Looking back on 80s cereals there was a wide range of crazy choices you had as a kid. The 1980s was an amazing time for a kid to grow up in. It was a time when kids had access to a virtually unlimited supply of sugar-based foods, especially cereals for breakfast.
Breakfast was considered the most important meal of the day, and there were certainly a lot of options for any kid to choose from. Even if your family could not afford any brand-name cereals, there were a number of generic knock-offs as well.
Even in the 1980s we knew that having a good breakfast was key, and many on the go chose a quick bowl of cereal.
So what were the most popular 80s cereals?
Some of these cereals are still around today, while others are uniquely 80s. So without further adieu, here are our picks for the top cereals from the 1980s:
1. Cap’n Crunch
Cap’n Crunch was one of the most popular Quaker cereals in the 1980s. Not only did you have the original flavor, but it also came in Peanut Butter Crunch, and Crunch Berries. If you grew up in the 80s, you undoubtedly remember the animated commercials on television advertising Cap’n Crunch. Although the design of the actual cereal was rather plain, it had a very nice flavor until it got too soggy.
One of the biggest blockbuster movies of the 1980 was E.T. so it was no surprised that there would be a cereal trying to capitalize off the popularity of the movie. E.T. cereal was peanut butter and chocolate flavored, and shaped in the form of letters “E” and “T” (duh). The cereal debuted in 1984, and it’s probably not a coincidence that it was chocolate and peanut butter flavored, as those who watched the movie will remember the alien ate Reese’s Pieces candy.
“Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids”. Everyone remembers this popular General Mills cereal from the 1980s that featured a rabbit who was always trying to get his hands on some Trix. He would go to some great lengths to get his hands on some of this popular cereal, but every time his attempts were foiled by kids. The Trix rabbit was one of the most iconic mascots of the decade.
In the 80s everyone loved Star Wars, so it was only natural that there would be a Star Wars themed cereal. C3PO’s of course was named after the iconic android character of the franchise, and it was figure-8 shaped sweetened oat, wheat, and corn cereal. It debuted in 1984 and was produced for a couple of years during the height of the popularity of the movies in the 1980s.
5. Frosted Mini-Wheats
Frosted Mini-Wheats were very popular throughout the 1980s. Unlike many of the other brands that were available at the time, Kellogg’s instead opted to feature real actors. Most of the commercials started with an adult sitting down for breakfast with the wheat side facing up, and the minute they took a bite they transformed into a kid, and the frosted side was then facing up in the bowl. One of the best parts about Frosted Mini-Wheats was the fact that they did not get as soggy as many of the other breakfast cereals of the time.
6. Cocoa Pebbles
Cocoa Pebbles was a very popular breakfast cereal back in the 80s and featured Pebbles and Bam Bam from the Flintstones as their mascot. Every delicious bite was coated in chocolate powder, so when you added milk to the bowl, the milk would eventually turn into chocolate milk. While the little pieces of cereal were very crispy, the best part about eating Cocoa Pebbles was actually drinking the milk afterward.
7. Donkey Kong Junior
One of the most popular video games of the 80s was “Donkey Kong”, so it was only natural that there would be a cereal that represented the historic gaming franchise. It consisted of sweet fruit and banana shaped cereal, and it debuted in 1983. Unfortunately it wasn’t very tasty and only had a short run in the 80s.
8. Apple Jacks
Apple Jacks was an interesting option back in the 1980s. While many of the other brands that were available at the time relied heavily on sugar to make them taste good, Apple Jacks were naturally sweetened with the flavor of apples and a little bit of cinnamon. It was the perfect treat for any kid who wanted something a little healthier for breakfast.
9. Mr. T Cereal
We pity the fool who didn’t get to eat Mr. T Cereal! This sweet corn and oat cereal debuted in 1984 and is one of the more memorable retro cereals of the 1980s. If you grew up at the time, you know that Mr. T was everywhere, so it was only right that he would have his own cereal too.
10. Honey Smacks
Undoubtedly one of the more popular breakfast cereals of the 1980s was Honey Smacks. This cereal was composed of wheat puffs, that were coated in honey and sugar. They managed to stay very crispy even after soaking in milk for extended periods of time. The best part was that they made the milk taste like honey, which made it enjoyable to drink after eating breakfast. The animated frog that appeared in the commercials for Honey Smacks was also fairly popular.
Nerds is one of the most popular candies ever made so of course someone thought of the idea to make it into the cereal. What was unique about the Nerds cereal was it was dual-flavored with two bags in each box. You could either choose Orange/Cherry or Grape/Strawberry combinations, and you could eat them one flavor at a time, or mixed together in a bowl.
12. Cocoa Puffs
Everyone who grew up in the 1980s remembers Cocoa Puffs. The commercialization of the cereal was a success with kids thanks to the wacky bird who would literally go “coo coo for Cocoa Puffs”. The reoccurring theme in the commercials was a bird who was trying to get his hands on Cocoa Puffs, but the kids knew what would happen if he ate some, so they made every attempt to keep the cereal away from the bird. Eventually, by the end of the commercial, the bird would take a bite of the popular cereal and go blasting off into space.
13. Smurf Berry Crunch
One of the more popular spinoffs of the Cap’n Crunch breakfast cereal was the Smurf Berry Crunch. The Smurfs was a very popular cartoon for kids during the early 1980s, and Post Cereals sought to compete against Quaker, by releasing its Smurf Berry Crunch. This delicious cereal was made from whole-grain oats, wheat, and corn, and featured various berry flavors all wrapped into one. There was always something special inside the box for every kid.
14. Super Golden Crisp
In order to compete against the popularity of Honey Smacks, Post cereal introduced their Golden Crisps. This puffed wheat cereal was coated in honey and sugar and even left the milk tasting delicious once all of the cereal had been consumed. The box itself was generally a glittering gold color, which made it a very attractive choice for most kids.
15. Nintendo Cereal System
Nintendo changed the video game industry forever with the introduction of the Original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985, so it was only natural that there would be a Nintendo cereal. The Nintendo Cereal System was another dual-component cereal with “fruity” and “berry” flavor cereal that you could choose from.
16. S’mores Crunch
One of the more interesting cereals that were released in the 80s was General Mills’ S’mores Crunch. This popular breakfast cereal was created to mimic the popular camping treat, and featured graham bits with cocoa powder and marshmallows to create the perfect breakfast for any kid. While General Mills spent a lot of effort in advertising this breakfast cereal, it was not as popular as some of the others throughout the 80s.
OJ’s was an orange flavored cereal that was release in 1985 by Kellogg’s. The cereal touted its high Vitamin C content with each serving having as much Vitamin C as a 4 Oz glass of orange juice. They even had a mascot named “OJ Joe” who was a cowboy that rode around on an orange to promote the cereal. Sadly OJ’s didn’t catch on, and it was discontinued a year later.
Arguably one of the most popular arcade games of the 1980s, Pac-Man also became a cereal in 1983. It was a sweet corn cereal with marshmallows. The marshmallows were shaped like Pac-Man and the game’s ghosts, and featured corn puff balls just like in the video game. The taste of the cereal has been compared to an extra sugary Kix Cereal, and it remains one of the more memorable 80s cereals.
19. Ghostbusters Cereal
It was 1985 when the world was introduced to Ghostbusters Cereal. The movie had just been released and it proved to be a box office success. Kids simply loved the Ghostbusters, Slimer, and of course the many different animated cartoons that were available after school. Originally, the cereal was known simply as Ghostbusters Cereal but was later changed to the Real Ghostbusters after the afternoon cartoon grew in popularity. The cereal is just one of the many Ghostbusters food products that were created from this epic 1980s franchise.
Waffelos was a maple syrup flavored cereal first introduced in 1979 by Ralston. There was also a blueberry version as well, but the original maple syrup cereal was the most popular flavor. The mascot of the cereal was a wacky cowboy with a thick moustache, and it was one of the tastiest cereals of the 1980s.
21. Rocky Road
And of course there was Rocky Road cereal. Rocky Road was a great flavor of ice cream, so why not make it into a cereal? Rocky Road cereal was introduced in 1986 and even touted 8 essential vitamins, but its sweet corn cereal and chocolate flavored marshmallows though popular with kids, wasn’t a hit with parents.
So those are our picks for the most popular 80s cereals. Did your favorite make the list?