I Tried Dozens of New Groceries Hitting Shelves This December — These Are the 9 I’m Most Excited About

published Dec 22, 2022
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Credit: Photos: Godshall's, Hostess, Takis, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Silk, Kosterina; Design: The Kitchn

And just like that, we’re bidding 2022 adieu. As offices and restaurants opened back up, so did the R&D labs of our favorite food creators. And, wow were those masterminds busy concocting creative snacks, adding spice to even more ingredients, and spreading edible cheer.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

I taste tested a few-dozen new products hitting grocery store shelves this December. (Spoiler: You’ll find lots of holiday flavors.) As we close out the year, I’m sharing my final list of favorites. It starts out sweet, heats up with a little spice, and finishes smoothly and a little luxuriously (much as I hope the actual end of year will be). These are the nine standouts to make the last bites of 2022 some of the best.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

1. Hostess Limited-Edition Twinkies, CupCakes, Donettes, and HoHos

This sweet snack brand may have gone small in autumn, and now it’s back with four big limited-edition drops. Despite cooling flavors like Mint Chocolate Twinkies (my favorite) and vanilla Holiday CupCakes, they’re keeping up a hot streak with this new seasonal collection, including Hot Cocoa & Marshmallow Flavored Donettes and classic HoHos. They’re available only while supplies last, so hop on this holiday dessert when you see them.

Find in stores: Hostess Limited-Edition Mint Chocolate Twinkies, $3.99 for 12.7 ounces at Walmart, Kroger, Albertson’s, Publix, Target, and Meijer

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2. Stuffed Puffs Cinnamon Toast Crunch Big Bites

This novelty marshmallow brand has come a long way since its s’mores-inspired debut a decade ago. These fluffy marshmallows are packed with Cinnamon Toast Crunch “creme” — which is more like a solid ball of frosting — then covered in a fine cereal sand that has just the slightest crunch for super-sweet bites. It’s the company’s first-ever big-brand collaboration, and it’s available exclusively at Walmart.

Find it in stores: Stuffed Puffs Cinnamon Toast Crunch Big Bites, $4.49 for 5.9 ounces at Walmart

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3. Hershey’s Hot Chocolate Bombs

Hot chocolate bombs have been all the gourmet rage the past few winters, and now Hershey’s is making them more accessible (and more affordable)! They’re hitting retailers nationwide with the debut of two milk-chocolatey bombs. One is filled with marshmallows, while the other has cinnamon chips. The new drops accompany the return of brand’s classic festive collection, including the Grinch foil-wrapped Kisses and Reese’s trees.

Buy: Hershey’s Hot Chocolate Bombs, $3.49 for 1.25 ounces at Target

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4. Nufs Hot Honey Crispy Crackers

Whether your grazing board is a classic charcuterie or a variation on the viral butter board trend, these gluten-free hot honey crackers will be a welcome addition to the party. They have a super-snappy bite and a flavor profile that goes with either (although they’re interesting enough to eat on their own). There’s minimal crumbing and they’re strong enough to withstand any manner of dipping or schmearing. The cayenne heat creeps up at the tail end of a subtle sweetness from the honey and a hint of salt.

Find in stores: Nufs Hot Honey Crispy Crackers, $10.99 for 8 ounces at Central Market

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5. Popcornopolis Takis Fuego

What’s fire this winter? Popcorn. And my mouth, since I got these cones of kernels drenched in the signature Takis hot chili pepper and lime Fuego flavor. Admittedly, it was a little intimidating to see all that red-covered popped corn in the clear cone packaging. But! If you’re a fan of both brands, or simply like airy, crispy texture (and don’t mind the loss of some corn flavor), you’ll like this new collaboration.

Find in stores: Popcornopolis Takis Fuego, starting at $4.98 for 1.75 ounces at Walmart, 7-11, Target, and Popcornopolis.com 

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6. Kosterina Spicy Red Pepper Olive Oil

If you’re anything like me, you’re already blooming red pepper flakes in your olive oil before you cook Italian. The makers of this Greek EVOO are now helping us skip that step with the launch of their red pepper infused oil. It’s sourced from early harvest Southern Greek olives so you’ll get that nice grassy taste, and the addition of red pepper oil turns up the heat and interest level in a way that’s not over-the-top. You can try it now by itself, or wait for the Flavored Olive Oil trio to come out — the complementary flavors include Greek Herb & Lemon and Garlic. 

Buy: Kosterina Spicy Red Pepper Olive Oil, $24.95 for 12.7 ounces at Kosterina

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7. Godshall’s Angus Steak Uncured Beef Bacon

Bacon just got beefy, as 2022’s “Best New Refrigerated Product” (per Refrigerated and Frozen Foods magazine) hits national distribution. This employee-owned brand typically known for turkey bacon has come out with wood-smoked, steakhouse-seasoned rashers. They’re thick and made of pressed meat, and are more similar to British back bacon than American streaky.

Buy: Godshall’s Angus Steak Uncured Beef Bacon, starting at $7.99 for 10 ounces at Instacart

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8. Silk Dairy-Free Soy Original Nog and So Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Holiday Nog

Lactose-intolerant or dairy-free nog-lovers need not give up on their favorite holiday drink — Silk’s limited-edition Original Nog is back on the shelves. It’s still free of eggs and saturated fat, and full of smooth, velvety, sweet flavor. Nutmeg and cinnamon are the head notes for this one. And the Coconutmilk Holiday Nog adds a discreet taste of the tropics to the fuller-bodied, non-dairy drink. It’s bold-flavored and sweet, and while it’s not as thick as the traditional nog, it’s close enough to make sure no one feels like they’re missing out.

Buy: So Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Holiday Nog, $3.19 for 32 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

9. Silk Nextmilk 

If you just want some plant-based milk, Silk’s got a new launch for you: an extra-creamy non-dairy drink that’s designed to emulate cow’s milk (calcium, vitamin D, and all). While you can taste the sweet traces of oat and soy, the coconut is undetectable. Its whole-fat formula means a lingering richness and satisfying mouthfeel, but there’s no greasiness to it. It doesn’t taste exactly like milk, but it certainly does feel like it!

Buy: Silk Nextmilk, $3.98 for a 59 ounces at Walmart

Which of these are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below.