These Are THE Most Exciting Snacks to Buy Right Now

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multiple snacks on a surface in an artistic way
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

What’s the perfect pretzel? Is this popcorn worth its weight in actual gold? Why didn’t anyone bag olives sooner? These are the big questions in the world of snacks, and we’re here to answer them and more — where did you get that dip? — in this year’s Kitchn Essentials: Groceries Edition.

As professional snackers, it’s our job to sample as many snacks as we can get our cheese-dusted fingers on — and we take that job very, very seriously. We tasted our way through dozens of bags, boxes, bars, and cans to find the most exciting snacks on shelves right now. And for the first time ever, we also invited readers, like you, to help select a Readers’ Choice winner. Meet our (and some of your) favorite snacks.

Credit: Kellogg NA Co

The Readers’ Choice: Cheez-It Original Baked Snack Crackers

We surveyed more than 1,000 readers to find out their favorite snacks, and all of the leading contenders fell decidedly in the crunchy and savory quadrant. (The scale, of course, being creamy to crunchy and savory to sweet.) But after two days of tallying, the results were in! The winner: Cheez-Its. “Crunchy, cheesy, salty, portable, and easy to portion. Irresistibly savory. Road-trip worthy. Just so delicious.” These are just a few of the reasons readers gave for voting for these iconic original crackers in our first-ever Readers’ Choice category. They also noted the Extra Toasty, Snap’D, and Grooves (specifically, Scorchin’ Hot Cheddar) Cheez-Its are not to be missed.

Buy: Cheez-It Original Baked Snack Crackers, $4.99 for 12.4 ounces at Target

Credit: Siete Family Foods

The Chip: Siete Dip Chip Grain Free Tortilla Chips

Only one chip could knock Siete’s Grain Free Sea Salt Tortilla Chips (a three-time Kitchn Essentials winner) out of the top spot, and that’s its Dip Chips. “Even when dip isn’t part of the equation,” Culinary Producer Kelli Foster says, “I like these sturdy chips even more than the original.”

Buy: Siete Dip Chip Grain Free Tortilla Chips, $4.99 for 1 bag at Siete

Credit: Snack Factory

The Pretzel: Pretzel Factory Original Pretzel Crisps

A ton of brands make flat pretzels that are great for dipping, swiping, and scooping, but the ones in the blue-and-white-striped bags remain our favorite. It’s been nearly 20 years since they hit shelves and they still set the standard! “They’re literally the perfect version of a pretzel IMO,” says News & Culture Editor, Ni’Kesia Pannell.

Buy: Pretzel Factory Original Pretzel Crisps, $3.48 for 7.2 ounces at Walmart

Credit: LesserEvil

The Popcorn: LesserEvil Himalayan Gold Popcorn

If it wasn’t for the bag, you’d never know this popcorn wasn’t freshly popped. “It’s light, airy, with a hint of salt, and that classic buttery movie-theater flavor,” says Senior Lifestyle Editor, Mara Weinraub. Oh, and it’s vegan.

Buy: LesserEvil Himalayan Gold Popcorn, $3.49 for 1 bag at ThriveMarket

Credit: Green Pack Snacks

The Puff: Hippeas Vegan White Cheddar Organic Chickpea Puffs

These puffs are pure magic. They’re light, airy, and crispy, with just the right amount of cheese to make you want to keep going back for another one. Bonus: They’re also gluten-free.

Buy: Hippeas Vegan White Cheddar Organic Chickpea Puffs, $3.89 for 1 bag at ThriveMarket

Credit: Pipsnacks

The Crunchiest: Pipcorn Heirloom Snacks Sea Salt Twists

The Pipcorn peeps have done it again. These twists are the latest in a dazzling lineup of crunchy snacks. They’re lightly seasoned with sea salt and have so much CRUNCH, you’ll need to crank up the volume on your headphones.

Buy: Pipcorn Heirloom Snacks Sea Salt Twists, $32.99 for 6 bags at Amazon

Credit: Mary's Gone Crackers

The Cracker: Mary’s Gone Crackers Sea Salt Real Thin Crackers

No snack stash is complete without a sea salt cracker. “These sturdy crackers have just the right amount of crispy, crunchiness,” says Kelli. “They’re salty but not too salty, and have a slight curved shape, which makes them perfect for dipping.” They also happen to be gluten-free.

Buy: Mary’s Gone Crackers Sea Salt Real Thin Crackers, $4.04 for 5 ounces at Mary’s Gone Crackers

Credit: Cabot Creamery

The Cheese: Cabot Alpine Cheddar Cheese

“I don’t like distractions with my cheese,” says Senior Food Editor, Kristina Razon, which is why she enjoys this nutty cheddar thinly sliced and on its own. It’s reminiscent of her favorite cheese from childhood, Swiss, but with a more complex, buttery flavor. These days it lives in her fridge, rent-free.

Buy: Cabot Alpine Cheddar Cheese, $2.98 for 6 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Chomps

The Jerky: Chomps Original Turkey Sticks

If you love the savory and spicy notes that pepperoni and sausage bring to the party, this is the jerky for you. “These high-protein snack sticks taste fresher than other meat sticks, and are expertly seasoned with just the right amount of spice and no added sugar,” says Staff Writer, Patty Catalano.

Buy: Chomps Original Turkey Sticks, $24.00 for 10 sticks at Chomps

Credit: Gotham Greens

The Dip: Gotham Greens Spinach Artichoke Dip

“Where did you get this?” is exactly the kind of question you should expect when you set out this spinach-artichoke dip at your next party. Take it from Kelli: You will be shocked at how fast a container of this dairy-free dip disappears.

Buy: Gotham Greens Spinach Artichoke Dip, $7.69 for 6.5 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Polar Seltzer'ade

The Sip: Polar Seltzer’ade Mango Limeade

Is this drink sunshine in a can? For Kristina, the answer is an emphatic YES. Made with no sweeteners, sugar, or caffeine, “this refreshingly fruity seltzer tricks me into thinking it’s summer, even when I’m drinking one in the dead of winter.”

Buy: Polar Seltzer’ade Mango Limeade, $4.89 for 8 cans at Target

Credit: Kate's Real Food

The Bar: Kate’s Real Food Bars

What we love most about these bars is their familiar soft chew that rivals the best homemade energy bars. They’re so good, in fact, that Patty had one on a flight and then saved the wrapper so she could remember the brand. A photo just wouldn’t do this bar justice!

Buy: Kate’s Real Food Bars, $31.88 for 12 bars at Amazon

Credit: Target

The Snack Mix: Good & Gather Sweet Cajun Trail Mix

Target has a solid roster of snack mixes (and mixed nuts!), but the flavors and textures stuffed in this bag are unmatched. The layers of sweetness! The collection of crunch! The spice! This grab bag is reason enough to plan a Target run.

Buy: Good & Gather Sweet Cajun Trail Mix, $4.49 for 11 ounces at Target

Credit: Target

The Nuts: Good & Gather Sea Salt Roasted Mixed Nuts

What makes this container so special? What’s NOT in it. These salted and roasted almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and pecans are, as Patty sums up so perfectly, “all the nuts you want and none that you don’t.” You’ll find it forever and always in her pantry (and at Target).

Buy: Good & Gather Sea Salt Roasted Mixed Nuts, $18.99 for 30 ounces at Target

Credit: Unreal

The Candy: Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems

We love everything about these dark chocolate peanut gems: the simple ingredient list (including fair-trade dark chocolate!), the gemstone-hued shells, and, of course, the rich chocolate and peanut crunch. If you snuck this bag into the movie theater, we wouldn’t tell a soul.

Buy: Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems, $4.48 for 2 bags at Unreal

Credit: Clio Snacks Company

The Sleeper Hit: Clio Vanilla Greek Yogurt Bar

Don’t be fooled by their petite size. These bars — with their slightly tangy, nougat-like center and rich, chocolatey shell — rival the best candy bars. Take it from Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, who says these Greek yogurt bars may just be the perfect food.

Buy: Clio Vanilla Greek Yogurt Bar, $22.00 for 10 bars at Clio

Credit: Freestyle Snacks

The Newcomer: Freestyle Snacks Hot and Spicy Green Olives

Why didn’t anyone bag olives sooner? Mara wondered the same thing! Bright and briny with a nice fiery kick, thanks to the Calabrian chili blend, these olives are ideal for straight-out-of-the-bag snacking. A martini within arm’s reach doesn’t hurt, either.

Buy: Freestyle Snacks Hot and Spicy Green Olives, $14.99 for 3 bags at Amazon

Credit: Major's Project Pop

The Splurge: Major’s Project Pop 24K Gold Popcorn

What’s more luxe than popcorn that’s covered in actual gold? Ni’Kesia dubbed this bag the popcorn of her dreams. The 24K gold flakes are hand-applied to the OG Kettle Corn and a true treat yo’self moment.

Buy: Major’s Project Pop 4K Gold Popcorn, $40.00 for 2 bags at Major’s Pop Popcorn

Credit: Solely

The On-the-Go Grab: Solely Organic Mango Whole Fruit Gummies

Soft, chewy, yet not at all sticky, these two-ingredient gummies are unabashedly fruit-forward and downright delicious. Mara would even trade her cheese stick for a pack of these new-school fruit snacks.

Buy: Solely Organic Mango Whole Fruit Gummies, $3.59 for 5 pouches at Amazon

Credit: Heinz Company

The Party Snack: Bagel Bites Bagel Dogs

These bite-sized bagel dogs beat out seven other contenders to take the top spot in our taste test for the best traditional pigs in a blanket. The juicy, flavorful franks are wrapped in the familiar bagel dough of the bite-sized mini pizzas. Patty’s only complaint? She wishes there were more in the box!

Buy: Bagel Bites Bagel Dogs, $6.19 for 7.75 ounces at Target

Credit: Orion

The Wildcard: Orion Chocolate Churro Turtle Chips

This chip has so many layers: It’s laminated, for starters, and rich with lightly sweet chocolate flavor, and has a satisfying crunch that leads to a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. Even the crumbs are next-level! Pour them into a bowl, add milk, and boom — you’ve got chocolate churro cereal, says Recipe Production Coordinator, Justine Lee.

Buy: Orion Chocolate Churro Turtle Chips, $5.29 for 5.65 ounces at Umamicart

Credit: Fix & Fogg

The 3 P.M. Standby: Fix & Fogg Oaty Nut Butter

A single spoonful of this seedy, coconutty, oaty nut butter is the boost your afternoons are missing. It’s toasty and slightly savory, with a subtle hint of sweetness, and has a delightful crunch to balance out the creamy consistency of the nut butter.

Buy: Fix & Fogg Oaty Nut Butter, $8.99 for 10 ounces at Thrive Market

Credit: Flock

The Best Keto: Flock Original Chicken Chips

Can we all agree the skin is the best part of the chicken? The crispier, the better, if you ask us! Well it doesn’t get much more crispy — or fantastic — than this bag of chicken chips. Just ask SEO Content Director, Adriana Velez, who says, “10/10 would recommend.”

Buy: Flock Original Chicken Chips, $24.00 for 8 bags at Flock Foods

Credit: Trader Joe's

The Trader Joe’s Find: Trader Joe’s Sweet Cinnamon Korean Pancakes

Warm, pillowy, gooey, spicy, sweet — these cinnamon-y pancakes are a seasonal find, so next time you see them at TJ’s we highly recommend you follow Justine’s lead and pick up a minimum of three bags.

Credit: Schwartz Brothers Restaurants

The Costco Find: Schwartz Brothers Bakery Everything Bagel Chips

There are infinite reasons to become a Costco member, but for Kelli these small-batch and twice-baked bagel chips are numero uno. “This isn’t just my favorite Coctco snack — it is my favorite thing to buy at Costco, period.”

Buy: Schwartz Brothers Bakery Everything Bagel Chips, $9.99 for 15 ounces at Costco

Credit: Rich Products

The Air Fryer: FarmRich Breaded Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Fact: Mozzarella sticks taste better in the air fryer. In our frozen mozzarella stick taste test, contributor Taylor Kocher found one brand that tops the rest. The crispy breading had just the right amount of salt to balance out the rich, gooey cheese. “It’s exactly what you want a mozz stick to be.”

Buy: FarmRich Breaded Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, $6.68 for 24 ounces at Walmart