19 Snacks You Should Absolutely Buy at the Gas Station

updated Jan 29, 2024
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Before The Kitchn editors hit the road, we fuel up on our go-to road-trip munchies. How else will we make it to our destinations ready to relax? Luckily, the petrol stations peppering America’s highways offer a lot more than fuel pumps. (If you’ve ever passed by a Buc-ee’s gas station, you know.)  

Gas stations offer personal-sized portions of chips, crackers, and candies, plus fridges full of refreshing beverages to wash it all down. Whether you’re driving across the country or just across town, gas stations have loads of sweet, salty, and satiating snacks ready to tag along for the ride. These are The Kitchn editors’ picks for the 20 best gas station snacks and what we love about them. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

1. Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers, $2.49 for 5 ounces

The Kitchn’s News and Features Senior Editor, Paulina Hilton, immediately called out her love for sour gummy worms. She says that she especially loves them for long car rides because the chewy sour gummies make the trip go by more quickly.

Credit: Patty Catalano

2. Sour Patch Kids Watermelon, $2.49 for 5 ounces

Another sour gummy recommendation comes from Quinn Fish, The Kitchn’s lifestyle editor. Her pick are the fruit-shaped Sour Patch Kids watermelons. She loves the chewy texture and the sweet and sour kick of this classic candy.

Credit: Patty Catalano

3. Reese’s Nutrageous Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bar, $2.99 for 3.1 ounces

Reese’s fans, take note: Senior Lifestyle Editor, Mara Weinraub, has found the superior Reese’s treat for car trips. Reese’s Nutrageous are “peanut butter covered in caramel, topped with peanuts, then covered in chocolate and in bar form — what’s not to love? It’s got sweetness, saltiness, crunch, and creamy chocolate. I can’t always find them in every gas station (which is a travesty), but when I do it’s a thrill and a treat. Way easier to eat than PB cups while driving, BTW.” One word: Whoa.

Credit: Patty Catalano

4. Gardetto’s Special Request Garlic Rye Chips, $3.79 for 5.5 ounces

Culinary Producer Rachel Perlmutter always picks up a bag of Gardetto’s when she hits the road. She says they “have an unparalleled crunch factor and salty flavor.” She gets particularly excited if she spots a bag filled with just the rye chips.

Credit: Patty Catalano

5. Nerds Gummy Clusters Candy, $2.99 for 3 ounces

I can always count on Rachel to sing the praises of foods I’d never thought to try. (I mean, she’s the one who put salad on a sheet pan, after all.) One of her favorite road trip snacks are Nerds Clusters. These are bite-sized gummy candies coated in colorful nerds and they are as delightful as they sound. Rachel loves the texture and the surprisingly sour flavor.

Credit: Patty Catalano

6. Fritos Honey BBQ Flavor Twists, $2.49 for 3.5 ounces

My 8-year-old son introduced me to Fritos Flavor Twists, and several other editors agreed that they are the sleeper hit of gas station snacks. The honey BBQ flavor is part sweet, part spicy, part savory, and 100% crunchy. Now whenever we hit the road, I make sure to pick up a pack of these crunchy chips.

Credit: Patty Catalano

7. Chex Mix Snack Mixes, $2.69 for 3.75 ounces

Chex mix isn’t just a homemade party snack — it’s also perfect for road trips. Senior Lifestyle Editor, Mara Weinraub, loves to munch on Chex Mix (any one of the flavors will do) in the car, and I have to agree. Something about the variety of the snack mix keeps things interesting even when the highway looks the same.

Credit: Patty Catalano

8. Corn Nuts Original Crunchy Corn Kernels, $1.49 for 4 ounces

Assistant Recipe Producer, Jan Valdez, says that she always picks up a bag of Corn Nuts when she hits the road. She’s not sure why, but she’s convinced that the crunchy kernels taste better on long car rides. Plus, who can resist that ultra-satisfying crunch?

Credit: Patty Catalano

9. Snyder’s Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces, $2.99 for 5 ounces

The honey mustard pretzel pieces are another favorite of Jan’s. She makes sure to pick up this super-crunchy and savory snack whenever she hits the road, and she’s not alone. These crunchy pretzels are one of my favorites too.

Credit: Patty Catalano

10. Haribo Goldbears Gummy Bears, $2.39 for 5 ounces

“This was one of the first candies I ate as a kid, so there’s a major nostalgia factor there,” says Shopping Director, Jada Wong. “It’s also usually at the counter or at the end of an aisle, so it’s wildly convenient to grab and go.”

Credit: Patty Catalano

11. Nacho Cheese Doritos, $2.49  for 2 3/4 ounces

Senior Food Editor, Kristina Razon’s, pick was also a childhood favorite. Cool Ranch Doritos were her go-to as a kid, but now she’s sure that “Nacho Cheese is far and away the best flavor. It hits those savory notes and is all crunch.” (If you’re still looking for your favorite variety, read our ranking of the best Dorito flavors before your next road trip.) She loves the nacho cheese dust so much that she admits to triaging the bag for the triangles covered in the most dust. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

12. Cheez-Its, $2.09 for 3 ounces

It wasn’t long before our Recipe Director, Lauren Miyashiro, piped up with her pick of the classic cheesy cracker, Cheez-Its. She likes that they’re not too salty and always seem to have the perfect amount of toastiness. Plus, they won’t leave her hands too greasy or covered in cheese dust. (Sorry, Kristina!)”

Credit: Patty Catalano

13. Peanut Butter M&Ms, $2.29 for 2.83 ounces

And because most road trips require more than one snack, Lauren also picks up a pack of peanut butter M&Ms. Melty chocolate may be a no-no for some highway warriors, but Lauren reminded us that “they’re not as melty as, say, a chocolate bar.” Plus, “because there’s peanut butter involved they’re a bit more satisfying.”

Credit: Patty Catalano

14. Rips, $1.89 for 4 ounces

A road-trip impulse buy changed everything for Senior Lifestyle Editor, Mara Weinraub, because that’s when she tried Rips for the very first time. She loves the sweet and sour candy so much that she has a ritual for eating Rips on the road. Mara recommends letting it rest on your tongue for the first few seconds for peak puckering effect. Strawberry-green apple flavor is the one she finds most often, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong with any flavor. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

15. Swedish Fish, $2.19 for 5 ounces

Swedish Fish reminds Charli Penn, our Executive Lifestyle Director, of the best summers of her life. The chewy, fruity fish have been her “go-to road trip and movie theater snack” since childhood. Simply put, they are “absolutely delicious from the first bite.”

Credit: Patty Catalano

16. Glacier Freeze Gatorade, $2.99 for 28 fluid ounces

If you always get thirsty on road trips, The Kitchn’s former Recipe Production Coordinator, Justine Lee’s, recommendation is for you. Grab a bottle of blue Gatorade (Glacier Freeze, to be more specific) to “chug on its own or in between munching on salty chips or peanut M&Ms.” It’s hard to describe the flavor of Glacier Freeze Gatorade other than “blue,” but Justine picks up “notes of tart berries with a hint of lemon-lime.” 

Credit: Patty Catalano

17. SkinnyPop Kettle Corn, $1.89 for 1.9 ounces

I make sure our first gas station stop is at a well-stocked station. Smaller gas stations haven’t caught on to what is, IMO, the ultimate road-trip snack: kettle corn. Kettle corn is popcorn that is slightly sweet and a smidge salty. Like all popcorn, it is light, crunchy, and perfect for munching over long stretches of highway. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

18. Bugles, $2.69 for 3 ounces

Bugles are the cone-shaped corn chips that are a classic road-trip snack. After all, this edible finger hat is as much a snack as it is a toy, and what better way to pass the time? The corn chips are satisfyingly salty with a crispy texture unlike the other chips and crackers you’ll find at the rest stop.

Credit: Patty Catalano

19. Combos, $3.09 for 6.3 ounces

No roundup of gas-station snacks is complete without mentioning Combos. Senior Recipe Editor, Christine Gallary, said what we all were thinking: “There’s just something about those little nuggets filled with salty cheese (or pizza flavoring) that gets me every time, and reminds me of childhood road trips.” While you might not spot Combos in your local grocery store, rest assured that gas stations are always well-stocked.

Did your favorite gas-station snack make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.