Chocolate is one of the most beloved foods across the globe, so it makes sense that there are literally hundreds of candies featuring the confection. And in the United States, there’s no shortage of chocolate bar flavors to suit practically every taste.
Of course, some candies don’t quite meet consumers’ expectations—which is why plenty of candies fall off the map in terms of consumer favor. But the ones people truly love stick around for decades, if not centuries, with some undergoing just minor changes over the years.
Because at the end of the day, why change a recipe that works? And brands like Hershey’s, Mars Inc., and Reese’s have clearly found winning recipes which delight chocolate bar buyers all over the globe. Of course, they do tweak their presentation and flavor availability by country—after all, they take care to know their audience.
That means some chocolate bars aren’t available in other parts of the world, even if people in the United States enjoy them daily. But don’t worry: even if for people who have never been to the US before, it’s easy to decide which chocolate bars are must-try and which are better left collecting dust on the grocery store shelf.
Whether it’s toffee, crisp rice, nougat, caramel, nuts, coconut, or even taffy on the list, it’s surprising what consumers can find on the shelves. Here are the best chocolate bars in the US, starting with the least loved and ending with the most favored bar of all time.
When has anyone ever thought to themselves, “I have a craving for some peanut butter wrapped in taffy right now”? That’s a question I’d like to ask the creators of the Abba-Zaba candy bar. It’s questionable to even call it a candy bar in the first place, although it is technically made of candy. But in the traditional sense, it’s nothing like any of the other candy bars on this list. And personally, I find it kind of gross. That likely explains why it’s not ranked on the US bestsellers list when it comes to candy.
24 Charleston Chew
The Charleston Chew has been around a long time, but it’s never been a contender for the top chocolate bar award. And while there’s nothing really gross in it—it’s just nougat—there’s not a whole lot that sets this bar apart from the rest. Most candy eaters are looking for an indulgent chocolate overload, not a bit of nougat that has sweetness and not much else. Sure, there’s a chocolate coating, but not much of it—making this bar a bit difficult to stomach.
It’s funny that the manufacturer decided to call this candy bar a Whatchamacallit—because the name is memorable enough, but it doesn’t say anything about what’s inside this bar. And when you see the ingredient list, your first thought might be Snickers, but it’s not quite there. Yes, it’s got the caramel, chocolate, and peanut—but somehow it just doesn’t measure up. And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so—it’s not the United States’ most popular chocolate bar by any means.
22 Mr. Goodbar
Again with the chocolate bars that just aren’t trying hard enough. The Mr. Goodbar has a couple of things going for it—namely, chocolate and nuts. But then, that’s all there is inside these supposedly “good” bars. It’s okay, we suppose, but it’s nothing exciting or special, nothing that tantalizes the taste buds or makes us drool at the mere thought of unwrapping one. Which is why this bar is so high on our list—and not in a good way.
21 Mars Bar
The Mars Bar used to be synonymous with the word “candy bar,” but as of 2000, it was discontinued in the United States. It was later relaunched as the Snickers Almond bar—but I’ve never heard of it. Clearly, the Mars Bar didn’t make quite the comeback that Mars, Inc. intended. Besides, why remarket this chocolate bar as another version of the Snickers—one of the industry leaders in chocolate? The company pitted two of its own products against each other—and we can clearly see which one was not the winner.
I’ve tried to like Paydays for years, and despite the hopeful name, they’ve never really impressed me. And for passionate chocolate lovers, expect a big bite of disappointment when trying one for the first time. There are a ton of peanuts in these, which is kind of the point, but the nougat and caramel are practically nonexistent. Someone needs to re-work the formula here—peanuts shouldn’t be the first ingredient in any dish, let alone a chocolate bar—that’s why we call them chocolate bars and not peanut bars.
Although it’s been around for decades, the Skor bar doesn’t get much love. And while I personally love Skor bars—and their crunchy toffee and thin yet delightfully melty outer chocolate later—they always seem to be collecting dust on store shelves. Sure, they’re not easily identifiable by kids these days, but it says right on the package what’s inside. So to those who skip these dusty bars in favor of something new, I say you’re the ones missing out—and more for me!
The Heath bar is another underrated goodie that I’ve noticed collects a lot of dust. It’s like a Skor bar but with almonds, which I understand is a turnoff for some chocolatiers. After all, many of us either have nut allergies or just don’t want that unnecessary crunch in our candy bars. But guys… the toffee! We are no longer limited to individually-wrapped toffees when the craving strikes—we can have it all, covered in chocolate and with a thin layer of almond decadence.
17 Baby Ruth
An improvement on the Payday, the Baby Ruth bar fares better as far as piling more deliciousness on top of a pile of peanuts. And the chewy factor is definitely there with this bar, which includes peanuts, caramel, and chocolate nougat. But there’s still something that makes people in the United States pass on this one in favor of a Snickers or some other big-name bar. Still, if you have the opportunity to try one, I think it’s worth the buck or two you’ll spend!
When I was a kid, I absolutely loved Butterfingers. From the first crispy melty bite to savoring the last specks of chocolate and peanut butter wafer from the wrapper, it was an experience to be sure. As an adult, though? I’d love to eat these more often, but I’m pretty sure I still have some of the crispy peanut butter core stuck in my teeth from the last time I snacked on one about a decade ago. They’re also impractically messy. Maybe that’s why they’re not as popular as they were in my youth.
15 Take 5
The Take 5 bar is the most unconventional yet still tasty bar on this list (not looking at you, Abba-Zaba). In addition to caramel, peanuts, peanut butter, and milk chocolate, it also incorporates pretzels into the mix. Say it with me: mmm, salty and sweet! Alas, it’s still not in the top five when it comes to chocolate bars in the US. Although, it is still widely available, so at least it hasn’t been retired yet—and good thing, because it’s the only candy that really fulfills the salty sweet craving.
14 100 Grand
If it sounds like all I did throughout my childhood was snack on chocolate bars, you do have a point. But at least I can share my now-grown wisdom with you and implore you to try the 100 Grand bar, if you haven’t, and if you ever get the chance to. So maybe it’s not worth a literal hundred grand, but the combination of chocolate, caramel, and crisped rice makes for a chewy yet slightly crunchy candy experience that is unmatched. At least in my opinion, this one is totally underrated.
13 Nestle Crunch
Nestle Crunch bars have been around forever, and I get it. The crispy rice and milk chocolate are a sweet and simple combination. But the 100 Grand has both of those ingredients, plus caramel! So it’s a mystery to me why the Crunch bar seems to fare better—especially because both are manufactured by Nestle! Of course, the 100 Grand doesn’t truly have the “crunch” that a Crunch bar has, given the gooey addition of caramel. So maybe this version appeals to a subset of crunch lovers who don’t enjoy sticky and delicious caramel. Their loss!
12 3 Musketeers
Back when 3 Musketeers commercials were on TV 24/7, the highlight of this chocolate bar was the fact that it was lower fat than comparable bars. In every cheesy ‘90s commercial, the chocolate bars would float around and entice whoever was standing nearby to sample them. Maybe it was the odd commercials or maybe it was just the fluffiness of the whipped nougat, but they had me sold on these! The exterior, which is a firmer milk chocolate, perfectly balances the nougat—and that whipped version outranks all other nougat flavors.
11 Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Crème
Cookies and cream is a flavor that people in the US seem to swear by, and given that, it’s not surprising that a candy bar called Cookies ‘n’ Crème would be a bestseller. Of course, the Hershey name on it probably helps. But if you haven’t broken off and savored deliciously craggy bits of white milk chocolate encasing crumbly bits of cookie, then you haven’t truly lived. This one is a mainstay on shelves in stores all over the US, and I’m okay with that.
10 Dove Chocolate Bar
Dove is a brand that has a great reputation, and their bars are available nearly everywhere. They also produce baking chocolate and other products, which is cool. But I can’t say that I’ve ever tried a bar of theirs apart from the milk chocolate version. Despite the existence of different flavors—including cookies and cream—it’s just not something people tend to get a hankering for. I’m sure the bars taste just as good as other types of chocolate, but none of them make most people’s favorite candy bar lists.
The next two chocolate bars are quite unique. Both Mounds and Almond Joy contain a sweetened coconut filling. Of course, if you don’t like coconut, you’re out of luck, and I totally feel for you. But if you do love the combination of coconut and dark chocolate, Mounds is your bar. As a kid, I’d pick these over Almond Joy simply because I didn’t like almonds. Even though the dark chocolate is bittersweet, it’s worth it not to have to eat around an almond if you’re avoiding nuts.
8 Almond Joy
I’m not sure you could give the Almond Joy the same billing without almonds, but it’s also not a Joy without the coconut filling: that’s the highlight! And the combination of milk chocolate and coconut is delightful. Of course, you have the two almonds perched on top, which almost seem like an afterthought, so it does make me wonder who came up with the concept. Almond conundrums aside, these chocolate bars tend to do well in most markets—and you can find them everywhere.
7 Hershey’s Dark
Hershey has a way with chocolate, you can’t argue with that. But it does baffle me why they produce a dark chocolate candy bar when most people in the US prefer their candies sugar-laden and super-sweet. And they take it one step farther with the Hershey’s Dark with almonds—that’s an uncomfortable marketing proposition to be sure. Let’s take a dark chocolate bar—which most people don’t exactly love anyway—and add some nuts to it. But, it does seem to do well—well enough that Hershey’s hasn’t nixed it.
6 Milky Way
Milky Way is another standout bar that gets top marks in most US stores. It’s almost entirely caramel, making for an indulgent—if a bit sticky—experience. You might even feel sick afterward if you eat the whole thing in one sitting—and I’m just talking about the regular-size bar, not the king-size. Along with the caramel, there is a bit of nougat to hold it together, but honestly, you barely notice it. There’s also a Milky Way Midnight Dark, which has a vanilla nougat and is surrounded by dark chocolate—and that’s a winner in my book, thanks to the caramel.
5 Kit Kat
Nearly everyone in the United States knows the catchy Kit Kat jingle since we’ve watched its many reincarnations over the years on TV commercials. But lately, there’s been an uptick in interest in these bars because of the new flavors. And while other markets might have Matcha Kit Kats—like Japan—the US only had the chocolate wafer version for a long time. Then came white chocolate, strawberry, and cookies and cream versions. And speaking as someone who lives (and eats chocolate bars) in the US, I’ll pass on Japan’s banana and baked potato Kit Kats in favor of our strictly chocolate ones.
Twix takes the cake (or chocolate bar?) with their TV commercials, which often pit the “right” and “left” halves of the twin bars against one another. It’s silly, obviously, but it’s also fun and lighthearted, and when they start talking about the crunchy cookie inside and the caramel, you’ll start drooling. This cookie-meets-candy-bar is pretty unique, too, and not only because it comes in side-by-side pieces. There’s nothing else out there quite like Twix—except maybe caramel cookies, but why bake when the two halves of the Twix factory can do it for us?
Ah, good old Snickers—one of the most beloved chocolate bars of all time in the US. It probably started with their commercials—Betty White posing as an overly-hungry football player, for example. But it ended with nearly everyone in the country craving a bit of the chocolatey, peanutty, caramely, nougaty, goodness that is a Snickers. They got the balance just right, knocking Paydays, Baby Ruths, and many others out of the running—and their current tagline—Snickers satisfies—hits the nail on the head.
2 Hershey’s Classic
Hershey’s is a mainstay for chocolate in the US, and there’s something so classic about grabbing a few bars to melt alongside your graham crackers and marshmallows for an old-fashioned s’more. But it’s more than just fireside confections that people love the traditional Hershey’s milk chocolate bars for. The chocolate is super sweet and has a flavor that you don’t find in knockoff candy bars like the ones at discount stores or sometimes right next to these bars on grocery store shelves.
1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
The best-ever-selling chocolate in the US is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, according to multiple sources. And while not strictly a “chocolate bar,” these uniquely shaped chocolate and peanut butter cups are almost universally loved. It probably helps that the company also produces dark chocolate and white chocolate versions, among others, but peanut butter and milk chocolate is the tried-and-true recipe for the US market. Which explains why Reese’s went so far as to produce a package of the peanut butter cups that totals an entire pound: that’s two eight-ounce peanut butter cups to enjoy with friends… Or alone, if you prefer a sugar coma.