The number one most popular candy sold in the United States "melts in your mouth, not in your hands." Does that catchy slogan ring a bell? This sweet treat is so crazy good that little baggies of M&Ms traveled to space in 1981 on the shuttle Columbia so the astronauts could get their chocolate fix while far away from home. In fact, there are photos of the astronauts tossing M&Ms into their mouths –- or at least trying to –- which was hilarious considering the zero-gravity environment while floating in space.
Created in 1941, these bite-sized candy-coated chocolates supposedly have roots that stretch across the ocean. Rumor has it that Forrest E. Mars. Sr., the man who inherited Mars Inc. from his father, was overseas in Spain during wartime when he spied soldiers eating tiny balls of candy-coated chocolate. Eager to recreate his own version of this candy in America, he returned home to create M&Ms Limited and rolled out the first plain chocolate version.
Anticipating the rationing of sugar and chocolate as World War II loomed, Mars reached out to William F.R. Murrie, the president of Hershey, and together the chocolate kings partnered up to make M&Ms, which stands for Mars and Murrie. While the two companies are rivals today, M&Ms fans are eternally grateful for these two masterminds marketing this chocolatey delight. Today, the candies come in a variety of flavors, but which one of the different varieties tastes the best?
20. White Chocolate Key Lime Pie M&Ms
If you enjoy a refreshing slice of Key lime pie on a warm summer’s day, then you’ll probably gravitate toward the White Chocolate Key Lime Pie M&Ms. They come in a handful of colors ranging from white and cream to light green and dark green. They’re perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. The white chocolate actually works well with the Key Lime Pie flavor, even giving off a bit of tartness.
But the lime flavor starts to fizz out the more you eat. Maybe it’s because your tongue is growing numb from the sourish lime flavor or because you’ve grown accustomed to the taste in a handful or two. Still, it’s definitely a refreshing taste that just might appeal to your taste buds. Nibble on a few of these at a time with a mint julip drink while letting a cool breeze blow your hair on the patio and there’s a slight chance you can convince yourself you’re actually in the Florida Keys.
19. Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
A fantastic fall flavor, pumpkin spice seems to be used in almost everything, from muffins to bread to pie to Starbucks drinks. People swoon when fall rolls around just knowing that all things pumpkin will be available to them in many yummy versions, if only for a short time. If you’re hoping that Pumpkin Spice M&Ms also taste amazing, guess again. There’s not much actual pumpkin flavor found in these M&Ms.
They taste an awful lot like flat-out chocolate infused with the artificial pumpkin pie spice seasoning commonly used to ramp up the pumpkin flavor in other goods. But rest assured, if you don’t like them either and have a bag just sitting there, you can incorporate them into one of your favorite pumpkin-themed recipes. Chocolate and pumpkin isn’t necessarily a common flavor blend, but a dark chocolate cookie bursting with Pumpkin Spice M&Ms may just work.
18. Coconut M&Ms
If you love tropical flavors, you might be interested in trying a handful of Coconut M&Ms. But these really aren’t that delicious unless you enjoy drinking coconut-scented suntan oil. Yes, they definitely smell and taste like a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic. The coconut taste is just too much even for the sugary sweet chocolate it’s encased in. It’s just not a pairing that screams take a bite of me! If you do like anything and everything coconut, then go ahead and give this candy a try.
One bonus is that you won’t have actual coconut flakes to contend with in this tiny package of candy. But don’t say we didn’t warn you. However, given their smaller size, since they’re nut-free, they could be tossed across a sheet of melted chocolate almond bark that would taste decadent once hardened together. It could make for a refreshing summertime treat.
17. Candy Corn M&Ms
If you’re seeking a sugar coma from candy, look no further than Candy Corn M&Ms. While they sound like they might be tasty, they really aren’t. The flavor doesn’t resemble candy corn in any way, shape, or form and they’re way too sugary sweet. They’re smoother and creamier than hard-as-a-rock candy corn, but the taste is too big of a turnoff. They’d be a great addition to a snack mix at Halloween time or for a fall party though, mixed with Chex cereal, peanuts, raisins, pretzels, and a few plain milk chocolate M&Ms added in as an attempt to balance out the sweetness.
If after throwing back a handful of Candy Corn M&Ms and realizing they just aren’t for you, you might have guests over for Halloween or a fall party who love them. With their fanciful fall flavors, they’ll look great in a candy dish alone — even if nobody touches them all night.
16. Orange Vanilla Crème M&Ms
In an attempt to copy an orange Creamsicle flavor, this M&M flavor falls flat on its face. Made with creamy white chocolate and a hint of orange, the pair just isn’t to our liking. It’s a different flavor and earns points for ingenuity, but the combination isn’t the best. Orange Vanilla Crème M&Ms please the palate for the first few bites then begin tasting like an orange-flavored baby aspirin or a similar medicine. One cute thing is the Orange Vanilla Creme M&M’s orange and white appearance.
But that’s not enough to compel us to purchase them again. We’ll have to take a hard pass. Still, there’s a bit of nostalgia with every bite, so we understand if you absolutely have to give these a try and judge for yourself. If you agree they’re just too much on their own, they’d taste fantastic in a white chocolate snack mix that has fruit undertones.
15. Hazelnut Spread M&Ms
Any high hopes held for the hazelnut spread were quickly dashed after the first bite. Instead of being sweet, rich, and bursting with nutty and chocolatey flavor, they didn’t pass muster. The candy wasn’t luscious and seemed to be missing the actual hazelnut flavor. It was very sugary and not all at what one would expect from this blend of flavor. Mars has scored high with peanut M&Ms and almond M&Ms, but this spin-off nut flavor isn’t working well. The most popular hazelnut chocolate spread on store shelves, Nutella, stands a mile apart from this M&M. But the Hazelnut Spread M&M is just one of man oddball flavors that some people really enjoy.
"The industry is changing and consumer tastes are evolving. We’re continuing to recognize and anticipate demand," Allison Miazga-Bedrick, senior brand director, said in a statement to People about the hazelnut flavor. "We’re thrilled to deliver this new flavor with color and fun, in a way that only M&M’s can."
14. Coffee Nut M&Ms
We have one word for these. Gross. If you’re a coffee lover, you may really gravitate toward this bag of M&Ms, but we just couldn’t fall in love with them. Actually, we really couldn’t tolerate them. They come in three colors to represent light, medium, and dark roast coffee. The dark coffee tastes like burnt coffee grounds while the medium roasted flavor isn’t as gnarly but still has way too much of a day-old coffee taste. The light blended is a bit easier to stomach but coffee-flavored candy didn’t score high on our list of yumminess when hanging out with milk chocolate in the candy-coated shell. These flavors are wrapped around a peanut, which really doesn’t help out the flavors either. It’s truly one of the stronger M&M flavors and not one that scored high points with us.
This particular flavor won in a contest against Honey Nut M&Ms and Chili Nut M&Ms to win the title of "America’s Favorite Peanut." It debuted in 2016 and has enough fans that it’s still on most grocery store shelves surprisingly. Trust us, though, you shouldn’t give up that cup of coffee that you like to swig in the mornings for these M&Ms anytime soon.
13. Caramel M&Ms
Caramel is sweet. Milk chocolate is sweet. Together they equal way too much sugary sweetness inside the hard candy-coated shell of Caramel M&Ms. They taste similar to a Rolo, except the caramel in the M&M is thicker and chewier than what’s inside a creamy Rolo. These two flavors just don’t compliment each other very well and are too sweet in too small of a morsel. It might taste terrific blended in with a bucket of buttery movie theater popcorn for a contrasting, salty flavor, but alone, this flavor just doesn’t pan out in our opinion.
They aren’t as tooth-breakingly chewy as Milk Duds and are a bit gooier than the more rigid candy, but they just weren’t wow-worthy for us. This definitely is one we’d have to pass on if eaten straight up out of the bag, but could be used adorning a batch of cake-like brownies or as a garnish on a slice of chocolate caramel cheesecake Yummo!
12. Mint Dark Chocolate M&Ms
If you love dark chocolate and mint, then you just have to run out and buy a bag of Mint Dark Chocolate M&Ms. The flavor of this variety falls on the spectrum of a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie meshing with an Andes mint, you know, the type that you receive after eating at the Olive Garden but with less calories than a Girl Scout cookie. While you still shouldn’t sit down and snarf a huge bag by yourself, the mint dark chocolate M&M packs quite a bit of flavor in a tiny bite of candy.
With a refreshing taste, mint M&Ms start tasting like a tube of toothpaste the farther into the bag you reach, however. Unless you really, really love mint, this may be an M&M you want to pass by. You could, however, use these M&Ms as an addition to a glass of hot chocolate. Make sure the beverage is hot enough to melt the M&M but not so hot that it burns your mouth.
11. Fudge Brownie M&Ms
There’s just something wrong with an extra chewy M&M in our mind. The filling in this Fudge Brownie M&M is super extra chocolaty all the way through, which was just too much for us. We love chocolate, but this particular M&M doesn’t resemble any brownie we’ve noshed on as far as flavor. It seems awfully artificial and lacks any true brownie flavor. The texture of the filling in this M&M does have an almost chewy, dense feel much like a brownie that isn’t the cake-like version. You know, the one that’s flat and thick, baked without eggs and usually sprinkled with powdered sugar.
But the taste in this Fudge Brownie M&M is just off in our opinion. It does have more of a thicker consistency like fudge, but just no tasty brownie flavor like we had hoped for. These aren’t drool worthy in our opinion, but they might be yummy when chopped up and blended in with an ice cold vanilla malt. They might even taste exceptional baked inside brownie batter bites.
10. English Toffee M&Ms
When you read English toffee on the package, you’ll likely get excited and envision the incredible caramel and chocolate blend of flavors found in a Heath candy bar but packed inside a tiny M&M piece. Sorry, but you’ll be sorely disappointed and your hopes quickly will be dashed. When opening up the bag of English Toffee M&Ms, you’re first overwhelmed with an artificial maple syrup scent. Interestingly enough, these M&Ms come in hues of brown: tan, light brown, and dark brown. No pretty rainbow of colors here in this bag. Surprisingly, this flavor won the "flavor vote" in 2019, so there is a legion of fans out there who actually like this flavor, but it just doesn’t rank high enough on our list to have a positive impact.
The smell of the English toffee M&M is even stronger than the taste, but the taste itself isn’t that exhilarating. This particular M&M flavor is one of three internationally-inspired M&Ms peanut flavors rolled out a few years ago. Mars wanted people to take a "mini vacation with their mouths." After sampling a handful of these English Toffee M&Ms, we’d have to pass on this trip.
9. Pretzel M&Ms
The perfect marriage of salty and sweet can be found in pretzel M&Ms. You can really taste the salted pretzel in every single bite. There’s just enough chocolate to keep the treat sweet, but with enough salt to make you keep reaching into the bag of candy.
If you’re craving something crunchy, this particular M&M offers you two types of crunch — the candy shell that’s light and easy to break apart, then the salty pretzel center that’s denser and chewier. It takes several chews to work your way through just one of these bite-sized pieces. They would taste fantastic sprinkled across a pan of chocolate-frosted brownies, lending that salty taste to such a sweet dessert. But after eating a handful of pretzel M&Ms, the salty pretzel flavor becomes a bit too much to handle.
The good thing is that you likely won’t be able to down the "sharing size" package by yourself, but if you’re wanting to nosh on something during a movie, you might want to pick a different flavor. It won’t take long before your taste buds are numbed by the overpowering salty taste packed into this tiny Pretzel M&M bite.
8. White Chocolate Sugar Cookie M&Ms
Sugar cookie M&Ms sound decadent, then you throw in white chocolate and yum! Originally rolled out at Christmastime with an adorable M&M wearing a Santa hat on the package, this flavor is a gift to your taste buds. With a creamy white chocolate base and a crispy rice center, the texture resembles that of a thin sugar cookie. While the flavor doesn’t scream sugar cookie, it still is awfully tasty.
As the name implies, this particular M&M flavor would taste exceptional baked into a sugar cookie, pressed down into the surface of the cookie as it cools on the cooling rack. Can you imagine how incredible your kitchen will smell baking a batch of these cookies adorned with White Chocolate Sugar Cookie M&Ms? We admit that this particular M&M likely would taste a bit better if had more of a buttery sugar cookie flavor and less of a chocolate taste, but nonetheless, it’s an M&M flavor you’ll have to try. In fact, a handful of these White Chocolate Sugar Cookie M&Ms chased with a sip of hot chocolate on a chilly winter day just might hit the spot.
7. Crispy M&Ms
Akin to a Nestle’s Crunch bar with crisped rice hiding inside the chocolate rectangle, Crispy M&Ms resemble one of these candy bars packed into a tiny ball of yumminess. They’re fun to eat and feel like Pop Rocks under your teeth. If you have ever eaten Rice Krispie treats drizzled in chocolate, a mouthful of these Crispy M&Ms taste similar to this. But the taste is terribly potent like what you would find when munching on a peanut butter M&M for example. It’s pretty easy to slam a handful in your mouth and not blink twist, since the flavor isn’t overwhelming.
One idea is to use this type of M&M in a sugar cookie or chocolate chip cookie mix instead of eating it on its own. They might even taste incredible with raspberry chips in a lemon-infused sugar cookie mix. Crispy M&Ms, like the other traditional flavors, also come in pastels at Easter time and other holidays. This particular M&M looks and tastes terrific atop a bunny face cake at Easter time, offering a lovely crunch that counteracts the creaminess of frosting.
6. Dark chocolate M&Ms
Just like their milk chocolate and white chocolate counterparts, dark chocolate M&Ms come in both plain and peanut varieties. The dark chocolate is rich, but for those who aren’t fans of dark chocolate, it may be too powerful compared to milk chocolate or white chocolate. Still, when paired with the sugary candy-coated shell, dark chocolate M&Ms are quite tasty. Dark chocolate peanut M&Ms have the extra kick of flavor produced by the peanut itself so if you aren’t a huge dark chocolate fan, you might want to start with this variety. Otherwise, the plain dark chocolate M&Ms are like tiny discs of deliciousness.
Since they’re made with higher-grade cacao chocolate than milk chocolate, be prepared for that stronger chocolate taste before you rip open the package. They taste just as amazing with a bowl of buttery popcorn as the milk chocolate M&Ms do, maybe even more so if you love dark chocolate. We can only imagine how fantastic dark chocolate M&Ms might taste in the same mouthful as a red ripe strawberry or with a lovely glass of wine while relaxing.
5. Almond M&Ms
An awesome spinoff of peanut M&Ms, almond M&Ms are larger in order to accommodate the larger sized nut. If you love almonds, you will quickly fall in love with this M&M type. It’s definitely a tougher nut to chew, but the chocolate with the almond sidekick is a fantastic flavor combination. Almonds have a strong flavor, but Mars nails the ratio of milk chocolate to almond. These would taste perfect in a trail mix for a hike or if you’re simply needing a chocolate fix accompanied by some crunch.
Almond M&Ms may remind you of a simple candied almond, but hint of vanilla that emerges in this M&M variety pulls it ahead of the standard candied almond. In fact, with a bit more vanilla and a dash of coconut, these could taste just like an Almond Joy candy bar. But beware that if anyone you know and love enjoys candy but has a food coloring allergy, avoid any and all M&Ms as they come in a variety of colors created with food dye.
4. White Chocolate M&Ms
This flavor comes in both plain and peanut varieties, so if you want nothing but rich and creamy white chocolate flavor, grab a bag of plain White Chocolate M&Ms. If you’re needing a little extra crunch to your chocolaty treat, pick up a bag of white chocolate peanut M&Ms. Even better, mix the two white chocolate M&M types together and enjoy the smorgasbord of flavor. White chocolate is a lovely alternative to dark and milk chocolate. It has what’s best described as a creamy, velvety taste.
White chocolate doesn’t contain cocoa solids and features more of a subtle, delicate flavor than its counterparts, so it isn’t as powerful as milk or dark chocolate M&Ms. White chocolate M&Ms have a texture similar to milk and dark chocolate, but with the silkier, more sugary sweet taste. The white chocolate M&M also serves as the base for other varieties Mars has released over the years, making it a surefire hit.
3. Peanut M&Ms
After plain milk chocolate M&MS were so well received, Mars began making peanut M&Ms in 1954. Both of these flavors tasted so amazing that they were named the "official snack foods of the Olympic Games" in 1984.
Today, peanut M&Ms come in several flavors, including milk chocolate, white chocolate, and dark chocolate. The milk chocolate peanut M&Ms have a wonderful crunch to them and once you take that first bite, you can really taste the authentic, natural peanut inside. The dark chocolate peanut M&M has a richer, deeper taste to it than the milk chocolate peanut M&M while the white chocolate peanut M&M tastes just as delicious. With sustenance built into each tiny peanut M&M, the melding of real peanut taste and the three different chocolates earns it a place in the top three. It definitely has a different taste than the peanut butter M&M and it’s one that tons of people enjoy.
2. Plain milk chocolate M&Ms
As the very first M&M created, plain milk chocolate M&Ms are simply fantastic. As tiny, disc-shaped pieces of chocolate hidden inside candy coated shells, plain milk chocolate M&Ms have the right amount of crunch with smooth chocolate. This original had become so wildly popular by 1950 that the company began stamping them with the letter M so candy fans could tell them apart from counterfeit competitors. Did you know that plain milk chocolate M&Ms and the second variety to be introduced, peanut, were stamped with black, which was changed to white in 1954?
Quite frankly, we don’t care what color the M is as long as we can snack on them. Plain M&Ms are perfect when dropped across a scoop of vanilla ice cream, snarfed up with a handful of buttery movie theater popcorn, or incorporated into a monster cookie recipe. Plain milk chocolate M&Ms also come in mini form, which was launched in 1997 are perfect for baking and decorating, especially during the holidays. This plain M&M also comes in white chocolate and dark chocolate.
1. Peanut Butter M&Ms
While plain M&Ms were the precursor to all other varieties of this wildly popular candy, the original version isn’t what we would consider the best tasting variety. Sure, plain milk chocolate M&Ms are fantastic, but the Peanut Butter M&Ms rolled out in 1989 rank right at the top. The second best selling candy in the United States happens to be Reese’s, showing just how much Americans love the marriage between peanut butter and chocolate. Peanut butter M&Ms come packaged in red wrappers with traditional M&M colors. They are bigger than plain milk chocolate M&Ms, but not as big as peanut M&Ms. But the taste … oh my goodness!
Hidden inside the candy-coated shell happens to be a peanut butter filling that tastes akin to a peanut butter ball. The peanut butter harbors a hint of honey and is super creamy, as if it’s made with confectioner’s sugar to generate a rich filling. With each bite, your teeth sink right through them and the lasting peanut buttery flavor can be savored until you pop the next handful in your mouth.
Other non-traditional flavors
There are what seems like a gazillion M&M flavors. Some have soared; others have flopped. These are only a sampling of what has come and gone: Birthday Cake M&Ms, Chili Nut M&Ms, Crispy S’Mores M&Ms, Crunchy Espresso M&Ms, Crunchy Mint M&Ms, Crunchy Raspberry M&Ms, Honey Nut M&Ms, Hostess Brownies made with Milk Chocolate M&Ms, White chocolate carrot cake M&Ms, Cafe Mocha M&Ms, Cookies & Screeem M&Ms, Milk Chocolate Pecan Pie M&Ms, Special Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms, Triple Chocolate M&Ms, White Pumpkin Pie M&Ms, White Chocolate Peppermint M&Ms, Mexican Jalapeno Peanut M&Ms, Strawberry Nut M&Ms, and Wild Cherry M&Ms. Get the idea?
If you can find these at the grocery store, give them a try! Otherwise, if you’re lucky enough to live near or can visit an actual M&M store, it’s worth popping in. It’s a vivid, visually beautiful store full of canisters of sugary flavors. One retail store, M&M’s World, first opened in 1997 on the Las Vegas Strip followed by other similar colorful stores in New York City, Florida, and even overseas!
The Mall of America and Disney Springs both have incredible M&M’s World stores with not just candy but also merchandise, apparel, and more. Even sweeter is that you can order from the M&Ms site customized M&Ms in different flavors and colors, which are perfect treats for graduation parties, wedding receptions, and other gatherings.