Best Whole Grain Cereal That Actually Tastes Good

The best whole grain cereal not only checks the healthy box, it also tastes good. Okay, maybe not Cocoa Puffs good, but it shouldn’t be tough to tell the difference between it and a bowlful of hay. We taste tested 15 top whole grain cereal brands to find the best whole grain cereals you can buy. You can thank us in the morning.

I love whole grain cereals. I like my cereal to taste hearty and full of nutrients. I don’t want the cereal brands to sugarcoat it (literally), I just want flakes and clusters and oats. So, I was one of the few Sporked team members who was excited about tasting through 15 different boxes of whole grain cereal. 

Here’s what I was looking for: good flavor, texture, and perceived healthfulness. I want not only the best tasting whole grain cereal, but I also want it to maintain its crunch after being submerged in milk—and I want to know (or at least feel like) I’m starting the day off responsibly. Here is the best whole grain cereal you can buy at the grocery store.

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Kashi Go Lean Crunch

Best of the Best

Kashi Go Lean Crunch

I loved the variety of textures in this whole grain cereal. There are sandy bits. There are clumps. There are rice puffs and oats. It’s almost granola—but not quite. It’s not as dense, so it still qualifies as cereal. The flavor is somewhat akin to Honey Smacks—light and honeyed and the perfect level of sweet with a sprinkling of cinnamon. It’s really everything I look for in a cereal. It also boasts 9g of protein so you won’t crash an hour later. It’s the best whole grain cereal for pretty much anyone.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

Golden Grahams

Best Nostalgic

Golden Grahams

Yes, it counts. Gold Grahams is a whole grain cereal. And guess what? It has less sugar than Kashi Go Lean Crunch. Gasp! It’s really not as sweet as the box design might have you think. If you haven’t had Golden Grahams in a while, I would highly recommend you give a bowlful a try. It really, truly tastes like tiny graham crackers in milk. It has a slightly burnt-sugar aftertaste—like the top of a creme brulee. I would have never guessed this would make a best whole grain cereal list, but here it is at number two.

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Crunchy Cereal Golden Flax

Best Zero Sugar

Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Crunchy Cereal Golden Flax

If you’re looking for a sugar-free whole grain cereal, pour yourself a wholesome bowlful of Ezekiel. It’s like Grape Nuts but more complicated, with savory, vegetal notes. Take a bite and you’ll immediately hear your gut say, “Thank you! Finally! Something that isn’t Flamin’ Hot!” It has a rich, wheaty flavor. It is the best whole grain cereal for truly grown-up adults for sure—or very interesting children.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Post Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch

Best Banana

Post Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch

There are no dehydrated bananas in here—in case you were worried about that—but there’s a ton of banana flavoring. That said, it’s not crazy sweet! If you like banana-flavored things at all, this is the best whole grain cereal for you. “It fills your mouth with flavor,” Sporked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart commented. “I would eat this every day.” The not-crazily-artificial banana flavor is the main hook, but the varied texture is also great—though we all would have liked a few more almonds.

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch

Best Crispy

Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch

“It tastes just like Cinnamon Toast Crunch—but a bit less sugary,” said writer Danny Palumbo upon tasting this crunchy cereal. The squares are extremely light and crispy, and it doesn’t just taste like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, it tastes like cinnamon toast. You get the wheaty bread flavor, a touch of butter, and then delicious cinnamon and sugar. It’s surprisingly reasonable in its sugar content (8g per serving), so it’s definitely the best whole grain cereal for someone looking for a somewhat more nutritious alternative to classic CTC.

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Post Wheat 'N Bran Shredded Wheat

Best with Fruit

Post Wheat ‘N Bran Shredded Wheat

Do you wish you could start your day with a big bowl of brown? “Everything is so brown—the box, the cereal,” said Danny. But then he took a bite. “There’s a hint of sweetness, it’s not overly processed. It feels natural. This would work super well with fresh fruit.” I completely agree. The crunchy texture and sweet, wheat flavor are the perfect foil for fresh, seasonal fruit. Everything from raspberries to sliced peaches to persimmons would be delicious with this reliable whole wheat cereal. Plus, the woven wheat stands up well to milk, so go ahead and savor each bite.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Quaker Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares

Best Texture

Quaker Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares

Some people are flavor people. All they want is for food to flood their taste buds with input. Other people are all about texture. They want to feel their food. This is the best whole grain cereal for the texture enthusiasts. The cinnamon flavor is there, and it is quite good, but it’s very mild. The texture, though, it’s delightful. It’s crispy and crunchy—but not overwhelmingly so. It’s thoughtfully crunchy.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Cheerios

Best Gluten-Free

Cheerios

Here’s another classic you should revisit. Cheerios has been around forever for a reason—it’s good! And it happens to be gluten-free. Cheerios O’s are made with oats, which are a gluten-free whole grain—and Cheerios makes sure they stay that way. You can really taste the oaty finish when you taste a Cheerio on its own. “It’s plain in a good way,” Danny said. Give plain Cheerios a try. They might be the best whole grain cereal you never realized you loved.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Other whole grain cereals we tried: Millville Crispy Oats, Wheat Chex, Cascadian Farms Fruitful O’s, Muesli Crispy Oats, Uncle Sam Original Cereal, Nature’s Path Red Berry Crunch, Wheaties

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About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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  • Natures path heritage flakes is by far the best whole grain cereal out there… a shame you only tried one variety from natures path… maybe next time…

    Reply