We Tried The New Pumpkin Pie M&M's And We're Ready To Skip Summer Completely

If the unending carousel of combinations is any indication, you can never have too many M&M's flavor variations. For anyone who just can't wait to enjoy the next imaginative combo, the Mars company is launching its Halfway to Halloween campaign as a summer celebration of fall flavors well ahead of the season. Included in the ghoul-icious treat selection are the tricolored Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's, a new take on the previously-released White Pumpkin Pie flavor that gave the beloved candy presence in the pumpkin spice space.

There's no way I could hear about a new M&M's taste sensation without giving it a try as soon as possible. Thankfully, I was able to jump to the front of the trick-or-treat line for a sample without even needing to don a costume. The most pressing question in my food scientist brain: Why would M&M's need another pumpkin pie flavor? Isn't the white chocolate version enough to satisfy the throngs of candy lovers who also dig pumpkin flavored everything? I had to find out if the new kid on the block was a contender as a new seasonal favorite, especially considering the season in question is months away. No complaints here, though; there's never a wrong time to try whatever fun shake-up M&M's gives its beloved confections, and a Pumpkin Pie Summer is long overdue.

These autumn-ready M&M's combine milk chocolate with pumpkin spice

The concept of mixing milk chocolate and pumpkin together isn't a new idea in the culinary world; products like Swiss Miss hot chocolate, Kind Bars, and of course, pumpkin spice mochas in coffee shops everywhere, have latched on to the cocoa-flavored extension of the pumpkin spice sensation. It feels like a flavor M&M's would have tested long before now, though maybe there was a strategic delay to keep potential fans from hitting the burn-out stage and skipping over yet another pumpkin spice item. The trend has become such a tradition that there's no question Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's are an addition whose time has come.

Lest White Pumpkin Pie M&M's be left in the autumn leaves, the packaging for Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie continues with the autumnal theme of the leery Orange M&M's character from the White Pumpkin Pie bags. This time, Orange has his autumn rizz in full effect with a jagged Jack-O-Lantern lid while he holds a plate of pumpkin pie with more than a little fear brewing in his giant eyes. He seems to know he's the flavor of the month, thanks to the orange candy broken open at his foot. While it may not mean good news for this sugary character, it means all kinds of wonderful things are afoot (pun intended) for lovers of M&M's.

Bags will likely fall in line with pricing for other holiday variants

Though the price for this seasonal novelty has not been announced yet, it's reasonable to think Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's will be priced similarly to other holiday and special edition bags. As of publication, there are 7.40-ounce bags of specialty flavors like Crunchy Cookie listed for between $5 and $5.50 at Fry's Food, a Kroger grocery store, and for $4.78 or so at Walmart. Our sample was a 7.44-ounce bag, similar in size to the other M&M's holiday packages and an ideal size for a shareable bag. There is no word on whether single-serving bags will be available, but if you're a big enough fan of chocolate pumpkin pie, you'll probably want more than a handful, anyway.

If you prefer to order your special edition M&M's directly from the company website, a listing for the recent Easter Sundae edition shows a price of $4.49, which is likely indicative of the web price for the Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie flavor as well. You can also sign up for the M&M's newsletter, which may alert you to the exact release date for this pre-fall flavor.

No need to wait for autumn ... these tricky treats will be dropping in summer

Anyone enticed into trying Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's well in advance of pumpkin spice season should be able to find them in local grocers and big-box retailers this summer. No confirmed release date has been announced, but if the trend follows you should see these new bags in shops near you as temperatures rise.

It's worth wondering whether tasting a fall-flavored candy released sometime in the heat of summer can actually get customers in the mood for Halloween five months early. Will the Halfway to Halloween promotion be ahead of its time, causing Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's to be overlooked in favor of more summer-specific treats? 

If there is any justice in the retail candy world, these cool-weather candies will be on shelves well into the fall and even possibly early winter, giving the flavor a solid chance to hit when the weather summons the pumpkin spirit. If any confectionary creation could inspire an extended version of the spicy season, Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's would be the goodie to get the job done.

A serving of Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's has about the same nutritional value as regular M&M's

M&M's fans will be happy and relieved to know that Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie candies have almost the same nutrition facts as plain M&M's. A serving will net you a cool 140 calories, delivering 6 grams of fat (plain M&M's have 5 grams), 18 grams of sugar, and 20 milligrams of sodium. 

And while it would be ideal to announce that the ingredients list includes a familiar recipe of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and even real pumpkin to add authentic dessert punch to the occasion, the only difference in the recipe appears to be the inclusion of so-called natural flavors to lend spice to the bag. If you've done your research, you'll know that "natural flavors" includes a variety of things that seldom contain the actual items responsible for the taste represented.

Out of curiosity, I checked the label on White Pumpkin Pie M&M's to see how the nutrition facts differed. It turns out a serving contains 210 calories, 11 grams of fat, 28 grams of sugar and 43 milligrams of sodium. While Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie is definitely not a form of health food, it's less of a nutrition-cruncher than the white chocolate version.

Review: These chocolatey dessert candies are the right kind of autumn for summer

The addition of milk chocolate to the pumpkin pie equation takes M&M's autumn collection into a rich new territory, creating counterplay between the pumpkin, spice, and chocolate flavors. The result is similar to a mug of pumpkin spice hot cocoa: complex and satisfying, giving your taste buds a world of excitement to explore. Having tried White Pumpkin Pie M&M's in the past, I'm impressed to see the difference between using milk chocolate as a base as opposed to white chocolate. Milk chocolate tempers the sweetness and gives the spice a more substantial taste to interact with.

PSL aficionados will be happy to learn that Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's provide enjoyment similar to pumpkin spice coffee, thanks to the richer, more roasted flavor of the chocolate beneath the shell. These will be a great addition to cookies, bars, and other baked treats. It may be far too early to qualify the candy as a cool weather success, even with a generous shake of pumpkin pie flavor in the bag. Still, this off-season creation is a distinctive treat that deserves to be enjoyed on its own merits, no matter what season it makes its debut.

How I taste tested these M&M's

Thanks to the warm weather showing up right on time this year, my package of Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pie M&M's arrived melted into a lumpy bag of M&M's bark. It went straight into the fridge to solidify before the taste test started. I was able to separate a few whole candies from the pile-up to try individually before realizing there's no flavor distinction among the colors. So I snapped off a chunk and gave that a taste test, too.

Usually, I'll give the products I review at least two tastes to determine subtleties and discern nuances that might exist. With the accidental invention of a super-sized candy bar, I was able to get everything I needed from a single taste. The real challenge came in remembering this was a whole bag of M&M's and that I shouldn't just keep chomping on chunks until it was gone. Thankfully, pumpkin and chocolate form such a winsome partnership, there was no regrettable feeling from eating more than a single serving. In fact, I'm looking forward to doing it again.