Those of you who’ve given up on eating a balanced breakfast may not know this, but today is National Cereal Day. It’s your chance to abandon all other breakfasts (f*ck toast!) and celebrate the heaping bowls of sweet, sugary goodness that were supposed to make us grow big and strong.
In honor of this magical holiday—I’m already stuffing my face full of Cooooookie Crisp as I type this—Ranker has conducted a survey of over 88,000 people to determine which cereal rules them all. After voting was over, Frosted Flakes, the Stefan Urquelle of cereals, had somehow found itself at the top, lording its boring brand of food-dandruff over real winners like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Waffle Crisp. In the immortal words of a very wise person I know: this isn’t cool, it isn’t dope, and it isn’t chill. And no one is standing for it. Especially not on a day as important as this one.
Please accept this REAL AND OFFICIAL cereal ranking as the definitive list of cereals you truly must celebrate today. The criteria? Taste and special magic. The order? Not up for discussion. (Particularly the exclusion of Apple Jacks. They didn’t taste like apples, they made no sense, and they were a complete and utter disappointment. Don’t believe the hype.)
15. Cap’n Crunch (#6 on Ranker)
Tradition dictates that we mention Cap’n Crunch and his berries somewhere on this list, so why not do it in last place where this guy’s entire navy belongs?
Is the cereal delicious? Yes, but the havoc they wreak on the roof of your mouth is inhumane. How many of us have bitten into a spoonful of these oddly-shaped bites only to scream in pain as they shredded our tender mouth-skin? The pain should should have prevented us from trying another spoonful, but somehow it never did.
“What does it matter,” all of us thought as kids. “My mouth can handle it.” Oh, to be young again.
14. Lucky Charms (#3 on Ranker)
The first time I tried Lucky Charms, I thought the marshmallows were going to be soft and fluffy. Not the case. Instead they were hard little pills that disintegrated between your teeth and left behind a fine grit that lasted all day, even after numerous drinks of water.
The upside: they were sweet as hell and therefore worth the trouble.
13. Life (#24 on Ranker)
Light flavor, no gimmicks. You could also get the cinnamon variety, which added the little jolt of excitement your breakfast so desperately needed. “Why is such a boring cereal even making the list?” you might be asking yourself, and I have an answer: Because Life is versatile! You could mix it with other cereals when you didn’t have enough Crunch Berries (shudder) or Cinnamon Toast Crunch to last you a bowl and it wouldn’t overpower their flavor.
That’s an important wingcereal move that you’ve got to respect.
12. Kix (#31 on Ranker)
See above. Also, this one was “mother-approved,” whatever that means. Somehow, back in the 80s and 90s that sort of vague marketing worked and your parents were much more likely to snap a box of these off the shelf. Not ideal, but better than Corn flakes (which are not on this list because f*ck Corn Flakes) or regular Cheerios (what are you, some kind of 50-year-old with a cholesterol problem?).
(Also Berry Berry Kix was amazing.)
11. Rice Krispies (#10 on Ranker)
No sugar, lots of noise. Plus, they were so compact and airy that you could squash an entire box into a mixing bowl and feel like you’d covered your nutritional bases for the day — something I tried in college. (Big mistake.)
10. Trix (Unranked on Ranker even though three different flavors of Captain Crunch made the list, plus oatmeal and Cracklin’ Godd*amn Oat Bran)
Not just for kids, but certainly not quite as much fun now that the fruit shapes have been turned into blobs. This cereal had two things going for it: an excellent mascot and a sugar-milk residue that was irresistible.
9. Corn Pops (#12 on Ranker)
You had to have ‘em, you didn’t know why. You also didn’t know why they were so delicious or looked vaguely like Slothsfrom The Goonies or stuck together like they were bound with liquid cement.
Would you eat them for breakfast now? Probably not. Were they a staple for “cool teens who were over the fruity-cereal nonsense”? Absolutely. (As the above Aaron Paul commercial shows: Corn Pops may be a dangerous gateway to meth. Consume with caution.)
8. Honey Bunches of Oats (#23 on Ranker)
Did you hate these when you were a kid? Probably. Were you wrong? Maybe. Why? Because aside from buzzwords like “almonds” and “fiber,” these little clusters were just delicious sugar balls that would keep you going for the rest of the day. And yet, no one would judge you for eating them daily. Not even now. If you popped ten boxes of this in your shopping cart today you still might be confused for someone cares (mildly) about her health.
7. Froot Loops (#5 on Ranker)
Some people might argue that these little rings of diabetes should be up higher on a list that purports to rank the deliciousness of cereals. Those people would be wrong. While closer to the top of the pile than Trix, these were hard to eat in bulk (an important quality to look for in a cereal) and didn’t have the crunch and whimsy of Fruity Pebbles. Plus, they almost killed me once.
Fun story: The first time my parents left me at home alone—I was 8—I decided to bake them a cake as a surprise upon their return. Since I was eight, I figured the best way to make a cake was to dump a bunch of Fruit Loops into a bowl, stick them in the microwave for ten minutes, and then throw a chair at something. What started as a fun exercise in Home EC, ended in tears, smoke inhalation and me frantically trying to put out a microwave fire by beating it to death with a wet towel and screaming at the top of my lungs while neighbors called 911. In short: never again. Also: still have no idea how to bake a cake.
6. Honey Nut Cheerios/Raisin Bran/All that other healthy sh*t you love because of fiber (#4 and #14 on Ranker)
They’re just here so I don’t get fined.
5. Waffle Crisp (#44 on Ranker)
I haven’t eaten this cereal in years–because my parents thought it was too expensive–but here’s a surprising fact: It’s still being made. And you could eat it today if you’d like. As an adult, though, it might not be such a great idea — considering that my fondness of the cereal comes from my memories of it being 100 percent sugar.
4. Cookie Crisp (#18 on Ranker)
Literally tiny cookies that you soak in milk and then eat. This is a cereal. A cereal you’re supposed to eat regularly. Just its existence gives anti-obesity crusaders like Michelle Obama nightmares.
3. Reese’s Puffs (#20 on Ranker)
(Please watch that video. Reese’s Puffs are deep in the rap game.)
Candy for breakfast. You loved it when you were a kid, you love it as an adult. It’s still in production and readily available. And it turns your milk into peanut butter chocolate! If you’re going to eat one chocolate-based cereal for breakfast, don’t make mistakes: Cocoa Puffs may claim you’ll go cuckoo, but Reese’s Puffs will make every morning feel like the one right after Halloween.
FYI: a plastic baggie full of these is considered actual currency at most middle schools.
2. Fruity Pebbles (#8 on Ranker)
For hours, I went back and forth on whether this should be number one or two on the list. I consulted experts, called my local pastor (who apparently had better things to do than talk to me about cereal on a Sunday morning), and even went out and got a box (because that’s how seriously I take cereal), before relegating it to number two. It’s a controversial decision, yes, but it comes down to the fact that while Fruity Pebbles are some of the most delicious things you will ever eat in your life, they get soggy a little too quickly. Too often the experience of eating them turns into a race against time. A delicious race against time, to be sure, but one that you can’t just overlook when ranking cereals for their taste and magic.
The milk they leave behind, though? Second to none.
1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch (#2 on Ranker)
There are no actual words to describe the magic that this cereal is. It tastes good dry, it tastes good wet, it turns your milk into a cinnamon-sugar experience that you wouldn’t share with your own mother if she were dying of thirst (assuming your relationship with your mother is solid). While I fail to believe this cereal has any nutritional value whatsoever, the taste is so out of this world that some people (read: me) have been known to eat entire boxes in one sitting. Only to go back and eat another box for dinner (Curse you Costco!).
Another important story: Once, I was at Target when they had a “2 for $5” sale and two college kids almost beheaded each other over the last box. And it’s no wonder. The taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is one of the few that you’ll never get tired of. Ask any college student and they’ll tell you of a two-week stretch (probably during freshman year) when they survived on nothing but this cereal. And the scary part? They’d likely do it again. (I would.) (And you know what? So would you.)
COME AT ME IN THE COMMENTS!