Lists like this are so much fun. It’s when you realize that you have habits that have been ingrained since childhood. I’m sure I’m not alone in having several favorites, but also three varieties I have never tried. Do click thru for iconic photos of each.
Popular candy bars, ranked worst to best
By Kori Ellis/May 7, 2020 4:29 pm EDT
America loves its candy bars, there’s simply no denying that fact. It’s estimated that the average person in the United States eats more than two dozen pounds of candy per year, with at least half of that being in the form of candy bars.
Many of the candy bars that we love today have histories that date back at least 50 years — with some dating back more than 100 years. There’s a good chance that the bars you enjoy today are the same ones you enjoyed while you were growing up.
While you probably tried your share of candy bars as a child, it’s perhaps been a while since you’ve tried everything this sweet landscape has to offer. Do yourself a favor and check out this ranking of popular candy bars in which we order the bars from the yuckiest to the yummiest. You may see something that catches your eye and will purchase the next time you find yourself in the candy aisle.
- Nestle Crunch
Despite what the old school commercials might tell you, Nestle’s Crunch candy bars aren’t “music to your mouth” and are certainly not “s-crunch-ous.” Whether you pick up a Crunch bar or a Krackel bar, they are basically the same thing — waxy chocolate combined with crispy rice. Unless you are a big fan of Rice Krispies, these candy bars shouldn’t be anywhere on your shopping list.
In addition to the subpar flavor combination, the Crunch bar also usually breaks into a million slivers of chocolate upon your first bite. To combat the breakage issue, you should only buy them in “fun size” so you can pop the whole thing into your mouth without issue.
Even though Nestle sold its American candy brands (including Crunch) to Ferrero in recent years, we will give Nestle credit for one thing. They expanded the Crunch brand years ago to include Crunch Ice Cream Bars, which are absolutely worth your hard-earned dollars.
Butterfingers are definitely unique. And if you’ve never tried one, you definitely should. When it comes to these candy bars, people either love them or hate them. There’s really no in-between. The reason for this is probably the texture of the candy layers inside a Butterfinger. If you are expecting a deliciously creamy peanut butter experience, this definitely isn’t it. As the old Bart Simpson commercials advertised, Butterfingers are “crispity” and “crunchity” — not smooth and creamy.
So where does the unusual flakiness on the inside of Butterfinger candy bars come from? Apparently, it’s corn flakes. To make a Butterfinger, corn flakes are added to peanut butter, and then separately a sweet, crystallized molasses concoction is created. These two mixtures are folded together and formed into the bar, which, of course, is then dipped in chocolate. Many people hate the result, but you never know until you try one. You might find yourself stealing all the Butterfingers out of your kid’s plastic pumpkin next Halloween.
- Mr. Goodbar
With its bright yellow wrapper, you can’t miss Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar on the store shelf. And though the wrapper is eye-catching, this candy bar certainly is mediocre at best. During the Depression, Mr. Goodbar candy bars sold for just a couple cents each and were marketed as a “tasty lunch” because of the nutrition of the added peanuts. These days, these candy bars aren’t even considered a tasty snack by most people.
Though peanuts and chocolate are typically an awesome combination, unfortunately, Mr. Goodbar isn’t really a good bar. It’s more like a meh bar. This candy bar is simply milk chocolate combined with a bunch of Spanish peanuts. It’s not horrible, but it’s not impressive either. When biting into one of these bars, you always feel like there are a little too many peanuts and the chocolate isn’t as rich and creamy as it should be. Unless it’s one of the last candy bars on the rack, you can almost always find something better to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Almond Joy
If you love coconut, Almond Joy should be your go-to candy bar. The Almond Joy features sweetened, shredded coconut and whole almonds smothered in a milk chocolate coating. The main downfall of this candy car is the chocolate itself. It’s grainy and bland rather than smooth and sweet. But if you are a big coconut fan, you aren’t munching on Almond Joy for the chocolate anyway. You just want to get your coconut fix — and this candy bar can definitely serve that purpose.
Over the years, Hershey’s has produced limited-edition varieties of the Almond Joy, including white chocolate key lime and piña colada flavored versions. Most of these variations have flopped and the company has thankfully stuck to the original for the last decade or so. If you prefer dark chocolate, then grab a Mounds bar instead. It’s the same coconut center but without the almonds, and a dark chocolate coating instead of the milk chocolate.
First introduced in 1932, PayDay candy bars were created by Frank Martoccio of the F.A. Martoccio Macaroni Company. Over the years, the production of these peanut caramel bars has switched companies multiple times and they are currently part of the Hershey family. There’s no doubt if you love peanuts that you’ll love this bar.
A PayDay simply consists of a log of firm caramel that is rolled in salted peanuts. The saltiness of the peanuts and the sweetness of the caramel makes for a happy marriage. But don’t ever put it in the refrigerator — the caramel center will become impossible to chew.
Keep in mind there’s not any chocolate at all in the PayDay, though they did sell a chocolate-covered version many years ago which has since been discontinued. If you like the composition of the PayDay but want chocolate too, then get yourself an Oh Henry! that is full of peanutty, chocolatey, fudgy goodness.
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar
You might think the iconic Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar should be ranked higher on this list. After all, over 264 million of these bars are sold every year. However, if you’ve ever tasted high-quality chocolate, you’ll know why it’s not. Hershey’s chocolate just isn’t really that good. It’s not very creamy and even a bit waxy. And when you are eating a plain chocolate bar, you deserve much better.
You don’t need to spend a small fortune on European chocolate to eat something better than Hershey’s. Even other brands of milk chocolate bars you can find in your local grocery store are better, including Aldi, Dove, and Godiva. So, if you have a choice, buy one of those. If you are just looking for some chocolate to make some s’mores over the campfire, Hershey’s will do just fine. But if you are looking for melt-in-your-mouth lusciousness, this is definitely not it.
- 3 Musketeers
The Mars 3 Musketeers bar is simple: a whipped nougat center covered in a coating of milk chocolate. No caramel. No nuts. Just nougat and chocolate. While some candy bars feature very dense nougat, the 3 Musketeers bar is completely different. The nougat center is extremely soft, light, fluffy, and delicious. But because these candy bars are so light and fluffy, it can be difficult to control yourself and eat just one.
Are you wondering why it’s called 3 Musketeers? Apparently it’s because when this candy bar was first manufactured in 1932, each package contained three small bars (chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors). But then during World War II, cost-cutting measures forced the elimination of the strawberry and vanilla pieces. Over the years, Mars has produced other limited edition flavors of the 3 Musketeers, but nothing beats the simplicity and taste of the version we’ve come to know and love.
The Skor bar is just a slab of toffee dipped in chocolate. If you don’t like toffee, you’ll hate it, but if you do – it’s the perfect snack.
You might be wondering, what’s the difference between a Skor bar and a Heath bar? Both are made by the Hershey Company and both are chocolate-covered toffee bars. So, why do we need two of them? Well, they are ever-so-slightly different. In the Heath, the toffee is a lighter color and the almonds in the toffee are visible. The almond taste is the overriding flavor in this bar. On the other hand, in the slightly thinner Skor, the toffee flavor is rich and buttery rather than almond-y. While both these toffee bars are good, we will say that the Skor bar seems to get stuck in your teeth a bit more than the Heath does.
If you are a toffee fan, try them both. It will probably come down to the subtle difference in the toffee that determines your favorite. But when you have a toffee craving, either one of these candy bars will do in a pinch.
- Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme
Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme bars are the same size and shape as their iconic milk chocolate bars. The difference is that these bars are white and contain little pieces of chocolate cookies. Don’t say Oreos, because they aren’t bits of actual Oreo cookies. Hershey’s also replaced cocoa butter with a mixture of oils to create these candy bars, therefore they aren’t technically white chocolate either. But if you are looking for something other than milk or dark chocolate, these bars are a pretty tasty option that you can find at most supermarkets and convenience stores.
If you like the white portion of the Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme but crave a little more crunch, you’ll also like their White Creme with Almonds bar that was introduced in 2019. These might be a little harder to find than other Hershey bars, but they are worth hunting down. Dare we say that they’re even better than Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds candy bar.
- 100 Grand Bar
Invented in 1964, this candy bar was originally marketed as the $100,000 Bar before changing the name on the package to simply “100 Grand” in the mid-1980s. While Crunch does everything wrong with crisped rice, the 100 Grand Bar does it right. Created from chewy caramel, crisped rice, and milk chocolate, this bar contains the perfect amounts of each ingredient so that none are overpowering the other and the texture remains completely enjoyable.
Over the years, the 100 Grand has been in the news on various occasions for different pranks. In fact, in 2005 a woman sued a radio station after they gave her a 100 Grand candy bar instead of the actual $100,000 she was expecting for winning a contest. While this candy bar might not be as popular as some of the others on this list, it’s certainly worth buying when you want something deliciously different.
Originally produced in the United Kingdom in 1967 and marketed as the Raider bar, this candy bar wasn’t brought to the shores of the US until 1979. But it didn’t take long for it to become a hit. The name Twix comes from a combination of the words “twin” and “stix” (sticks) because each package contains two cookie sticks topped with caramel and covered in chocolate. The result is a crunchy deliciousness that pleases taste buds around the globe.
In the last thirty years, a number of different unusual flavors of Twix have been released, including coffee, mint, and Cookies & Creme Twix. However, most candy bar aficionados will agree that the original variety still remains the best. In 2017, over $63 million worth of Twix were sold in the United States, making it one of the top six chocolate candy brands in the country. If you want to thrill the neighborhood kids at Halloween, be sure to have Twix in your candy bowl.
- Milky Way
Chocolate, caramel, and nougat come together beautifully in the Milky Way bar. And though this nougat isn’t quite as fluffy as that in the 3 Musketeers bar, it’s not super dense and heavy either. That said, it’s the caramel in the Milky Way is what makes it special. It’s gooey and creamy perfection, rather than being too liquidy (or on the flip side, too hard) like the caramel in other candy bars.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Milky Way isn’t named after the galaxy, its name came from malted milk — a popular drink back in 1923 when the candy bar was introduced. If you are traveling in Europe, don’t expect your Milky Way to be the same. The Milky Ways you can buy in Europe stores are similar to 3 Musketeers in the U.S. Mars bars in Europe are more similar to the American Milky Way you crave. We know it’s confusing, but you should be buying expensive European chocolate instead of Milky Way bars when you are on vacation anyway.
4. Kit Kat
Standard Kit Kat bars have four pieces in the package that you need to snap apart. Each piece features three wafer layers separated by chocolate, and of course the whole thing is covered in more chocolate. The result is a wonderfully light yet absolutely delectable treat. In the United States, 192 million Kit Kats are sold each year, making it the fourth most popular candy bar in the country. Outside of America, Kit Kats are sold in a wide array of flavors including scrumptious varieties like Strawberry Cheesecake and uniquely disgusting ones like Cough Drop. In the U.S., you’ll find the original milk chocolate version, as well as newcomers like Mint & Dark Chocolate and Lemon Crisp. Whatever flavor you prefer, you can eat your Kit Kats by themselves, break them up into ice cream, crumble them into cookie batter, or use them to decorate cakes. Instagram
Standard Kit Kat bars have two or four pieces in the package that you need to snap apart. Each piece features three wafer layers separated by chocolate, and of course, the whole thing is covered in more chocolate. The result is a wonderfully light, yet absolutely delectable treat.
In the United States, 192 million Kit Kats are sold each year, making it the fourth most popular candy bar in the country. Outside of America, Kit Kats are sold in a wide array of flavors including scrumptious varieties like Strawberry Cheesecake and uniquely disgusting ones like Cough Drop.
In the U.S., you’ll find the original milk chocolate version, as well as newcomers like Mint & Dark Chocolate and Lemon Crisp. Whatever flavor you prefer, few candy bars can touch Kit Kat’s versatility. You can eat your Kit Kats by themselves, break them up into ice cream, crumble them into cookie batter, or use them to decorate cakes.
- Take 5
Take 5 is far from the most popular candy bar, but it’s one of the tastiest and has somewhat of a cult following. Take 5 contains five yummy ingredients — caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, peanuts, and pretzels — making it one of the more complex candy bars on this list. Initially released in 2004, this candy bar has struggled to gain traction among buyers. Hershey has tried adding different ingredients, changing the wrapper, and most recently renaming the bar as Reese’s Take 5 to let everyone know that it contains Reese’s peanut butter.
Will the latest changes lead to skyrocketing sales? Probably not, but that doesn’t take away from how amazing this candy bar really is. Every bite is crunchy, salty, sweet, and chewy. Everything you want in a candy bar! If you’ve never tried a Take 5, what are you waiting for? Change up your candy bar habits by giving this relatively new bar a try.
First produced in 1930, today Mars makes 15 million Snickers every day and dubs it the world’s best selling candy bar. The original Snickers bar, is far and away, the best Snickers and contains caramel, peanuts, and nougat surrounded by milk chocolate. However, you can also find several variations including the Snickers Xtreme, which does away with the nougat altogether. Snickers Almond and Snickers Peanut Butter are also worth trying at least once, although they’re not good enough to eclipse the original.
While Snickers certainly is a satisfying snack, you have to commend their clever marketing techniques and advertising campaigns as well, which undeniably plays a role in this candy bar’s popularity. When Halloween rolls around, there’s hardly a candy bar in existence that is as universally loved by children and adults alike as a Snickers. It’s hearty enough to make it a meal all on its own yet flavorful enough to be an exciting dessert you can enjoy after dinner.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
You might be screaming right now in protest because you believe that peanut butter cups are not candy bars so they can’t be number one on this list — but let’s get serious. You’ll find Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups right next to all the other candy bars at the store, so it’d be completely unfair if they weren’t allowed to make the cut.
The peanut butter cups are relatively simple — a peanut butter center surrounded by chocolate on the outside. This basic combination is absolutely perfect, though, and is the reason the cups are so popular. They’re pure chocolatey-peanut buttery deliciousness. In fact, according to YouGov, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the third most popular food and snack brand in America.
But Reese’s isn’t only about the cups. They actually make 62 kinds of Reese’s candy, from tiny Pieces to 1-pound bunnies. However, it’s these classic cups that started it all back in 1928 and are still the best choice today.