10 of the Most Sour Candies in the World, Ranked

The world of sour candy goes way beyond grocery store staples. These are 10 of the most sour candies you can buy — and we tried them all.

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Updated on October 19, 2023


Photo by: HannamariaH/Getty Images

HannamariaH/Getty Images

Sour candy’s signature pucker, chased by a welcomed sweetness, has certainly staked its claim in a 37 billion dollar industry where sugar aficionados invest their hard-earned cash to try the latest fads in mainstream (or off-the-beaten-path) confections.

“We have been having customers come in saying they want something even more sour than Toxic Waste, so really just the more sour the better…in any form,” says Skye Greenfield Cohen, chief creative and operations officer at Economy Candy, New York’s oldest retail candy shop.

Of course, not all sour candy is created equal, with drastic differences in textures and flavors. You’ve got hard candies, gummies, gels, powders, and even freeze-dried varieties that inflict the least amount of pain to the palate. There really is a sour candy for everyone.

To round up a comprehensive list of the world’s best offerings, we asked the experts at Economy Candy for the sourest candies they know of for a taste test. Here’s a list of the 10 sourest candies in the world, ranked from tear-jerking to a walk in the park (at least for sour candy connoisseurs who can practically stomach it all).


You can purchase the "bombs" in bulk on Amazon, but Asheville’s Rocket Fizz shop is where we stumbled across these blue raspberry bad boys. And we’re talking felony-committing levels of bad with a tangy coating that unapologetically kicks you in the mouth and then gut-punches you with a sour inside. Woof.

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$14.99 (pack of 4)

If Warheads are for amateurs, Toxic Waste is for pros. The sour sucker is typically deemed "most sour" on round-ups all over the web, but be sure to look for the brand’s Nuclear Fusion variety that takes two flavors from "hazardously" to "potentially vomit-inducing" levels of tartness. It goes without saying: They’re not for the faint of heart.

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$13.36 $11.93

We couldn’t find Taveners Sour Lemon Drops (which many on the candy circuit rave about), but Japan-based Nobel may have concocted a bag that’s even better. These Super Lemons are everything you could want in a sour candy and then some: flavorful, smooth, and a nod to Mother Nature’s most famous sour fruit.

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The confection that put sour candy on the map packs a more significant initial punch than Toxic Waste, but it wears off a lot quicker. That said, it’s the perfect late afternoon treat if you’re in the office and have a hankering for something that will wake you up and isn’t another pricey Starbucks latte. (If Warheads are too aggressive, opt for a milder Zotz.)

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A lot of sour candy fans don’t realize that one of the most readily available sour snacks (other than Sour Patch Kids) is also one of the most extreme. Sour Skittles are so wonderfully offensive that they literally make your gums peel if eaten in excess. We’re not entirely sure if that’s appealing or your idea of a nightmare, so we’ll just let you decide and not cast any judgments.

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As soon as this turns into gum, you’ll want to spit it out immediately. But the first 15 seconds are sour candy bliss, followed by an unrivaled sweetness that puts brands like Hubba Bubba and Juicy Fruit to shame. You can also purchase good ol’ Cry Baby Tears, but we find their bite to be less memorable. In fact, sour gum is one of the most sought-after treats, according to Cohen, who says that brands like Big League, Kidsmania, Juicy Drop, and Razzles are outdoing themselves with a wide array of product offerings.

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Think of these as elevated Pixy Stix, sans the annoying paper wrapper that sticks together from your saliva. There are dozens of flavors to choose from and you can customize a mix at most major candy stores around the country. Just don’t try to be cute and clever by stick this up your nose — you’ve been warned.

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If you enjoy your sour candy in syrup form then a) you may just be a special type of weird and b) this is obviously the weird treat for you.

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We’d be remiss to not include a soft and chewy sour belt and Zweet hits it out of the park with an extra tart base that maintains acidity even after the outside crystals dissolve on your tongue. They’re also fun to eat, almost like plopping strands of a saccharine pappardelle directly into your mouth.

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These are a tame bunch, but a reminder that practically any classic fruit-flavored candy can get the sour treatment. And if you’d like, you can add a little sour for yourself with the purchase of citric acid powder.

"Citric acid, which is naturally found in citrus fruits, is what makes sour candy sour," explains Cohen. "And it makes sense. Think about eating a lemon or grapefruit. Those can be some sour fruits!"

Add a dusting to your favorite sweet treats (including fruit — hello, sour grapes!) and elevate your guilty pleasures with that signature sting you love and crave.

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