17 Discontinued Chef Boyardee Pasta Shapes We're Probably Not Getting Back

Justice League Chef Boyardee package
Justice League Chef Boyardee package - Chef Boyardee

Italian immigrant Ettore "Hector" Boiardi brought a taste of the old country to the new by opening a restaurant in Cleveland in 1924. Soon, he was in his customers' homes. Boiardi's smiling face was slapped onto cans of Chef Boyardee pasta, which has gone on to feed millions over the decades. While spaghetti, ravioli, and Beefaroni are the backbone of the brand, there have been a lot of other fun pasta shapes canned under his good name. Some of these shapes are familiar symbols, while others capitalize on hot properties in pop culture.

In 1983, Chef Boyardee advertising director Jules Neuberger explained this variety to The Cincinnati Enquirer, remarking, "Essentially all pasta is the same. It's the shapes that get the kids, and that's why it's advertised on kid's network television." In a statement to The Daily Meal, Peter Larmann, senior brand manager of Chef Boyardee elaborated on this. "Chef Boyardee has been putting smiles on faces for generations," he said, "and our fun shapes, flavors and licensing partnerships are a big reason why ... We love the fond memories that these iconic shapes and flavors evoke."

Indeed, plenty of people remember their favorite childhood shape with great warmth. But most Chef Boyardee pasta shapes live very short lives, appearing on shelves for a mere few months or years. Let's take a look back at 17 of these bygone Boyardee shapes, from the oldest to the most recent.

Read more: Canned Soups You Should And Shouldn't Buy

Roller Coasters

Roller Coasters Chef Boyardee cans
Roller Coasters Chef Boyardee cans - RollerCoastersPasta/Facebook

One of the earliest themed Chef Boyardee pastas was the Roller Coaster, which got on the right track with consumers around 1973. This pasta came with bite-size meatballs and wore an alluring and rare label color for the brand: blue. It also bore cartoon images of an excited blond boy and a satisfied redheaded girl, with spoons at the ready.

Actual roller coasters take all shapes and forms, including hills, dips, and curves. The shape of these noodles didn't seem to line up with any coaster found in any amusement park, however. That's probably why the brand put out ads that argued, "They're wavy like roller coasters. They're fun like roller coasters. And kids love 'em like roller coasters -- maybe even more."

Roller Coasters' wild ride lasted for years, and fans still yearn for it. One gentleman took to Facebook to say, "Every time I [go to] the food store we look for Rollercoasters ... I'm 52 now."

Cosmic Kids

Chef Boyardee Cosmic Kids label
Chef Boyardee Cosmic Kids label - Chef Boyardee

By the end of 1982, Cosmic Kids noodles had touched down on grocery store shelves. They battled rival Franco-American's similar product, UFOs with Meteors, for space-themed supremacy. "New Cosmic Kids is a new fun lunch that tastes out of this world," ads promised, offering three varieties: tomato sauce, tomato sauce with meatballs, and chicken.

The cans featured three extraterrestrial "kids" who embodied the alien, robot, and flying saucer pasta shapes within each can. In the TV ad, the titular kids and some human youngsters tout the noodles' enriched quality and yummy taste. This worked fairly well: The Cosmic Kids visited earth for at least four years, and kind of returned in 1998 in the form of Chef Jr. Boyardee's more to-the-point offering, Flying Saucers & Aliens.


Chef Boyardee Zooroni labels
Chef Boyardee Zooroni labels - Chef Boyardee

It's a plain and simple fact that children love animals and eating. Working the intersection between these two truisms has made many companies a whole lot of money; who doesn't like animal crackers? Chef Boyardee hoped to drum up similar success when it dropped Zooroni in 1982. Zooroni's shapes were indeed animal-like, but without the cartoony beasts adorning the label, it would have been very hard to tell that the noodles were meant specifically to resemble elephants, camels, hippopotami, and feathery birds.

The back of Zooroni's label included a recipe for Safari Soup, which naturally required two cans, in addition to a set of other hearty ingredients. This was a neat addition, but not enough to save it: Zooroni didn't make it into the following decade. Canadians were later blessed with a like-minded product featuring an even more awesome name, however: Pasta FaZoo, a funny play on the dish pasta e fagioli.


Chef Boyardee Pac Man label
Chef Boyardee Pac Man label - Chef Boyardee

In 1981, Pac-Man fever engulfed America. A year later, the little yellow feller who avoids ghosts and chomps pellets was sublicensed to over 30 companies for various products. Chef Boyardee signed the arcade hero up in 1984, and promised, "The world's best eater ... is about to meet his match." TV ads featured the Saturday morning cartoon version of Pac-Man, his Mrs., and their baby, to further hammer home the message.

While pellets would have been the obvious shape to include, ghosts (which looked kind of like Space Invaders) actually joined the little Pac-Man noodles, which themselves rather resembled the "Scream" mask. While the plug was pulled on this Pac-Man pasta some time after 1991, its cultural impact still has fans obsessing over it to this day. A can of the chicken-flavored variety is even part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History collection.


Chef Boyardee Smurfs doll ad
Chef Boyardee Smurfs doll ad - Chef Boyardee

Chef Boyardee was feeling pretty blue in 1985. We mean this literally: To the delight of everyone but Gargamel and his cat Azrael, that was the year the Smurfs got the Chef Boyardee treatment. TV ads featured Smurfette, Chef Smurf, and Papa Smurf, who cook up something "Smurfalicious" to feed their hungry friends and family.

Smurf pasta came in four varieties, including one with "Papa Smurf's Special Meat Sauce." Beyond butterflies, the pasta's shapes were hard to fully discern; they very loosely resembled the Smurfs' mushroom dwellings and either five-pointed stars or perhaps flowers. This was a little disappointing -- shouldn't the characters' distinctively floppy hats have made the cut? Fans weren't too upset, though. Though the "Smurfs" TV show went off the air in 1989, its pasta remained in stores for at least another four years.

Tic Tac Toe's

Chef Boyardee Tic Tac Toe spoon
Chef Boyardee Tic Tac Toe spoon - Chef Boyardee

Humans have been playing three-in-a-row games for centuries, but the version known as tic-tac-toe dates back to at least 1866. Still, "ABC's & 123's" were the first pasta to turn Chef Boyardee into a man of letters, back in 1980. Six years later, the entire alphabet, minus Xs and Os, was tossed aside to make eating a game with Chef Boyardee's Tic Tac Toe's. A vivid TV ad spelled out the rules of said game: "If you get three Xs or Os on your spoon, you win."

Shortly after this pasta's release, a thrifty mother from Missouri made a game out of buying Tic Tac Toe's by doubling up on coupons. In the end, she purchased 72 cans at 13½ cents per can. We can only wonder how many cans her family managed to get through by the time the pasta disappeared from stores, some time around or after 1998.


Chef Boyardee Dinosaurs pasta label
Chef Boyardee Dinosaurs pasta label - Chef Boyardee

Predating the "Jurassic Park" novel by two years, Chef Boyardee started letting dinosaurs once again roam the earth -- in pasta form -- in 1988. This pairing made perfect sense, and the company line reflected it: As the ad copy put it, "Kids love Dinosaurs because they're fun & delicious, while Moms love 'em because they're easy to make & nutritious. But everyone agrees that Dinosaurs are a prehistoric treat that can't be beat!"

This foodstuff initially came in three fun shapes: brontosaurus, tyrannosaurus, and stegosaurus. Eventually, pterodactyl joined the squad. TV ads implored eaters to capture the quartet together on a single spoonful to achieve a win, making each can a game. Chef Boyardee Dinosaurs eventually came in miniature form as well, with meatballs that could have passed for meteors. The product went extinct some time around 2017.


Chef Boyardee Sharks pasta cans
Chef Boyardee Sharks pasta cans - Chef Boayrdee

Chef Boyardee went swimming with shark-shaped pasta back in 1990. While most sharks are menacing, the ones that adorned these can looked overly friendly, with wide, sunny smiles. They drifted beneath a logo featuring an ombre color scheme, which kind of made each can look like an "Indiana Jones" tie-in.

This pasta came in three sharp shapes: the great white shark, the tiger shark, and the hammerhead shark. However, if you turned them on their sides so that they were standing up, they could also pass for penguins or rocket ships. The TV ad pushed the same exact game they hawked with Tic Tac Toe's, urging kids to collect all three shark shapes in one spoonful. These sea creatures hung around for almost a decade before reaching the shoreline of retirement.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Chef Boyardee Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Chef Boyardee Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Chef Boyardee

In 1987, the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" comic was turned into a cartoon phenomenon. While the Turtles famously love pizza, their merchandising went far beyond the simple pie: They were turned into a cereal, a now-discontinued Hostess pie many desperately want back, and a cheese-laden pasta by Primera. Chef Boyardee finally tapped into this hot intellectual property in 1991 when it turned Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and even Shredder into pasta shapes, which hung around stores for at least six years.

In the comics and cartoon, it's easy to tell the Ninja Turtles apart by their colored masks. In noodle form, this is a lot harder. An eater was provided with a guide on the back of the can that revealed the same shape with four different kinds of leg stances. Perhaps aware that, like their heroes, many kids prefer pizza, the label also claimed that this product was "the best tasting food since pizza and you don't have to call out for it."

Sesame Street

Chef Boyardee Sesame Street cans
Chef Boyardee Sesame Street cans - Chef Boyardee

If there was one Chef Boyardee variety that really spoke to parents, it had to be the "Sesame Street" one that came out in 1994. The people behind the trusted and beloved public broadcast program that first aired in 1969 are usually very choosy regarding who to partner up with on branded products. So to see Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Elmo, and Cookie Monster on labels really means something.

Chef Boyardee did all right by the "Sesame Street" gang. The characters smile brightly from each can, and made for some pretty robust noodles. While only Jim Henson would have been able to figure out which pasta shape was Bert and which was Ernie, they all bore a wide, noodle-y smile, which was a welcome sight to all involved parties.

Sir Chomps-A-Lot

Chef Boyardee Sir Chomps-A-Lot cans
Chef Boyardee Sir Chomps-A-Lot cans - Chef Boyardee

1992 proved to be quite the summer for proper gentlemen. Seattle rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby's Got Back" was burning up the charts, and Chef Boyardee doubled down on the fun with its Sir Chomps-A-Lot pasta. Was this pun intentional? We don't know, but it definitely landed.

While the dressed-to-the-nines gator mascot, who sported a pair of pince-nez glasses, was a whole lot of fun, fans had to settle for Sir Chomps-A-Lot appearing on the can, not in the bowl. His pasta comprised beef and cheese ravioli, rather than gator-shaped noodles. Sir Chomps-A-Lot was merely there to elevate the canned ravioli and demonstrate the deliciousness of each bite, which was enough to inspire his dance move, the Chomp. While Sir Chomps-A-Lot's dance card was torn up by the end of the decade, he remains a treasured '90s icon -- along with Sir Mix-A-Lot.


Chef Boyardee X-Men can
Chef Boyardee X-Men can - Chef Boyardee

In 1994, Chef Boyardee teamed up with Marvel Comics to offer glow-in-the-dark X-Men posters for only 5 UPCs and a mere $3.99 for shipping and handling. A year later, the partnership got even more serious when Chef Boyardee unleashed 15-ounce cans of X-Men branded pasta, with meat and without.

Every good superhero team has an imaginative origin story, and so it went with Chef Boyardee's take on Marvel's mutants. Essentially, ads claimed that the villainous Minister Sinister had captured the likes of Wolverine, Storm, Beast, Archangel, and Professor X, and shoved them into a can. The TV ad featured a plea from Professor X, telling the viewer, "Only you can set them free." Diners were apparently meant to do this by eating the heroes' faces. Other shapes included the X-Men logo, and, in a plot twist, that of a mystery villain. The ante was further up with offers of branded caps and hologram cards.


Chef Boyardee Spider-Man ad
Chef Boyardee Spider-Man ad - Chef Boyardee

The same magical year the X-Men got canned, fellow Marvel hero Spider-Man enjoyed his own Chef Boyardee adventure. "Totally webbed out Spider-Man shapes smothered in secret sauce," boasted the ad, which featured an animated battle between Mysterio and Spidey. While it fits with the narrative, we're not sure billing a pasta as "so hot it's practically radioactive" is the best marketing strategy.

Chef Boyardee's Spider-Man pasta hung around for just a handful of years before being retired. 25 years later, pop culture enthusiast Dinosaur Dracula opened a can and discovered a giant brown clump resembling debris from a nuclear fallout, perhaps justifying the "radioactive" tagline. Spidey would later switch sides and team up with Campbell's to provide similar superheroic shapes to a can of SpaghettiOs.

Street Sharks

Chef Boyardee Street Sharks can
Chef Boyardee Street Sharks can - Chef Boyardee

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles noodles must have been a big hit for Chef Boyardee, since the brand decided to make a pasta based on a rip-off. "Street Sharks" stars a quartet of monstrous brothers; they were humans before they were turned into half-sharks by an evil doctor. Their cartoon ran for three seasons between 1994 and 1997, and earned its pasta stripes in 1995. The noodles ultimately outlasted the show's run.

The sharp-toothed characters and serrated logo made for a rather scary label that might have given some parents pause. But big fans couldn't wait to see Ripster, Jab, Streex, and Slammu sitting in a bowl of tomato sauce. It's hard to capture humanoid shark dudes in pasta shapes, and Chef Boyardee's attempt looked rather strange. It tasted good, though, which is all that really matters.

Justice League

Chef Boyardee Justice League packages
Chef Boyardee Justice League packages - Chef Boyardee

In 2016, years after making Marvel-themed pasta, Chef Boyardee turned to the brand's rival, DC Comics, to give its noodles a new superhero complex. Since there are so many great characters in DC's famous Justice League, Chef Boyardee spread their emblems out between a few different cans. Some featured Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl, some favored Batman, Superman, and the Flash, and others spotlit a mix and match of the six.

The press release leaned heavily into the comics verbiage, claiming, "While the Chef can't leap over tall buildings, he can help bring peace and happiness to the dinner table. Maybe he should have worn a mask and cape after all." This line-up was publicized for another year, and then quietly lost its powers.

SpongeBob SquarePants

Chef Boyardee SpongeBob cans
Chef Boyardee SpongeBob cans - PhilJanuszewski/X

SpongeBob SquarePants and his pals are quite the animated crew, bringing smiles to children since 1999. But those hoping Chef Boyardee would tap this Nickelodeon property for a pasta had to wait until 2018 to see the Bikini Bottom gang in noodle form.

To honor the titular character's color, the can's label bore a pineapple-esque crosshatch pattern awash in sunny yellow. The pasta was kind of yellow too, and took the form of SpongeBob, Patrick, Gary, and Squidward -- or at least, it attempted to. Pasta SpongeBob looked like a skull trapped in a rectangle, Patrick resembled a frog, Gary became a cyclops, and Squidward was transformed into a lion with a soccer ball for a head. Well, it's the thought that counts.

Paw Patrol

Chef Boyardee Paw Patrol container
Chef Boyardee Paw Patrol container - Chef Boyardee

Soon after employing SpongeBob SquarePants, Chef Boyardee turned its sights onto another Nickelodeon hit: "Paw Patrol." The containers featured the ever-smiling Skye and Chase, sometimes with masks and sometimes without, against a blue background. Kids' eyes were easily snagged.

Inside the can, those two main pups' pasta likenesses were joined by Dalmatian Marshall and English bulldog Rubble to form a formidable, yet adorable, foursome. The Chef Boyardee take on "Paw Patrol" appeared to be a short-lived venture, though, and was banished to the dog house some time in or after 2020. The gang later resurfaced to make lunch and dinner paw-some thanks to Kraft Mac & Cheese and a series of Campbell's soups.

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