When you want to make your taste buds dance and your mouth water, indulge in one or more of the world’s most sour candy. As a self-proclaimed candy connoisseur, I say the more sour, the better! I’ve gathered a list of the most sour candy in the world to give you the ultimate pucker face experience.
Many candy lovers seek sweet foods (chocolate, anyone?), while others seek salty foods. And others crave nothing less than the sourest candies.
A while ago, I shared the Top 10 Fruit Candy Brands to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth and delighted in the debate that we noticed between sweet and sour varieties of fruity yumminess.
So today, we are giving extreme sour candy a big shutout. Keep reading to learn what the sourest candy in the world is.
When was sour candy invented?
Sour candy began appearing around the 1950s but didn’t take off immediately. Candy companies started advertising their sour confections (and sweet ones) around Halloween to bolster sales. And, wow, did it work because the Halloween candy craze was born.
Sour candy now holds a considerable share of the candy market, with new varieties seemingly hitting stores each year. If you’ve ever tried any, you know the experience: a concentrated tartness followed by a burst of sweet relief. It’s the ultimate in delicious opposites!
And, with variances in flavors and textures, there’s something for everyone. Some varieties will tingle your tongue, and others are so sour you can barely eat them. You can also find gummies, strips, hard candies, and powders to satisfy your sour craving.
Whether you want to enjoy just a twinge of sourness or the full facial pucker (complete with watering eyes), the options on this list will deliver and give you the experience you crave.
What makes sour candy sour?
When you hear the word “candy,” you probably typically think of a sweet treat. Candy manufacturers have to work to make candy sour, and there’s a science behind it.
Believe it or not, it all starts with pH levels and acid. Low pH levels (acid has low pH) deliver sour flavors – the lower the level, the more sour the candy tastes.
Five naturally occurring acids deliver varying levels of tartness to fruits and vegetables. Most people have heard of citric acid, but there are also:
- Malic acid
- Ascorbic acid
- Fumaric acid
- Tartaric acid
Candy makers typically use citric acid and malic acid to create sour candy!
When candy manufacturers create sour candy, they either cover it with a sour coating, build the sour flavoring into the confection, or both.
Here’s a bit more information on how they get that yummy sour flavor into candy:
Citric acid delivers a sharp punch of sour flavor. Although it occurs naturally in citrus fruits (and gives lemons their “bite”), candy makers must create their own through fermentation. They feed sugar to microorganisms which process it and release an acidic byproduct.
Candy companies often add a citric acid sand-like coating to the outside of the candy to deliver that explosive sour punch that people love.
Malic acid has less bite than citric acid and naturally gives tomatoes and apples a tart flavor. Candy makers often coat this acid with hydrogenated palm oil to create a time-release mechanism. It creates a slow burn effect that extends (to a lesser degree) the immediate biting sensation of the outside coating.
There’s one more essential component to sour candies, and this is one that manufacturers can’t make. It’s your saliva. Acids release hydrogen ions when they come in contact with saliva, which our tongues recognize as a sour flavor.
Have you ever noticed that holding sour candy on your tongue seems even more intense? That’s because you’re extending the chemical reaction!
Where to buy the best sour candy
Local candy stores, dollar stores, grocery stores, and movie theaters often carry one or more of these treats. However, if you want to try one that isn’t a mainstream option, you may need to shop at one of these online candy stores to find it.
So, what is the most sour candy in the world? It’s hard to narrow it down to just one, so we made a list of our top ten favorite contenders.
Most sour candies in the world ranked
Here are the top ten sourest candies in the world, guaranteed to make you cringe and your lips pucker! Have you ever noticed how their names indicate an intense (some might say “painful”) experience?
1. Barnett’s Mega Sours
This candy hails from the UK and boasts original recipes dating back to the company’s founding in the late 1800s. Moreover, these sour treats are hand-crafted and cooked in open copper pans to provide an intense 20-second puckering flavor.
Barnetts Mega Sours are available in 10 different flavors, but their variety pack contains only four:
The company has a fun social media challenge called the Mega Sour Challenge for anyone who feels brave enough to try it.
Many people claim that Warheads are the sourest candy on the planet. If you’re craving the zing of extreme and long-lasting sour, Warheads will deliver without fail.
This candy was the first sour variety to gain popularity. As a long-lasting fan favorite, it’s often compared to another intense favorite: Toxic Waste (read more about this one below).
In fact, Warheads are so sour that people even hold contests to time their endurance when holding this candy in their mouths (the initial bite can last 20-50 seconds!). Spit it out first, and you lose (or do you win because you’re no longer “suffering?”).
One look at Wally Warhead, the Warheads mascot, perfectly sums up the Warheads’ experience. It’s like putting a sour bomb in your mouth!
Originally invented in Taiwan, Warheads came to the U.S. in 1993 before Impact Confections acquired the brand in 2004. It’s now made in Janesville, Wisconsin, and you can find it in five delicious flavors:
- Blue Raspberry
- Green Apple
- Black Cherry (my personal favorite)
Warheads have just enough sweetness to balance the sour and keep you returning for more. But make no mistake… If you eat a bunch of these at once, they might burn a hole through your tongue.
3. Cry Baby Tears
The name of this sour confection comes from the tears grown adults will cry from the sour punch it packs. It’s a classic for anyone who thinks they can handle an intense sour experience.
This tear-shaped candy is appropriately named since it offers plenty of sour gusto even if it isn’t quite as sour or long-lasting as Warheads. Cry Baby Tears is a confection that satisfies your sweet tooth and sour craving.
You can find it in 6 flavors:
4. Sour Flush Candy Toilets
Some call this candy “gross,” while others call it “weird.” No matter your description, you can’t forget to use “creative” and “delicious.”
This toilet-shaped container holds two candy plungers and sour powder. Dip a plunger into the toilet bowl and coat it with the powder to eat this candy. Lick it off, then repeat the process.
The ick factor of eating from the toilet is enough to give this unique candy packaging concept a spot on the list, even though it’s not as sour as others. However, it seems to get sourer with each plunge into the powder!
Kidsmania makes this candy and offers Sour Flush in three flavors:
- Blue Raspberry
Each flavor has a different sour level. For example, the grape is sweeter than blue raspberry.
5. Sour Patch Kids Extreme
Let’s break from hard candies and check out a chewy favorite. Introduced in 1985, most adults hardly remember when Sour Patch Kids were available in every movie theater.
The originals quickly became a favorite with kids and adults, but the newer Sour Patch Kids Extreme candy takes this tart treat to another level of painful deliciousness.
If you’re tough enough to make it through the initial sour explosion, you’ll be rewarded with a sweet reward. Delivering intense sour and yummy sweetness, this candy is the best of both worlds and will satisfy your sour tooth in all the right ways.
This classic is still a favorite, and you can find it in seven extreme mouth-watering flavors:
- White Pineapple
- Blue Raspberry
- Pink Strawberry
Don’t count on these gummy candies looking like the characters on the package!
6. Sour Skittles
Many ultra-sour candies don’t offer as much flavor as Sour Skittles. That’s where this tart treat shines because it allows you to taste the sour and sweet sides of the rainbow.
They may be small, but don’t let these little bite-sized candies fool you! They pack a serious initial sour punch and will cause the skin in your mouth to peel if you eat too many of them at once. Check out their five intense flavors:
- Green apple
A relatively new kid on the sour candy block, Sour Skittles debuted in 2000 and has a sand-like coating that will give you that pucker face you crave before slowly transitioning to sweet Skittles. Tasting the rainbow has never been such a risk – or an adventure!
7. Nobel Super Lemon Candy
This hard candy is a throwback to classic hard candies – with a tart twist. Even the retro pop-art-inspired packaging is a nod to yesteryear.
Manufactured in Japan, they have a sour powder outer coating that quickly transitions to a tasty sweet lemon-flavored treat. As the name indicates, you’ll only get one flavor, but that’s all any sour candy fan will need for a completely satisfying experience.
If you want to experience an initial bite that’s not over-the-top extreme but will still make your mouth water, try Nobel Super Lemon Candy.
8. Pucker Powder
What do you do if you want a sour candy craving fix but not chewy or hard candy? Give Pucker Powder a try!
It’s similar to the idea of Pixy Stix but without the annoying paper wrapper that gets wet and sticks together. Instead, you’ll use an alternative delivery system in the form of plastic tubes that come in several different sizes, including regular, medium, large, jumbo, and mega.
In addition to the various tube sizes, you can find Pucker Powder in dozens of flavors. Do you want a sour candy that offers different flavor options from the common citrus fruit and berry flavors you commonly find in sour candy? Check out the sour peach, freedom pop, fruit punch, and even the sour mystery flavor!
9. Zweet Sour Belts
These licorice strips offer a sour punch that lasts after you get past the outside crystals. Soft and chewy, you’ll find yourself working to find that sweet relief.
Zweet Sour Belts are for serious sour fans and come in 20+ super satisfying flavors, some of which you won’t find elsewhere. Check out:
- Unicorn Kiss
- Cotton Candy
Life is Zweet!
10. Toxic Waste Candy
Last but definitely not least on our list is Toxic Waste Hazardously Sour Candy. If you think Warheads are a walk in the park, this candy will make you seriously reconsider your commitment to sour confections.
Thanks to its intense eye-squinching, mouth-watering, sour bomb, this candy is so sour that it can dissolve your tooth enamel. Make sure to brush your teeth or rinse with mouthwash after you eat this hazardous material.
On the tartness scale, Toxic Waste candy is the sourest candy in the world, but the sour coating will finally melt away if you can make it beyond the first 45 seconds without spitting it out and gulping down a canteen of water. But, seriously, that first 30 seconds is just plain terrible.
In fact, it’s so sour that the back of the package even has a challenge printed on it. The rankings go a little something like this:
- 15 seconds (Wuss)
- 30 seconds (Cry Baby)
- 45 seconds (Toxie Wannabe)
- 60 seconds (Hero)
This candy is available in five original flavors (Apple, Watermelon, Lemon, Blue Raspberry, and Black Cherry), not that you’ll even notice them through the hazardous tartness.
Think you can handle it? Take the challenge and see for yourself!
Anyone wanting the ultimate pucker face experience needs to try the most sour candy in the world, and any item on this list will test your commitment to loving the sweet and sour combination.
How to Heal Your Tongue After Eating Sour Candy
After enjoying sour candy, you might feel discomfort or a small burn on your tongue. To soothe your tongue, drink cold water or milk immediately. Avoid consuming hot or spicy foods for a few days to let your tongue heal.
When is National Sour Candy Day?
National Sour Candy Day is celebrated on July 18th every year.
Does Sour Candy Help with Nausea?
While sour candy might help some people who are experiencing mild nausea, it’s not a proven remedy. However, if you find that eating sour candy distracts you from the feeling of nausea, it might be worth a try.
Why Does Sour Candy Make Me Sweat?
The reaction to sour candy can vary from person to person. Sweating might be due to the taste buds being stimulated by the sour flavor, which can make your body produce adrenaline in response.