Which Honey Bunches of Oats Flavor is the Best? | Cereal Eats

We have strong feelings about Honey Bunches of Oats, and not all flavors are created equal.

A composite image of different flavors of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal boxes.

Is it cereal? Is it granola? Is it candy? It's just...Bunches. I caught Serious Eats Overlord Ed Levine eating a bowl of this with a splash of half & half. His exact words were "this is serious." Purchase with caution. You will put away 500 calories in Bunches before you can blink an eye. (Full review here.)

It's been a while since I proclaimed my love of the near-perfect combo of flakes and clusters that is Honey Bunches of Oats. Now we explore the way in which Bunches, like many other cereals, has expanded into many varieties. Unlike less successful brands, it turns out it's pretty tough to mess up this awesome cereal. But does anything compare to the original? Find out below!

Honey Roasted

Cover on Honey Bunches of Oats box.

Nothing more needs to be said. Good grief, I love this damn cereal.

With Almonds

Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond box cover.

A definite winner and an office favorite. I almost forgot that the original doesn't have any nuts; that's how right these almonds feel. They add a strong, assertive, nutty backbone that I didn't realize was missing in the original version.

Strawberries

Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberry box cover.

This cereal appears as a beautiful potpourri of dried strawberries and reddish-pink speckled flakes and clusters. While I'm not a huge fruit-in-cereal person, this one really works for me. The strawberries are tart and the flavor isn't as overwhelming and cloying as other pre-fruited brands.

Raisin Medley

Honey Bunches of Oats with Raisins box cover.

While I just recently professed my love of Raisin Bran, this cereal has no sugared raisins. Also, I'm not quite sure what it means by medley, since I only saw one kind of sad, unsugared raisin. That aside, this is a solid variation. Curiously, Carey pointed out that the flakes and bunches in this particular kind are a lot larger. We aren't sure why this is significant. But it made us feel important.

Vanilla Bunches

Vanilla-flavored Honey Bunches of Oats box cover.

While most of the folks at SEHQ were happy to find that this particular variation didn't taste sickeningly sweet of vanilla, I was rather disappointed. One of the main things I look for in a variation is differentiation. I'd respect a bad but unique cereal over one that promises something different and doesn't deliver. The one thing I will note is that the addition of "multigrain flakes" is delightful. With milk, they give almost Special K vibe to the cereal, which is very OK in my book. For this reason, and unfortunately not for the vanilla (or lack thereof) I would buy this one again.

Pecan Bunches

Honey Bunches of Oats with Pecan box cover.

Now this tastes very different from the original. The pecans are worked into the bunches and speckled throughout the cereal. The nut flavor here is sweeter, but not in a frosty-sugary cereal way. In a caramel-y pecan pie way. And it's delicious. This was another favorite.

Cinnamon Bunches

Cinnamon flavored Honey Bunches of Oats box cover.

This was another popular flavor. Ben and Carey were impressed with the level of cinnamon in each bunch. I personally found the cinnamon a little too assertive, but I do respect its boldness.

Peach

Peach-flavored Honey Bunches of Oats box cover.

Peach is OK, if you like the very strong flavor of dry peach. (That's pretty much it.)

Just Bunches

"Oh, you mean Box of Candy?" asked Ben, after handful #23. OK, it's not fair to single Ben out. We basically tore this box apart like it was a piñata. It's like granola without the middleman. Or without the pretend-healthy name. What else can I say? It's just BUNCHES. And bunches are awesome. This cereal is dangerous and not allowed in any of our homes. Seriously.

Fruit Blends

Fruit blend-flavored Honey Bunches of Oats box cover.

Not a big fan of these guys.

What Are Your Favorites?

Please tell us, Cereal Eaters!