You may have heard about the health benefits of licorice. But as you search for licorice, you are overwhelmed by the large number of brands manufacturing licorice treats.
But what are the best licorice brands? The best licorice brands are the ones that use authentic licorice extract to make licorice treats. Additionally, it is important to consider the ingredient list of licorice as well as its texture as unpleasantly chewy and hard texture tells a lot about the licorice brand.
Continue reading to learn what makes good licorice and what are the best licorice brands you can buy licorice from to enjoy a pleasant taste and texture and a good ingredient list.
What Is Licorice?
Licorice is a confection flavored with the extract of licorice roots. Licorice root is a plant derived from Glycyrrhiza glabra, the licorice plant. This herb is native to Southern Europe and Western Asia and has been used to treat various illnesses for hundreds of years.
Licorice root has antimicrobial properties and has been used to treat stomach discomfort, sore throat, skin inflammation, and infections.
While licorice has a range of uses, it is most popularly used in the making of candies and sweets which is why the word licorice is used to refer to confections produced using licorice extract.
In confectionery, licorice is paired with other flavors. Confectioners add mint, menthol, and laurel to achieve delicious licorice candies. Adding aniseed oil is a popular practice for brands manufacturing licorice candies as it helps to achieve a similar licorice flavor without adding licorice itself.
In the United States, black licorice is widely popular. The name is used to refer to sweet treats that are made with the use of genuine licorice and not aniseed oil and other artificial flavors. Most commonly and traditionally, licorice treats are made with licorice extract, sugar, and a binding agent.
You can find licorice candies of various shapes on the market. The manufacturers can easily come up with various uniquely shaped licorice candies as all they need is to pour the dissolved and mixed ingredients into molds.
Black Vs Red Licorice
If you search for licorice, whether in stores or online, you will come across red and black licorice.
This brings forth some confusion as red and black licorice look similar, can taste similar, but the contents are different. You may not know how different red and black licorice treats are until your check their ingredient lists.
Here’s what makes red and black licorice different:
When it comes to red licorice, there is usually no real licorice in it. Red licorice is developed to resemble black licorice but only in red color. Red licorice is often flavored with cherry, raspberry, and strawberry.
Black licorice, although it may also lack natural licorice in the products of certain brands, usually contains authentic licorice extract. So, if you want licorice candies made with real licorice extract, black licorice is where you should start.
Additionally, black licorice may also be sold not only as candy but as a remedy to ease stomach pain and minor gastrointestinal issues.
If the authentic licorice content is not essential to you and delicious candies are what you need, you can always stick to red licorice.
Aside from red and black licorice, you can also find licorice treats of other colors and flavors, including mango, orange, watermelon, apple, etc.
Choosing Licorice Treats
When choosing licorice, there are three things to consider if you want quality candies:
As we have mentioned earlier, some licorice candy manufacturers add aniseed oil instead of flavoring the sweets with actual licorice root.
If you are looking for true licorice candies, check the ingredient list to make sure that real licorice extract is used to flavor the candies and not aniseed oil only.
It is also good to choose treats that don’t contain artificial flavors, too much sugar, and GMOs. For people that are trying to keep their calorie intake at bay, it is also helpful to check how many calories there are in one licorice candy and whether it is fat-free or not.
Some people like the flavor of licorice but can’t enjoy it because of its texture. For this reason, it is important to choose licorice candies with a pleasantly chewy texture.
When buying licorice in stores, it is easy to feel their texture even through soft packaging. With online stores, what you can do is to read customers’ reviews to find out information about the texture of licorice you want to buy.
If you want softer licorice treats, opt for something that is marketed as licorice candies as those tend to be softer with a more satisfying texture.
There is a range of licorice candies on the market. Some, aside from the sweetness of the licorice extract, are enriched with other flavors too.
If you are already bored of plain black licorice and want to try something new, buy black licorice with added flavors of refreshing menthol, delicious caramel, etc.
9 Best Licorice Brands
There are many licorice brands on the market that don’t even contain real licorice. We have picked 9 licorice brands that manufacture licorice treats with authentic licorice extract:
|1.||Wiley Wallaby Classic Black Licorice||Australian-style black licorice|
|2.||Darrell Lea Soft Australian Licorice||Hand-crafted non-GMO licorice|
|3.||TWIZZLERS Black Licorice Candy||Sweet-spicy, low-fat licorice twists|
|4.||Panda All Natural Soft Licorice||All-natural licorice made with molasses|
|5.||Tara’s Handcrafted Black Licorice Caramel||All-natural caramels with licorice and anise|
|6.||SweetGourmet Italian Black Licorice Wheels||Old-fashioned classic licorice twists|
|7.||Red Vines Black Licorice Twists||Fat-free black licorice twists|
|8.||RJ’s Soft Eating Licorice||Black licorice made with natural ingredients|
|9.||Fazer Super Salmiakki||Salty licorice made in Finland|
However, if you’re a fan of red licorice (the kind which usually won’t have any actual extract), some of these brands will also have a red licorice option.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
1. Wiley Wallaby Classic Black Licorice
A bag of Australian-style licorice you can grab and head to the movies, hiking, or a meeting with friends – what more could you want?
The texture of licorice by Wiley Wallaby is soft and chewy – exactly what all licorice lovers are looking for in their favorite black snacks.
To give this black licorice an authentic flavor, the manufacturer uses not only real licorice extract but also star anise oil to enhance the flavor notes of licorice.
Sustainable palm oil is used in the production of Willey Wallaby black licorice. With this product, you are getting the best of both worlds – fat-free treats that are also eco-friendly and don’t cause any harm to the environment.
This licorice is a great snack for when you are studying or working – or for when you just want to treat yourself.
2. Darrell Lea Soft Australian Licorice
Darrell Lea makes some of the best authentic licorice on the market as the brand has been perfecting its craft for nearly a century.
Made in Australia, these black licorice treats will please even the pickiest buyers.
Firstly, it is made with real licorice extract with the addition of anise seed oil for enhanced flavor.
Secondly, it doesn’t contain any palm oil which is a great move toward an eco-friendlier production. Thirdly, Darrell Lea’s black licorice doesn’t contain any genetically modified additives and preservatives.
And lastly, it has a soft and chewy texture which makes all of the previously mentioned points matter as no matter how good the ingredient list is if the texture is hard, you won’t be eating the licorice anyway.
Darrell Lea also produces strawberry and mango-flavored licorice, as well as sugar-free licorice for health freaks. The licorice comes in resealable paper packaging that makes storing the half-full package easy.
3. TWIZZLERS Black Licorice Candy
When your friends gather for a movie night and you don’t know what snack to pick up to keep you busy for a few hours but still be low-fat, get yourself a bag of TWIZZLERS black licorice.
These long licorice twists have a sweet-spicy flavor as they are made with licorice extract and a few other additives.
As these twists are marketed as candies, it is not hard to guess that they have a pleasantly soft texture. This is what most people are looking for in licorice candies as not being able to chew your snack while you are trying to enjoy a movie is certainly not a good experience.
You can purchase the red variety of the same candies by TWIZZLERS if you are a fan of red licorice.
4. Panda All Natural Soft Licorice
If you are on the hunt for the healthiest licorice on the market, then Panda all-natural sweet licorice it is.
The ingredient list of these licorice treats is short and quite impressive. They contain molasses, which has a dense nutritional content, is high in protein, and provides a burst of sugar and carbohydrates to give you energy.
Panda licorice also contains wheat flour, aniseed oil as a natural flavoring agent, and of course, licorice extract.
Panda black licorice comes in a zip-top package that you can keep tightly sealed after opening for the maximum freshness of the product. We think you’ll take to these like a panda takes to bamboo.
5. Tara’s Handcrafted Black Licorice Caramel
Tara’s handcrafted gourmet black licorice caramels are a perfect gift for yourself or for anyone that enjoys the flavor of licorice. These candies come individually wrapped, in a translucent jar beautiful for display.
As the manufacturer states, the candies are flavored with natural licorice flavoring that comes from the licorice root. Together with the anise flavoring, you get delicious candies with a balanced combination of sweet and bitter.
Aside from the natural flavors, these candies also contain corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, butter, and a few other ingredients. In a word, they are a dream-come-true for anyone with a sweet tooth and a love for licorice.
These caramels are handcrafted in small batches. Thus, you can be sure that you are getting consistent flavor and texture with each jar.
The caramel flavor of these licorice candies is rich. The texture is soft, creamy, and buttery. You won’t have the annoying experience of these caramels sticking to your teeth.
6. SweetGourmet Italian Black Licorice Wheels
These black licorice candies by SweetGourmet are an authentic Italian treat!
These are the best candies to try if licorice flavor in the traditional wheel form is what you love, without added flavors and colors.
These candies also have no fat which makes them a good snack for every licorice lover.
If you love licorice and want to constantly try new things, you should certainly give these candies a try.
7. Red Vines Black Licorice Twists
This Red Vines licorice that comes in a 4-pack is ideal for true licorice lovers.
In this package, you’ll find old-fashioned black licorice twists that are flavored with authentic licorice extract.
Aside from the licorice extract, there is also corn syrup, wheat flour, and molasses in the ingredient list of these candies. As with most licorice candies on the market, these ones by Red Vines contain anise flavor too.
You can pair these licorice twists with salty popcorn for a burst of flavors and a fun movie snack. In fact, these soft and chewy twists are perfect for any occasion and place—they work equally as well as an office snack and for a gathering with friends and family.
8. RJ’s Soft Eating Licorice
RJ’s Soft Eating licorice is a perfect option for anyone looking for licorice treats made with all-natural ingredients.
These licorice candies contain made with wheat flour, cane sugar, molasses, glucose syrup, and a few other ingredients. But the most important thing is, these candies are flavored with natural licorice extract and aniseed oil. So, you can be sure that you will experience authentic licorice flavor.
These licorice candies made in New Zealand are not only free of artificial colors and flavors but are nut-free too. Thus, unlike some licorice brands, they are suitable for people with nut allergies.
RJ’s Soft Eating Licorice comes in a resealable paper package that is both eco-friendly and provides easy and airtight storage for the leftover candies.
9. Fazer Super Salmiakki (Finnish Salty Licorice)
Salmiak licorice, or salty licorice, is a licorice specialty popular in Finland. These candies are good for people who want to experience a deeper flavor than that of regular black licorice.
You get 25 fat-free licorice pastilles in a bag of Fazer Super Salmiakki. Having added menthol to these licorice candies, the manufacturer has enhanced the astringent flavor of salmiak licorice.
Unlike chewy and soft licorice twists, these licorice treats by Fazer are round and hard pastilles. But despite the difference in texture, these pastilles contain real licorice extract too.
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