Vintage Candy You Always Found In Grandma’s Candy Dish

From hard candy to gumdrops—not to mention the Andes mints—we're going to dial it back a few decades with this vintage candy.

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Toffee caramel candies in a crystal bowl on wooden table
Shutterstock / etorres


Did you know that confectioner Emil Brach—yep, from Brach’s Candy—made packaged caramels before any other candy? He rolled out Milk Maid Caramels in 1904 (make our version at home). The delicious and chewy vanilla-flavored caramel comes in bite-sized squares, and you have to peel away the clear cellophane wrapper before enjoying a sweet snack.

Unwrap a couple caramels to make one of many gooey caramel desserts!

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Lots of twisted candies in different nice colors
Szekeres Szabolcs/Shutterstock

Candy sticks

Today’s candy shops, along with Cracker Barrel’s retail side, both sell colorful sticks of candy upright in clear glass jars. It’s not all that different than buying candy sticks at a general store or candy store a hundred years ago. Look for vintage flavors such as root beer, cherry and sassafras.

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Cinnamon candy

Everybody knows Red Hots! Created during the early 1930s, they were originally called “cinnamon imperials” and became popular during the 1950s. For another spicy cinnamon flavor, Brach’s cinnamon hard candy is a candy-dish icon. (It’s made by one of the country’s oldest confectioners, dating back to 1904 in suburban Chicago.)

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Strawberry hard candy

This strawberry candy has an iconic strawberry-design wrapper we’ll never forget. It packs a punch with a sweet strawberry-flavored center, too. In a retro glass candy dish, a heap of strawberry candy is eye-catching—and hard to resist.

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Lemon Jelly Candy
Taste of Home

Jelly candy

Chuckles are the perfect example of vintage candy. The original candy dusted with sugar was rolled out in 1921 and hasn’t changed much since then. Some candy-lovers will say Chuckles taste the same as they did 50 years ago!

You can buy a pack of Chuckles in cherry, lemon, licorice, orange and lime flavors, or make a batch of Lemon Jelly Candies that will bring you back.

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Werther’s Original caramels

This vintage caramel-flavored hard candy has stood the test of time. Werther’s Original caramels are as delicious today as they were when they debuted in 1903, from a German company. (Thank goodness someone thought to export them!) Ever wonder why the candies were named Werther’s? Production was initially in Werther, Germany.

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Peanut butter bars

Remember Chick-o-Sticks bars? Fresh-roasted Texas peanuts are ground, sprinkled with salt and sugar and rolled into sticks that are the perfect mix of peanuts and crunchy candy. It’s kind of flaky, kind of crispy, kind of chewy and VERY peanutty.

To get your peanut fix, whip up a peanut butter dessert like Grandma used to make.

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Dad’s Root Beer Barrels

A fresh-poured glass of root beer from an A&W stand is hard to beat—but Dad’s Root Beer Barrels are the next best thing. Ely Klapman and Barney Berns first made them in Chicago in 1937 and they’ve been a hit with sweet tooths ever since. (You can decide whether or not the candy tastes like real Dad’s Root Beer, though.)

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Andes candy

I can’t remember which of my grandmothers always had Andes chocolate mints on hand, but my childhood definitely includes this treat. I love seeing them arranged in a glass candy dish because they take on an extra layer of glam!

(This homemade version is as sweet as a foil-wrapped Andes candy.)

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Who can forget Dum-Dums? From the Mystery Flavor to Cream Soda (did you know there are a whopping 16 flavors?), these li’l lollipops are as popular today as they were upon their debut in 1924. I remember them from the candy dish at my grandma’s house and restaurants who gave these out as an after-dinner treat, too.

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Butterscotch Hard Candy
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Butterscotch hard candy

Butterscotch is a timeless flavor. These butterscotch disks, all individually wrapped in yellow cellophane, were a familiar sight in most households from the early 1900s on. One reason many people like butterscotch is the long, creamy finish, not something every sweet flavor can claim.

Psst… You can make your own batch of butterscotch candy.

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Satellite Wafers

Often referred to as Flying Saucers because of their UFO-like shape, Satellite Wafers come in an array of pastel hues. They’re also very old-school, sort of like a mint or after-dinner “palate cleanser.” But what surprises most people is the sour after-taste. You either love it or hate it!

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Brach’s Party Mix

This mix of individually-wrapped peppermints, cinnamon disks, butterscotch disks, strawberry-filled hard candy and spearmints is the classic candy dish-filler because it’s got at least one of everything.

Keep the vintage vibes going with a collection of recipes from the ’50s.

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Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Rolls have been made in the U.S for more than a hundred years. These chocolate-flavored taffy rolls with their signature brown, orange and white wrapping were the genius idea of Austrian immigrant Leo Hirschfield, who worked in a New York City candy shop and was the son of a candymaker back in Austria.

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A pile of inviting spice drop candies, ready to eat.
Shutterstock / Thomas M Perkins


Gumdrops are colorful, chewy and sugary delights that come in so many flavors it would be impossible to create a short list. These cone-shaped sweets were invented in 1801 and originally flavored with spices (like anise, cloves and cinnamon). Now, the flavors include fruity notes, too, such as cherry, orange and lemon. Here’s our quick and easy recipe.

Kristine Hansen
A former editor of a regional home and garden magazine, where she edited the entertaining section, Kristine writes for national travel, design and food outlets about culinary trends. Her book on Wisconsin cheese serves as a love letter to her adopted state of Wisconsin and she loves to travel in search of regional cultural foods.