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14 Surprising Candy Cane Flavors, Ranked From Best to Worst

Candy canes come in a wild and wonderful variety of flavors. But should they?

Jack Shepherd


OK, my little Christmas elves: Hop aboard the festive holiday train and let your conductor tell you a story about the forbidden candy canes. These are the candy cane flavors you never knew existed; the ones that the suits over at Big Peppermint don’t want you to know about. Sometimes for extremely good reasons, to be perfectly frank. Please tighten your seatbelts (do they have seatbelts on trains?) and enjoy this ranking of 14 decadent and surprising (and occasionally terrifying) candy cane flavors.  

14. Ham

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Legend has it that one of the elves in Santa’s workshop on the North Pole was driven mad by the constant jingling of bells and merry laughter. It is said that these “Hamdy Canes” were created by that twisted mastermind in a nearly successful attempt to destroy Christmas. 

Santa Says: “No thanks! Let’s leave these ones for Krampus.” 

13. Mac and Cheese

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The bitter, almost tragic, irony of the Mac and Cheese candy canes is that they are two extremely nice things forced to collaborate on what can only be described as a truly evil venture. 

Santa Says: “Why have you done this? What were you hoping to accomplish??”

12. Shiitake

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New Holiday tradition idea: Buy 12 Shiitake-flavored candy canes — one for each of the 12 days of Christmas. Hang them on your tree. Then burn it all down. These are not good, and you should know that. 

Santa Says: “Maybe we’ll just skip Christmas this year?” 

11. Ketchup

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These Ketchup-Flavored Candy Canes go really well with meatloaf, if you’re trying to atone for something horrible in your past. 

Santa Says: “It’s actually a myth that I have a ‘naughty’ list, but I do have a ‘naughty’ spreadsheet in Excel, and I’ve had to create an entirely new tab for this crime against candy canes.”

10. Red Hots

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Philosophers have long debated whether the problem here is that Red Hots aren’t particularly nice in the grand scheme of things, or that Red Hots probably shouldn’t be a candy cane flavor. But even the most contrarian scholars agree that these are a good deal nicer than the ketchup ones. 

Santa Says: “Why do you keep dragging me into this?!” 

9. Hawaiian Punch

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“The Hawaiian Punch Line” is a term of art in the candy cane community that refers to the exact place where candy cane flavors cross from wicked abominations into polite respectability. Does this mean they’re yummy? Absolutely not. But you can take them out in public without losing your reputation. 

Santa Says: “I’m really begging you to leave me alone about this stuff. I’m extremely busy this time of year.” 

8. Pickle

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Hey, what can I tell you? It shouldn’t work, but it does. It feels wrong, but it’s right. Is it naughty? Yes. Is it good? Also, yes. Sometimes life is strange. 

Santa Says: Santa could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson gave us this statement: “Santa has never eaten, nor does he ever intend to eat pickle-flavored candy canes.”

7. Blueberry

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Finally, a natural, truly respectable candy cane flavor. Fun candy cane fact: These aren’t made in a factory — they’re the naturally occurring fruit of a blueberry candy cane tree! 

Santa Says: “Santa does not wish to be associated in any way with these candy cane ‘facts.’” 

6. Skittles

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What if I told you that you could taste the rainbow in the form of a Christmas-adjacent, cane-shaped stick candy instead of a handful of colorful orbs? You’d be pretty interested, wouldn’t you? Admit it. 

Santa Says: “Sigh. These are good.”  

5. Froot Loops

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You know those couples who don’t seem to have anything in common with one another, but you can tell that they’re really in love? That’s Froot Loops and candy canes. You can tell that they’re genuinely happy together. 

Santa Says: “These are really not in the spirit of Christmas, but yes, I will have another one to enjoy when I’m off duty.” 

4. Lemonheads

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A revelation. A tour de force. Truly, a thrill ride that you will never forget. 

Santa Says: “Chef’s kiss!”

3. Chocolate Mint

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It’s a twist on the classic, and it’s a good one. There’s still plenty of mint for the traditionalists, with a little bit of decadent chocolate for the risk-takers. 

Santa Says: “Finally something we can agree on.” 

2. Oreo

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Dip one of these bad boys in milk, you mischievous little elf. You deserve it.

Santa Says: “How long is this list anyway?”

1. Hot Cocoa

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The classiest candy cane flavor. Literally can’t be topped. Goes well with hot cocoa, oddly enough. Never eat a peppermint candy cane again — this one’s an absolute legend. 

Santa Says: “Christmas is saved!”