While Belgium and Switzerland fight over who has the best chocolate, the U.S. has a strong candy culture all its own. From classic Halloween candy to the creations of a famous chocolatier who now shares his name not just with chocolate bars, but also a theme park and an entire town in Pennsylvania, American candy satisfies a lot of sweet cravings – and makes a lot of money – every year.
So, just how beloved is American candy, and which ones are America’s favorites? The numbers vary slightly from year to year, but a few heavyweights consistently come out on top. For the purposes of this blog, we’ve put together statistics about sales, Google searches, and regional preferences to create a list of the top ten best American candies.
Read on for a countdown to the best American candy, and learn some fun facts along the way!
The Best American Candy, Ranked
Did you know this classic American candy wasn’t actually an American candy until 1967? Before that, Starburst candies were based in the U.K. The candy has expanded into many new versions and flavors since, including Starburst Berries and Cream, which became famous with a quirky 2007 commercial teaching viewers how to do “The Little Lad Dance.”
9. 3 Musketeers
Another Mars product, the 3 Musketeers bar is famous for its chocolate exterior and creamy, whipped nougat filling. Confusingly, the American 3 Musketeers bar is basically exactly the same as the European Milky Way bar – NOT to be confused with the American Milky Way, which contains caramel.
Ever wondered how this candy bar got its name, though? When it was first released in 1932, each package contained three pieces – one chocolate, one vanilla, and one strawberry – hence the “3” in “3 Musketeers.”
8. Dove Chocolate
As some may already know, the famously “silky smooth” Dove Chocolate actually started out as an ice cream treat. The chocolate-dipped ice cream DoveBar was invented by Leo Stefanos in 1939 and continues to be popular today, alongside an expanded line of chocolate singles and bars, fruit and nut snacks, truffles, caramels, and more.
According to Fortune, Twizzlers were the number two top-selling non-chocolate American candy (excluding mints and seasonal treats) in 2016. Whether you love them or hate them, it’s clear Twizzlers are holding their own in the U.S. above the similar Red Vines.
But did you know that neither product actually contains any real licorice?
If you’re wondering what beats out Twizzlers for the top spot in non-chocolate American candy sales, it’s Skittles! These fruit-flavored Mars Wrigley confections have invented and then continued to redefine what it means to “Taste the Rainbow,” introducing line after line of special flavors, from Sour Skittles to so much more.
Yep, you guessed it – here’s another member of the Mars Wrigley family. Twix, the chocolate-covered caramel cookie bars that always come in pairs, has been an American favorite since 1979. Now Twix offers both Twix Ice Cream Bars and Twix Peanut Butter.
4. Kit Kat
Like Starburst, Kit Kat started as a British creation. Originally sold in tin boxes as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisps, the Kit Kat eventually migrated across the pond – and well beyond. Both England and the Philippines boast interesting non-chocolate flavors, and Japan has a whopping 200 varieties, including green tea, crème brûlée, melon, and even soy sauce.
According to Insider, Kit Kats are the most-Googled candy in America.
Making around $445 million a year, Snickers comes in as America’s third-favorite candy. Not bad! Today, Insider lists Snickers as the American West’s favorite candy as well as one of the top three most-Googled candies.
Coming in at over $450 million a year in sales, M&M’s might as well be synonymous with American candy, whether you prefer the classic variety, peanut M&M’s, or anything in between. These Mars Wrigley treats aren’t just popular for eating by the handful – they also make for great customized novelty candies.
According to a survey from YouGov, M&M’s are the most popular candy in America, even if they’re beat out in sales by…
1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
While this chocolate-and-peanut-butter confectionery masterpiece came in second in YouGov’s most popular candy survey by just 2%, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups make $500 million per year. Considering America’s love of all things peanut butter, we can’t say we’re surprised!
We can’t talk about American candy without talking about Hershey’s Kisses. While the candy didn’t make it into the top ten list by sales, it DOES come in at number 11, making it the number one Hershey’s product in the country.
Just a quick glance at our list of the best American candy reveals how much Americans LOVE chocolate. The top five candies on the list are all chocolate treats, and seven of the total ten are chocolate.
A whopping seven out of ten of America’s best candies are made by Mars Wrigley, which also makes much of one of America’s other favorites: bubble gum.
Everyone loves an American classic. But when you need a taste of something new, you can hardly do worse than a gourmet candy subscription box from Candy Club. With a curated box of sweet and sour candies shipped to your door monthly, you’ll be broadening your candy horizons in no time.