This list is for people who want to have their feelings hurt by sour candies. People who want their taste buds to be berated by sour candies. People who want to be dragged out back and punched directly in the face by sour candies.
Sour candy expert and Mythical creative executive Santiago Massa, a stickler for sustained sourness in sweets, joined us for this tasting to determine which sour candies really deserve the moniker and which are just sweet candies with a slightly tart edge. We tried so many genuinely sour candies, neither Sour Patch Kids nor Sour Patch Watermelon cracked the top six.
If you know you have a low tolerance for sourness, turn back now—or read on so you know what to avoid next time you hit up the CVS candy aisle.
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- Sour Skittles
You can trust that when Skittles promise sour, they’re bringing sour. “My mouth is already watering,” Santi said when he put one of these puppies in his mouth. “It’s super sour, makes you pucker…gives you that bite, has that texture—it’s everything you want.” Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick, who fondly remembers eating these with her cool, older next door neighbor, suggests putting the candy directly on your tongue to get the most of the stabby sour sensation. Skittles also sells a sour gummy that’s plenty good but doesn’t have the same face-slapping sourness or that classic Skittles crunch we love.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart
- SweeTARTS Extreme Sour Chewy
Calling your candy “extreme” is a bold move, but these SweeTARTS live up to the promise. Honestly, it’s practically rude how sour these are. “As soon as you bite into it, you get hit with a wave of sour,” Santi said. Jordan agreed.“They left me kind of speechless,” they said. Jordan also liked the way they dissolve in your mouth once you get to chewing rather than sticking in your teeth, but, personally, I find the consistency a little off-putting. I think you could argue these are slightly more sour than Sour Skittles, but they don’t live up to the Skittles experience in terms of texture and overall flavor. Still, they’re a tasty and extremely mouth-puckering addition to the sour candy canon.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart
- Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers
When it comes to sour gummy worms, Trolli is making the gold standard. The flavor combos rule (I’m partial to the yellow-and-red worm, which I presume is lemon-cherry) and the worms are coated in a fine, delicate sour sugar rather than the coarse, crunchy coating of sour flavor crystals you’ll find on Sour Patch Kids. And if you want something truly adorable, opt for the minis, which are a fraction of the size of the original Sour Brite Crawlers. “I love everything about these,” Santi said. “These have always been the ones to beat in my mind.” For the record, we also really liked Kroger’s knockoff version, but you kind of can’t beat the genuine article.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target
- Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers
Swedish Fish typically come in one flavor: red (lingonberry, technically). They’re delicious, but eating them can be sort of a monotonous experience. Enter Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers, which come in a variety of fascinating flavors like huckleberry and mango-peach, not to mention really fun shapes like starfish and dolphins. As a fan of the non-sour variety of Scandinavian Swimmer, I was pleased that the sour iteration is legitimately and truly sour. Instead of quickly dissipating, the sour flavor actually ramps up as you work on these chewy suckers. And we really couldn’t get enough of the unique fruity flavors. “The flavor is phenomenal,” Santi said.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Sporked
- 365 Sour Rings
Gummy candies are great, but sometimes you’re in the mood for a candy that doesn’t require a marathon chewing sesh. These gel-like rings from Whole Foods make for a lovely eating experience—and they pack a good sour punch. Santi liked that the rings—which come in pomegranate and lemonade flavors—seemed a little more natural. Jordan, who was expecting them to approximate the texture of peach rings, was a little underwhelmed. “I want it to fight back when I bite into it,” they said. But if you dig into this bag with the right expectations, you’ll be pleased.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon
- Mike and Ike Mega Mix Sour!
Mike and Ike give and give. These dudes make a Berry Blast assortment, a Tropical Typhoon box, and a sour variety that’s actually sour. And they do it without dust! The sugary coating that surrounds the jelly interior of these capsule-shaped candies has a sourness that actually sustains before fading into pleasant sweetness. Fans of variety will love these. “There’s like 17 flavors in this box,” Santi observed.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart
Best of the Best
Best Extreme Sour
Best Variety of Flavors
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