13 M&M's Flavors Ranked From Worst To Best

M&M's are one of the most popular candies in the United States. These humble multicolored chocolate sweets date back to the 1940s, where they were a nearly instant success. The candy, though, suffered from competitors making knock-offs, so they stamped the now-signature "m" onto each little piece.

The "M"s in the title stand for Mars and Murrie. "Mars" refers to Forrest E. Mars Sr., who is the son of the founder of the Mars company, which makes M&M's along with other candies such as Snickers and Three Musketeers. There's no surprise that this little treat contains a nod to a family namesake. However, the second "M” is a bit more intriguing: It stands for Bruce Murrie, a candyman who started at a rival company where his father was president — Hershey. So Murrie and Mars joined forces to create the little candy, which they called M&M's.

Since those early days, M&M's has expanded, adding new flavors and pushing the boundaries of flavor combinations. But some are definitely more successful than others. We tried every M&M's flavor and ranked them to determine which ones came out as the king of this candy.

13. Strawberry Shake M&M's

Coming in at the bottom of our list is Strawberry Shake. We know — we were disappointed, too. The name offers so much hope. Ice cream is delicious, strawberries are wonderful, and the combination with chocolate should be a home run. Unfortunately, the "shake" part of these M&M's seems to just be white chocolate. One bite and the only flavor you get is creamy strawberry.

It could be worse, but it could be a lot better. Not even the fun coating on these M&M's can save them. They come in pink, red, and green, mostly sticking to the theme of the flavor. The size, too, seems to detract from the flavor. These M&M's are larger than the standard ones and are closer in size to the Peanut M&M's. The problem is their lackluster filling; they are simply blocks of coated strawberry white chocolate. That, combined with the lack of real chocolate, means that we were really underwhelmed by them.

12. Peanut Butter M&M's

Why, when this company makes such a good peanut-flavored M&M,, did they feel the need to come out with a peanut butter option? Unfortunately, everything that is good about peanut M&M's is missed in this peanut butter variety.

The peanut butter itself is smooth and creamy, which would not be a problem, except it is created on soft candy with no real distinction in texture. Even the candy coating does not seem to have the same crunch here as it does on the others. The peanut butter is also incredibly sweet; this adds to the overly homogenous feel of the candy. Instead of tasting peanuts and chocolate, you simply taste one burst of slightly nutty sweetness, and that is all. This is made more disappointing by the fact that it is the mixture of crunch and chocolate that helps make M&M's as delicious as they are. It's that wonderful combination that has captivated generations of candy lovers, yet the peanut butter M&M's miss the mark.

11. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M's

To be honest, this was one of our more shocking low-ranking flavors. The smell upon opening the bag is intoxicating. We love Peanut M&M's, and we love dark chocolate, yet there is something about this M&M's variation that does not sit right. The textures are there in a way they were not for the Peanut Butter M&M's, but they are still unable to recapture the amazing perfection that is the Peanut M&M.

We have to wonder if this is partially because the dark chocolate used in this variety of Peanut M&M's is just not the best dark chocolate out there. It is dry and a little crumbly, and does not have that nice crisp snap of high-quality dark chocolate. It is bitter, but in a way that seems to just overpower the flavor of the peanut, once again leading to an unpleasant homogenization of what should be two distinct flavors. We simply could not get into this flavor.

10. Dark Chocolate M&M's

The plain Dark Chocolate M&M's were slightly better than their peanut cousins. For us, this was because the dark chocolate was not overshadowing the peanut. Instead, it is a simple M&M. The problem is that yet again, the dark chocolate used in these candies is just not that great.

Instead of having rich, fruity undertones, the dark chocolate is just bitter, without much depth and variety in flavor. Additionally, the chocolate was crumbly and dry, not velvety and luscious like we would expect from a quality dark chocolate. Maybe it is because we have grown accustomed to (and truly fond of) the classic milk chocolate M&M's candies, but these Dark Chocolate M&M's just do not inspire us. 

The real kicker is that even though they are dark chocolate, they still have milk in them, so they are not even suitable for those who are going dairy-free. That being the case, you may as well do yourself a favor and get a different flavor of M&M's.

9. Fudge Brownie M&M's

Just like a decadent fudge brownie, these M&M's are bigger than they probably need to be, but we are not too mad about it. It just means more chocolate. 

These candies succeed in ways that the Strawberry Shake and the Peanut Butter varieties do not. The shell on the outside is crisp and crunchy, which is a contrast to the fudgy inside. Unlike the peanut butter, which becomes overly soft, or the strawberry shake, which is just one thick solid bar of white chocolate, this M&M has noticeable layers. When you break one in half, you can see a distinct crunchy coating, a chocolate layer, and a fudge brownie inside.

The final result is a candy that meets all of the texture requirements and most of the tasty ones. If you want a chocolate candy with nothing else, this is the M&M for you; however, if you do want a bit more variety, you may wish to look at some of the other flavors.

8. Almond M&M's

M&M's really seem to like the nutty flavors. This is why it is not shocking that after the success of the Peanut M&M's, they released the Almond M&M's in 1988. The Almond M&M's have the most unique shape of any of the M&M flavors. Each candy contains a whole almond, giving them a pointed end and a round end and making them larger than most of the other M&M's.

The natural sweetness plays well with the milk chocolate that coats the candy. As those who enjoy almonds know, they have a floral aroma and flavor that can really bring out the vanilla flavors of the chocolate. It is pleasant, but does feel a bit dated. There was a long time when the Jordan almond reigned at weddings and showers; they did so because they are delicious and easy to pack. But it also means that these M&M's feel a bit stuck in time.

7. Dark Chocolate Mint M&M's

Finally, a dark chocolate M&M that is worthy of rising from the bottom of the list. The Dark Chocolate Mint M&M knows what it is doing. Opening the bag, you are instantly hit with the smell of mint chocolate. While most of the M&M's varieties stick with the main colors, these M&M's only come in shades of green, further driving home its flavor. We admire the commitment to the theme.

Biting into a Dark Chocolate M&M, you are hit not only with a powerful minty flavor, but also the robust presence of the dark chocolate. Both flavors are strong, but match up well together. What we found even more interesting is that when cut in half, you can see the layers of candy shell: both a dark chocolate and what appears to be a lighter milk chocolate flavor inside. We have to wonder if the success of this flavor comes from the fact that it uses both milk and dark chocolate to achieve its cohesive and appealing flavor. Whatever the reason, we are happy to eat these again.

6. Crunchy Cookie M&M's

First, the chocolate chip cookie was adapted to add the delicious flavors of M&M's to the mix; now, M&M's has reversed the process and added cookies to their candy. If you are ever in the mood for a crunchy chocolatey cookie and do not have any, these are the perfect substitute. 

Do not be fooled into thinking that these are something like Cookie Dough Bites: these M&M's are not filled with dough, but actual pieces of crunchy cookie — and we love it. Each bite offers chocolate, a crispy shell, and a delectable crunchy but melting cookie inside. The cookie filling tastes buttery, with a hint of brown sugar, much like the traditional dough for M&M cookies. 

If we have a complaint about these M&M's, it is the size. They are both wonky in shape, which is unusual for the pristine original M&M's, and very small. You have to eat more than one at a time to really feel like you have anything in your mouth. It is a shame, because everything else about this M&M variety is excellent.

5. Milk Chocolate M&M's

Milk Chocolate M&M's are the classic M&M's. First appearing in the 1940s, they are the candy that started it all. For us, this M&M acts as the neutral zone, which is likely why it appears near the top, but not quite there. It is unassuming, easy to eat, and enjoyable. But at the same time, the absence of any distinctive characteristics means it lacks initiative and anything that truly sets it apart. While not all M&M flavors are a big hit, they do take risks.

Of course, we love classic M&M's. The bright, colorful candies offer a delightful crunchy outside and a smooth chocolatey inside. They are big enough to eat one at a time, but small enough that if you want, you can take a big handful of them and shove them in your mouth. Eating milk chocolate M&M's is like watching a movie you loved as a child. You will likely never be disappointed by it, but at the same time, you may be aware that they could be bringing more to the table. Still, it is the best-selling M&M out there.

4. Caramel M&M's

This M&M option hits every texture imaginable. It is crunchy, chewy, and sticky, all while keeping your hands clean as you grab more from the bag. These M&M's are larger than the original Milk Chocolate M&M's, resembling the size of the Peanut M&M's, but that just seems to be a way to fit more of that delicious caramel inside them.

The caramel is very sweet, as it should be, and offers a more nuanced flavor than just straight chocolate. They are similar to ROLO candies (made by competitor Hershey), but with some key advantages. First, they do not melt in your hands — a bonus of that hard candy shell. Additionally, the caramel does not get nearly as stuck in your teeth. While some caramel has the habit of functionally gluing your mouth shut, the caramel in these M&M's is just sticky enough to be present, but in small enough quantities to be easily edible and enjoyable.

3. Caramel Cold Brew M&M's

So how do you make the Caramel M&M's even better? Add coffee, of course. We were big fans of the Coffee Nut M&M's before they were discontinued, so we were happy to see a new coffee-based M&M's flavor appear on the market. This time, instead of using a nut, M&M's filled their candy with caramel — and we love the final result.

These Caramel Cold Brew M&M's are sweet, but with that deep, rich coffee flavor we all know and love. Unlike the dark chocolate which is one-note and bitter, the cold brew brings more nuance to the bitter flavor of coffee and balances it with the caramel. It is basically everything we love about a caramel latte and an M&M, mixed together in one delightful candy package. This is still a relatively new flavor, but we hope it will be around for a long time, and not go the way of our beloved Coffee Nut.

2. Pretzel M&M's

These Pretzel M&M's take crunchiness to a whole new level, and we could not be happier. Each Pretzel M&M has a round pretzel ball in the center, which is itself the size of an original milk chocolate M&M. This is then covered with chocolate and the M&M candy coating, which creates levels of crunchy texture. The balance between the light crispiness of the pretzel and the thicker fudginess of the chocolate creates a delectable layering effect.

To add to that, the Pretzel M&M is both sweet and salty. Many of the M&M's are simply sweet, which is good in its own way — but add in that layer of salt, and the flavor just blows you away. It is the same reason salted caramel works as well as it does: The salt enhances all the delicious flavors of these M&M's. 

The only downside to these is that the pretzel is very airy, and does melt away as you eat it. While it is tasty, we want something a little more substantial.

1. Peanut M&M's

After the success of the original Milk Chocolate M&M's in the 1940s, 1950 saw the release of the company's second flavor, Peanut M&M's. Flavors have come and gone over the years, and it speaks volumes that Peanut M&M's is still alive and going strong. For us, that is because it is simply the best.

The Peanut M&M takes a classic flavor combination — peanuts and chocolate — and makes it into a perfect bite-sized treat. Unlike the Peanut Butter M&M, which is overly sweet and lacks distinctive flavors, the Peanut M&M gives a clean peanut flavor and distinctive chocolate flavor. These M&M's are substantial, too, meaning one pack is a flavor bunch and does not leave you feeling like you have not eaten anything.

We would argue that Peanut M&M's combine form and function perfectly. They have protein and sugar; it is like the best parts of trail mix without other unnecessary flavors. They are the perfect road trip food or general snack. The flavor and texture far outweigh those of the classic M&M's, but are not so complex as to be divisive. And we feel that these M&M's will remain on the top of our list for decades to come.