Dig a Spoon Into the 6 Best Trader Joe’s Cereals

Here’s the thing about Trader Joe’s: Just because the beloved grocer supposedly sells something, that doesn’t mean you’re going to find it on the shelves at your local store. There are seasonal items you’ll stumble across once every few years, and weird one-offs you’ll see on Instagram (we all follow TJ’s fan pages, right?) but never in real life. 

When we set out to rank the best cereal at Trader Joe’s, we had to work hard to get our hands on their more elusive boxes of breakfast nosh, but then a funny thing happened: The cereals we liked the most largely ended up being among the more available items. Sorry, Strawberry Yogurt O’s and Almond Butter Puffs, but you just got outdone by old standbys like Frosted Flakes and Honey O’s.

For this taste test the Sporked team was joined by Mythical art director Jess Lamworth, who was “cereal-ously excited” to dig her spoon into more than a dozen varieties of Trader Joe’s cereal and help us come up with this list of the best for your breakfast bowl.

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trader joe's just the clusters maple pecan

Best of the Best

Just the Clusters Maple Pecan Granola Cereal

Given the flavor profile, this seemed like it might’ve been a fall-specific cereal, but we found it on shelves smack in the middle of spring. And, honestly, there isn’t a season when a bowl of this warm, crunchy, spicy cereal wouldn’t be welcome. Sure, this may be more like a granola than a cereal, but everyone loved this box of big clusters and crunchy pecans so much that we’re going with it. “I’m always worried with Just the Clusters that it’ll just be balls of sugar, but I’m not getting that at all,” Jess said. “And I like the pecans because they have a softer crunch.” Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick also liked that it wasn’t as cloying as they imagined it might be. “It’s not super sweet,” they said. “I think this would be great with bananas added. I might do this, a little yogurt, sliced banana, honey—a luxurious spa day breakfast.” We’re all about morning luxury, especially when it comes this cheap.

Credit: Merc / Sporked

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

trader joe's honey o's

Best Take on a Classic

Trader Joe’s Honey O’s

Jess is a big fan of regular Joe’s O’s, Trader Joe’s take on Cheerios. Upon taking a bite of these Honey O’s, though, she became a convert. “These are like Joe’s O’s hotter cousin,” Jess said. “You see these and you’re like niiiiice.” Truly. There’s something to be said for the basic, classic, oaty flavor of a bowl of plain Joe’s O’s, but the pleasant sweetness of Honey O’s blows their forebear right out of the water (or milk, in this case). The honey coating on the little oaty hoops fills your mouth with sweetness without being gross or overpowering. This cereal has a wonderful crunch and, overall, a better flavor than the plain O’s. If you like Honey Nut Cheerios, you’ll love these.

Credit: Merc / Sporked

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

envirokids panda puffs

Best from Another Brand

Nature’s Path Organic Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs

Okay, I recognize this isn’t officially a Trader Joe’s-branded cereal, but I’ve pretty much always seen these cute boxes of Envirokidz cereal alongside the store’s in-house lineup. And the thing is, these are just so, so good I couldn’t possibly exclude them from this list on a technicality. These sweet little balls of corn are kind of like Kix in terms of their crunch and mild sweetness, but the honey-tinged peanut butter flavor sends them into totally new territory. Jordan thought they smelled exactly like Reese’s peanut butter in the best way possible. “I’m not crazy about peanut butter things in general,” Jordan confessed, “but I like these. They’re really good.” This cereal also gets an extra half Spork for the cute-as-hell cartoon panda on the box.

Credit: Merc / Sporked

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

super nutty oat clusters cereal

Best Textural Experience

Super Nutty Oat Clusters Cereal

A lot of cereal serves up spoonfuls of same shape over and over and over (for instance, both the aforementioned peanut butter puffs and Honey O’s). But what about people who want more variety in the morning? Trader Joe’s Super Nutty Oat Clusters are for them. This box is packed with a few kinds of flakes, plus crunchy clusters of granola and whole pecans. “It has so many parts that sing together in my mouth,” Jess said. ”It’s a symphony of clusters.” On their own the flakes are a little bland, but the clusters have a nice maple-y flavor everyone appreciated. Basically, come for the excellent texture and stay for the pleasant taste.

Credit: Merc / Sporked

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

frosted shredded bite size wheats

Best Glow-Up of a Classic

Frosted Shredded Bite Size Wheats

Frosted Mini-Wheats are delicious, but they’re for kids, right? This version of those sugary little wheat biscuits struck Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling as being more grown-up than their brand-name counterparts. “This one is elegant,” she said. “I think they have more vanilla in them than classic Mini-Wheats. It kind of flavors the milk in a pleasant way. It feels grown-up.” She decided that if a bed and breakfast served you boxed cereal, this is what they’d go with, and I totally agree with that assessment. A nice upgrade of a cereal-aisle classic.

Credit: Merc / Sporked

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

trader joe's frosted flakes

Best Super Sweet

Frosted Flakes

Tony the Tiger’s fine ass is shaking in his jaunty little handkerchief! Trader Joe’s take on the frosted corn flake is delicious and perfect for people who want to start the day with a sugar buzz. I loved how itty-bitty the flakes are and truly appreciated the way their corn flavor melds with the sugar and the way the sugar melds with milk. These flakes will definitely be too sweet for some people, but if you’re a breakfast-for-dessert person (I personally love cereal for dessert), these crunchy guys will wow you.

Credit: Merc / Sporked

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

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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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  • Totally appreciate this list, but there needs to be a list of just top cereals, in my opinion. I’m visiting the US and that list would come pretty useful.

    Reply