What Is Hydrox? How Are They *Not* Oreos?

When I hear the word Hydrox I think of Hydroxycut. Hydroxycut was one of those crazy weight loss pills from the ‘90s. But Hydrox is a cookie. Maybe it’s because of that name that Hydrox played second fiddle to Oreos for years. But what is Hydrox? Are Hydrox cookies still made? Did Oreo copy Hydrox? When was Hydrox made? Let’s dive into Hydrox vs Oreo!

What is Hydrox?

Hydrox is a chocolate sandwich cookie with a cream filling. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because Oreos are essentially the same exact thing. In 1882 a guy named Jacob Loose started what would become Sunshine Biscuits. Sunshine Biscuits debuted their most popular cookie, Hydrox, in 1908. That’s right, Hydrox was made in 1908, over 100 years ago. The name was supposed to sound fresh and clean, like the hydrogen and oxygen in water. But it sounded more like hydrogen peroxide. And, indeed, that chemically sounding name was a turnoff for many people. 

Hydrox vs Oreo

So did Oreo copy Hydrox? You bet they did! Even though Hydrox always seemed to be the Pepsi to Oreo’s Coke, the Sega to their Nintendo, the WWF to their WCW, Hydrox actually debuted first. Hydrox was released in 1908 and Nabisco released Oreos on April 2, 1912. Nabisco described their cookie as “two beautifully embossed chocolate-flavored wafers with a rich cream filling,” which could also describe Hydrox just as well. 

When it comes down to the minute differences, the design on the Hydrox wafer is a more intricate flower. Oreos are slightly sweeter. And the Hydrox chocolate biscuits are a little harder, standing up to a milk dunk a little better. But the biggest difference between Oreos and Hydrox was that Oreos had a better name and Nabisco marketed the heck out of them. One of the only reasons that Hydrox stuck around as long as they did is because they were kosher and Oreos were not. But in 1998, Oreo got the lard out of their cream and became kosher as well.

Are Hydrox cookies still made?

Good news for everybody reading this and wanting to try some weirdo Oreos: You can still buy Hydrox! That wasn’t the case for a few years, though. Keebler took over Sunshine Biscuits in the late ‘90s and gave Hydrox a rebrand. But then Kellogg bought the Keebler brand in 2001 and Hydrox were no more by 2003. Hydrox were briefly released in 2008, but it seemed like that may have been their last gasp.

However, in 2015, Ellia Kassoff’s company Leaf Brands brought Hydrox back from the dead. Basically, since Kellogg had announced publicly that they had no plans to ever revive Hydox, Kassoff was able to take over the copyright and revive the original cream-filled, chocolate biscuit sandwich cookie. I always buy one pack of Hydrox along with my Oreos. Then I take them all apart and combine the two different cookies as a symbol of unity.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.