Skip to content

Where Are the Nuts in Honey Nut Cheerios?

The honey part is obvious, but where are the nuts in Honey Nut Cheerios?
Honey nut cheerios facebook.jpg

When I was doing research for The Unhealthiest Cereals on the Planet, one thing caught my eye: General Mills' isn't the only company who makes a "Honey Nut"-flavored cereal. There are almost a dozen other cereals that season their grains with this dynamic duo of flavors. And while each cereal differs in their appearance and exact recipe, there is one thing that is glaringly missing from each: nuts!

Cheerios aren't the only cereal with a "Honey Nut" flavor.

Do you see any nuts on those cereal boxes? Neither do we. So, why are all of these cereal flavors called Honey Nut? What's the deal here?

The secret lies in the ingredients. Upon closer inspection of the Nutrition Facts panel, we found our answer: "Natural Almond Flavor." (We later realized it actually says it on the front of the box, too, but sleuthing through a list of 11 ingredients made us feel like we were uncovering a secret.) So, yes, there are no whole nuts in these cereals—but were there ever?

This current recipe is, in fact, a change from the original 1979 formulation. The first recipe did contain real ground almonds until 2006, but the nuts were then replaced with the "natural almond flavor" you see today.

We initially guessed the company probably ditched the real almonds to accommodate those with nut allergies, but Honey Nut Cheerios boxes still bear a warning to consumers that they "Contain Almond Ingredients." So, maybe they just switched to almond flavor to cut costs. (That's likely the same reason why these Cheerios are sweetened with honey and sugar and brown sugar syrup.)

More on Cereal

  • magic spoon cereal cocoa boxes

    The Best Healthy Cereal Options

    Yes, they really do exist.
  • gene simmons

    Gene Simmons Eats His Cereal With Ice Cubes

    He's reportedly kept this up for three decades.
  • Hershey kisses

    Hershey's Kisses Cereal Is Now at Walmart

    Yes, the chocolate milk at the end is delicious.
  • hostess twinkies cereal

    Yes, a Twinkies Cereal Is Coming

    Here's what people are saying about it.
  • six bowls of different kids' cereals with spoons and glass of milk

    The Best & Worst Kids' Cereals—Ranked

    So you know what to feed your kid for breakfast.
The original Honey Nut Cheerios recipe was described as a "sweetened toasted oat cereal with crushed nuts and honey." While real nuts were used in the original formulation, the current cereal only uses "Natural Almond Flavor."

If you're allergic to nuts, it may still be unwise to try this cereal. While The New York Times reports that most "natural almond flavor" is made from ground-up pits of peaches and apricots, we'll never actually know what goes into the flavor because the FDA doesn't require General Mills to tell us. Maybe they do really use "Almond Ingredients" or maybe they don't. But, either way, those peach and apricot pits can also trigger a response in those with nut allergies, so it will still be safer to avoid it.

Even though Honey Nut Cheerios aren't made with whole almonds anymore, that shouldn't stop you from tossing a couple in your bowl. Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats that help to slow digestion and lower cholesterol, almonds are a great addition to any breakfast.


She Lost 100 Pounds—And Shows You How!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein lost her weight and kept it off—and in You Can Drop It!, she'll show you how to lose it, too. More than 240,000 clients have chosen her program—and now it’s yours to keep.

Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more
Filed Under