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Best See's Candies Ranked
Photograph: Michael Juliano

The best See’s Candies, ranked

We ate our way through toffees, brittles, truffles and lollipops galore to get to the bottom of this century-old mystery: Who rules the See’s Candy kingdom?

By Time Out editors and Stephanie Breijo
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With nearly a century of candymaking under its belt and a place in every chocolate-loving native Angeleno’s heart, See’s Candies is the confectionary of Southern California. At the holidays, in chocolate shops throughout the year and in LAX kiosks galore, that white-and-black box means just one thing: quality confections.

Charles A. See and his mother, Mary—the adorable woman who’s served as the brand’s figurehead in that black-and-white photo for decades—never could have imagined that their company would become an icon of Los Angeles, even going so far as to set up shop within the TCL Chinese Theater (then still known as Grauman’s) in 1920s Hollywood.

To taste See’s is to love it, and nearly everyone has a die-hard favorite flavor. To get to the bottom of the absolute top, we asked See’s to send and recommend their best—and believe us, there are dozens upon dozens of options—and in return, they sent us 28 varieties.

Our editorial team tasted our way through them all, and maybe—maybe—had a little too much chocolate (and learned that yes, there is such a thing, but even when we didn’t love the flavor combinations, the See’s chocolate is always stellar quality). Here are our descriptions of each variety, along with in-the-moment reactions as we figured out which rules the See’s candy kingdom.

The best See’s Candies, ranked

Vanilla walnut fudge
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

28. Vanilla Walnut Fudge

Like a time warp back to an old-timey candy shop, this slab of thick, gooey vanilla fudge is a simple, saccharine treat and a straightforward throwback, which also happens to come littered with walnuts.

“It's like gluey frosting.” –Tim Lowery

Key lime truffle
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

27. Key Lime Truffle

Tart, tangy and a slice of pie in chocolate form, the key lime truffle fills white chocolate with a creamy and bright center—all that's missing is the graham cracker crust. (Note: If you’re not a fan of fruit in chocolate, or key lime pie in general, you might want to sit this one out.)

“I’ve been able to swallow every other one. But not this one.” –Michael Juliano

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Butterscotch square
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

26. Butterscotch Square

Almost no one works butterscotch into so many forms as See’s does, and here, the famed factory makes a center out of sugary, thick, creamy butterscotch and then covers it in milk chocolate.

“It’s almost like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, made out of butterscotch.” –MJ

Cashew brittle
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

25. Cashew Brittle

One of See’s hallmarks is its brittles, and here, in lieu of the more customary peanut or almond, the toffee-life planks are studded with cashews, then covered with white chocolate and a sprinkling of coconut.

“I think it’s a little too vanilla for me, in both senses.” –Stephanie Breijo

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Almond truffle
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

24. Almond Truffle

Textural without being overly crunchy, this almond number coats a semi-sweet and milk chocolate truffle first with white chocolate, then with bits of somehow softened almonds that lend a chewier note to the candy than most of See’s other nut-crusted bites.

“I’m still chewing the nuts. It’s so much effort to get to the candy part.” –MJ

Polar bear paw
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

23. Polar Bear Claws

Some of See’s confections manage to hit that perfect candy-bar balance in a single bite, and the Polar Bear Claws certainly do: This takes the caramel nut cluster and covers it in white chocolate for a decadent morsel totally worthy of its own full candy bar, especially for white-chocolate lovers.

“It's like a Payday covered in white chocolate.” –TL

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Divinity puff
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

22. Divinity Puff

This “puff” combines white chocolate with a sort of nougat center, but it doesn’t stop there: It weaves walnuts and coconut into the pillowy middle, then touches up the top with shredded coconut for an incredibly sweet and decadent finish.

“I could only eat one of these—so sweet.” –TL

Café latté krispys
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

21. Café Latte Krispys

A coffee-flavored take on a crunchy, crumbly piece of toffee, the café latte square is an ideal and not-too-sweet morsel that is, quite truly, a perfect bite. It comes individually wrapped—not that that’ll stop you from eating four or five of them—and a single-bite square of crunch covered in milk chocolate.

“It’s almost like a coffee-flavored Violet Crumble.” –SB

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Raspberry truffle
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

20. Raspberry Truffle

Some combos are legendary, and raspberry with chocolate is hall-of-fame material. See’s pairs the tart berry with dark chocolate for a sweet-bitter-tangy middle, then covers it in dark chocolate and a zigzag of white chocolate.

“It has this sweet, jam-like burn to it.” –MJ

Milk Bordeaux
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

19. Milk Bordeaux

One of See’s more decadent chocolates, the Milk Bordeaux feels like a textured truffle made of brown sugar. The coating? A thin layer of milk chocolate surrounded by chocolate “rice,” or sprinkles.

“Sweet, but the after taste isn’t overly sugary.” –TL

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Milk buttercream
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

18. Milk Buttercream

Like the best version of a kind of Valentine’s box of chocolates, this buttercream nails the soft, buttery interior with a coating of creamy milk chocolate. It’s light and dark at once and completely straightforward.

“It’s like the black-and-white cookie of chocolate.” –SB

Dark chocolate chip truffle
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

17. Dark Chocolate Chip Truffle

This is a chocolate lover’s dream, without diving into the depths of ganache. The filling is a smooth blend of semi-sweet chocolate and chocolate-chip truffle, all covered in dark chocolate. The remarkable thing about this one is that the aftertaste is just like you’ve eaten a handful of chocolate chips, which is maybe some kind of wizardry.

“That’s so much chocolate chippiness. I’m sick of chocolate.” –TL

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Almond bud
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

16. Almond Bud

See’s nails the classic turtle candy—a cluster of nuts with caramel and chocolate—in almost every permutation, but the almond variety somehow feels the most classic, even if the components somehow feel a little disjointed.

“The two ingredients feel very separated, like you’re eating chocolate then nuts.” –TL

Chocolate lollypops
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

15. Chocolate Lollypops

Now we’re heading into pop territory, one of the factory’s hallmark candy sets. See’s “chocolate on a stick” variety is a rectangle of chocolate flavor, a hard candy with all the cocoa notes but without the milkiness.

“It’s like a Tootsie Roll Pop with hot cocoa.” –TL

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Caramel
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

14. Caramel

Forget a two-note, chocolate-covered caramel; this bad boy adds texture with almonds.

“I like that it has some crunch to it—great texture.” –SB

Butterscotch lollypops
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

13. Butterscotch Lollypops

Much like the chocolate pops, the butterscotch variety is hard candy on a stick, but with even creamier tones and mouthfeel than the other version we tasted.

“It has a nice creamy aftertaste.” –TL

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Dark peppermints
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

12. Dark Chocolate Peppermints

Forget your usual chocolate-and-mint patty; See’s ups the peppermint flavoring, which practically whips you on a millisecond tour of a winter wonderland, but also thickens the whole disk and adds high-quality dark chocolate.

“This is a tastier Peppermint Patty.” –TL

Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

11. Milk Butterchew

This is a chocolate-covered caramel on steroids. The inside is thicker, chewier and gives you more time to savor every buttery, sugary pull, while the outer chocolate is creamy as all hell.

“It's like a Rolo with fancy chocolate.” –TL

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Toffee-ettes
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

10. Toffee-ettes

It’s unfortunate that these come in a tin can, because you can trace your shame by how much the line of Toffee-ettes moves down over the course of a day. See’s takes its flawless recipe for toffee nut brittle—here made with almonds—then covers the whole thing in milk chocolate and crunchy almond pieces.

“This is like their take on a better Almond Rocher.” –SB

Dark pecan bud
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

9. Dark Pecan Bud

Once more, with feeling, See’s has mastered the nut cluster. Here, pecans and caramel get covered in dark chocolate, which helps offset the sugar rush of the caramel, and adds depth to the classic turtle.

“I really like the pecans. I just wish there was more caramel.” –MJ

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Dark chocolate butter
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

8. Dark Chocolate Butter

This is one balanced bite: There’s buttery chocolate liquor, without an overt booziness, and that center is covered in wavy-topped dark chocolate for a combo that isn’t too sweet, isn’t too rich, isn’t too decadent.

“This is a perfect amount of chocolate.” –SB

P-nut crunch
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

7. P-nut Crunch

The P-nut Crunch is like the younger sibling of the classic peanut brittle (don’t worry, that’s coming). The toffee filling contains fewer peanuts than its older and iconic sibling, and it’s a little thicker, too, with more tofee per piece, plus milk chocolate.

“This one's like a Butterfinger that won’t pull out your fillings.” –MJ

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Marzipan
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

6. Marzipan

Marzipan is far from a See’s creation, but the almond-meal paste here rivals some of the best we’ve ever tasted. The See’s factory nails both the almond flavor and the intentionally mealy texture, and smothers it in dark chocolate. You’d think they’ve been making these for as long as some of Europe’s storied confectionaries.

“Am I in a German candy factory?” –SB

Peanut brittle
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

5. Peanut Brittle

Perhaps the most iconic See’s treat, the peanut brittle is simplicity done right: The toffee is perfectly salty on its own and not so hard you’ll feel it in your teeth, and the sugar slowly dissolves with every chew. The peanuts are roasted to lend a nutty, earthy tone, balancing the sweetness of the toffee planks.

“A classic. Perennial fave.” –SB

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Scotchmallow
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

4. Scotchmallow

Sure, s’mores are great, but this chocolate-and-marshmallow treat might, on a good day, even outshine the classic. On the bottom layer, there’s a chewy, lightly salted, extremely buttery caramel; on top, it’s a thick but pillowy round of honey marshmallow; all around, it’s all dark chocolate.

“This is what you want those Easter marshmallow eggs to taste like.” –SB

Kona mocha
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

3. Kona Mocha

Perhaps the biggest surprise of our taste test, the Kona Mocha blends coffee and milk chocolate together for a truffle-like filling, surrounds it with white chocolate, then—unlike the cashew brittle and the Polar Bear Claws—toasts the coconut flakes that adorn it. Even white-chocolate haters have to agree that this is one of See’s all-time greats.

“I don’t know, I think we’re all just really into it.” –SB

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Dark California brittle
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

2. Dark California Brittle

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already learned that See’s makes a rainbow of nut brittles, all of them worth trying. But when it comes to our number one brittle-based treat, that distinction goes to this buttery, state-named one peppered with almonds. The sweet-salty toeasted-nut square gets covered in dark chocolate and makes for a perfect bite (or two, but we practically inhaled these whole).

“This is like a Butterfinger, but really good. I have no idea what makes it California, though, maybe aside from the almonds.” –MJ

Peanut butter pattie
Photograph: Courtesy See’s Candies

1. Peanut Butter Pattie

In a company famed for its brittles, truffles and lollipops—all of which we love—it’s almost shocking that our favorite came down to an unsung hero: See’s own take on a peanut-butter cup. The center is smooth and pings all the right points in your brain: It’s salty, it’s buttery, it’s pleasantly but not cloyingly sweet and, above all else, it actually tastes like you’re eating a natural nut butter (unlike most of its competitors). Bundled in See’s classic and silky milk chocolate, it’s a gem that’s been hiding in plain sight.

“It’s the anti-Reese’s. You can actually taste peanut butter.” –MJ

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