I Tried and Ranked 10 Hostess Snacks — And the “Secretly Delicious” Winner Shocked Me

published Apr 27, 2024
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10 kinds of hostess snacks
Credit: Carolyn Moore

In the lunch box trading economy, Hostess snacks have long been a hot commodity. As kids bartered and exchanged pretzels for more alluring cookies and chips, a Hostess treat was the holy grail of snack time. Because at the end of the day, what’s better than a Ding Dong (other than a Ding Dong cake, that is)? I set out to answer that question for not only myself, but also for humanity. 

Credit: Carolyn Moore

Since introducing the first CupCake in 1919, Hostess has perfected its decadent delicacies sold in grocery stores, gas stations, and markets all over the world. The top flavors include parade-float-level favorites, like chocolate, marshmallow, powdered sugar, fruit-flavored, and caramel. 

Credit: Carolyn Moore

I gathered some friends to try 10 of the most well-known and nostalgic snacks of our lifetime and, in a daunting task, rank them against each other. Nearly impossible, right? There were disagreements and even a few tears, but most of all there was cream filling.

In the end, the winner truly had my jaw on the floor. 

Credit: Carolyn Moore

10. Lemon CupCakes

The bright yellow icing is the highlight of this beloved creamy-filled cupcake, but in comparison to its chocolate counterpart, the lemon flavor is not quite strong enough. It’s got some fierce competition, though — while it didn’t stand out as a winner, the creamy, citrusy combo is one of the better spring flavors for welcoming warmer weather. 

Buy: Hostess Iced Lemon Flavored CupCakes with Other Natural Flavors $12.98 for 8 at Walmart

Credit: Carolyn Moore

9. Kazbars

If you’re looking for a cake-y alternative to a candy bar, Kazbars may be just what you need. The layered chocolate cake, caramel, crunch pieces, and marshmallow filling make them a surprisingly complex sweet treat. Released just last year, we won’t be surprised if we start seeing Kazbars as a deluxe Halloween offering in the near future.

Buy: Hostess Chocolate Caramel Kazbars, $4.49 for 10 at Target

Credit: Carolyn Moore

8. Donettes

What better treat to pair with a warm beverage than a few Donettes? Although a cup of coffee best accompanies these powdered mini donuts, we found that when standing on their own, there are better options in the Hostess family. The cake of each donut is a bit too dry and combined with the powdery coating, they’re in need of some liquid to balance them out. We still love eating piles of the noticeably more moist chocolate ones, though. 

Buy: Hostess Donettes Powdered Mini Donuts, $2.59 for 20 at Target

Credit: Carolyn Moore

7. Snoballs 

Snoballs were so controversial in this group. Like with many of the other desserts, the marshmallow and coconut outer layer completely divided us. While some thought the coconut was a thoughtful accent to the chocolate cake, others felt the coconut flavor was muted and mostly for show. The color and shaggy look make these the most stylish of the group, but flavor-wise their rivals — HoHos, Ding Dongs, and CupCakes — still win out. Snoballs just make a better outfit accessory than anything.

Buy: Hostess SNOBALLS Coconut Covered Chocolate Cake Creamy Filling, $2.99 for 6 on Instacart

Credit: Carolyn Moore

6. Ding Dongs

Going strong since 1967, Ding Dongs are one of the more vintage offerings in this collection. Although they lack the iconic white squiggle of icing, their puck-like shape holds a sizable amount of creamy filling (seemingly more than any others on this list). If you’re the type to eat the icing before the cake, Ding Dongs are your best bet.

Buy: Hostess Ding Dongs, $3.69 for 10 at Target

Credit: Carolyn Moore

5. Twinkies

Twinkies are so much more than a lunch box dessert — at this point, they’re a national icon. Simply put, there’s nothing like them. The thick layer of golden sponge cake surrounds an airy cavern of fluff, and once your fingers get a little greasy, it’s hard to stop yourself from eating four. That being said, our reviewers felt the chocolate treats they tasted paired better with the cream filling overall. Although we’ll always have love for the legendary Twinkies.

Buy: Hostess Twinkies, $3.69 for 10 at Target

Credit: Carolyn Moore

4. Meltamors

Meltamors completely took us by surprise! As the most recent addition to the Hostess snack universe, launched just this March, these double chocolate mini cakes are a strong contender for a new classic. Reviewers compared it to a mug cake (the package instructions recommend microwaving it). The melting chocolate center makes this cake feel luxurious and ideal for a midnight snack. 

Buy: Hostess Chocolate Creamy Caramel Meltamors Melting Caramel Center, $4.49 for 8 on Instacart

Credit: Carolyn Moore

3. Ho Hos

Oh, Ho Hos. When you’re road-tripping across the country and find yourself at a gas station in Wichita, Kansas, these are the portable desserts you want to see. The structure of the roll ensures you have a bit of filling and cake in every bite, and the light chocolate glaze insulates the best parts without overpowering sweetness. There’s a reason these tiny Swiss-style roll cakes are reached for again and again. 

Buy: HOSTESS HOHOS, Rolled Chocolate Cake with Creamy Filling, $12.69 for 10 at Walmart

Credit: Carolyn Moore

2. Chocolate CupCakes

Alright, we’ll say it: Chocolate CupCakes are the reigning nostalgic snack. Timeless, fluffy, and rich, these treats brought us right back to that elementary school playground. The balance of luscious chocolate cake with a marshmallow-like cream filling, topped with firm frosting and a playful squiggle of icing is a lifelong winner for adults and kids alike.   

Buy: Hostess Chocolate Cup Cakes, $3.69 for 8 at Target

Credit: Carolyn Moore

1. Lemon Baby Bundts

I know! I’m as shocked as you are. As most of our tasters don’t love lemon-flavored snacks, these Baby Bundts completely wowed us. They’re moist and dense, like a classic pound cake, and have a light vanilla icing that complements the citrus cake perfectly. Slightly larger than the size of a donut hole, our winning snacks are poppable and satisfying — just right to slide into a lunch box or have as a midday treat. They’re also notably free of artificial colors and flavors. Reviewers compared it to Starbucks’ lemon loaf, and even though this snack is lower on the nostalgia scale, it’s destined to be a future favorite. 

Buy: Hostess Baby Bundts Lemon Drizzle, $3.69 for 8 at Target

Do you agree with our ranking? Tell us about it in the comments below.