Finding sugar-free candy that actually tastes good can be a challenge. Sometimes food labels are confusing, especially when trying to differentiate between health claims like sugar-free, unsweetened, and no added sugar. To help you choose the best sugar-free candy, we've prepared a buying guide reviewed by a registered dietitian full of useful information, including how to decode those labels.
We've also chosen 10 of our favorite candies based on our buying guide points and customer satisfaction. Tom & Jenny's Classic Soft Caramels is our favorite product. These caramels are delicious, made without artificial ingredients, and come in resealable packaging. Be sure to check out the rest of the products on our list!
To find the best sugar-free candy for our list, we considered the following:
For more information about these criteria, scroll down to read our buying guide.
Tom & Jenny's
Classic Soft Caramels
Zollipops Original Assorted Flavors
Keto Bark Dark Chocolate
Sugar-Free Wint-O-Green Mints
Caramel Coffee Hard Candies
Sugar-Free Milk and Dark Assortment
Twizzlers Zero Sugar Twists
Ice Breakers Sours
Reese's Zero Sugar Miniature Cups
Zero Sugar Jolly Ranchers
Best Soft Caramels
Best Teeth-Friendly Lollipops
Best Low-Carb Chocolate
Best for Coffee Lovers
Best for Special Occasions
Best Chewy Candy
Best Mints for On-the-Go
Best for Peanut Butter Lovers
Best Assortment of Fruity Hard Candy
|Type||Soft caramel||Lollipops||Chocolate||Mints||Hard candy||Chocolate||Chewy||Fruity mints||Chocolate||Hard candy|
|Main ingredients||Heavy cream, vanilla extract, palm oil||Citric acid, beetroot juice, grape extract||Unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, almonds, sea salt||Magnesium stearate, artificial flavor||Butter, cream, coffee||Chocolate liquor, cherries, milk, pecans, cashews||Wheat flour, corn starch, palm oil, salt, artificial flavor||Malic acid, gum acacia, soy lecithin||Peanuts, chocolate, cocoa butter, palm oil, cream||Sweeteners, natural and artificial flavors|
|Sweeteners||Maltitol, xylitol||Isomalt, erythritol, stevia||Monk fruit||Sorbitol, aspartame||Acesulfame, isomalt||Maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, sucralose||Maltitol, sorbitol, acesulfame||Aspartame, maltitol, sorbitol||Malititol, sucralose, lactitol||Isomalt, polyglucitol syrup (hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, maltitol, and sorbitol), acesulfame|
|Highlights||Individually wrapped||Individually wrapped||Individually wrapped||Individually wrapped||Individually wrapped||Gift wrapping available||-||Comes in a dispenser puck||Individually wrapped||Individually wrapped|
|Amount||2.9 oz.||3.1 oz.||6 oz.||2.75 oz.||2.75 oz.||8 oz.||5 oz.||1.5 oz.||3 oz.||3.6 oz.|
These are the best sugar-free candies we could find. They differ in flavor, texture, and type of sweetener, and you're sure to find a favorite among them.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Rachel Binkley.
|Main ingredients||Heavy cream, vanilla extract, palm oil|
|Main ingredients||Citric acid, beetroot juice, grape extract|
|Sweeteners||Isomalt, erythritol, stevia|
|Main ingredients||Unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, almonds, sea salt|
|Main ingredients||Magnesium stearate, artificial flavor|
|Main ingredients||Butter, cream, coffee|
|Main ingredients||Chocolate liquor, cherries, milk, pecans, cashews|
|Sweeteners||Maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, sucralose|
|Highlights||Gift wrapping available|
|Main ingredients||Wheat flour, corn starch, palm oil, salt, artificial flavor|
|Sweeteners||Maltitol, sorbitol, acesulfame|
|Main ingredients||Malic acid, gum acacia, soy lecithin|
|Sweeteners||Aspartame, maltitol, sorbitol|
|Highlights||Comes in a dispenser puck|
|Main ingredients||Peanuts, chocolate, cocoa butter, palm oil, cream|
|Sweeteners||Malititol, sucralose, lactitol|
|Main ingredients||Sweeteners, natural and artificial flavors|
|Sweeteners||Isomalt, polyglucitol syrup (hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, maltitol, and sorbitol), acesulfame|
In this section, you'll find a lot of useful information on how to choose a sugar-free candy that matches your preferences. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the different "sugar-free" labels as well as alternative types of sweeteners.
As with traditional candies, there are many types to choose from. Just a few options include hard candies, gummy or chewy candy, chocolates, or caramels. The first step is to know what type you want to eat!
If you're a fan of chocolate rather than fruity or sour flavors, there are plenty of options for you. Along with classic chocolate candy bars are chocolate-covered snacks, like raisins, pretzels, and coffee beans.
These sugar-free choices are great especially if you like to mix flavors, like the salt-and-sweet combination of chocolate-covered pretzels, or the bitter and sweet taste of chocolate-covered coffee beans.
Hard candies will last longer, unless you chew them! With such a wide variety of hard candy, between lollipops, butterscotches, lemon drops, candy canes, and more, you're bound to find one you like.
Finally, there is a range of chewy or gummy sugar-free candy. Gummies can come in sweet or sour flavors, so you may choose depending on your preference. And don't forget about soft candies like candy corn for Halloween.
Many consumers struggle to make sense of food labels, especially when it comes the health-related claims like sugar-free, unsweetened, and no added sugar. The differences between these labels aren't obvious, but are important.
"Sugar-free" means the product must contain less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. The sugar can be from naturally occurring sugars like milk or fruits. It also includes added sugars from natural sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols.
The term "unsweetened" means the product contains no added sugars, but it may contain naturally-occurring sugars. On the other hand, "no added sugar" means no sugar was added during the process, but the product may still contain sugar alcohols or natural sugars.
Sugar-free candies are usually sweetened with sugar substitutes, including artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. Artificial sweeteners don't contain carbohydrates, so they won't raise blood sugar levels in the short-term. On the other hand, sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate, meaning they can raise blood sugar levels.
If you have a sweet tooth, consider sugar-free candy that uses a synthetic sugar substitute, such as sucralose. These substitutes have no calories but are much sweeter than sugar.
Sucralose, like the brand Splenda, also doesn't have an aftertaste like some sweeteners do. This makes sucralose a good option for those looking to reduce their sugar intake but who still want to experience the best, sweetest flavor possible.
Stevia and monk fruit contain no calories or carbohydrates, but they're much sweeter than sugar. Inulin, a sweetener from chicory root, is another type of natural sweetener that is popularly used in sugar-free chocolate.
Stevia can sometimes have a bitter aftertaste. However, it is a good option for those with diabetes as it doesn't contain any carbohydrates and won't impact blood-sugar levels. Truvia is a sweetener that is a blend of natural flavors, erythritol, and rebaudioside A, which comes from the stevia plant. Monk fruit has a very sweet and smooth flavor without an aftertaste.
Inulin has no effect on your blood sugar, contains fiber, and has a mild flavor. This is good if you prefer your candy to be not too sweet. While you should be careful of inulin intake if you have irritable bowel syndrome or frequent stomach problems, it helps you feel fuller for longer and promotes intestinal health. It's often combined with other sweeteners in sugar-free products.
Sugar alcohols are naturally found in fruits and vegetables, but can also be made from glucose and sucrose. The types of sugar alcohols commonly used in candies are maltitol, isomalt, erythritol, xylitol, and sorbitol.
Erythritol and isomalt are typically used in sugar-free chocolate. Similarly, maltitol is used in hard candy and xylitol is a common ingredient in chewy candies. Sorbitol has a very similar taste to sugar, and is usually used in both hard and chewy candy.
Sugar alcohols don't contribute to tooth decay, and some even prevent cavities and gum diseases, like xylitol. If you have diabetes or are concerned about high blood sugar, we recommend you avoid sugar alcohols or consume them in moderation. This is because unlike some other sugar substitutes, they can raise blood-sugar levels.
The common types of candy packaging are pouches, trays, boxes, twist ties, tins, and foil wrappers. Resealable bags are easy for storage, whereas candy trays and boxes provide a nice presentation, making them ideal for presents. Individually wrapped candies and pop-up tins are convenient for taking on the go and sharing with others.
There are also seasonal options to consider. Nothing is more festive than seasonal or holiday-themed packaging. Since candy is such an important part of many holidays, remember to keep the time of year in mind when you're shopping.
No matter what type of packaging you choose, make sure to keep the lid closed or bag sealed as much as you can in order to keep the candies fresh and maintain their level of quality.
Check out our favorite sugar-free snacks! If you're looking for different options to reduce your sugar intake, we have plenty of recommendations for you to try.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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