We taste-tested dozens of breakfast cereal brands to discover the best certified gluten-free cereals available. Cereal is definitely a staple in many gluten-free households. Almost 20 percent of our readers have cold cereal once a day and an additional 40 percent eat it at least once a week.
Certified Gluten-Free Cereal
We examine only third-party-certified gluten-free cereal in this review. Why? Over 70 percent of our readers look for a certified gluten-free product when purchasing their breakfast cereal.
Fortunately, readers have a lot of choices. We found more than 70 certified gluten-free cereals from 10 companies—and we tasted them all!
Many cereals are labeled gluten-free but they haven’t been verified by third-party testing. We’re not saying these products aren’t safe for people with celiac disease but certification does provide extra assurance the product is safe.
Cereal Labeled Gluten-Free
General Mills’ Chex cereals are one of our readers’ favorites. Chex was also voted the most popular gluten-free cold cereal in the 9th Annual Gluten Free Awards. We love Chex and its many varieties—Corn, Rice, Chocolate, Vanilla, Blueberry, Cinnamon and Honey Nut. (Not Wheat Chex, obviously.) Chex cereals are not certified gluten-free but they are labeled gluten-free, which means they must comply with FDA guidelines for containing less than 20 ppm of gluten.
GF Cereal Nutrition
Cold cereals aren’t known for their high nutrient counts. Many contain a lot of added sugar. They’re popular with readers (and us) for their convenience, especially on busy mornings. Just pour them from the box, add milk or dairy-free milk and dig in.
This review includes both unsweetened and sweetened cereal varieties. We found some varieties that contain added protein from beans or other sources. Some of these were tasty; some were not. For nutritional information, including sugar and protein content, see the charts on the following pages.
Readers’ Favorite GF Breakfast Cereal
Our readers ranked Nature’s Path—with its Envirokidz, Qi’a and Nature’s Path lines—as their best-liked certified gluten-free cereal brand. Nature’s Path offers more than 23 varieties of gluten-free cereal under three brands, available at natural grocery stores and many traditional grocery stores. Read the packaging closely, as Nature’s Path also produces some gluten-containing varieties with off-limits grains like kamut, spelt and barley.
GF&M Survey Says…
We polled Gluten Free & More readers to see what really matters to them about cereal. Not surprisingly, most want cereal that tastes great—no bland flavors or strange textures.
A sample of what our readers say about cereal:
“If I buy one more cereal that tastes like cardboard bits or sawdust, I’m going to scream.”
“It is hard to find gluten-free cereal that is a decent price in smaller towns. Cost plays a huge difference in buying certified gluten-free versus scouring labels to find one that works.”
“Too many currently available cereals are nutritionally bereft. No fiber, no protein and what little nutrition they do have comes from additives.”
The top things our readers care about when choosing a gluten-free cereal are:
#2: Gluten-free certification
#3: Availability (Can I buy it at MY store?)
Other Uses for Gluten Free Cereal
Over half of our readers use cereal for more than just breakfast.
▶ Trail mix or “puppy chow” snack mix
▶ Crispy rice treats and other baked treats
▶ Yogurt, ice cream or oatmeal topping
▶ Granola bars or cereal bars
▶ Cereal-coated chicken
▶ A substitute for bread crumbs in meatloaf or meatballs
Our Favorite Certified Gluten-Free Cereals
We tasted more than 70 types of certified gluten-free cereal. Everyone on our team has different tastes and opinions when it comes to this morning staple and so there were lots of discussions as we reached consensus. Our top picks are organized by type of cereal (rice crisps, flakes, squares & shapes, O’s, puffs and fruity flavors) and by choices—lightly sweetened or unsweetened for adults and sweetened or fun-flavored for kids. We know that many readers don’t feed their kids sugary cereals, so choose the varieties that work the best for your family.
Brands are listed alphabetically within each category. Check our charts for nutritional information on the cereals mentioned.
CERTIFIED GLUTEN-FREE BEST CEREALS: Lightly sweetened or unsweetened
Overall, many crispy rice cereals are short on taste and they were deemed too plain for our breakfast bowl. The two best rice crisps were chosen because they taste most like the original “krispie” rice cereal, just without the barley malt. (Malt flavoring, which is derived from barley and is not gluten-free, is present in many breakfast cereals.)
BEST Lightly Sweetened or Unsweetened GF Rice Crisps
Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice: A good rice crisp, slightly more sweet.
Nature’s Path Crispy Rice: A good crisp rice cereal, slightly less sweet.
BEST Sweetened or Fun-Flavored Rice Crisps
Nature’s Path Envirokidz Chocolate Koala Crisp: These sweet chocolaty crisps are a hit with kids.
Some of our favorite childhood memories are of Frosted Flakes cereal and Tony the Tiger. Yes, they’re grrrrrrreat—but they also contain barley malt, which is off limits for us. While gluten-free cereals don’t taste identical to their counterparts that contain barley malt, they are close enough! There are gluten-free corn flakes across the sweetness spectrum, from unsweetened plain flakes to frosted flakes that Tony would love.
BEST Lightly Sweetened or Unsweetened GF Flakes
Nature’s Path Fruit Juice Corn Flakes: Corn flakes with a crunch, sweetened lightly with fruit juice.
Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise: These flakes have a good sturdy crunch and a hearty ancient grain taste that we find crave-worthy.
BEST Sweetened or Fun-Flavored Flakes
Nature’s Path Envirokidz Frosted Amazon Flakes: Just like the sweetened Frosted Flakes you remember.
Honorable Mention GF Cereals
These cereals feature unique, on-trend flavors. The ingredients change the color of the milk in your bowl for added morning fun.
Nature’s Path Golden Turmeric Cereal: Made with turmeric and cinnamon, this cereal livens up your breakfast and makes golden milk at the bottom of your bowl.
Nature’s Path Purple Acai Cereal (formerly Purple Bam!): A fun choice made with acai, baobab and maqui berries.
Squares & Shapes
Of course, the most famous gluten-free squares are Chex.These third-party-certified gluten-free varieties are also pretty darn good.
BEST Lightly Sweetened or Unsweetened
Van’s Cinnamon Heaven and Van’s Honey Crunch: Small, dense squares that are less crunchy than Chex. These two have a great flavor for adults who like a little sweetness.
BEST Sweetened or Fun-Flavored
Annie’s Organic Cinnabunnies: Very sweet with a hint of cinnamon that makes this cereal good for snacking, too.
Freedom Foods Maple Crunch: We like the sweet maple flavor packed with whole grains and the unique Lego-like shape.
O-shaped cereal takes us back to childhood. It’s one of the best-liked forms of cereal, according to our reader survey. It’s hard to beat the original (Cheerios), but if you’re looking for a whole grain O with a crunch that’s certified gluten-free, these O cereals will get your morning started in a tasty way.
BEST Lightly Sweetened or Unsweetened Gluten-Free O’s
Nature’s Path Whole O’s: Unsweetened and crunchy. Nice flavor without all the sugar.
BEST Sweetened or Fun-Flavored O’s
Love Grown Cinnamon Lion Loops: Cinnamon-flavored loops made from beans. A way to sneak some extra protein into the kids’ breakfast.
Van’s Cocoa Sensation: Very sugary and chocolaty. Delicious for those looking for a sweet option.
Nature’s Path holds the market in the round “puffs” category. Its Envirokidz line offers puffs in flavors like chocolate and peanut butter, whereas Nature’s Path offers more adult-friendly flavors. Nature’s Path Sunrise Crunchy Cinnamon, Sunrise Crunchy Honey and Sunrise Crunchy Maple cereals are a sweetened combination of puffs, flakes and puffed rice cereal.
BEST Lightly Sweetened or Unsweetened Gluten-Free Puffs
Nature’s Path Sunrise Crunchy Honey: This combo uses round puffs, flakes and puffed rice to put a multi-textured, honey-flavored cereal in your bowl.
BEST Sweetened or Fun-Flavored GF Puffs
Nature’s Path Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs: (2019 Gluten Free Awards Winner) has a mild peanut butter taste that’s fun for kids, with or without milk. Sturdy enough for snacking, too.
Fruity-Flavored Gluten Free Cereal
While fruit-flavored cereal tastes nothing like real fruit, it does add some variety to your bowl if that’s what you’re looking for. These cereals will transport you back to your childhood breakfast table.
BEST Lightly Sweetened or Unsweetened Gluten-Free Fruity Cereal
Kay’s Naturals Apple Cinnamon Protein Cereal: A mild taste reminds us of grown-up Apple Jacks, but with 12 grams of protein per serving.
Van’s Blissfully Berry: Mild fruity taste that isn’t too sweet.
BEST Sweetened or Fun-Flavored Fruity GF Cereal
Freedom Foods Tropico’s: Intense fruity flavors will flash you back to Froot Loops.
Love Grown Fruity Sea Stars: Puffed stars in sugary-sweet fruit flavors. Made with beans for added protein.
Managing editor Erica Dermer is author of Celiac and the Beast: A Love Story Between a Gluten-Free Girl, Her Genes and a Broken Digestive Tract.