These Are the 6 Best Sugar-Free Candies and Your Dentist Is Stoked

Sugar-free candy gets a bad rap. Yes, sugar is a key ingredient in sweets, but advancements in food science mean that candy sans genuine sugar has come a long way from the days of artificial sweeteners that leave a gross taste in your mouth. If a lot of these didn’t say “sugar free” on the packaging, I probably wouldn’t have known the difference. Listen. I know you’re dubious, but it’s true.

Whether you’re adhering to a low-sugar diet for health reasons, weight reasons, tooth decay reasons, or you just want a glimpse into a world where refined sugar is a lot less necessary, give these six candies a shot.

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russell stover sugar free

Best of the Best

Russell Stover Sugar Free Assorted

This bag of Russell Stover candy has all the fun of a Valentine’s Day sampler, minus the shug. If you like variety, this one’s for you. Here’s what you get: Dark Chocolate Mint Patties (much like York), Pecan Delights (kind of like Turtles), Peanut Butter Cups (you get it), chocolate-coated caramel, and, my personal favorite, chocolate-covered coconut. It’s like the sugary, slimy coconut stuff inside a Mounds bar

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

brach's sugar free gummy bears

Best Gummy

Brach’s Sugar Free Gummy Bears

Okay, this is one of the candies we tried that I would absolutely not have known were sugar free if I wasn’t actively participating in a sugar-free candy taste test. In a weird way, sugar-free candy can come off as slightly sweeter than regular candy and that’s the case here, but it’s not unpleasant at all. These taste pretty much exactly like Brach’s gummy bears, and even if those aren’t your faves (team Haribo here), they have the fruity flavor and squishy texture to scratch that gummy bear itch.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

hershey's zero sugar

Best Caramel

Hershey’s Zero Sugar Caramel Filled Chocolate Candy

We tried a few caramel candies as part of our taste test, and most of them were very, very bad. The texture was wrong. The taste was wrong. For that reason, these caramel-filled mini bars from Hershey’s were a nice surprise. I don’t even particularly like Hershey’s chocolate, but these were creamy and rich and tasty. And they’re individually wrapped, so you can stuff a few in your jacket pocket before you go to the movies.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

york zero sugar

Best Minty

York Zero Sugar Peppermint Patties

If you like the chocolatey part of a peppermint patty more than the minty slime part of a peppermint patty, you might actually prefer these to traditional York. The coating on these is thick and it makes for a different (but still very good) eating experience. “This layer is a lot thicker than a usual peppermint patty,” Sporked social media manager Mark Catangui observed. “It still tastes like peppermint but a lot more minimal than your usual peppermint patty. In fact, I might like it better.”

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

sugar free red vines strawberry

Best Improvement

Red Vines Sugar Free Twists Strawberry

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not a fan of regular Red Vines. The “Traditional Red” flavor weirds me out and I find the texture a little disturbing. Well, it turns out I can set aside my misgivings about the sort of melty, plasticky consistency if the flavor is better, and these sugar-free strawberry twists really worked for me. Sporked staff writer Danny Palumbo, a Red Vines guy, liked the mild berry flavor as much as I did, and added that the texture is “really pleasurable.”

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

zolli pops

Best Hard Candy

Zolli Pops

No, it’s not the most exciting option on this list, but there’s a nice assortment of convincing flavors in this bag of sugar-free lollipops: strawberry, grape, pineapple, orange, raspberry, and cherry. That’s three pink/red flavors and I love that. I also love not getting fillings, so I can appreciate the oral health angle they’re leaning in to here. These have just a hint of that fake sugary after taste, but we all decided we could get past it given that these outperformed other hard candies we tried (lookin’ at you, Jolly Rancher).

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

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About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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  • As a diabetic I really appreciate this article, thank you

    Reply