15 Discontinued Cereals We Want Back On Store Shelves

Is there anything as transient as the world of novelty cereal? Like many childhood phases, you don't know how good you've had it until it's gone. You're blissfully enjoying a limited-edition bowl of Scooby-Doo cereal, not realizing it's the last time you'll ever get a chance to taste that delectable blend of cinnamon sugar cereal and crunchy marshmallows. Why does losing something so simple hit us so hard? 


Acting as both a marketing tool and breakfast item, cereal is intrinsically linked to the nostalgia of childhood. Chances are, your favorite TV show or movie had its own cereal label at one time, complete with hidden toys and themed marshmallows. But just like our beloved kids shows, many of these limited-edition cereals went by the wayside in only a few years. This is also true of some staple cereals we hoped to enjoy forever, like Waffle Crisp and Oreo O's. Fan outreach has helped bring the former two options back to grocery stores, but what about all the other classic names we've yet to see again? Let's take a walk down the cereal aisle of yesteryear, and light a candle for the best bygone brands.


1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Cereal

As long as there have been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there has been a sweet, crunchy iteration of it in cereal form. Across four decades, the cereal has changed shape and taste, but the one that has the largest group of fans is the OG 1989 cereal format, complete with theme-shaped marshmallows and "ninja nets," aka cereal pieces that resemble the latticed network of Chex. Like a crossover of Chex and Lucky Charms, the cereal had a kind of salty-sweet thing going for it. If you feel like Chex is a random cereal to shoehorn into the TMNT cereal, it makes more sense when you realize that both cereals were produced by Ralston (now owned by General Mills). 


Over the years, the cereal had the distinction of having pizza-shaped marshmallows (thankfully not pizza-flavored), collectible turtle cereal bowls, and a green honey ooze packet to celebrate the release of the 1991 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret of the Ooze." Unfortunately, when brought back for both the 2015 and 2023 TMNT movies, the cereal no longer had that Chex and marshmallow magic. Instead, the 2015 version just tasted like a fruity Trix and featured smiling turtle faces, and the 2023 take replaced the Chex for cinnamon apple corn puffs (though the marshmallows were brought back). Sadly, it looks like the old version won't be revived anytime soon.  

2. Ice Cream Cones Cereal

Introduced in 1986 by General Mills, this cereal offered sweet puff balls of ice cream cereal paired with 3-D waffle cone pieces. Though it only came in two flavors, vanilla and chocolate chip, the cereal didn't need to rely on variety. It only needed to rely on a child's eternal desire to turn breakfast into dessert. In ye olde commercials, the cereal was sold by ginger-haired mascot Ice Cream Jones, a singer and ice cream peddler. Unfortunately, the cereal flew a little too close to the sun, getting pulled from the shelves in one year.   


The cereal was brought back ever so briefly in 2003 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ice cream cone, but fans were slightly dismayed to notice that the cones themselves were now flat triangles rather than actual cones. Today, the closest you'll get to recreating this retro classic is trying a bowl of Drumstick Cereal, which, alas, also lacks that delightful cone shape. 

3. Hidden Treasures

One of the funkier entries on the list, General Mills' Hidden Treasures promised a hollow corn cereal that had either a mystery fruit filling (in the form of cherry, grape, and orangeicing) or nothing at all. Its mascot was robot H.T. with a backward cap — very hip for the '90s — who proclaimed Hidden Treasures was his coolest invention yet. The intention was to turn breakfast into a treasure hunt for inquisitive kids, with the surprise working as half the reward. 


That's a hard concept to swallow in our modern age of instant gratification, but it's charming to think there was a time when we wanted to be surprised by our cereal. Though started in 1993, it was discontinued by 1995.  Now fans have to close their eyes and pretend that the jam-filled shredded wheat cereals (like the ones from Kashi and Frosted Mini Wheats) are close enough to the real thing. 

4. Atlantis: The Lost Empire Cereal

It seems fair that an underrated animated film would have an equally under-appreciated limited-edition cereal. A Disney movie from 2001, "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" had an extensive marketing campaign through Kellogg's cereal, offering DVDs, games, and toys free with Corn Pops and other Kellogg's brands. However, it's the movie's own cereal that takes the cake for pure nerdy wonderment. Plain oat cereal is mixed with chocolate cereal pieces marked with the Atlantean alphabet, a marking that grows stronger once the pieces are submerged in milk.


Children were expected to put on their cryptologist hats and spell Atlantis with their encrypted cereal — hopefully before it all got too soggy to enjoy. Once eaten, it had a chocolate graham cracker and frosted Cheerio-esque flavor. Like all other movie tie-in cereal, the Atlantis: The Lost Empire Cereal only lasted a short while. But that dorky, steampunk nostalgia? That's forever.  

5. E.T. Cereal

Back in the 1980s, cereal companies looked to cash in on the lucrative link between film releases and themed merchandise. One of the earliest incarnations of this Hollywood-for-breakfast deal was General Mills' E.T. Cereal which debuted two years after the actual film. The design concept was simple, with puffed, crispy cereal shaped to look like "Es" and "Ts." But the flavor was a genius nod to E.T.'s favorite snack, the peanut butter and chocolate-accented Reese's Pieces. 


So what special toy or gift could you get with your E.T. Cereal? Well, some lucky kids got the Grammy Award-Winning Storybook Album recorded by Michael Jackson. On eBay, you can still find vintage E.T. Cereal boxes that feature Michael Jackson holding E.T.'s hand, a true slice of peak '80s culture. Though you can no longer get that iconic E.T.-shaped cereal, you can still get a close taste of it by buying our modern-day Reese's Puffs, a sweet descendent of the original. 

6. Strawberry Shortcake Cereal

Believe it or not, Strawberry Shortcake started her career as a cutesy figure on greeting cards and party hats at the American Greeting Company. Later, once she had become a cartoon and rag doll superstar, General Mills would use her as the cover star for a strawberry-flavored cereal line that would turn your milk into a pink strawberry delight. The success of this cereal led to the creation of another spinoff flavor/character, Orange Blossom, which was the citrus version of the cereal. 


The cereal ran from 1982 to 1985, just long enough to leave a lasting psychological impression on kids of that era. Even 40 years later, fans are still calling for the return of this sweet strawberry cereal. In the meantime, customers can try Spark Strawberry Cereal, an artisan cereal brand from OffLimits that appears to mimic the Strawberry Shortcake formula of berry-forward puffs sans the artificial stuff. 

7. Kream Krunch Cereal

During the heyday of the Space Race, plenty of Astronaut food items got their jumpstart in the market, like the citrus-packed Tang and crunchy freeze-dried ice cream. But before all that, freeze-dried ice cream first had its run in the world of cereal with Kellogg's 1965 Kream Krunch brand. Though its mascot had a blank Cheerio-eyed stare that could haunt a child forever, its concept seemed completely delicious. Available in Orange, Vanilla, and Strawberry flavors, the oat-based cereal had little chunks of freeze-dried ice cream mixed in. 


So why did this brilliant concept become another discontinued brand relegated to the history books? Well, a modern test constructed by Cereal Time TV showed that freeze-dried ice cream turns into a gooey, sticky mess once it hits the milk, ruining its crunchier delights. However, it still tasted good enough for it to be worth a comeback on the cereal aisles.  

8. Sprinkle Spangles

Sugar cookies for breakfast? Yes, please. General Mills' Sprinkle Spangles were essentially sprinkle-dotted star-shaped corn cereal with a flavor meant to imitate sugar cookies in both taste and texture. Released in conjunction with the aforementioned Hidden Treasures Cereal in 1993, Sprinkle Spangles had a purple, rainbow ponytailed genie mascot that was voiced by the late great comedian Dom DeLuise. Sprinkles Genie was intended as a purple rip-off of the beloved Robin Williams' voiced "Aladdin" genie, but this cartoon figurehead didn't last nearly as long as the cereal, getting phased out only months later. 


Sugar cookie enthusiasts notwithstanding, the cereal itself was discontinued by 1996. Some claim that the 2016 Cap'n Crunch's Sprinkle Donut Crunch Cereal was a similar dupe to the Sprinkle Spangles, but, unfortunately, that too has since become another discontinued cereal. If you want to try to recreate it, you'll have to add your own sprinkles to your favorite sugary cereal. 

9. Wackies

Banana isn't a flavor you see often on the cereal aisle, which is one reason why Wackies, also called Banana Wackies in commercials, is so missed. Released way back in 1965, it had banana-flavored marshmallows and a bunch of oat pieces with wacky shapes, hence its name. What qualifies as a wacky shape? On the back, the cereal box offered a key to its bizarre cereal pieces, explaining that an hourglass shape was a Kerblooey, a star shape was a Skedaddle, and that the figure 8 shape was a Bingle, the Martian symbol for "health." Now that's some world-building. 


Admittedly, banana-flavored marshmallows — banana-flavored anything, really — were a hard sell for kids. With the more palatable Lucky Charms on the market, Wackies fell by the wayside and were discontinued only a few years after its debut. Banana cereal fanatics will have to make do with Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch, which gets its banana boom from crisp banana chips. 

10. Rocky Road Cereal

In the 1980s, sugary cereal had a true renaissance of dessert masquerading as breakfast. How else do you explain General Mills' 1986 Rocky Road Cereal, which had chocolate- and nut-covered marshmallows punctuating a vanilla and chocolate puff cereal mix? Just add milk and you're one step away from having Rocky Road ice cream for breakfast. This brand of cereal acquired a particularly outrageous crew of mascots with the Rocky Road Band, featuring rock singer Marsha, and dueling guitarists Choco and Van. These mascots inspired the cereal's coolest mail-in prize: a pocket-sized mini piano complete with a Rocky Road band-themed songbook. 


Still, the real standout aspect of this cereal was the chocolate and nut-coated marshmallows, a dazzling feature that is rarely seen in the world of cereal. This is what makes the cereal's discontinued status so heartbreaking, as there aren't any proper dupes on the market for it.     

11. Cracker Jack Cereal

This idea was so good, it feels bizarre that it didn't last longer than it did. Introduced by Ralston in 1983, Cracker Jack Cereal looked and tasted much like a cult snack. Packing a caramelly, corny, and malty flavor, this cereal packed quite a sugary punch — not to mention it kept up the Cracker Jack tradition of including plenty of fun prizes. In fact, think of old Cracker Jack Cereal boxes as essentially time capsules for classic '80s toys. One such box had a winning ticket for an Autobot Transformer toy while another offered prizes like a portable AM/FM radio/cassette boombox and a BMX bike. 


Unfortunately, even with its flavor and prize-winning hoke in place, the Cracker Jack Cereal just didn't have the staying power that the original snack had. After a few years, it was pulled from the shelves, and fans went back to dining on candied popcorn rather than popped corn cereal. 

12. Cap'n Crunch Oops! Choco Donuts

Quaker's Cap'n Crunch brand has had hundreds of novelty flavors launched over the years, but this one hit fans hard when it was pulled from the shelves. Introduced in the early 2000s, this was the chocolate version of the aforementioned Cap'n Crunch's Sprinkle Donut Crunch, complete with a crunchy crust of multi-colored sprinkles. Sure, it had a similar look and feel as Oreo O's but that addition of rainbow sprinkles incorporated so much-needed oomph to the mix. 


The time of Cap'n Crunch's cereal take on donuts has passed, but people are still pinning and writing petitions to bring it back. In 2017, Kellogg's debuted a similar dupe called Donut Shop Cereal (in chocolate donut flavor) but it was missing those all-important sprinkles. This copycat didn't last on shelves very long either, soon joining its Cap'n Crunch forefather in the dark and dreary cereal graveyard.   

13. Scooby Doo Cinnamon & Marshmallow Cereal

Scooby Doo had plenty of cereal lines over the years, but for fans, there's only one worth the fanfare: Kellogg's 2002 Scooby Doo Cinnamon Marshmallow Cereal. Likened to a twist between Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, it was an instant hit. The cinnamon corn cereal was shaped like bones while the marshmallows came as white ghosts, blue-green mystery machine vans, and Shaggy's eyeless and mouthless face — now that's spooky. Later, they would release another limited edition run of the cereal with Scooby head-shaped marshmallows as well. Still, by the mid-2000s, the cereal disappeared from the shelves. 


When another Scooby Doo cereal returned to the market in 2013, it was a lackluster vanilla bone corn cereal with no marshmallows or cinnamon sugar coating. There are currently plenty of petitions out there trying to resurrect the '02 original, but there's no sign that the cereal powers-that-be will answer the call of the fans. 

14. Cupcake Pebbles

Remember when the entire world seemed fixated on cupcakes as the ultimate dessert? Well during that blighted season of the cupcake, a cereal tried to cash in on the mini cake moment. One of the many Post Flintstone cereal spin-offs, the Cupcake Pebbles channeled vanilla cupcakes complete with sprinkles. While the in-your-face vanilla flavor rubbed some consumers the wrong way, for those who love that birthday cake boom, these were perfect. Ironically, the box offered a recipe for a Cupcake Pebbles Giant Cupcake featuring 2 cups worth of the cereal. Sure, you could describe the giant cupcake as a regular-sized cake, but that's no fun.


Just like all the other sprinkle-coated cereals included on this list, these Pebbles also suffered an early demise, getting pulled from circulation only a year after its release. In 2021, a birthday cake-flavored Pebbles cereal was released to celebrate the Flintstone cereal's 50th birthday, but it was a limited edition and, yet again, lacked those crunchy sprinkles. 

15. Cinnamon Mini Buns Cereal

According to a Mashed poll, this is the number one cereal that customers wish the cereal companies would bring back, and it's not hard to understand why. Meant to represent miniature cinnamon buns, Kellogg's Cinnamon Mini Buns first popped up in 1991 and made it all the way to 2005 before finally getting the boot. 


Of course, this cereal didn't really disappear. In fact, Kellogg's essentially re-released the same cereal concept twice. First, in the mid-2000s, it offered up Mini Swirlz, which came in Fudge Ripple, Peanut Butter Swirl, and Cinnamon Bun flavors. These spin-offs — pardon the pun — met their end in 2009, only to be replaced, again, by Kellogg's 2010 Cinnabon cereal. The Cinnabon cereal was discontinued in 2018, only to be revived in 2022 ... and dead again by 2024. Luckily, the addictive nature of the cereal has also led to numerous imitations by other brands, like Post's Mini Cinnamon Churro's Cereal and Nature's Path's Rhino Rolls. Let's hope this brand hasn't used up all of its nine lives just yet.