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Taste test: new pumpkin, candy corn and other fall-flavored foods

We tried the latest fall flavors so you can avoid the tricks and go straight for the treats

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Chobani Flip Pumpkin Harvest Crisp

Visually, this looks really bad. That said, it could double as an open infection in your Halloween display! Gross visuals aside, it was tasty. We liked the crunchy nut mix and the yogurt actually tasted like real pumpkin with a nice amount of spice.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Hershey Candy Corn Creme with Candy Bits

Cheap white chocolate is for people who hate themselves. These taste like a seasonal candle, coating your mouth with a waxy sweetness.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas


Door County, you are better than this. We had high hopes, then we sniffed it. And gagged. It smelled like nail polish remover and wine that had been left out open for 10 days. It hurt going down, with a menthol afterburn. Don’t fall prey to the seasonal hype. Stay far away from what should be called Hell-owine.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins

These get major cute points, but the white chocolate was too much sugar on sugar. Candy hack pro tip: Combine these with pretzels and the salt balances them out perfectly.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Quaker Pumpkin Spice Instant Oatmeal

It simply tastes like sugary oatmeal. No hint of pumpkin at all.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Tazo Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte

It doesn’t taste like pumpkin or spice, just a super sweet mild chai with very little actual chai spices.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

R.W. Knudsen's Caramel Apple Sparkling Cider 

This smells like apple juice with a slight chemical note. It doesn’t taste that much like apple or caramel, just bubbles. Drink regular sparkling cider instead.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms

A faint coffee taste with a bit of cinnamon afterthought. We didn’t mind these, but we hate how these seasonal flavors are larger than regular M&Ms, throwing off the shell to inner chocolate ratio and making it cloyingly sweet.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Starbucks Pumpkin Flat White 

This actually tastes like coffee! It’s creamy and rich, a little bit savory (sadly a bit of artificial taste on the back), and it balances out that classic slightly burnt Starbucks taste.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Betty Crocker Candy Corn Frosting 

It wasn’t a good sign when our food editor exclaimed “What is this?!” after we peeled the foil back. If neon orange had a taste, it would be this. It hurt our teeth. The sprinkles tasted like plastic. Spreading it on a cookie made the cookie bad. Just no.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Mio Caramel Apple Liquid Water Enhancer 

It isn’t as offensive as we thought it would be. The smell is worse than the taste (though it still tastes like stale water). But if you really need vitamins, take a pill. If you need to flavor your water, add lemon or cucumber.  

Photograph: Martha Williams

UV Vodka Salty Caramel Apple

Smells like hot apple cider, tastes like apple cough syrup with a really gross, thick mouth feel. Just incredibly nasty.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Starburst Fruit-Flavored Candy Corn

Like eating a chalk candle made of Kool-Aid powder. Horrid.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Mothers Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur

There's a reason this is called "Mothers." Only a 60-plus female would touch this saccharine stuff. But, we will allow that it could give coffee a nice zing.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Greek Yogurt

This has no pumpkin flavor. It just tastes like sweet yogurt.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Pumpkin Spice Hershey's Kisses

Waxy, like tasting a pumpkin spice candle.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Nature's Path Pumpkin-N-Spice Chewy Granola Bars

Sticky and only faintly pumpkiny, this is like something you would put in a hamster cage. If you wanted your hamster to go into a diabetic coma.

Photograph: Martha Williams

White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms

Not bad, but it's a strange taste, like there's frosting in there instead of chocolate.


Pumpkin Spice M&Ms

Much better than the candy corn ones, but there's no pumpkin flavor and they also smell like cinnamon candy. But at least there's actual chocolate.


Photograph: Martha Williams

Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

This is like regular cream cheese with brown sugar blended into it. And frosting.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Pumpkin Spice Coffee-Mate

Doesn't really have a pumpkin taste, but somehow the flavor is definitely fall-like. And this creamer add better flavor than flavored coffee.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Jones Caramel Apple Soda

Pretty accurate caramel-apple taste. But do you really want a liquified caramel apple?


Jones Candy Corn Soda

It smells like IRN-BRU. And that makes us feel like being drunk in Scotland.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Edy's Pumpkin Patch Ice Cream

Starbucks lovers, take note: This tastes just like a frozen pumpkin spice latte.


Photograph: Martha Williams

Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts

These are shockingly good, most likely because there's real pumpkin inside, which is more than we can say about anything else we tried.

Last fall, a time that will likely be remembered by historians as the height of the Basic Bitch Era, everything with an expiration date got a pumpkin flavored doppleganger. We took the bullet for you and tried all the overly sweet autumnal treats so you don't have to. You’re welcome. This year, the fall flavors are back with candy corn emerging as a new Halloween trend we already hate, and a more nuanced approach to pumpkin-izing products. We’ve tried the orange, the bland and the sugary so you can avoid the busts and try the musts.

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