We Tried Brach's Turkey Dinner Candy Corn So You Don't Have To

Foods like Turkey Dinner Candy Corn exist more to generate content than to actually be consumed, and last year's launch of this abomination created plenty of web traffic for Brach's. We paid attention, so the company knew we would continue to fall for it. If Twitter is any indication, the stunt seems to be paying off again this year, at least if you agree with the axiom that all publicity is good publicity. You should look forward to seeing Brach's resurrect this misbegotten confection every autumn until we collectively agree to stop taking the bait.

Candy corn is already an incredibly divisive treat, generating flame wars every year when the leaves begin to turn. Turkey Dinner Candy Corn uses the candy as a platform for something out of Willy Wonka's nightmares, with six flavors designed to hit all the notes of a classic Thanksgiving dinner: roasted turkey, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, apple pie, and coffee. If, after reading this article, you for some reason feel the need to sample this eldritch horror yourself, it's available at most Walgreens nationwide.

First impressions

Everything seemed fine when we first cracked open the bag. For the candy corn lovers among us, it was reassuring to be greeted by the same mild odor of honey and sugar you get when you eat normal candy corn. The fact that it smelled identical to the regular stuff filled us with the hope that the strange flavors would be drowned out by the sugar. Not to spoil the ending, but our hopes were dashed pretty quickly once we started tasting the individual flavors.

Real candy corn stans know that there's a huge difference between fresh candy corn and the stuff that's been sitting in a warehouse for multiple Halloweens. Our bag of Turkey Dinner Candy Corn couldn't have been that old, as Brach's revamped the product with a tweaked lineup of flavors for this year. Nevertheless, the corn had a telltale chalky exterior that indicated staleness. The lack of freshness turned out not to matter at all because the surreal flavors completely overwhelmed any other signals our tongues were sending to our brains. What follows is our impression of every individual flavor, ranked from least to most disgusting.

Apple Pie

This was by far the most pleasing of any of the flavors, which of course meant there was far less of it in the bag than the other types. Turkey Dinner Candy Corn's mission is to inflict pain, and Brach's can't detract from the effect by including too much of the only good flavor. To twist the knife even more, the apple pie pieces were visually almost indistinguishable from the much nastier stuffing flavor, with both featuring a white base and a tan-brown tip. The only difference was that the apple pie's brown was a hair darker than the stuffing's.

Apple pie candy corn delivered a surprisingly nuanced take on its namesake flavor. There were bready and buttery notes that reminded us of pie crust, as well as a mild kick of cinnamon. There may have even been a teeny hint of dried apple flavor in there, although that could have been the power of suggestion more than anything else. If Brach's bagged this flavor on its own, they might have a legitimate hit on their hands.


There was a steep drop-off between the apple pie and coffee flavors. At least it was easy to pick the coffee candy corns out from the rest of the bunch, as their brown and tan color scheme set them apart. The ingredients list on the bag indicates that these are made from actual coffee, unlike the other varieties that rely on natural and artificial flavors. Despite the presence of the real stuff, the coffee taste in this corn was quite poor. It tasted stale, like the coffee you get from the gas station in the late afternoon that's been sitting in the warmer for a few hours. The aftertaste reminded us vividly of Jelly Belly toasted marshmallow jelly beans, with the flavors of sugar and fake vanilla totally taking over our palates after the first hint of coffee. 

These aren't nasty, and if a bowl was set in front of you at a party, you would probably eat a few and maybe even enjoy them. They're definitely worse than original candy corn, however.

Cranberry Sauce

This was the last of the not-disgusting ones, and it just barely cleared the mark. Its pink-red hue didn't remind us of any cranberries we've seen in the wild, but that's not unusual for "fruit" flavored candy. The taste was even further from real cranberry sauce, lacking the tang and sourness you would expect. Instead, it just had a hint of generic red fruit flavor, somewhere between fake strawberry and fake cherry. The best comparison is classic red licorice, except much blander and more stale. It tasted like the ghost of a Twizzler you killed several decades ago, or like the memory of a Red Vine from your early childhood.

Like the coffee candy corn, a strong marshmallow-y flavor began to dominate after the initial hit of fruit faded. These had so little flavor that they picked up a noticeable savoriness from the other beans in the bag, with some tasting faintly of artificial turkey.


Now we're in real stunt food territory. Once you pop a piece of stuffing-flavored candy corn in your mouth, the first taste that greets your tongue is chicken bouillon. It was like a candy version of Chicken in a Biskit snack crackers, except much worse. Fortunately, the sugar started to take over pretty quickly. There were also some detectable notes of cheap white bread. The breadiness of the overall flavor at times made us question whether we were eating the stuffing or the apple pie varieties, especially since they looked so similar, but the stuffing was more savory and also tasted bad. 

The aftertaste, with its combination of sugar and wheat overtones, was somewhat like a Krispy Kreme donut that had been deprived of love and affection. If they tried to incorporate sage and celery, the other two components of classic Thanksgiving stuffing, we couldn't taste it. Sadly for us, the stuffing candy corn was merely a preview of the suffering that lay ahead.

Green Bean

Other than the apple pie, the green bean candy corn was the flavor that most faithfully replicated its inspiration. Unlike the apple pie, the result was an affront to all that we hold dear. These did not look like food, with an alien-green shell that was a dead ringer for modeling clay. Separated from their companions, they had a noticeable Play-Doh aroma. While most of the varieties in this bag started strong and then faded into generic sugariness, the green bean followed an opposite trajectory. 

At first, it tasted just like classic candy corn, giving no hint of the horrors to come. All of a sudden, like a Mogwai fed after midnight, the flavor transformed, turning into a dead ringer for the gray taste of canned green beans. The metallic canned flavor increased until all we could taste was cold aluminum. 

The food chemist who devised this artificial green bean flavor has a lot to answer for. Maybe you would enjoy this if you were the kid who ate Play-Doh in kindergarten, but otherwise you should stay far away.

Roasted Turkey

Now we come to the main course of our candy corn banquet, the reason for the season: roasted turkey. Trust us that it's not hyperbole when we say that this was one of the nastiest things we've ever sampled. When it hits your tongue, it will immediately start sending distress signals to your brain indicating that whatever's in your mouth definitely isn't food. It was a struggle not to spit this flavor out, and the taste test featured much grimacing, pounding on the table, and rending of hair. 

This had the fake bouillon flavor of the stuffing candy corn but amplified by about a million. In such concentrated form, it tasted less like instant soup and more like the distilled sorrow of a thousand mistreated birds. This was the only variety where the artificial flavoring completely swamped the inherent sweetness of the candy corn, flooding our taste buds with indescribable terror, and leaving us reaching for beverages to wash away the stain. The aftertaste of these was confoundingly bitter, lingering in the mouth for far longer than we wanted. 

Of course, there were more of these brown and yellow nuggets of evil than almost any other flavor in the bag. They tainted their companions by association, lending a hint of their essence to the other pieces of candy. Roasted turkey candy corn is a crime, and we cannot in good conscience recommend that you subject yourself to this torturous experience.