Movie Theater Candy, Ranked Worst To Best

What's better than soft and gooey milk chocolate M&Ms mingling with buttery popcorn? Well, that depends on your favorite movie theater candy. With some, there's no way to mix them with popcorn — the word "gross" comes to mind when envisioning melted Swedish Fish mingling with the fluffy, crunchy treat. On the other hand, even though you're there to watch the latest movie, the popcorn is probably a close second for why you're there, so why order candy anyway?

The reason is likely because snacking is just part of the movie-going experience worldwide. In fact, during the coronavirus pandemic, some establishments even offered drive-by sales of their classic movie theater popcorn and accompanying candy so people could enjoy their popcorn and sugar rush at home while helping keep theaters afloat.

The first public movie theater opened its doors in 1905 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Though movie theater food was not permitted at all in early theaters, where piano music played along with silent scenes, moviegoers still brought in their own food and drinks from restaurants, and some vendors were even allowed to sell snacks at theaters, despite the rules. 

Today, we don't have to sneak around to enjoy snacking at the movies (so long as you stick to house options, that is!). But just how great are our choices? Check out our ranking for the best and worst movie theater candy — based both on its taste and its love-hate relationship with popcorn — and let us know your preferences, too.

Milk Duds are tough, especially at the movies

They may enticingly beckon you from within their bright yellow box, but just say no! Why exactly should you not open up that alluring box and pop a Milk Dud in your mouth? Because these suckers are nothing but tooth-sticking, difficult-to-chew caramel bites encased in a thick and dense chocolate coating that's just as frustrating. 

These pellet-shaped pieces of candy wedge themselves in your tooth fillings, stick to the brackets of your orthodontic braces, and even leave unsightly smudges on your fingers as they begin to miraculously melt from your body heat. Even though the movie theater is dark, you probably don't want anyone to glance over and watch you cramming your finger in your mouth as you try to extract Milk Dud remnants from your teeth. 

Plus, it's impossible to enjoy a Milk Dud mixed with buttery movie theater popcorn. Do you really want to interrupt the light, buttery crunch of movie theater popcorn with the labor required to enjoy milk duds? Probably not. These two compositions just don't work well together.

SweeTARTS might not go well with that movie theater popcorn

While there are some diehard fans of SweeTARTS out there somewhere, there's really not all that much sweet about these chalky circular pieces of candy. And even the sour ones taste a bit too powdery for our taste.

SweeTARTS are also really hard, which could make for a noisy chew that could interfere with yours — and others' — movie watching. Plus, if there are a few SweeTARTS colors with oddly muted flavors that you just can't stand — say, orange — your candy choice could be lethal to your taste buds if you're fumbling around in the dark for your favorite piece and are unable to locate it. 

Aptly named for the combination of both sweet and tart candies in one long roll, this candy released in 1963 boasts cherry, grape, lemon, lime and orange flavors — none of which are real tasty, if we're being honest. And again, you just can't mix these tangy, hard and powdery disks successfully with popcorn, so why bother?

Sno-Caps with movie theater popcorn? Why ruin a good thing?

Sno-Caps are such pretty little pieces of candy resembling a brown mountain with a glistening white cap of snow atop it. But the benefits of Sno-Caps ends with their looks. You would think that they should taste like scrumptious sweet chocolate with crunchy, sugary sprinkles — yum! — but guess again. 

Sno-Caps have a slightly bitter taste in reality and really aren't what you would think they'd be once they're in your mouth. Invented in 1922, these candies are marketed as semi-sweet, but we'd have to debate the sweet part of that description. And this could leave you quite disappointed after racking up a concession stand bill. While you could try putting a Sno-Cap in your mouth followed by a mouthful of fantastic buttery popcorn to help hide the bitterness, the flavor of a Sno-Cap might still remain a disappointment.

Raisinets are fruity, but are they good for the movies?

If you're wanting to attempt to eat healthy at the movie theater, it's best to just walk right by the concession stand and sip a bottle of water. And if you think you can splurge just a wee bit by buying a box of Raisinets, you might want to think twice. 

Raisinets are California-raised raisins –- which you probably know is a dried fruit — but they're covered in none other than delicious milk chocolate that doesn't exactly harbor a whole host of health benefits, considering the sugar content

They are also marketed as not having any artificial flavors or colors, but it's just an odd choice for a movie theater candy. While there are Raisinets fans out there, and while it's doable to pop a few of these bunny pooh-resembling bites in your mouth within a healthy scoop of popcorn, the combo of tangy and chewy raisins with popcorn just turns us away. Plus, there are other candies much better suited for the job of sidekick to that buttery crunch.

Whoppers and movie theater popcorn are an odd mix

Whoppers happen to be another somewhat tooth-trapping candy that also presents as a slight mess hazard when you consider the darkness of a movie theater. 

These malted milk ball candies are an acquired taste that was first introduced under the name of Gaints in 1939. Sure, they're chocolatey, and they're crunchy, but the slightly salty malted milk filling inside the soft milky shell leaves something to be desired, and at times, something to clean up afterward.

Malted milk is a powdered substance that's made with malted barley, wheat flour and evaporated whole milk, and in our opinion, its tooth-achingly sweet yet salty flavor doesn't combine well with buttery popcorn. Plus, Whoppers tend to get soft quite quickly, so while they can be eaten on their own before popcorn, you definitely don't want to attempt to eat these good-sized candy pieces while watching a movie, considering you might have to get up to wash your hands (and potentially miss a good scene!) so as to not sully your popcorn.

Sour Patch Kids could be too sticky for your movie night popcorn

If you really prefer that your teeth stick to each other with each melded bite of popcorn and candy while you're trying to enjoy a night at the movies, then delve right into that colorful bag of eyewatering sourness known as Sour Patch Kids. Some people don't mind sugar-covered sour gummies with their popcorn, but others just can't stand having so much sticky sweetness and sourness with the perfection known as movie theater popcorn.

Another important factor to consider: If you aren't a fan of each flavor of Sour Patch Kids, you could run into some trouble sitting in a dark theater while randomly popping each one in your mouth and not knowing what you're about to eat. Is it cherry? Is it lemon? Do you really want to find out the hard way?

This gummy candy also adheres to popcorn kernels quite well, so if you value your teeth, and especially if you have braces or other dental devices, you might want to skip this candy offering at the movie theater. If you do give this candy and popcorn combo a shot, just be sure to brush your teeth when you get home, as you should after popcorn anyway.

There's Goobers, but there's also better for your movie theater popcorn

Mmmm peanuts and chocolate, chocolate and peanuts. Seriously, what an amazing combination of flavors. Goobers may have a hideous and unappetizing name, but they're still fairly tasty — as long as you don't bite into a funky flavored peanut, which has happened and makes you instantly regret your choice of candy. But still, popcorn and chocolate peanuts is an awfully yummy candy combination. On the other hand, the best candy made from chocolate and peanuts happens to be peanut M&Ms. So why not just skip this antiquated version and go straight for the yellow box of peanut M&Ms that you know, and in our opinion, can trust? They won't let you down! In fact, M&Ms even released their own mix of peanut M&M-flavored popcorn Sam's Club customers.

But if you buy the shareable size of peanut M&Ms for at-home movie nights, or smuggle in your own bag into the theater, you can pop a peanut M&M in your mouth followed by a handful of buttery popcorn. And repeat. Over and over. Pure bliss!

Starbursts and movie theater pop corn can get complicated, but it depends

If your teeth ache and your jaw hurts after accidentally crunching down on a few "old maids," which are unpopped kernels that settle into the bottom of your popcorn bucket, you might want to forego the Starbursts candy at the movie theater. These chewy candy pieces come in a variety of fruity flavors and offer an interesting twist when snarfed simultaneously with popcorn, but they are known to be a bit difficult to chew. On the other hand, they do provide an intriguing combination when eaten before or after a fistful of popped kernels. 

But don't be disappointed when your favorite flavor isn't in abundance in your sleeve of Starbursts. It never seems to work in our favor it seems1 You love the pink? Well you're only getting one. Red's your favorite? There's only two in the package. 

While Starbursts are great for sharing, though, don't forget to keep track of those pesky and seemingly impossible sticky, tiny wrappers so you don't litter at the movie theater.

Swedish Fish might swim well with movie theater popcorn

The candies known as Swedish Fish are tasty, but after a few bites, they begin to get a bit dull, considering they all pretty much taste the same. They're also a challenge to eat with popcorn because of their chewiness, but on the other hand, Swedish Fish can have you looking forward to your next bite of popcorn while balancing out that salty taste.

While Swedish Fish are a fat free food, most people splurge at the movie theater and will find a better suited candy to nosh on during the latest flick. Their larger size also makes it difficult to fully cram a lot of candy and popcorn in your mouth at the same time, which is kind of a popcorn and candy standard, if you ask us! With that it mind, it might be better to switch to something like Dots instead (and we'll try not to judge). Another pitfall of Swedish Fish? They're made with mineral oil, which can be found in sunscreen, lotion, baby oil, and cleaning products.

Check out this Twizzlers hack for your next movie night

While Twizzlers cannot be successfully blended in the popcorn bowl as they are, due to their long and lanky shape, and they don't necessarily taste great with buttery popcorn, they just happen to be a fun food, even at the movie theater. 

And there's a whole other way to enjoy Twizzlers during showtime: Did you know that you can bite both ends off of a Twizzler and pop it into your drink to be used as a straw with your pop, giving your lemony-lime Sprite or sugary sweet lemonade some extra cherry or strawberry flavored kick?

 Other than that perk, Twizzlers are a fine candy to munch on in the darkened atmosphere of a movie theater — but just not simultaneously with popcorn. You could eat them in shifts, however. Eat a Twizzler strip, then a handful of popcorn, then back to the Twizzler, then back to the bucket of popcorn. It's the best of both worlds. Yum!

Mike and Ike could be nice bite-sized additions to movie theater popcorn

Yet another somewhat sticky candy, the colorful Mike and Ike candy pieces are truly tasty and small enough that you can munch them with popcorn, if you don't mind that fruit-infused flavor bursting in your mouth alongside buttery popcorn. These are also a fun non-chocolate option to savor at the theater alone or as a partner with popcorn, and you likely won't be breaking any teeth with these smaller sized chewy oval shaped candy pieces.

The biggest problem you'll have with Mike and Ike is cramming your fingers inside those darn cumbersome rectangular movie theater candy boxes that only aim to make you mad with their uncooperative shape, especially when you're hungry and craving some sugar. And you know darn well if you attempt to pour them into your hand they'll go flying everywhere and darn it, there goes your candy! So, just sprinkle that Mike and Ike into your popcorn bucket, or carefully pop them in your mouth in-between bites of popcorn.

Skittles can add a rainbow of fun to your movie theater popcorn

If you aren't a big fan of chocolate and prefer the other candy options, Skittles just might work with your popcorn fest at the movie theater. They come in five colors and flavors in the original pack: strawberry, green apple, grape, lemon and orange. In 2017, the manufacturer debuted a Trick Plays version of Skittles where the color of the candy didn't match its usual flavor, surprising those who prefer to sort their Skittles out by color.

Remember, unless you have the room while sitting in your movie theater chair to sort colors, you'll just have to sneak in bites of Skittles with your popcorn in whatever order they come out of the sack — but don't shake that sack too heartily or else they might go flinging everywhere and make that embarrassing sound when they rain down on the floor.

And don't forget there's also other flavor packs, like Wild Berry, that might taste just as yummy as the original pack when paired with popcorn at the movies.

Dots could mingle well with some movie theater popcorn

Another non-chocolate candy option sold at movie theaters happens to be Dots. These tiny little waxy bites of fruit flavors may have an overwhelmingly artificial fruit taste to them, but they're the perfect size to munch on with your popcorn, though just maybe not at the same time.

Even though Dots are considered "Fruit Flavored Gumdrops," they aren't similar to actual sugar-covered gumdrops. And while they do stick in your teeth, they're small enough that you can wedge them free with your tongue hopefully and not make a scene in the slightly darkened theater. The biggest problem you might have with dots is breaking them apart from the confines of the rectangular box there are smooshed into. Still, they aren't as jaw-tiring as Starbursts and are easier to grip in the darkened movie theater than itty bitty Skittles. 

Current flavors for Original Dots include cherry (red), lemon (yellow), lime (green), orange (orange) and strawberry (pink). Sour Dots have five flavors: cherry, lemon, orange, grape and green apple. Only a few of these sounds tasty mixed with buttery popcorn, so experiment and see what you think.

Junior Mints provide a nice chocolaty balance to movie theater popcorn

If you love mint flavoring, then surely you love Junior Mints as a stand alone candy. But guess what? They taste spectacular when mixed with popcorn. 

These smooshy candy disks filled with a white creamy mint interior and a chewy chocolate exterior pair quite well with popcorn, if you like a chocolate-mint-butter popcorn combo. Just make sure you don't clutch the candy box tightly or stick it in your coat pocket or purse, only to forget about it until halfway through the movie, because these soft candy pieces might end up melted and grossly stuck inside the box.

Junior Mints were created in 1949 and ironically, was named as a tip of the hat to a collection of radio stories titled Junior Miss starring the one and only Shirley Temple. See, it was destined to become a popular movie theater candy!

Buncha Crunch and pop corn are a pair made in crunchy heaven

When you're worried that a full size Nestle Crunch candy bar might melt in your hot little hands before you can snarf it down during the movie, or if you would rather have crunchy chocolate goodness to blend with your popcorn instead of a full-sized bar, grab a box of Buncha Crunch instead. 

This popular movie theater candy literally consists of bite-sized pieces of a Nestle Crunch candy bar perfect for pairing with mouthfuls of popcorn. The crunch comes from crisped rice and the chocolate, and well, it needs no explanation. Chocolate and buttery popcorn really do taste fantastic together. When added to a bucket of hot popcorn, the chocolate will melt a bit and meld together into a swirl of amazing flavors. Just handle this box of candy carefully, too, because you'll be super sad if you have to lick it off the inside of the cardboard candy box.

Reece's Peanut Butter Cups and pop corn? Yes please!

What's better than chocolate and peanut butter? How about chocolate, peanut butter and popcorn? A sleeve of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or even its bite-sized sister candy Reese's Pieces pairs swimmingly with a big ol' bucket of buttery popcorn. 

In fact, a popular popcorn flavor sold by candy professionals is chocolate peanut butter popcorn. But instead of spending an arm and leg for a fancy bag of specialized popcorn like that, just layer your Reese's Peanut Butter Cups throughout your bucket of popcorn, or sprinkle Reese's Pieces within, and enjoy this beautiful blend of flavors while you kick back and watch your movie. Console yourself with the fact that peanut butter can be a healthy nut butter and you'll feel no shame in diving right into this bucket of popcorn.

M&Ms just can't be beat when it comes to movie theater treats

M&Ms is, hands down, the best movie theater candy ever, because these tiny morsels of chocolate mix super easily in a bucket or box of popcorn and are straight up chocolate bites in a colorful candy shell. Plus, their animated characters have the best commercials. 

But really, M&Ms are straight up fantastic with popcorn at the movie theater. They're the next best thing to bringing your own bag of chocolate chips and dumping them in the bucket to eat with your popcorn. Mixing M&Ms with your popcorn gives your taste buds a burst of salt, sugar, butter, crunch, chocolate and more. It's a party in the popcorn bucket, and you probably can't hold yourself back from sucking it all up. Hopefully, you don't have to share your delectable M&M snack with whoever accompanies you to the movies, or there could be some hard feelings when you hog the bucket all night long.

And if you really dig the other types of M&Ms, they're perfectly fine to mix in with your popcorn, too. They're definitely the star of the show!