Best Movie Theater Snacks, Ranked
Going to the movies is always a treat, but the experience would be incomplete without overpriced theater snacks. We've met a handful of people who get their ticket, walk directly to their seat, and watch the entire film without so much as a sip of soda. We're not saying they're psychopaths, but we're not ruling it out either.
For our part, we've never hit the theater without stopping by the concession stand. Offerings vary depending on where you go, but these movie theater classics are indisputably the best.
15. Red Licorice
Love 'em or hate 'em, Twizzlers and Red Vines are classics at the movie theater. They get points for chewiness and longevity, providing something to snack on at length, and something to gnaw on to keep our nerves at bay during the most suspenseful scenes. Not everyone likes licorice, however, so Twizzlers land at the bottom of the list.
Raisinets are on the healthier side of the movie theater snack spectrum. They'll stick in your teeth, but at least they're made of real fruit and dark chocolate. Twizzlers are little more than sugar and food dye.
The best part about Raisinets is that you can let them slowly melt in your mouth and eat the raisin at the end. It's nice not to finish the whole box within the first 15 minutes of the movie.
13. Peanut M&Ms
To anyone with a peanut allergy, sorry. Standard-issue M&M's are perfectly fine, but the added crunch in the peanut variety boosts the satisfaction factor. Also, there's something nostalgic about M&M's.
Whether you're 10 years old or 100 years old, you remember having a bag of these. They're timeless, and if the theater you visit happens to have coffee, M&M's go weirdly well with it.
12. Sour Patch Kids
Sweet, sour, chewy Sour Patch Kids bring out the kid in all of us. You can't even see the bright colors when you're in a dark theater, so it's somewhat of a surprise which flavor you're going to get. Will it be lemon, lime, orange, raspberry, or mixed berry? Fingers crossed for the latter. If there were a green apple option, we'd buy an entire box of those alone.
11. Junior Mints
Chocolatey, melt-in-your-mouth mints are yet another movie snack classic. When we were kids they seemed lame, but now we appreciate them. It's nice to enjoy a treat that doesn't completely overdo it in the sweetness department. They're still satisfying, but they don't make your teeth hurt to look at them, and sometimes you need that.
10. Milk Duds
As far as movie theater candy goes, milk duds are the GOAT. Chocolate and caramel is a winning combo, and even our grandparents agreed. Milk duds have been around since before most of them were born. They were invented in 1928 in Chicago, and their name has an amusing backstory.
The Milk Dud inventor, Edwin Holloway, wanted to make perfectly round chocolate caramels, but he couldn't figure out how to get them to stay spherical. He considered the experiment a dud. No one cared what the tasty candies looked like, however, and the name stuck around after Hershey bought the company in 1996.
Pizza is a full-blown food, but we're considering it a movie snack because no one really goes to a concession stand with the intention of having dinner. You go there for something to nibble on during the movie, which qualifies anything purchased as a snack. Case closed.
Of the more foodish items on the menu, pizza is hard to beat. Usually, the options are plain cheese or pepperoni. If it's not covered in grease, it's not the real thing. We won't judge you if you dab some of the oil off with a napkin, as long as you don't talk s**t about it while you do. It's movie theater pizza. Like any movie theater snack, antioxidants and fiber are not the point. Deliciousness is, and pizza delivers. The stretchier the cheese, the better.
8. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are a staple for camping trips, summer BBQs, and movie theater snack bars for good reason. They're more filling than just popcorn, and there's something indescribably wholesome about an old-fashioned hot dog.
These days, there are all kinds of creative fusion hot dog options available from food trucks and trendy hole-in-the-wall spots featured on Instagram, but that's not what we're looking for here. We're looking for the familiar comfort of ketchup, mustard and a soft bun to soothe us while we're anticipating the next jump scare.
Frozen yogurt isn't available at every movie theater, and that's a tragedy. If it were up to us, there would be a Yogurtland, Menchie's or Pinkberry in every theater, with a comprehensive toppings bar. We're talking Oreos, Reese's, graham crackers, fresh strawberries, hot fudge, the whole nine yards. It's the best possible movie theater dessert we can think of, especially during summer.
6. Mozzarella Sticks
Frying things is magical. Don't believe us? When's the last time you went to the fridge and ate half a dozen string cheeses in one go? Hopefully never, because that's some seriously unhinged behavior. But eating those very same cheese sticks battered and fried? Forget half a dozen. Give us a whole dozen, plus marinara sauce on the side.
5. Soft Pretzels
The thought of soft, salty, doughy pretzels with a side of dipping sauce is enough to make us want to head to the theaters right now. We have no idea what they put in movie theater nacho cheese sauce, and we don't want to. Some theaters serve pretzel bites too, and you can't go wrong with either form.
Our only tip: If they aren't made fresh, skip them. Some concession stands only prep the food in the morning, leaving the poor soft pretzels under heat lamps for the rest of the day. This turns the crispy, chewy bread into a sad, twisted lump that's closer in texture to a leather boot than a true soft pretzel. Get them fresh, or go with a prepackaged snack instead.
4. Soft Drinks/Soda
Any soft drink will do, really. Take your pick. You need something refreshing to wash down those salty snacks. Whether it's Sprite, Coke, Root Beer, or Mountain Dew is up to you.
We said frozen yogurt was the best movie snack for summer, but we lied. Slushies beat them in a landslide. 7-Eleven Slurpees are the best, but ICEEs are virtually the same. The machines use carbon dioxide to aerate the beverage to give it its fluffy texture. A Coca-Cola slushee is the best flavor, in our opinion. Theaters usually have the A/C blasting, however, so whip out that Snuggie that's been collecting dust in your closet since 2010.
2. Wine and Beer
A handful of theaters include a cocktail bar, and we don't understand why more theaters don't jump on the bandwagon. A cold beer would compliment the soft pretzels so well. Wine would pair well with literally any rom-com. Concession stands could have signature cocktails to go with new movie releases. Can you imagine how many Malibu Barbie Margaritas would have been sold when the Barbie movie first came out?
Theaters should also include a coffee bar, because we're tired of hiding Starbucks white chocolate peppermint mochas under our jackets.
Our number one choice of movie theater snack is unoriginal, but objectively correct. If there's one snack that movie theaters cannot function without, it's buttery, salty popcorn, popped fresh. It's a necessity. It might not be everyone's top snack choice, but think about it. If the theater stopped selling Junior Mints, people would be mildly bummed. If they stopped selling popcorn, they would riot. Case closed.