Licorice comes from a plant that has the same name and it’s a type of bean.
The flavor comes from its root which is extracted and processed into different products. Licorice is a candy enjoyed all around the world and different recipes, shapes, and tastes are available from different producers.
This article will review the best licorice brands available and what to consider when buying licorice.
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What is Licorice?
Licorice refers to a confectionery made from the root of the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra), a herbaceous perennial plant native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia.
The root of the licorice plant contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which gives licorice its distinct flavor and sweetness.
Licorice candy is typically black or dark brown in color and comes in various forms, including ropes, twists, bites, or cut pieces.
The taste can vary depending on the specific brand or type of licorice. Black licorice is nostalgic for many, particularly in the United States. However, its distinct taste can be quite polarizing.
The term “black licorice” specifically refers to sweet treats that are crafted using authentic licorice rather than artificial flavors like aniseed oil.
Typically, these licorice treats are made by combining licorice extract, sugar, and a binding agent.
Black Licorice vs Red Licorice
You’ll see both red and black licorice in stores. Although they have a similar appearance and taste, they do have differences, which are apparent in their ingredients list.
Red licorice isn’t usually made with real licorice (licorice extract), whereas black licorice contains authentic licorice extract. However, it is designed to resemble the shape and texture of black licorice.
Red licorice often contains cherry, raspberry, or strawberry flavorings. If you are seeking licorice candies made with real licorice extract, black licorice is the ideal choice. If you don’t need authentic licorice and just want some delicious candy, red licorice is fine.
It is worth noting that black licorice, aside from being a candy, is also sometimes marketed as a remedy for stomach pain and minor gastrointestinal issues.
In addition to red and black licorice, there are other varieties available in different colors and flavors, such as mango, orange, watermelon, apple, and more.
Top 3 Licorice Brands 2023
Jelly Belly Licorice Pastels
Immensely popular, Jelly Belly’s Licorice Pastels are a favorite amongst consumers for their classic taste as well as a handy packaging that lets you save the rest of your licorice for later.
Its ingredients are, according to the company, natural wherever possible which is somewhat on point because it has a lot of licorice, palm oil, and similar ingredients.
This sweet has a licorice center which is covered with a sweet topping that varies in colors, giving it an interesting look.
According to consumers, the taste is just right having the exact amount of licorice and the sweet topping which makes it a favorite amongst buyers. It is crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside which makes it fun to eat.
The licorice inside the sweet coating is black licorice with a strong taste that is easily detected by licorice lovers, but it is not overpowering due to the sweet shell it comes in.
If we were to categorize this product by the criteria of whether it is a healthy bite or sweet snack, it would be in the middle, but a bit more to the side of a sweet snack, however.
Twizzlers Bulk Strawberry Licorice Candy
Twizzlers are a classic candy and just saying the name associates you to products like its Strawberry Licorice Candy. It has a very appealing and fun shape with its stick shape that is twisted and simply looks delicious. They come in a box that resembles a lunch box and it is easy to store them for later when you have had enough for the day. These Twizzlers are strawberry flavored and are sure to heal your candy cravings.
As seen in the picture, this candy is red licorice, but it just resembles the shape and texture of the licorice candy having very little licorice itself inside. However, this product is low in fat which is one of the pros buyers consider. It has a fruity sweet flavor that is irresistible to consumers, claiming that these are the “original” Twizzlers. Simply a great choice for a tasty, sweet bite.
YumEarth Organic Licorice Black
The name says it all – organic black licorice that has natural flavors which are topped by natural fruit juice. There are many people in today’s market looking for organic products, and if they have a sweet tooth for licorice, this is their choice. A nice, pure licorice sweet that is gluten-free and that has no artificial, non-organic ingredients.
It is for the lovers of the strong and rich licorice flavor, not casual candy lovers; and its texture is described as firm and “licorice-like”, unlike other standard candies on the shelves of supermarkets so it is unique in that sense.
The main attributes of this product are evident – organic ingredients and licorice, lots of it in fact, and of course, the potential health benefits of licorice root itself that can help in eliminating stomach pain and other similar conditions. If you’re into a healthy snack, look no further than this.
Best Red Licorice
Kenny’s Wiley Wallaby Gourmet Licorice
Red licorice is praised for its sweet taste, and Kenny’s licorice brings just that. They are soft and chewy, bringing consumers back for more once they empty the bag – which can be closed to keep the rest of the licorice fresh if any of it is left of course.
Although having little if any root from licorice in the ingredients, this product is a fantastic candy to enjoy when you want to give yourself a little treat.
The taste is fruity with the strawberry dominating, while there is a hint of black licorice flavor inside just to make it more fun for your taste buds. Another pro is the smell, which many consumers say you can detect even when the bag is closed.
No wonder people have a problem with eating just a few pieces. As mentioned, this is not something to purchase for any health benefits – it’s just a high quality, sweet snack to enjoy.
Best Licorice Allsorts
Wiley Wallaby Licorice, Allsorts
Red licorice, black licorice… All these categories. Why not just enjoy all of them in one packaging, accompanied by other great sweets? Wiley’s put all sorts of delicious licorice candies and sweets in one bag, and they are all vegan – meaning no animal-based products were used while making them.
Enjoy a variety of candies ranging from red and black licorice, gummy bears, chocolate, fruit snacks, to popcorn. There is even more if you look carefully. In this variety, most candies are soft and chewy while offering different flavors that range from chocolate to fruity flavors, as well as the distinct licorice flavor found in black licorice.
Since this bag of sweets offers many different products it is difficult to describe every bite, but one thing is for sure – whatever you like, it is in this bag. Great snacks for your sweet tooth, combined just right so you get to experience each flavor for itself.
Best Liquorice UK
Joris Belgian Hard Salt Liquorice
The UK is known for its exquisite taste in licorice, and this product from Joris Belgian takes the cake. A bit different from the products earlier mentioned, this licorice is a hard licorice meaning that it is not chewy and is consumed differently. Belgians are not only famous for their chocolate it appears.
This licorice comes in a diamond shape and is considered hard salt licorice. All the ingredients are natural, and the taste is for licorice purists. Although the label says “salty”, they aren’t that salty in fact but have a kind of caramel taste. Old school as some consumers like to call it, the taste is traditional and has been a favorite in Europe for decades.
This licorice is high quality and stays fresh for days in the box in which it arrives. If you are the type of person that likes hard candy which is not too sweet, this licorice is a good buy.
Best Licorice Canada
Venco Licorice Variety
Here is a great purchase of different licorice in separate bags. Venco’s Licorice Variety offers four types of original Dutch candy that they like to call – Honey Drop, Cats Licorice, Farm Shapes, and School Chalk. All four come in different shapes as well, so they are also fun to mix up in a candy jar for the kids, and all except the School Chalk candy are colored in black.
The mix ranges from black licorice original flavor to sweet and soft candy, so there is a little something for every candy lover in the pack. Also, it ranges from hard to soft candy so if you like one or both types of candy, you can choose what is closer to your taste.
It also has the pure licorice fans covered with two bags that come in the pack, so it offers a real variety for all buyers of sweet treats.