13 Tips You Need When Making A Candy Salad

When you think of salad, you probably imagine a plate or bowl brimming with fresh veggies and, of course, a delicious dressing. That said, salads have one key weakness: They're not snack fare. Side dishes? Yes. Meals when prepared with plenty of protein? Yes. Snacking? Not so much. Nowever, one snacking salad has paved its way into the heart and stomachs of TikTok users seemingly everywhere: the candy salad. 

If you aren't on the candy salad side of TikTok, let us explain. The candy salad trend typically involves a line of individuals pouring one type of candy each into a bowl. The end result is an amalgamation of different sweet candies. Then, the container is mixed — no dressing here, thankfully — and everyone enjoys a cup of the candy medley.

As TikTok has proven, with many people doing this in their office break rooms, you don't need to be on a sports team or even celebrate a special occasion to make a candy salad. Instead, you could just create one to dip into whenever you (or the people you live with) have a hankering for a sweet treat. However, before diving in to create your first candy salad, you'll definitely want to read up on some tips so your candy salad experience is as delicious and easy-going as possible. Whether you're creating your candy salad with others or preparing it solo, we're willing to bet the outcome will be delicious if you heed the following advice. (Feel free to save us a scoop.)

1. Choose an appropriate container for your candy salad

There's an absolutely essential factor you must consider before compiling your candy salad ingredients: the container. You'll want something that can be covered and stored in a cool, dry place to keep your candies from melting or otherwise going bad, and you'll want to stir the mix every now and then to avoid clumping.

You may consider using a separate container for mixing the salad and storing it. A large bowl with a lid will help prevent your salad from spilling everywhere, or you could opt for a cereal storage container with a pour spout to make dispensing it even easier. Though the latter is great for storing your candy salad, it probably isn't ideal for making it because of its shape, so you may want a separate mixing bowl as well if you go this route.

If you're looking to create the candy salad in the same container you store it in, a very large plastic container with a lid will probably be your best bet. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option, but it will certainly get the job done and keep your candy salad in good shape after everything's mixed together. The most important part is simply to make sure it's stored in a sealed container. If all else fails, use Ziploc bags to seal your leftovers.

2. Use unwrapped candy

One of the best parts about candy salads is that they're meant to be easily snack-able. As a result, the best candies to use in them are unwrapped. Fortunately, this also helps narrow down your options in the candy aisle, which is a nice bonus for those of us who are a little indecisive.

Starburst candies, for example, seem like they'd make a delicious addition to a fruity candy salad, but they really mess with the whole groove of eating when you need to pause to unwrap each one. It also increases the risk of accidentally eating a piece of the wrapper — a potentially embarrassing moment when eating in a crowd. Of course, if you simply must include wrapped candies in your salad, you should unwrap them first, but this definitely increases your prep time. Alternatively, look for unwrapped versions of candies that otherwise come wrapped. For example, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, KitKats, York Peppermint Patties, and Starburst all offer mini, unwrapped versions perfect for candy salads.

3. Provide clear instructions to participants

Most candy salad videos on TikTok are done by groups of people rather than solo. Sports teams and school clubs are common examples, but candy salads certainly aren't limited to this group. This trend would go over well at weddings, birthdays, bachelorette or bachelor parties, or even just a random Friday night in with friends.

No matter who you make your salad with, you'll definitely want to provide clear instructions and expectations for the salad. That is, tell people what the end goal is and the type of flavor profile you're going for, and make some recommendations about the type of candy they should bring. For example, if you're going for a fruity theme, be sure that people are steering clear of chocolates or savory-leaning candies. If you, like us, staunchly believe that wrapped candy doesn't belong in candy salad, be sure you tell your crew that. There's nothing worse than everyone coming to the party, candy in tow, only to realize that they've made a mistake with their selections. It can be embarrassing for the contributor, and the candy salad will also suffer, potentially bringing the vibes down for everyone.

4. Choose a theme for your candy salad

Depending on the occasion, you may already have a theme that's easy to work into your salad. For example, a bachelorette or bachelor party may choose gummies with shapes representing marriage, like Peach Rings.

If there's no obvious theme for your group, you could choose a theme based on a specific color or flavor. An all-red salad, for instance, could be really fun to put together for a sports team whose primary color is red. It may require sorting through candies to pull out a certain color, such as sifting through a few bags of M&Ms, but the result would certainly be fun.

For an animal-themed salad, ask your participants to bring sweets in the shapes of animals or ones named after critters. Keep in mind, though, that this would likely be a very gummy-forward salad since many gummy candies are shaped as animals. Alternatively, you could simply say that the salad's theme is fruity, which would emulate many of the salads folks have shared on social media. If it ain't broke — you get it!

5. Don't forget a scoop!

If you're sharing your candy salad with others, you'll definitely want a sanitary way for people to enjoy their candy. A large, clear, plastic scoop like you'd see in a candy store can easily get the job done. But be sure you're getting a scoop that can hold enough candy at once. Small scoops probably wouldn't be the most advantageous for the situation because you want to be able to have people get a variety of candy within a single scoop.

Alternatively, you could use a kitchen tool like a large soup ladle. If you're serving the candy salad in plastic cups, those cups could also act as individual scoops. However, you'll want to ensure that people use a new cup every time they scoop out more candy salad to help keep the bowl sanitary for everyone. After all, you never know if someone's sick or unknowingly carrying a sickness, and you also can't tell what they've touched or generally come into contact with. Any second helpings with the same cup could jeopardize the entire salad.

6. Make a solid salad base out of gummy candy

Many of the candy salad videos uploaded to TikTok showcase a variety of gummy candies being used. This is likely because gummy candies tend to be widely loved. For this reason, we, too, recommend using gummy candy as your salad base.

Haribo's gummy candies, for one, come in a variety of different themes and flavors. Other popular reaches include gummy bears and gummy worms, which are both delicious and widely available in stores. They're also candies that many people are familiar with, so seeing them in a candy salad could feel quite nostalgic. What's more, gummy candies are very enjoyable to eat because of their squishy texture, bringing extra fun to your salad. To ensure you get a strong gummy base, you could assign one or two people to bring gummy candies, and you could even bring some of your own as back-up candies in case not enough gummy candy is added to the overall mixture.

7. Use sour candy for some zing

Though we love sour candy, we recognize that it's not everyone's cup of tea. Some people like the grittiness of the sour coating, while others can't stand that puckering feeling or the burning feeling left on the tongue after eating sour candies. Though you might not be 100% on team sour, having some sour candy in your mix will add a nice zest that will make the regular candies taste all the more sweet. 

The nice thing about a candy salad is that people can easily pick around the parts they don't want. That said, you don't want to overdo it with the sour candy; just a few pieces thrown in will suffice for both sweet and sour candy lovers. Take caution not to add wrapped sour candies like Warheads that are really strong. Instead, go for something a little tamer and easier to enjoy, like sour gummy worms. Alternatively, you can build a separate all-sour salad for your guests to enjoy. 

8. Be aware of allergies and dietary preferences

Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you're organizing a candy salad for a large group, bring aware of any allergies or sensitivities among the participants is crucial. When you're aware of these in advance, you can make arrangements to ensure that the candy salad includes items everyone can enjoy. For example, be aware of those who may follow a vegan, kosher, or gluten-free diet. You'll also need to keep in mind Halal dietary needs if they apply to your group. Most Haribo gummies, for instance, aren't vegetarian-friendly, but a select few of the brand's products, like the Zing Sour Streamers of ZING Sour S'ghetti, are acceptable. Sadly, none of Haribo's products are gluten-free, but fellow gummy brand Albanese does offer gluten-free gummies.

Alternatively, you could serve candies with certain ingredients in a separate container as an add-on item. That way, people can scoop them onto their salad (using a dedicated scoop) without dramatically changing the experience for anyone else. In situations where allergies may be a little difficult to discover ahead of time, like a wedding, leave a note near the serving station of possible allergy and ingredient concerns so people know what to expect when scooping their portion of candy salad. 

9. Steer clear of chocolate in gummy concoctions

In conjunction with choosing a theme and accounting for allergies, you should identify the candies you want to avoid. If you're making a fruity or gummy-based mixture, chocolate candies probably won't work. While chocolate salads do have their place, mixing chocolate with gummy candies creates a confusing flavor and texture mix, and there's also a risk of the chocolate melting, coating the other candy, and generally detracting from the experience of eating a gummy candy salad. 

There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, that you should bear in mind. In situations where the salad's theme is something like "chocolate-covered strawberries," there will need to be chocolate among the candies. For this theme, you can ask participants to bring in mini chocolate candies, like pieces of Hersey bars, or chocolate chips and strawberry-flavored items, like cut-up Twizzlers, pink Starbursts, strawberry gummy candy, or Trolli Strawberry Puffs. The awesome thing about this theme is that melty chocolate won't be a problem. Rather, it will be really reflective of the actual fruit and chocolate-covered treat.

10. Avoid hard candies

Like most snacks, candy salad is generally created with the intention of popping one piece after another in quick succession. Because of this, the candies need to be easily snack-able. As we've established, gummies work well in these situations, as do crunchier candies like NERDS and Skittles. 

However, hard candies designed for sucking, rather than crunching, aren't ideal. For one, hard candies like Werther's Original caramels, Warheads, and Jolly Ranchers, though delicious on their own, interrupt the snacking flow of your candy salad because you have to pause to suck on it. Not to mention, they're a little bit of a hazard for your teeth. Imagine snacking on gummies for a while and then suddenly coming across a hard candy. If you inadvertently chomp down on your candy, you could inflict a ton of tooth pain or even serious tooth damage. For that reason, it's best to pick items that can be easily chewed and consumed, not those that require sucking over time.

11. Consider a chocolaty mix

While gummy salads are delicious, you can choose to flip the script entirely and go for an entirely chocolaty mix. This version is ideal for people who don't enjoy gummy or fruity candy or those simply looking for a more decadent candy salad experience. If you do go this route, mixing different kinds of chocolates from different brands together would make for a super-enjoyable combination of flavors. Important note: This version is best served in a cooler so the chocolate doesn't melt, especially in cases where you're not in a temperature-controlled environment.

Chocolate may technically limit the type of candies you can choose, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to go all out with bite-size candy bars. For example, consider getting a few different kinds of M&Ms and throwing them in there. You should know, however, that you'll definitely still want to be aware of allergies, especially if you're working with candies made (or processed on cross-contact equipment) with milk or certain types of nuts. 

12. Shop at dollar stores to create candy salads on a budget

If you've ever taken a few moments to peruse a candy aisle, you've no doubt noticed how expensive candy has gotten. And considering that you'll want to have plenty of different candies in your candy salad, it's clear that shopping from a local convenience or grocery store candy aisle may not be in the cards for you. Fortunately, you don't need to drop a fortune to create a delicious candy mixture — even amid food inflation, you can still get reasonable candy prices at dollar stores.

Before defaulting to your normal grocery store, make a stop at a nearby dollar store. You may find that your selection is a little more limited here, but the savings can be pretty substantial. If you're relying on other people to bring their own candies, you can make this shopping recommendation to them as well to help limit the expense how expensive this activity can be. Plus, you may even be able to pick up a bowl and spoon from your dollar store while you're there. 

13. Mix your candy salad well

Once you have all of your candies in one container and everybody has added their part, the final step is mixing the pieces together. This is where the candy salad goes from a layered trifle of sorts to something even more festive, fun, and memorable. Naturally, this step ensures that every bite is unique and full of different candy varieties. 

There are a few different ways you can mix your salad, but it's probably easiest in a large container. Begin by gently moving the container from side to side to help move the candy around and break up any clumps. Then, with either gloved hands or a large spoon, start stirring everything together. You'll want to make sure you don't smush anything or over-mix it to the point where the candy breaks. The goal is to have all the candies interspersed with one another, not to break them and make them unrecognizable. Once you're done mixing, your candy salad can be served immediately or covered and stored for your event or gathering.