Who Makes the Best Jelly Beans? We Tested 10 Brands to Find Out

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Tkp Jelly Beans Test Sq
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Who Makes the Best Jelly Beans?

This spring, our Test Kitchen went on the hunt. No, not an Easter egg hunt, but one for the very best jelly beans for filling up baskets and decorating festive treats.

It might seem silly, but at Taste of Home, we get serious about candy. When we’re craving sweets, we want them to hit the spot and we know you do too!

How We Tested Jelly Beans

With Easter on its way, our team hopped to this taste test—and to the grocery store. Our Test Kitchen sourced 10 different brands of beans. Each was judged in these three categories:

  • Appearance: Jelly beans should look uniform and shiny. Vibrant colors and seasonal shades are a must!
  • Variety: When you reach into a bag of jelly beans, you want some options. A handful of punchy fruit flavors are a must.
  • Flavor: The taste of these candies is the deciding factor. Each bean should be tasty and pack a powerful punch of flavor.

Check out our top picks. They’re Test Kitchen-Preferred and Easter bunny-approved.

Sees Candies Jelly Beans
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Best Classic Jelly Beans

See’s Jelly Beans

If you’re looking for the types of jelly beans grandma would have filling her candy dishes this time of year, go for See’s Jelly Beans.

“These jelly beans make me a little nostalgic,” says the Test Kitchen’s Mark Neufang. He and the team chalk up that old-fashioned feel to the pectin used in the recipe (rather than gelatin). Pectin is derived from fruit and gives these candies their signature chewy texture.

While these candies do have an old-fashioned appeal, our team noted the vibrant colors and powerful flavors. See’s beans come in four flavors: cherry, tangerine, lemon and lime. While it’s not the biggest variety, every option is downright delicious. Eat these solo or use them to garnish your traditional lamb cake.

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Starburst Jelly Beans
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Best Fruit Flavors

Starburst Jelly Beans

If you ask our Test Kitchen, you can’t go wrong combining a favorite seasonal candy with one of the best fruit candies out there. The result is Starburst Jelly Beans, and we can’t get enough.

Inside each bag, you’ll find classic Starburst flavors like orange, cherry, lemon and strawberry as well as green apple and grape. “These are very bold and have a very lovely fruit flavor,” says Mark.

And these candies also deliver on appearance and texture. “These look and feel like a quintessential jelly bean,” says Deputy Editor Rachel Seis. They are uniformly shaped and the perfect amount of chew—the type of texture that keeps you going back for more and more.

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Skittles Jelly Beans
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Best Tart Jelly Beans

Skittles Original Jelly Beans

We all love sweet treats, but what if you want a little something extra? Try Skittles Orginal Jelly Beans.

These beans are smaller than most, but “they pack a wallop of flavor and some extreme tartness,” according to Rachel. That touch of tart and sour in addition to the Skittles flavors we all love is what kept our team going back into their baskets (OK, testing dishes) again and again.

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Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
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Best Variety

Jelly Belly

If you’re looking for variety, there’s no beating Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. A standard package of these flavored beans contains 49 different flavors ranging from coconut to kiwi and peach to popcorn.

These jelly beans are small and vibrantly colored. You’ll find solid beans, speckled beans and everything in between.

While Jelly Belly candies are more of an all-year-long candy, Maggie Knoebel puts it succinctly: “Easter candy or not, I’d be so happy if someone put these in my Easter basket.”

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.