"Like a Sticky Dough": Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll Fillows, Reviewed

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[Photographs: Vicky Wasik. Video: Jamelle Bouie.]

Editor's note: We're very excited to announce the return of our Cereal Eats column, which has been on a six-year hiatus, and to reveal that Jamelle Bouie has signed on to be our new Cereal Eats columnist. Once a month, Jamelle plans on reviewing on camera an oddball cereal of his choice—the odder the better. So please join us in welcoming him to our digital pages. And if you have any oddball breakfast cereal tips, suggestions, or other pressing cereal intel, drop a note in the comments or email us!

When I agreed to do cereal reviews, I told myself I would focus on the most outlandish products I could find. The unusual cereals. The irresponsible cereals.

That may have been a mistake.

I say that because if future cereals are anything like this first one, General Mills' "Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll Fillows," I'm not sure I can make it through a few months of reviewing, much less a year or more.

But before I get to the cereal, let me say a little bit about myself.

My day job is at the New York Times, where I'm an Opinion columnist. I cover politics and culture, both informed by a heavy-dose of American history.

More importantly for this column, I'm a longtime eater-of-cereal. As a kid, I ate bowl after bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I (unsuccessfully) begged my parents for cereals like Rice Krispy Treats and Cookie Crisps. As an adult, I still have the occasional bowl of cereal as a treat, or as a dessert. I'm partial to most flavors and I prefer lightly sweetened cereals to the sugary stuff.

Each review in this series will be as comprehensive as I can manage. I'll smell the cereal; I'll try it dry; I'll try it with milk (specifically, oat milk); I'll try it after the cereal has soaked for a short while, to give you a sense of its structure and taste after some time in the bowl. And then I'll give you a final verdict, which will be on a scale of one to five spoons.

Which brings us back to the Fillows.

Box of Cinnamon Roll Fillows next to an empty bowl and a gallon of milk

In theory, a cinnamon-flavored, cream-filled cereal is a great idea. In my head, it tastes like "Cinnamon Toast Crunch" with vanilla frosting. A sugar bomb, yes, but a delicious sugar bomb. A pleasurable sugar bomb.

In reality, Fillows are anything but.

Dry, they're fine. A chalky aftertaste—presumably because of the cream—means they aren't great for extended snacking. I would have a few if they were around. But the true test of a cereal is how it tastes when you add milk, and there, things go awry. With oat milk (and I assume with any other milk), Fillows turn into an unpleasant, sugary paste. Allow the cereal to soak for a few minutes, and it's even worse. I can't imagine finishing a few spoonfuls, much less an entire bowl, and certainly not an entire, "Family Size" box.

Spoon lifting Cinnamon Roll Fillows and milk out of bowl

I am not opposed to junk cereal. But there's good junk and bad junk. This is bad junk. If you want a cinnamon-flavored indulgence you can enjoy with milk, please, look elsewhere.

Verdict: 1.5 spoons.

The opinions expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Serious Eats staff.