It’s the holiday season. And that means candy canes. Many candy canes. Peppermint isn’t everyone’s thing and candy companies love to market off all holiday seasons, so there are often many candy cane versions of your favorite candy at your local store.
We picked up 10 of these funky flavors, including the classic to give a baseline, and gave them a try to see which ones are the best. Let our rankings guide you to the right candy cane for you.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can sum up everything I have to say about this flavor. The cooling peppermint and the prolonged aftertaste is synonymous with this time of year, no matter your opinion on the classic candy cane. I will forever prefer the original candy cane, as I do support the classics over the modern advancements. You simply can’t go wrong with this one. 9/10.
— Anthony Liberatori, opinion editor
I haven’t tried Hot Tamales since I was obsessed with the strong cinnamon flavored candy in middle school, and this candy cane brought me back. As “spicy” as sweet things get, this candy cane is great for lovers of the candy because it tastes the exact same. However, if you aren’t a fan of cinnamon or strong flavors, skip this one. It’s a 6/10 for cinnamon lovers.
— Hanna Zakharenko, diversions writer
Soda (Dr Pepper, Sierra Mist, Root beer)
I didn’t know what to expect going in, so I wasn’t surprised that these were overall very average. They’re definitely marketed toward kids. The flavor isn’t very strong — it’s like if someone yelled the names of the soda from another room or if soda didn’t have bones. 4/10.
— Christine Zhu, news editor
As someone who loves candy canes, their sole downfall is the jarring taste of peppermint, which sometimes stings my mouth and taints the experience of a sweet treat. However, these blueberry candy canes have the sweetness of a regular candy cane without the sting, giving me the sensation I was craving. Just clear your schedule after you eat one … your tongue might be blue for an hour or so. 6/10.
— Anthony Liberatori, opinion editor
There were three different flavors of the Jelly Belly candy canes: blueberry, Tutti-Frutti and watermelon. They all have a super sweet and artificial taste to them. I could feel a coat of sugar over all of my teeth after trying these. The watermelon is the most mild here. The blueberry is okay but obscure because most blue candy is raspberry. The cherry — which usually is my favorite fruit flavored candy — was the worst. It was way too sweet and tasted like an overly sugared starburst. 4/10.
— Abigail Warwick, assistant engagement editor
The Life Savers candy cane remains inoffensive. It has a recognizably tangy, almost sour disposition, with a sweet aftertaste. It would perhaps be better served to be a lollipop. It is also unpreferable to its natural, gummy ring form. Nevertheless, it is fine. 6.5/10.
— Nataraj Shivaprasad, managing editor and director of digital strategy
Fruit and candy canes don’t mix, in my opinion. But if you’re willing to get over that, all three flavors of Starburst candy canes — green apple, lemon and strawberry — are fine. The lemon tastes too artificial for my liking, but the green apple and strawberry provide a refreshing tanginess for someone who wants the crunch of a candy cane without the peppermint aftertaste. I’d give them a solid 5/10 — not bad, but nothing special.
— Shifra Dayak, news editor
The SweeTarts candy canes don’t start off too strong, but get better as you keep going. There are three flavors, two of which taste pretty much the same. They all have a too-sweet, cardboardy taste at the beginning but then get into the sweetarty goodness at the end. Better than most candy canes but still not that good, I give these a 6.5/10.
— Devon Milley, editor in chief
Jolly Rancher Bold Fruit Smoothie
These aren’t just regular Jolly Ranchers, they’re Bold Fruit Smoothie Jolly Ranchers. In order, I tried the watermelon, strawberry and mixed berry flavors. Across the board I can say they were one word: mediocre. The watermelon was the best of the three but nothing to make the whole pack worth it. The strawberry started strong, reminding me of a drinkable strawberry yogurt but the flavor leaves your palette tasting like that yogurt expired. Finally was mixed berry, and my feelings are not mixed on this one: trash. It tasted like cheap wine. I give Jolly Rancher Bold Fruit Smoothie candy canes a 3/10.
— Evan Hecht, diversions editor
Hershey’s Chocolate Mint
This is the perfect candy cane to mix into a cup of hot cocoa for the ideal chocolate-peppermint ratio. It tastes like if a thin mint were a candy cane, so if you’re a fiend for girl scout cookies or mint chocolate-chip ice cream, grab one of these canes ASAP. 9/10.
— Shreya Vuttaluru, assistant news editor and data editor