It’s sweet without being absolutely packed with sugar (9 grams per serving, which I learned is reasonable in the world of fun breakfast cereal) and peanut buttery with a nice honey finish. Crispy-crunchy. Delicious. And if any child (or adult, really) can resist the adorable panda on the box, get their vitals checked! I regularly buy this cereal now, so if it isn’t the best cereal for kids, it’s the best cereal for kids at heart at the very least.

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Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best low-sugar cereal

Best Low-Sugar

Kix

I grew up on Kix because I grew up in a household where sugary cereals were verboten. But Kix don’t need a ton of sugar to be delicious. These little crunchy balls of corn have a subtle sweetness, but only 4 grams of sugar per serving (that’s only 3 more grams than Cheerios, which have no sweetness whatsoever). A baggie of dry cereal is a classic healthy snack, and Kix strike me as a perfect baggie cereal, the best cereal for kids on the go.

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best cinnamon cereal

Best Cinnamon

Cinnamon Life

If you’ve never had Cinnamon Life cereal, you’re really missing out. It’s kind of like Wheat Chex, but with a cinnamon-sugar interior that adds even more crunch. It’s wheaty without getting into Shredded Wheat territory (at some point you’re just eating Triscuits in milk, right?). This is another great eat-it-straight-from-a-baggie cereal, but it’s excellent in milk, even if it doesn’t retain its crispness quite as well as some other cereals on this list do. Even if it gets a little mushy, it’s still delicious.

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Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best marshmallow cereal

Best for a Good Time

Marshmallow Fruity Pebbles

I really did not expect to like this cereal. Fruity Pebbles are already super sweet—what maniac thought they also needed marshmallows in the mix?? Fred Flintstone has lost his caveman mind. Then I took a bite, and everything changed. This cereal is serotonin in a box. The little flakes are crispy, the marshmallows are crunchy, and it’s just so fruity and fun. My non-nutritionist opinion is that kids probably shouldn’t be eating this on the daily (so this probably isn’t the best cereal for kids), but it’s great as a once-or-twice-weekly treat. It’s the definition of a Saturday morning cereal, to be enjoyed with cartoons and commercials for other sugary cereals.

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Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best fruity cereal for kids

Best Fruity

Trix

Of all the fruity non-marshmallow cereals we tried, this was our favorite. As my colleague Jordan Myrick pointed out when we did our ranking of the best fruity cereals, Trix have a more potent fruit flavor than Fruity Pebbles, plus the shapes are cute as hell. Froot Loops are good, but c’mon, Trix are for kids! I’m not above being brainwashed into parroting marketing taglines! These do have 12 grams of sugar per serving, which seems to be on the higher end of average for these “fun” kids cereals.  

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Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best chocolate cereal

Best Chocolate

Cocoa Pebbles

Fred Flintstone, a cartoon character who hasn’t been relevant in popular culture in at least a few decades, is still an icon, thanks to his ubiquity in the cereal aisle. During our chocolate cereal taste test, we decided that Cocoa Pebbles were the most chocolatey chocolate cereal on the market, so this is clearly the best cereal for kids who love chocolate. These have a lot of sugar, yes, but I was surprised to discover that Cocoa Krispies actually have more (14 grams versus 15 grams a serving). This is also a good time to point out that just because a cereal looks like it would be healthier, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is. We also tried Mom’s Best Cereals Safari Cocoa Crunch, and I was stunned when I looked at the label and found that it packs 18 grams of sugar per serving. Mom, c’mon!

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Rating:

8/10

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best cinnamon cereal

Best Nostalgic

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Even if you didn’t grow up eating it, there’s something highly nostalgic about Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Maybe it’s the comforting warmth of the cinnamon. I did not grow up eating CTC, but I swear one bite of this absolutely sends me back to a breakfast table where I’m hastily finishing math problems before it’s time to catch the bus. Cinnamon Toast Crunch has done a lot of innovating over the years, but I think you’re still better off sticking with the classic. We also tried their Cinnagraham Toast Crunch as part of this taste test, but the cloying graham flavor just served to detract from the crispiness and cinnamon-sweetness of the OG.

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

8/10

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best kids cereal for grownups

Best for Grownups

Annie’s Cinnabunnies

I don’t always love Annie’s products. I think Goldfish are better than Cheddar Bunnies. Their mac and cheese is just okay. But, woof, these Cinnabunnies are downright delicious. I know this is cereal sacrilege, but I personally liked these better than CTC. They have an oaty flavor like Cheerios, but with a much crispier crunch and the cinnamon-sugar coating isn’t so overpowering that you can’t still taste grain, a little salt, and the milk you’re enjoying with your cereal. These are like a more grown-up take on CTC, but I think kids would like them plenty too.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Mini Wheats Little Bites, Cinnagraham Toast Crunch, Cocoa Krispies, Mom’s Best Safari Cocoa Crunch, Barbara’s Cinnamon Puffins, Nature’s Path Envirokids Koala Crispy, Nature’s Path Envirokids Gorilla Munch, Lucky Charms, Froot Loops

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About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • I loved Kix as well as my Boo Berry, and I also loved regular Life. Just sweet enough. When I grew up, it was Frosted Mini Wheats, or whatever generic cereal that did that thing.

    Reply