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Oh the 1990s … What a time to be alive. Breakfast cereal was laden with sweet or chocolatey puffs that contained little-to-no nutritional value. Kool-Aid was a lunchbox staple. And you could spend all of those hard-earned pennies at the corner store, stocking up on an array of colorful and addictive candy that, nine times out of 10, was really just a big old box of sugar.
Here’s the good news. While many of us are a little more health-conscious than we were back then, we also recognize that sometimes you just need to treat yo’self with a little nostalgic goodness. While some of our favorite beloved candies are no longer available for purchase (sorry Skittles bubblegum, Dweebs and Ouch! Gum lovers), there are still many goodies you can get your paws on today.
Whether you’re having a retro movie night, an all-night gaming session with your buds or you just want a taste of your youth, these memorable 90s candies are bound to leave you with a sugar high.
1. Warheads Extreme Sour Hard Candy
These mind-blowing, sour candies were first invented in 1975 in Taiwan, but by 1993 they were a huge hit with sour-seeking American kids and kids-at-heart. Pop one in your mouth and you immediately pucker up like it’s nobody’s business, but soon that sour transforms into a pleasing candy. Before you know it … you kind of want another one just to see if it really was that sour in the first place. And that’s how these darn things hook you.
2. Push Pop Candy
Why would you have a regular old lollipop when you could have a Push Pop instead? Not only did these sugary sticks in a tube keep your hands clean, but they were easy to store when you wanted a break from all of that licking. These things first hit shelves in 1986, but by the 1990s kids everywhere were hooked. These days you can even get jumbo versions of your childhood fave, because sometimes it’s just better to go big or go home (with delicious candy in your pocket, of course).
3. Baby Bottle Pop
These fruity pops didn’t hit store shelves until the end of the 90s when Topps introduced them in 1998. But they were hit, what with their lollipop goodness on top and that sweet, sweet powdered sugar in the actual bottle. Because what’s better than licking sugar off of sugar anyhow? While this candy definitely wasn’t meant for babies, there are plenty of kids out there who grew up on this candy’s memorable sugar rush.
4. Bubble Tape
Remember that long, pink, soft bubblegum that came wrapped up in a plastic tape dispenser? Sure you do — if you’re anything like us, you probably ate wads of it back in the day. Bubble Tape was first introduced in 1988 so by the time the 90s hit it was a full-blown (see what we did there?) thing. Whether you neatly cut off little squares for yourself and chewed it up properly, or dispensed the whole thing in one go just to see how big of a bubble you could blow, this was the best kind of tape money could buy in the 90s.
5. Sour Punch Straws
Why have regular old licorice when you could have tangy, punchy candy straws dusted in even more sugar instead? That may have been the thought process behind Sour Punch Straws when they hit the market in 1990, and kids ate it up. The straws quickly transformed into other forms and sizes, like bites, twists and unique shapes. Our nostalgic hearts still love the original version though, especially if we’re talking the blue raspberry or strawberry flavors.
6. Cry Baby Gumballs
These sour, sour gumballs (which were sometimes called Tear Jerkers) didn’t always produce tears, but they sure made your mouth pucker. So naturally, we couldn’t get enough. They originated in 1991 in Pennsylvania but were later bought by Tootsie Roll Industries, which is good news for us because it means that they’re still manufactured in all their sour glory today. Now that you know better, just try not to chew on them until your teeth hurt and your tongue blisters.
This airy, sugary 90s candy was first invented in 1985 but it quickly caught on and was a downright candy staple by the 90s. Kids loved eating something that was named after a dumb-dumb, while a slightly older generation bought into the marketing campaign, “new high in fruity flavors.” Today the candy is still going strong, which is good news for us the next time a craving takes flight.
8. Nerds Rainbow Candy
These rainbow-colored sugar pebbles were established in 1983, but they were as popular as ever with 90s kids who got a kick out of pouring out one side into the palm of their hands and shoving as many as they could into their mouths, knowing they still had another (different flavored!) side to go. Over the years the 90s candy has evolved into ropes, clusters and other iterations, but we still have a soft spot for the original.
Another sugar-based treat to emerge in the early 80s, Runts were a popular playground treat well into the 90s when kids argued over their favorite “fruit” flavors. (It was always going to be banana, right?) The 90s candies dissolved into a sweet, sugary heap when you finally got through the crunchy exterior, and honestly looking back we have to wonder how many kids wound up with emergency trips to the dentist after chomping down a little too hard to get to that center.
10. Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme
This love-it-or-hate-it 90s candy bar was released in 1994 with a splashy marketing campaign that introduced the white-chocolate, cookie-bits combo. Over the years it has evolved into clusters, minis and even a cereal, and the recipe itself has also slightly changed. Still, it was the only candy bar to be introduced in the 90s and still be available today, making it a necessary addition to this list.
Back in the day, your parents didn’t think twice about sending you to school with a container of cookies and frosting to dip them in. So Dunkaroos were another lunchbox staple, or at least they were for the lucky kids out there. Eventually, they evolved into an actual brand of cake frosting and even a cereal, and so today you have various options if you want to get your childhood dunk on.
12. Gushers Fruit Snacks
So many fruit snacks from the 90s are no longer around today (including one of our personal faves, Sodalicious). One gem that made it through, however, is Gushers. Gummy on the outside and liquid on the inside, these 90s candies are just as fun to eat now as they were back then. Although to be fair you may want to keep a toothpick on your while noshing on them, since they seem to stick in our teeth more than we remember.
13. Mega Jawbreakers
No one quite knows when the jawbreaker was invented, and there have been many iterations of the hard, spherical 90s candy over the years. Yet we vividly remember giant, mega jawbreakers being sold everywhere in the 90s (without individual wrappers) in those giant plastic tubs. It was impossible to get through a quarter of one in a single day, but maybe you’ll want to try again during your next binge-watching session, because who isn’t isn’t up for a sweet throwback challenge these days?