25 Most Popular Snacks In America Ranked Worst To Best
Popular Snacks In America – The country may be divided, but we can agree on at least one thing: We love snacking. Whether you’re more of a candy bar person or prefer something on the savory side, snacks are part of making life work. How else will you get through a long work day?
And while American snacks may not always be the healthiest options, many are so delicious they’re addictive (via The New York Times Magazine).
That being said, some of the snacks on our store shelves are pretty gross, and you’ll want to avoid them.
Of course, you can have your preferences, but we’ve rounded up some of the most popular snacks on the American market.
We started with our least favorite snacks, which we never want to eat again, and worked our way to our favorite snacks, i.e., snacks that we couldn’t keep at home because we knew that we would finish the complete package in one sitting. Look at America’s 25 most popular snacks, ranked from worst to best.
- Snickers – Popular Snacks In America
We know it can start a fight with some, but we can’t deny it: Snickers is no good. Remember the ridiculous claim that Snickers can essentially act as a meal replacement bar? What should you eat when you’re hungry and feeling on edge?
No way. Just because something has nuts doesn’t make it healthy, especially when those nuts are drizzled in caramel and chocolate, as you’ll find in a Snickers bar.
Sure, a bite of this iconic candy bar can’t be wrong, but after that first bite, you’ll realize how overpowering the flavor is. All that intense milk chocolate is made sweetened only by a nougat base and caramel, so that’s likely to cause a stomach ache.
These things are so bulky and obnoxious that we wish they were out of vending machines everywhere.
If there’s one chocolate candy on this list you’re going to avoid, we hope it’s Snickers.
Ritz Crackers – Popular Snacks In America
Can anyone say they love Ritz Crackers? You might not know that during the Great Depression, firecrackers were marketed as a luxury product – hence the Ritz name – to help those suffering from economic hardship feel like they needed a high-end yet affordable item was being found (via Snack History).
These days, they feel like an idea, like some random firecracker you put next to a cheeseboard when you run out of good stuff.
They’re aggressively dry (indeed not good munchie ingredients) and are not really something you’d ever eat on your own.
They don’t feel good enough to be paired with your nice cheese. So, what to do with them? If we were you, maybe we would have avoided them altogether.
If you’re trying to get rid of a box you already have in your pantry, these crackers can be crumbled to use in other recipes, but that’s all we’ll do with them.
If you love these little butter cream crackers, by all means, try them – we’re never going to buy them, so there’s more for you.
- Pringles – Popular Snacks In America
You might think of Pringles as a typical American snack, but that’s not necessarily true. Two-thirds of Pringles are sold outside of North America.
If you love these chips and you’re going abroad, don’t worry about trying to fit a tube in your suitcase—you’ll probably be able to find them at any airport.
If you know anything about American history, you’ll know that Great Pringles Exports isn’t the first time we’ve exported garbage to other countries. But it may be one of our most unbearable crimes.
OK, OK, Pringles aren’t that bad. And if you’re looking for a less greasy chip, Pringles are the way to go. But they are a little sad.
They may be made from potatoes, but it’s not clear when you consider how much they’ve been processed. They don’t have the same crunch you get from other chips, and they’re so thin and brittle that they break easily.
Most of the flavors aren’t that exciting either – you’re mostly just waiting for the salt to hit your taste buds.
While not all Pringles flavors are created equally, even the best flavors aren’t exactly what we’re looking for in a good snack.
- Hershey’s – Popular Snacks In America
We know Hershey’s is a classic. That super-sweet milk chocolate may be the first taste of chocolate many of us have.
But just because it’s the first doesn’t mean it’s the best. Hershey’s doesn’t taste bad if you haven’t eaten much chocolate in your life, but once you taste better, you’ll be back at Hershey’s.
There is a lot of sugar in this chocolate, even more than you might expect from most milk chocolate bars. This makes it challenging to eat more than a square without counteracting your digestive system (and teeth).
Additionally, there’s something about Hershey’s bar that tastes cheap. While better-quality chocolate tends to have more profound richness, it seems that Hershey’s flavors are all surface-level—the sugar is driving the show.
While there are worse snacks you can enjoy, we certainly wouldn’t go out of our way to grab Hersey’s bar from a vending machine.
Planters Peanuts – Popular Snacks In America
There’s nothing wrong with Planters Peanuts. They’re just peanuts, and how can you go wrong with that? Here at the tasting table, we love peanuts in all sorts of forms—boiled, as a topping on noodle dishes, and chocolate-covered in our favorite holiday dessert dish.
But when they are served naked, all on their own, with nothing to complement them? Then we have to pass them.
Planters’ peanuts are super salty. While it’s usually something we appreciate, we feel the planters just added so much salt because the peanuts are flavorless.
They don’t taste fresh, making us wonder how long they’ve been sitting in those plastic containers. And even though peanuts, in general, aren’t that interesting, as far as snacks go, there are better brands of peanuts to choose from.
Need a quick snack you can have on the go that’s always guaranteed to fill you up? Planters’ peanuts may not be the worst thing to eat.
But if you’re on the hunt for excellent snack food, you should know that this snack is unlikely to hit the spot.
Starburst – Popular Snacks In America
We don’t want to offend any diehard Starburst fans — we know how strongly you all feel about these juicy little candy squares.
But we’re here to omit some facts: Starburst chews aren’t great in mass snacks. Unfortunately, most of the flavors have faded entirely.
If you get a large package of Starbursts, you’ll probably pick up most of them only to find the color you want. Once they’re all gone, you’re essentially left with a vaguely unappetizing bag of juicy sugar that you’re probably going to eat without thinking, even really—not even enjoying it.
No known? We’ve been there before. To us, oranges taste the best of the bunch and are delicious. (Too bad you can’t just buy a whole bag of oranges.)
However, given that you don’t get to choose your favorite flavors, we generally think buying a Starburst bag is a waste of your time and money.
- M&M’s – Popular Snacks In America
Listen, this is open for debate. Do we think M&M is the best candy ever invented? Not at all, But that’s especially true when it comes to original M&Ms.
As for all the other flavors? Some of them are good. It makes sense that there would be a lot of variation between the different varieties because, at their core, M&Ms are one of the most basic candies one can dream up.
They’re just tiny drops of chocolate covered in a flavorless candy coating. So, adding just one ingredient makes a big difference.
While the taste and texture of regular M&M bring it down the rankings a bit (these also taste pretty cheap, like Hershey’s bars), other varieties earn it a higher spot on our list than you might expect.
Our idea? Pretzel M&Ms are the best of the best. They’re the perfect mix of salty and sweet, and they have a crunch that makes them more satisfying than other options.
There’s just something about that dry interior and candy coating on the outside that makes them so much fun to bite into. Crunchy, almond, and caramel options are also pretty solid choices.
The dark chocolate and peanut varieties are a bit boring, but at least there’s more to them than the original.
Try different types of M&Ms to see which M&Ms you love, but don’t consider them your all-time favorite snack.
Sour Patch Kids – Popular Snacks In America
Sour gummy worms are magical, so we understand why companies want to put their spin on the sour-sweet candy trend. It’s a winning combination, especially if you can make your candy as sour as possible.
And while Sour Patch Kids quickly achieve that feat, we’re still baffled that we don’t like them as much as Sour Gummy Bugs.
The problem mostly comes down to the taste and consistency of the gummy itself. While many gummies have a lovely bouncy texture that you don’t often find in American foods, you won’t find that with Sour Patch Kids.
Instead, they have an almost plastic-like consistency that’s hard to cut and sticks to your teeth (seriously, visit the dentist if you eat more than three of these).
They are also so acidic that they can burn your tongue if you eat too many of them, but this may be necessary to counteract the sweetness that comes from the gummy.
We don’t discourage you from buying this snack, but they’re probably not something you’ll love (which is a good thing, we guess).
Are they outstanding? Not necessary. If you love sour candies, are they still worth your time? Probably.
- Cheez-It – Popular Snacks In America
One thing that Cheez-It crackers have going for them is that they taste like cheese. That’s not true of all cheese-flavored snacks, so we’re grateful that’s the case.
That being said, the cheese—tastes like processed American cheese with maybe a hint of cheddar, which is probably not what any cheese lover wants.
If you forget about that detail, you’ll find that Cheez-Its are a standard snack with which most people won’t have a problem.
They’re cheesy; they’re salty; they have something crunchy and crunchy in them – what’s not to like?
The only thing to remember with Cheez-Its is that they go stale quickly. Like, open the box, and after two days, your Cheez-Its will lose all their texture and become strangely soft. It seems that they lose some of their flavors in a short time.
That’s why cheese-its are the kind of snack that we put at a party. They’re eaten every night, so you don’t have to worry about them going rancid. And because most people will love them, you don’t have to shell out a bunch of different snacks.
Of course, Cheez-Its aren’t our favorite by a long shot, but they’re an average snack that’ll get the job done when you want to keep your guests fed and happy—without spending a ton of cash.
Hostess Cupcakes – Popular Snacks In America
It’s too bad we can’t rank Hostess Cupcakes higher on our list. It was an absolute lunch box staple; we’ll never forget how happy we were to have one there.
But try the cupcakes as an adult, and you’ll wonder what the hype is. It should be no surprise that these cooked tastes are as processed as they come. The cake is thick and tough, not quite what you want from a fresh cupcake.
And the frosting on top? Don’t even get us started. It’s downright brutal – it barely moves. That is not a good sign. Then there’s all that ultra-sweet cream in the middle. There’s a lot to it if you ask us.
And yet… there’s something about this dessert that still feels special. It’s hard not to enjoy chocolate cake and icing, and Hostess Cupcakes offers just that.
Maybe it’s the cause of nostalgia or the copious amounts of sugar hooking our brains, but there’s something hard not to like about these sweet treats. You may not find them in our shopping cart, but we won’t turn them down if they are offered.
- Ruffles – Popular Snacks In America
Attention, all Ruffles lovers. You know there are better chips out there, right? Chips that are crunchier, more natural flavored, and taste better? But we do not mean to pass judgment.
If you’re not comparing Ruffles to other chips, they’re pretty cool. They’re thick enough, and the texture allows you to easily scoop all kinds of dips and condiments onto your chip.
They’re friendly and salty but not salty enough to make your mouth feel like it’s shrinking after you take a few bites. Ruffles, for lack of a better word, are standard, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Of course, if you’re looking for exciting and unique chip flavors or the most natural-flavored chip, Ruffles isn’t for you. But there’s a time and a place for everything, ruffles included.
We think they’re incredibly delicious with a sour cream dip, Tobiko, or… wait for it… dipped in chocolate (yes, you have to try it).
While they may not be our favorite chip on this list, they’re a solid snack option that you shouldn’t completely write off.
Bite Kit – Popular Snacks In America
Who should you reach for when you want a candy bar that’s more appealing than Snickers? Well, it’s not our absolute favorite, but we have to admit that Kit Kat bars are a way better option.
This is a wafer cookie covered in chocolate and divided into strips for sharing. (Or convincing yourself that you’re only going to have a slice before eating the whole thing yourself.)
It may sound simple, but it’s a pleasant, enjoyable bite. At least, at first. Milk chocolate can become spicy after a short time.
However, it’s not really about the chocolate in this case at all. Instead, the humble Kit Kat focuses on texture, not flavor.
The crunchy wafer has that bite it’s hard not to love, and the fact that it’s encased in chocolate brings it down a notch to just the right level.
Snap a Kit Kat in half, and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Sure, they’re not our favorite snack on this list, but there’s just something about Kit Kats that feels fun and nostalgic. We wouldn’t blame you if you decided to steal after being tricked-or-treating by your kids.
Doritos – Popular Snacks In America
Doritos: You either love them or hate them. Or, you alternately love them and hate them as we do. Look, when you think of opening a bag of Doritos when they’re nowhere near you, they just don’t look that appetizing.
Whatever flavor you choose, you know they will be covered with an aggressive amount of seasonings—so much so that it completely overwhelms your taste buds. And unless you have a munchie, it probably doesn’t sound very appealing.
But just then, you hear the bag rustle, and Doritos appear in front of you. You take a chip without thinking and bite into it, and all of a sudden, your eyes glaze over, and you realize that you’re about to eat the whole bag at once.
Here’s the problem with Doritos: They don’t taste that good but are still addictive. If you want to avoid them, we advise you not to keep these chips in your house.
However, sometimes a Doritos binge may be just what you need to deal with the stresses of everyday life. Hey, there are worse flaws than this.
Chips Ahoy – Popular Snacks In America
When you think of a standard, mass-produced chocolate chip cookie, there’s a good chance that Chips Ahoy is the first cookie to come to mind.
These crunchy little morsels of goodness certainly can’t rival an average homemade cookie (or even one made from a roll of Toll house dough), but there’s something about them that we love anyway. Chocolate chips are tiny and very sweet.
The cookie is small, sandy, and very crunchy (unless you get the chewy version, we like them better). But when they come together, you’re left with an enjoyable sweet treat.
However, if you embark on the Chips Ahoy journey, you must ensure you’re prepared. An essential ingredient is a glass of milk, preferably whole milk, but oat milk will work fine too.
When you dip your cookies into that glass of milk, hold them there for at least five seconds. Anything less, the milk won’t soak into the cookies, and they’ll be too hard. Soaking milk makes them excellent, soft, and tastier than the package.
Lays – Popular Snacks In America
Lays is an absolute classic. It’s at BBQs. It’s at parties. It belongs in your child’s lunch box. If you pick up a random bag of chips from a chain restaurant, chances are it will be Lays. And to be honest, we don’t mind.
Classic Lays are nice and thin, making you feel like you’re eating air. (That’s why we tend to eat the whole bag in one sitting.)
They’re just salty—that is, very salty, without drying out your mouth. And they have that crunch that keeps you reaching for more in the bag.
That being said, there are better chip brands out there. If you had only eaten Lays before, you might not think you need anything else.
But after tasting the options, we can no longer claim that Lays is our favorite. However, you can’t mess with the classic snack on this one, so you might see us serving it up at a party from time to time.
Cheetos – Popular Snacks In America
Cheetos are another classic, but these rank a bit higher because you can’t find another brand that does these Cheetos snacks as well as Cheetos.
They come in both crunchy and puffed varieties, but we prefer the 100% crunchy ones. Their flavor is more concentrated, and the intense crunch they offer is what drives you to reach for more.
It’s hard to beat the original flavor, and you won’t be disappointed if you choose this one. However, we just like the Flamin’ Hot variety.
These things are pretty spicy, so if you don’t like the heat in your food, you might want to skip them. Otherwise, though, they’re a great breakfast.
There are some drawbacks. We don’t feel good after finishing a bag of Cheetos, and neither do we think most people. There is also the matter of error.
Even after eating a single Cheetos, your fingers will be covered entirely in Cheetos dust. It’s not a good look, so we like to eat our Cheetos with chopsticks to avoid that difficulty.
While there are better snacks on this list, we can’t deny that Cheetos is one we’ll keep returning to for years.
Oreos – Popular Snacks In America
You knew they had to come soon, didn’t you? After all, when it comes to packaged cookies, it’s hard to deny that Oreos have earned themselves quite a bit of fame.
The classic version of these iconic cookies is made with a sugared cream surrounded by two chocolate cookies. It’s the ultimate dunkable snack food, and we’ll never get tired of cracking them open and licking them before putting them back together to eat whole.
One thing you might not know about Oreos is that most of the flavors are vegetarian. So, what is all that cream made of? Mostly Chinese, as it turned out.
And that fact is understandable because Oreos, unfortunately, have a little artificial flavor. This can be said for many of the snacks on this list, so we don’t want to exclude Oreos.
However, if they had tasted a little more natural, they would have ended up very high on this ranking.
Even with the lack of actual milk products, it’s hard to deny that Oreos are a classic American snack and will likely dominate the snack market for some time.
Fritos – Popular Snacks In America
Salty, crunchy, and delicious: what more could you want from a chip? That’s what you’ll find when you dig into bags of Fritos. We know, we know—not everyone is a fan of these famous chips, but they are some of our favorites.
Of course, they’re amazing when transformed into a Frito pie, and they can also be crushed and sprinkled on top of many dishes (we love ours in salads).
But he doesn’t need any company to win our hearts. Fritos are super salty and delicious and are one of the best snacks.
The only problem? Because Fritos are so salty, they can burn your mouth if you overeat them. If you value your kidneys, they are not something you want to do too much.
However, they are so delicious that it is hard to resist even a few bites. Give in and have a snack – your shriveled tongue will tell you when to stop.
Trail Mix – Popular Snacks In America
You might wonder why trail mix has landed so high on our list. While it may not be as popular as some other snacks out here, we love that the trail mix provides us with some nutrition.
We’re sorry that many popular American snacks provide very few essential nutrients. And while trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits may not be the healthiest thing you can eat in a day, it will give you energy.
You don’t have to eat it on the trail itself. We think it’s a great snack to take to work at your desk. And if you’re smart, you may have chosen a variety that goes well with any type of chocolate.
We also love that you can find trail mixes from many different brands, so if you don’t like one variety, you have countless others to choose from. Choose one with the best ingredients, and then enjoy your healthy-ish breakfast.
Tostitos – Popular Snacks In America
There are lots of brands that offer great tortilla chips. But if we are talking about popular American snacks, it cannot be denied that Tostitos has died in the market. And it’s understandable.
They offer your standard tortilla chip, generously blessed with salt and crunchy as your heart desires, and they also have Tostitos Scoops, a dream come true for any sauce lover.
You can get Tostitos with a hint of lime or choose a bag that already has guacamole baked into the chip (yes, you heard that right).
Because of that, Tostitos is one of our favorite chips on this ranking. They consistently have just the right amount of salt, and we love the other flavor options.
Our favorite, though, has to be Scoops. If you haven’t tried them, buy a bag and whip up your favorite salsa recipe. Put them together, and you’ll see what all the hype is about.
Goldfish Crackers – Popular Snacks In America
At first glance, Goldfish crackers may seem like nothing special. They’re little cheesy crackers with a salt sprinkle, not big enough to hold any topping.
But once you eat some goldfish, you’ll learn that it’s nearly impossible to stop snacking once you start. Something about salt with a crunch compels you to put your hand in the bag repeatedly.
And while they may seem like a snack for the kids, they’re something we still love to stock in the back of the pantry whenever we feel like treating ourselves.
Take a hot one: While the cheddar goldfish, which you’re probably most used to eating, is delicious, we think that the original goldfish, that is, plain crackers without any cheese, is even better.
Never mind – we know not everyone here will agree with us. But if you haven’t tried them for yourself, it’s time to get yourself to the snack aisle ASAP.
Almond Joy – Popular Snacks In America
There’s a lot out there that’s genuinely awesome when it comes to candy bars. But Almond Joy isn’t one of those candy bars.
This option offers the rare opportunity to taste natural fruit in a mass-produced breakfast (yes, that’s actual coconut!) While milk chocolate isn’t usually our favorite, it works in Almond Joy.
Since it’s such a small amount of chocolate, the focus is on the other ingredients, which sets this candy bar ahead of most others.
Be forewarned, though: Although Almond Joys may be more pleasant than many competitors, they’re still lovely.
If you’re used to eating fair trade 87% dark chocolate, there’s a good chance Almond Joy isn’t going to do the same for you.
But when it comes to popular American snacks, there’s no doubt that Almond Joy is one of the better staples to eat.
Chex Mix – Popular Snacks In America
Yes, we genuinely believe that Chex Mix is one of the best snacks in America and on the entire planet.
And that’s because it’s not just one snack—it blends several different snacks into one, integrated under a dusting of flavorful powder, which means salt isn’t always the star of the show.
It’s a magical combo; we can eat this stuff daily. As far as we’re concerned, Corn Chex is the best part of Chex Mix, followed closely by those little bubbly breadsticks.
And how can you go wrong with pretzels? (Spheres are more fun to eat, but window glass tastes just as good.)
However, not every ingredient in Chex Mix is delicious. Rye chips, for example, don’t have this for us.
But even those little omissions can be easily forgiven once you dive back into that bag of principled cereal. Make sure you have this luggage available for every long car ride, airport trip, or work day.
Reese’s – Popular Snacks In America
Hail to the King of Candy Bars: Reese’s. Those who know, they know. It’s the saltiest peanut butter you’ve ever tasted, surrounded by a thin layer of milk chocolate, which is lovingly placed in a paper cup.
Pick it up, and you’ll be amazed by its weight. All that rich peanut butter gives this candy bar some sense, and we’re here for it.
Give it a taste, and you will experience the sublime combination of salty and sweet that you have been waiting for a lifetime.
Once your teeth break through that soft layer of chocolate, you’ll experience the bliss that slightly gritty peanut butter Reese’s is known for.
There are other excellent nut butter cups on the market, and you should check them out – especially if you’re looking for something healthier or more natural-tasting.
But there’s something about the classic Reese’s Cup that we’ll never get over. This is the best mass-produced candy bar on the market if you ask us.
Kettle Chips – Popular Snacks In America
You already know how we feel about ruffles and ledges. They’re both excellent potato chips, but we’ve always felt something was missing.
That is until we opened our first bag of kettle chips. It’s not just our favorite chip brand on the market—it’s also our favorite American snack, period.
It all comes down to the crunch. Kettle chips are roughly cut compared to other chips like Lay’s, which means they have more crunch.
Additionally, they sometimes have these beautiful natural folds, which give you even more crunch. And when you consider how salty they are, it’s clear why this brand always remains a winner in our hearts.
Of course, plain saltine chips are a great option, especially if you’re trying out the brand for the first time. But once you get your footing, you should explore many other flavors.
Jalapeno chips are our favorite, but Korean barbecue flavor is a close second. Try them all and see which one you like best.
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