25 Most Popular Snacks In America Ranked Worst To Best

The country may be divided, but there's at least one thing we can agree on: We love snacking. Whether you're more of a candy bar person or prefer something on the savory side, snacks are part of what makes life worth living. How else would you get through the long work day ? And while American snacks may not always be the healthiest options out there, many of them are so delicious they're literally addictive (via The New York Times Magazine). That being said, some of the snacks lining our store shelves are pretty gross, and you'll want to avoid them.

Of course, you probably have your own preferences, but we've created a ranking of some of the most popular snacks on the American market. We've started with our least favorite snacks, the ones we never want to have to eat again, and made our way to our absolute favorites, i.e., the snacks we can't have in the house because we know we'll finish the whole package in one sitting. Let's take a look at the 25 most popular snacks in America, ranked worst to best.

25. Snickers

We know that this may start a fight with some, but we can't deny it: Snickers are not good. Remember the ridiculous claim that Snickers could essentially function as a meal replacement bar? Like that's what you're supposed to eat when you're hungry and feeling on edge? Absolutely not. Just because something has nuts in it doesn't make it healthy, especially when those nuts are drizzled in caramel and chocolate like you'll find in a Snickers bar.

Sure, one bite of this iconic candy bar may not be bad, but after that first bite, you're going to realize how overpowering the flavor really is. All that intense milk chocolate is only made sweeter by the nougat base and caramel, so much so that it's likely to cause a stomachache. In fact, these things are so heavy and unpleasant that we wish they'd just be taken out of vending machines everywhere completely.

If there's one chocolate candy on this list you're going to avoid, we hope it's Snickers.

24. Ritz Crackers

Can anyone truly say that they love Ritz Crackers? You may not know that during the Great Depression, the crackers were marketed as a luxury product — hence the name Ritz — to help people suffering economic hardship feel like they were getting a high-end, yet affordable item (via Snack History). These days, they just feel like an afterthought, like some random crackers you would put out next to a cheeseboard when you ran out of the good stuff. They're aggressively dry (definitely not good munchies material), and they're not really something you would ever eat on their own. At the same time, they don't feel nice enough to be paired with your good cheese. So, what to do with them? If we were you, we'd probably just avoid them completely.

These crackers can be crumbled up to be used in other dishes, if you're trying to get rid of a box you already have in your pantry, but that's about all we would do with them. If you like these little buttery crackers, by all means, have at them — we're never going to be buying them, so there's more for you.

23. Pringles

You may think of Pringles as a distinctly American snack, but that's not necessarily true. In fact, a whopping two-thirds of Pringles are sold outside of North America. If you love these chips and you're going overseas, don't worry about trying to fit a tube in your suitcase — you're probably going to be able to find them at just about any airport you go to. If you know anything about American history, you would know that Great Pringles Exportation isn't the first time we've exported our trash to other countries. But this may be one of the most disagreeable of our offenses.

Okay, okay, Pringles aren't that bad. And if you're looking for a less-greasy chip, it seems like Pringles are the way to go. But, really, they're kind of sad. They may be made from potatoes, but that's not really evident when you consider how much they've been processed. They don't have that same crunch that you get from other chips, and they're so thin and brittle, they break easily. Most of the flavors aren't even that exciting — you're mostly just waiting around for the salt to hit your taste buds.

While not all Pringles flavors are created equally, even the best flavors are just not what we're looking for in a good snack.

22. Hershey's

We know that Hershey's is a classic. That super-sweet milk chocolate may have been the very first taste of chocolate many of us had. But just because it's the first doesn't mean it's the best. Hershey's doesn't taste bad if you haven't had much chocolate in your life, but once you taste better, you'll go back to a Hershey's bar feeling jaded. There is way, way too much sugar in this chocolate, even more than you would expect from most milk chocolate bars. That makes it difficult to eat more than a single square without your digestive system (and your teeth) protesting.

Additionally, there's just something about a Hershey's bar that tastes cheap. Whereas better quality chocolate has a deep richness to it, it seems like Hershey's flavors are all very surface-level — the sugar is definitely running the show. While there are worse snacks you could indulge in, we would certainly never go out of our way to grab a Hersey's bar from a vending machine.

21. Planters Peanuts

There's nothing wrong with Planters Peanuts, per se. They're basically just peanuts, and how can you really go wrong with that? Here at Tasting Table, we love peanuts in all kinds of forms — boiled, as a topping on a noodle dish, and covered in chocolate in our favorite holiday dessert dish. But when they're served naked, all on their own, with nothing to complement them? That's when we have to pass them up.

Planters Peanuts are super salty. While this is usually something we appreciate, we feel like Planters just added all that salt because the peanuts are rather flavorless. They don't taste fresh at all, which makes 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 peanut brands out there to choose from.

Need a quick snack you can take on the go that's pretty much always guaranteed to fill you up? Planters Peanuts may not be the worst thing to eat. But if you're looking for prime snack food, you should know that this snack isn't likely to hit the spot.

20. Starburst

We don't want to anger any of the diehard Starburst fans out there — we know how strongly you all feel about these juicy little candy squares. But we're here to drop some facts: Starburst chews aren't that great in the realm of snacks at large. Unfortunately, most of the flavors are completely lackluster. If you get a big package of Starburst, you're probably going to pick through the vast majority of them just to find the color you truly want. Once those are all gone, you're left with a vaguely unappetizing bag of essentially juicy sugar that you're probably just going to eat mindlessly, not even really enjoying any of it.

Sound familiar? We've been there before. For us, the orange flavor is the best of the bunch, and it really is delicious. (Too bad you can't just buy a whole bag of the orange ones.) However, considering that you don't just get to choose your favorite flavors, we generally think that buying a bag of Starburst is a waste of your time and money.

19. M&M's

Listen, this one is open to debate. Do we think that M&M's are the best candy ever invented? Of course not. But that's especially true when it comes to the original M&M's. As far as all the other flavors? Some of them are really, really good. It makes sense that there would be a lot of variation between the different varieties, because at their core, M&M's are one of the most basic candies anyone could ever dream up. They're just little drops of chocolate covered in a flavorless candy coating. So, adding just one ingredient makes a big difference. While the flavor and texture of regular M&M's brings the ranking down a little (these also taste quite cheap, just like the Hershey's bar), the other varieties earn it a higher place on our list than you may expect.

Our opinion? Pretzel M&M's are the best of the best. They're the perfect mix of salty and sweet, and they have a crunch to them that makes them more satisfying than most of the other options. There's something about that dry interior and the candy coating on the outside that makes them super fun to bite into. The crispy, almond, and caramel options are pretty solid choices too. The dark chocolate and peanut varieties are a little bit boring, but at least they have more going for them than the original.

Try different kinds of M&M's to see which ones you like, but don't count on them being your all-time favorite snack.

18. Sour Patch Kids

Sour gummy worms are magical, so we totally understand why companies would want to put their own spin on the sour-sweet candy trend. It's a winning combination, especially if you can make your candy as intensely sour as possible. And while Sour Patch Kids achieve that feat easily, we're still bummed that we don't like them as much as sour gummy worms.

The problem mostly comes down to the flavor and the consistency of the gummy itself. While many gummies have a lovely bouncy texture that you don't often come across in American foods, you're not going to get that with Sour Patch Kids. Instead, they almost have a plastic-like consistency that's hard to bite into and that sticks to your teeth (seriously, visit a dentist if you eat more than three of these).

They're also so acidic that they may leave your tongue burning if you eat too many of them, but that may be necessary to counteract the sweetness that's coming from the gummy itself. Basically, we don't discourage you from buying this snack, but they're probably not something that you'll want to binge on (which is a good thing, we guess). Are they amazing? Not really. Are they still worth your time if you love sour candy? Probably.

17. Cheez-It

One thing that Cheez-It crackers have going for them is that they actually really, really taste like cheese. That's not true of all cheese-flavored snacks, so we're grateful that it's the case with this one. That being said, Cheez-Its taste like processed American cheese with maybe a hint of cheddar, which is probably not what any cheese lover truly wants. If you can forget about that detail, then you'll find that Cheez-Its are a standard snack that most people aren't going to have a problem with. They're cheesy, they're salty, they have some crisp and crunch to them — what's not to like?

The only thing to keep in mind with Cheez-Its is the fact that they get stale really, really easily. Like, open the box, and two days later, your Cheez-Its are going to close all their texture and become weirdly soft. They also seem to lose some of their flavor over a short period of time. That's why Cheez-Its are the kind of snack we put out at a party. They get eaten all in one night, so you don't have to worry about them going stale. And because most people will like them, you don't have to open a bunch of different snacks.

Of course, Cheez-Its aren't our favorite by a long shot, but they're an average snack that will get the job done when you just want to keep your guests fed and happy — without spending a ton of cash.

16. Hostess CupCakes

It's too bad we can't rank Hostess CupCakes higher on our list. It was an absolute lunch box staple, and we'll never forget how happy we were to find one in there. But try CupCakes as an adult, and you'll start to wonder what the hype is about. It shouldn't come as a surprise that these baked treats taste as processed as they come. The cake itself is thick and tough, not at all what you want from a fresh cupcake. And the frosting on top? Don't even get us started. It's downright hard — it barely moves. Definitely not a good sign. Then there's all that ultra-sweet cream in the middle. There's way too much of 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 provide just that. Maybe it's the nostalgia, or maybe it's the mass quantities of sugar addling our brains, but there's something that's hard not to like about these sweet treats. You may not find them in our shopping carts, but we wouldn't turn one down if we were offered.

15. Ruffles

Attention, all Ruffles lovers. You do know that there are better chips out there, don't you? Chips that are crunchier, more natural tasting, and with better flavors? But we don't mean to pass judgment. If you're not comparing Ruffles to other kinds of chips, then they're actually really great. They're just thick enough, and the texture allows you to scoop all kinds of dips and condiments onto your chip easily. They're nice and salty, but they're not so salty that they make your mouth feel like it's shriveling up after you take a few bites. Ruffles are, for lack of a better word, standard, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Of course, if you're looking for interesting and unique chip flavors or the most natural-tasting chip, Ruffles probably aren't for you. But there's a time and a place for everything, Ruffles included. We think they're especially tasty with a sour cream dip, tobiko, or ... wait for it ... dipped in chocolate (yes, you absolutely have to try this out). While they may not be our favorite chip on this list, they're a solid snack option that you definitely shouldn't write off completely.

14. Kit Kat

When you want a candy bar that's more appealing than a Snickers, what should you reach for? Well, it's not our absolute favorite, but we have to admit that Kit Kat bars are a way, way better option. It's a wafer cookie covered in chocolate, and it's broken up into strips to share. (Or, actually, to convince yourself you're only going to have a piece before you end up eating the whole thing yourself.) It may sound simple, but it's a pleasant bite that's definitely enjoyable ... at least at first. The milk chocolate can become cloying after a short time.

However, it's not really about the chocolate at all in this case. Rather, the humble Kit Kat focuses on texture, not taste. The crunchy, crispy wafer has that bite that'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 exactly what we're talking about. Sure, they're not our favorite snack on this list, but there's something about a Kit Kat that just feels fun and nostalgic. We wouldn't blame you if you decided to steal one from your kids after they go trick-or-treating.

13. Doritos

Doritos: You either love them or hate them. Or, you alternately love them and hate them just like we do. See, when you think about opening a bag of Doritos when they're nowhere near you, they just don't sound that appetizing. Regardless of which flavor you choose, you know they're going to be covered with an aggressive amount of seasoning — so much so that it fully overwhelms your taste buds. And unless you really, really have the munchies, that probably doesn't sound too appealing.

But then, you hear the rustle of a bag and the Doritos appear in front of you. You mindlessly take one chip and bite into it, and suddenly, your eyes glaze over and you realize that, yes, you are going to eat the entire bag in one sitting. This is the problem with Doritos: They don't actually taste that good, but they're somehow still addictive. We recommend not keeping these chips in your house if you want to avoid them. However, every once in a while, a Doritos binge may be exactly what you need to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Hey, there are definitely worse vices to have.

12. Chips Ahoy

When you think of a standard, mass-produced chocolate chip cookie, there's a good chance that Chips Ahoy are the first cookies to come to mind. These crunchy little morsels of goodness definitely can't rival even an average homemade cookie (or even one made from a roll of Tollhouse dough), but there's something about them that we like anyway. The chocolate chips are too small and too sweet. The cookie itself is small and sandy and too crunchy (unless you get to chewy version — we like those better). But when they come together, you're left with a sweet treat that's actually kind of enjoyable.

However, if you are going to embark on a Chips Ahoy journey, you need to make sure you're prepared. One absolutely essential ingredient is a glass of milk, preferably whole milk, but oat milk would work fine as well. When you dip your cookies into that glass of milk, make sure to hold them there for a good five seconds at least. Any less, and the milk won't soak into the cookies, and they'll be too hard. Letting them soak in the milk makes them nice and soft and way more palatable than they are right out of the package.

11. Lay's

Lay's is an absolute classic. It's at BBQs. It's at parties. It's in your child's lunch box. If you pick a random bag of chips from a chain restaurant, chances are it's going to be Lay's. And honestly, we don't mind at all. Classic Lay's are nice and thin, which makes you feel like you're eating air. (That's unfortunately why we want to eat the entire bag in a single sitting.) They're just salty enough — that is, very salty without just drying your mouth out. And they have that crisp to them that makes you keep reaching into the bag for more.

That being said, there are definitely better chip brands out there. If you had only ever eaten Lay's before, you probably wouldn't think you needed anything else. But after tasting the alternatives, we can no longer claim that Lay's is our favorite. However, you can't mess with a snack as classic at this one, so you may still see us serving it at a party from time to time.

10. Cheetos

Cheetos are another classic, but these guys rank a little bit higher because you're not going to find another brand that does these cheesy snacks quite as well as Cheetos. They come in both the crunchy and puffed varieties, but we 100% prefer the crunchy ones. Their flavor is more concentrated, and the intense crunch they offer makes you want to keep reaching for more. The original flavor is hard to beat, and you won't be disappointed if that's what you choose. However, we just happen to prefer the Flamin' Hot variety. These things are pretty spicy, so if you don't like heat to your food, then you'll want to pass them up. Otherwise, though, they're a fantastic snack.

There are a few downsides. We don't feel great after finishing a bag of Cheetos, nor do we think most people too. There's also the issue of the mess. Even after eating a single Cheeto, your fingers will be absolutely coated in Cheeto dust. This isn't a great look, so we prefer eating our Cheetos with chopsticks to avoid that hardship.

While there are better snacks on this list, we can't deny that Cheetos are one that we'll keep coming back to for years to come.

9. Oreos

You knew they had to be coming soon, right? After all, when it comes to packaged cookies, it's hard to deny that Oreos have earned themselves plenty of fame. The classic version of these iconic cookies are made with a sugary cream surrounded by two chocolate cookies. It's the ultimate dunkable snack food, and we'll never get tired of opening them and licking the filling before putting them back together to eat them whole.

One thing you may not realize about Oreos is the fact that most flavors are actually vegan. So, what's all that cream made out of? Mostly sugar, as it turns out. And this fact makes sense, as Oreos unfortunately do have a slightly artificial taste to them. That could be said for a lot of snacks on this list, so we don't want to single Oreos out. However, they would've ended up much, much higher on this ranking if they tasted just a bit more natural.

Even with their lack of real milk products, it's hard to deny that Oreos are a classic American snack and will likely to continue dominating the snack market for some time.

8. Fritos

Salty, crunchy, and absolutely flavorful: What more could you want from a chip? That's just what you'll get when you dig into a bag of Fritos. We know, we know — not everyone is a fan of these famous chips, but they're some of our favorites. Of course, they're amazing when they're transformed into a Frito pie, and they can also be crushed up and sprinkled on top of many dishes (we love ours in a salad). But they don't need any accompaniments to win our hearts. Fritos are super salty and delicious, and they're one of the best snacks out there.

The only problem? Because Fritos are so salty, they can start to burn your mouth if you eat too many of them. They're definitely not something you're going to want to indulge in too much if you value your kidneys. However, they're so tasty that even a few bites are hard to resist. Give in and snack — your shriveled tongue will tell you when to stop.

7. Trail mix

You may be wondering why trail mix has landed so high on our list. While it may not be as popular as some of the other snacks here, we love that trail mix actually offers us some nutrition. We're sorry to say that many popular American snacks offer very, very little in terms of actual nutrients. And while trail mix may not be the healthiest thing you eat in a day, with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, it'll actually give you energy. You don't just have to eat it on the trail. In fact, we think it's a great snack to keep in your desk at work. And if you're smart, you'll have chosen a variety that is combined with some sort of chocolate.

We also love that you can find trail mix from so many different brands, so if you don't like one variety, you have countless others to choose from. Pick the one that has the ingredients you like best, and then enjoy your healthy-ish snack.

6. Tostitos

There are plenty of brands that offer amazing tortilla chips. But if we're talking about popular American snacks, there's no denying that Tostitos have a death grip on the market. And it makes sense. Not only do they offer your standard tortilla chip, generously blessed with salt and just as crunchy as your heart desires, but they also have the Tostitos Scoops, which really are 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 are definitely one of our favorite chips on this ranking. They consistently have just the right amount of salt, and we love the other flavor options available. Our favorite, though, has to be the Scoops. If you haven't tried them yet, buy a bag and whip up your favorite salsa recipe. Put them together, and you'll see what all the hype is about.

5. Goldfish

At first glance, Goldfish crackers may not seem like anything special. They're little cheesy crackers with a sprinkling of salt on them, not really big enough to hold any sort of topping. But once you eat a few Goldfish, you'll learn the hard way that it's almost impossible to stop snacking once you've started. There's something about the salt in conjunction with the crunch that forces you to keep sticking your hand in the bag over and over again. And while they may seem like a snack for kids, they're something we still like keeping stocked in the back of the pantry for whenever we really feel like treating ourselves.

A hot take: While the cheddar Goldfish, the ones you're probably most used to eating, are delicious, we totally think the original Goldfish, i.e., the plain crackers without any cheese, are even better. It's okay — we know not everyone is going to agree with us here. But if you haven't tried them for yourself, it's time to get yourself to the snack aisle ASAP.

4. Almond Joy

When it comes to candy bars, there are a lot out there that are truly terrible. But Almond Joy is not one of those candy bars. This option offers the rare opportunity to taste actual fruit in a mass-produced snack (yes, that's actual coconut in there!) and tops it off with crunchy almonds and a coating of milk chocolate. While milk chocolate usually isn't our favorite, it really, really works in Almond Joys. Because it's such a small amount of chocolate, the focus is really on the other ingredients, which sets this candy bar ahead of most others.

Be warned, though: While Almond Joys may be more pleasant than a lot of their competitors, they're still really, really sweet. If you're used to munching on fair trade 87% dark chocolate, there's a good chance that Almond Joys aren't going to do it for you either. But when it comes to popular American snacks, there's no doubt that Almond Joys are one of the better staples to indulge in.

3. Chex Mix

Yes, we truly believe that Chex Mix is one of the absolute best snacks not just in the U.S., but on the entire planet. And that's because it's not just one snack — it's several different snacks combined into one, unified under a dusting of flavorful powders that mean that salt isn't always the star of the show. It's a magical combo, and we could eat this stuff every day. As far as we're concerned, the Corn Chex are the best parts of Chex Mix, followed closely by those little bubbly breadsticks. And how can you go wrong with pretzels? (The circular ones are more fun to eat, but the windowpane ones taste just as good.)

However, not every single ingredient in Chex Mix is delicious. The rye chips, for example, just don't do it for us. But even those minor slip-ups can easily be forgiven when you get to dive back into that bag of doctored cereal. Make sure you have this stuff on hand for every long car ride, airport visit, or work day.

2. Reese's

All hail the King of Candy Bars: Reese's. Those who know, know. It's the saltiest, most flavorful peanut butter you've ever tasted surrounded by a curiously thin layer of milk chocolate, nestled lovingly in a paper cup. Pick it up, and you'll be amazed by the weight of it. All that rich peanut butter gives this candy bar some heft, and we're here for it. Give it a taste, and you'll experience the sublime combination of salty and sweet you've been waiting for all your life. Once your teeth break through that soft layer of chocolate, you'll get to experience the joy that is that slightly gritty peanut butter Reese's has become known for.

There are other amazing nut butter cups on the market, and you should check them out — especially if you're looking for something slightly healthier or more natural-tasting. But there's something about a classic Reese's cup that we'll never get over. It truly is the best mass-produced candy bar on the market, if you ask us.

1. Kettle

You already know how we feel about Ruffles and Lay's. They are both amazing potato chips, but we've always sensed there was something missing. That is, until we opened our first bag of Kettle chips. This isn't 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 cut thicker than other chips like Lay's, which means they have more of a crunch to them. Additionally, they sometimes have these lovely natural folds in them, which gives you even more crunch. And when you consider how well-salted they are, it's clear why this brand is always going to be a winner in our hearts.

Of course, the plain salted chips are a great option, particularly if you're trying the brand out for the first time. But once you've found your footing, you should totally explore the other flavors. The jalapeño chips are our favorite, but the Korean barbecue flavor takes a close second. Try them all and see which one you like the best. We're pretty sure you're not going to be disappointed with any of their options.


We tried all of the snacks listed in this ranking many times, so much of our methodology was based on personal experience over a lifetime of snacking. However, we also consulted other lists of popular American snacks to help better determine where each snack on this list should end up. Since we compared sweet and salty snacks with each other, we interspersed both sweet and salty snacks throughout the ranking to avoid bias.