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The best gas station snacks to fuel you at the same time as your car

Pull into the station, gas your car and then swarm the store: this is the time to go nuts on your feasting!

Morgan Olsen
Erika Mailman
Written by
Morgan Olsen
Erika Mailman

Few things are as satisfying as an epic multi-day road trip, cruising for days with people you adore hanging out with. And when you pull into those towns whose names you don’t even know because you need to gas up, you’re going to want to stretch your legs and check out the snacks in the convenience store. These happy treats help you stay alert with a quick, modest feast. Gas stations aren’t known for their fancy food, but when you’re emerging from the confines of the car, anything tastes great. But we want to help you select the best snacks to fuel your ten-minute stay. Here they are, in reverse ranked order, so you can work your way to the top. Enjoy the tasty journey!

Best gas station snacks

21. Chex Mix

What we love about this snack is how crispy it is. It’s a great stress-reducer (did you miss that left turn at Albuquerque?) to grind through big handfuls of it, with its dark and light (wheat and corn) cereal pieces, rye chips, mini pretzels and mini breadsticks, all covered in a savory seasoning. In January, Chex teamed with Sir Mix-A-Lot to release a video “Bagel Is Back,” riffing on his hit “Baby got back,” to let people know that bagel chips are once again returned to the mix.

20. Toblerone

Even though this delicious chocolate bar is straight from Switzerland, it can be found in pretty much any candy aisle. It’s a bit of European elegance, and the subtle crackle of embedded almond nougat makes this a delicious choice. Inside the wrapper, the triangular shapes make it easy to break off individual pieces to share around the car—the little pyramids may remind you of the Matterhorn on the packaging.


19. Miss Vickie’s Jalapeño Kettle Chips

These are spicy—just enough to get you sitting with better posture in your car—but not crazy hot; they’re perfect. Miss Vickie’s a real person who first started making chips in 1987 with potatoes from her family’s third-generation farm. There are no artificial flavors or preservatives in these, so munch away without regrets.

18. Flavor-Blasted Goldfish

We know toddlers love plain goldfish, but when you choose the flavor-blasted variety, you’re showing how open you are to dramatic experiences, and how very grownup you are. These are fun to hold individually between thumb and index finger, which maybe slows down our voracious devouring of this cute little seafood. As Dory would say, just keep driving.


17. Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard and Onion Pieces

These pungent honey mustard and onion-flavored pretzel chunks aren't great for a romantic road trip with a new love interest. But for all other travel circumstances, they'll do just fine. Do yourself (and your car-mate) a favor and grab a pack of gum as a palate cleanser.

16. Honey-roasted Peanuts

Admittedly not the sexiest snack on this list, honey-roasted peanuts are more of a sleeper hit that you should stash away in your glove compartment for a long stretch of freeway driving. Equal parts savory and sweet, these dressed-up nuts hit the spot when you're fresh out of podcasts and miles from your destination.


15. Pickle in a Bag

You'll giggle like a pre-teen when you see it: a full pickle floating in brine packed inside a clear plastic bag. You're going to want to open this sucker before hopping back in the car—be sure to drain the juice and hang onto the bag for handling purposes.

14. Mamba Fruit Chews

We're not trying to pick a fight, but Mambas beat Starbursts any day of the week. The chew is a bit more satisfying, and the flavors are slightly creamy. Each pack contains 18 individually wrapped fruit chews in four flavors (lemon, orange, raspberry, and strawberry), so it's easy to make them last for a few days if you have the willpower.


13. Sour Worms

Sugary worms coated in even more lip-puckering sour sugar? They're nutritionally null, but these neon-hued creepy crawlers will provide the short-lived energy boost you need to make it through the final slog of your journey.

12. Taquitos

Repeat after us; you are not above gas station taquitos. These cylindrical handheld treats beckon from the roller grill near the register. Go ahead and give in—whether you like 'em stuffed with cheese and chicken or laced with jalapeño cream cheese.


11. S’mores Pop-Tarts

Gas stations aren't exactly known for their breakfast options unless you delight in green bananas and sugary lattes (and if you do, no judgment!). But if you venture into the snack aisle, you might find a little blue packet of hope in the form of Pop-Tarts—s'mores are the way to go, sunshine!

10. Takis Fuego

Worried that you're dulling your taste buds on bland fast food burgers? Bring them back to life with Takis Fuego, which boasts the terrifying tagline "A bite of lava." These addictive rolled tortilla chips are seasoned with hot chili pepper and a hint of lime, so grab a drink from the cold case to tame the heat.


9. Salt and Vinegar Chips

The open road is the perfect place to rediscover an old favorite, and who doesn't have a soft spot for salt and vinegar chips? Whether you like the kettle variety or the good old-fashioned oil-dappled kind, the allure of tongue-puckering vinegar is irresistible. Pair it with something chocolatey for the ultimate match.

8. Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn

The happy medium between butter-drenched movie theater popcorn and dried-out "health" popcorn, Smartfood's white cheddar variety tastes indulgent (cheese powder for the win!) without the caloric overload.


7. Cheddar Cracker Combos

Combos are quite possibly the ideal savory snack for the road. They're not greasy like chips, and they wear their flavor on the inside, so your fingers won't be coated in cheese powder after devouring a bag. You'll find them in a variety of flavors—from pepperoni pizza to buffalo blue cheese—but cheddar cracker is an untouchable favorite.

6. Peanut M&M’s

Can't decide between salty and sweet? Chocolate-coated roasted peanuts should do the trick. Easy to pop on the go and perfectly sized to stash in the cupholder, peanut M&M's are a classic car pleaser—no matter who you're traveling with.


5. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Sorry, drivers; this one is for co-pilots only—unless you're cool with coating your steering wheel in bright-red Cheeto dust. The mess factor of consuming these cheesy puffs is balanced out only by the tongue-tingling reward that comes with them. Here's hoping you packed some Wet Naps!

4. Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies

If the last time you saw or tasted a Cosmic Brownie was in the school lunchroom circa 1990, it's time to change that. These fudgy, sprinkle-topped morsels live up to the hype your 6-year-old self remembers. Plus, they'll be gone too fast to make a mess of your car.


3. Beef Jerky

For the practical and responsible traveler, jerky is absolutely clutch. High in protein and low in calories, these lean strips of dried meat are easy to devour on the go and leave you feeling full until you pull off the road for lunch. And if beef isn't your jam, most gas stations now carry alternatives like turkey, pork, and bison. And for vegetarians: broccoli jerky. JK!

2. Snickers

When you boil it down, Snickers might just be the world's perfect candy bar. Nougat, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate combine to create a mélange of texture and flavor. Plus, you're bound to spot those iconic blue letters no matter where you're pulling over.


1. Nacho Cheese Doritos

If we could choose just one road trip snack for the rest of our lives, we'd have to go with a big bag of Doritos. And when it comes to these flavor-dusted, triangle-shaped chips, Nacho Cheese is boss (sorry, Cool Ranchers). Every morsel delivers a bold, cheesy flavor to light up your taste buds. And no, we'd never judge you for licking your fingers clean after plowing through a bag.


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