Swiss Roll vs Ho Hos – Which Is Better?

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Swiss Roll and Ho Hos share a similar concept as both of them are made from a cylindrical sponge cake with a filling in the middle. But when it comes to their flavor, texture, and overall quality, both of these delicious snacks have a few key differences.

Swiss Roll vs Ho Ho, what is the difference? Swiss Rolls are a classic snack that has an airy texture and a delicate flavor that is complemented by its sweet filling. Ho Hos are similar sponge cake snacks with a chocolate layer. They are denser and have a rich chocolatey flavor. Most people prefer Swiss Rolls over Ho Hos due to their lightness but individual preferences will vary from one person to another.

Read below to learn more about both these rolled-up snacks, their similarities, and what makes them different!

What are Swiss Rolls 

No one truly knows when Swiss rolls were invented, but they showed up around the 19th century in Switzerland, hence their name. 

The original recipe for the Swiss roll involved a sponge cake that was layered with various sweet fillings.

The cake was then folded to form a cylindrical shape and then cut into pieces.

The pieces were usually dusted with sugar and then served during tea time. 

These delicacies are typically made fresh and have a low shelf life but thanks to industrialization, manufacturers took the original Swiss Roll recipe to the next level. 

Today, Swiss rolls are made using high-precision machinery and high-quality ingredients that not only extend the shelf life of the rolls but also accentuate their flavor.

Swiss rolls can be found in fruity, chocolate, and cream fillings. 

Characteristics of Swiss Rolls 

Here are the characteristics of Swiss Rolls:


Swiss Rolls can be made in many ways.

Some manufacturers use a chocolate sponge cake with vanilla filling while others mix and match flavors to make a variety of Swiss rolls.

But in most cases, an average Swiss roll is bound to have a sweet and subtly rich flavor, especially when it’s made from chocolate. 

The filling can provide a fruity, creamy, or chocolatey flavor depending on how it is flavored. Overall, all Swiss rolls will provide a predominately sweet and delicate flavor that is accentuated by whatever filling is inside!


The texture of Swiss rolls is probably why they are beloved! 

Swiss rolls have a light and delicate exterior that is very easy to bite into and it almost melts in your mouth.

Unlike other bready treats, the sponge cake used in Swiss rolls is carefully aerated to provide maximum softness without it being too overly delicate. 


Swiss rolls are available in multiple variants and will vary from one manufacturer to the other. Generally speaking, Swiss rolls are available in either chocolate or vanilla-flavored sponge cake.

The use of different flavored sponge cakes allows for more experimentation options when it comes to the fillings!

What are Ho Hos?

Ho Hos are very similar to Swiss rolls in terms of their concept. Just like Swiss rolls, Ho Hos are delicious sponge cake treats with various fillings in the center.

Ho Hos are an American classic and have been around since the early 1970s. 

The brand that makes them is Hostess, the same brand behind other popular treats such as Twinkies, Sno Balls, CupCakes, and more.

Hostess wanted to introduce a Swiss roll-like product in North America but with a focus on chocolatey flavors.

Unlike Swiss rolls that can be prepared with chocolate or vanilla sponge cakes and a range of fillings, Ho Hos are predominately made using a chocolate sponge cake with vanilla filling inside. 

These cakes are known to be a bit denser than Swiss rolls but they provide more or less the same flavor and texture. 

Ho Hos were targeted toward people of all ages and since the North American demographic responded well to chocolate-flavored products, they decided to focus on richer chocolate flavors. 

The brand also introduced a nut-covered version called Nutty Ho Hos in the early 1990s and a caramel-chocolate filling variant in the later years. All of these products went on to become hugely successful snacks for people of all ages!

Characteristics of Ho Hos

Today, both Ho Hos are Swiss rolls are available as similar snack-cake options but there are a few key differences in Ho Hos that make them stand out.


Ho Hos are known for their rich chocolatey flavor which is known to be a bit more pronounced than chocolate Swiss roll variants.

But this difference is also quite polarizing with many people preferring chocolate Swiss rolls instead of Ho Hos because of their slightly stronger flavor. 

The filling of Ho Hos is usually either vanilla or a combination of caramel and chocolate which lends sweetness and curbs the overly chocolatey flavor. If your preference is a chocolate flavor, then you will love Ho Hos! 


The texture of Ho Hos is where most people draw a comparison. Ho Hos are known to be a bit denser than Swiss rolls that are light and subtly fluffy. 

It is believed that since the sponge cake mixture used in Ho Hos is aerated less, it gives the cake a stiffer feel, but they are also able to manage their shape better, even after packaging.

Some people like the added texture in Ho Hos because it can pair well with milk products and even tea.


Unlike Swiss rolls that can be prepared with various sponge cake flavors and fillings, Ho Hos are usually only chocolate-centered.

Even though Hostess also introduced a nut-covered variety along with caramel filling, the sheer versatility of Swiss rolls is undeniable and a big part of why the product is so successful. 

Here is a quick comparison between Swiss Rolls and Ho Hos:

AttributeSwiss RollsHo Hos
TypeCake-snack (rolled)Cake-snack (rolled)
FlavorAvailable in chocolate and vanilla sponge cakes with multiple fillingsOnly available in chocolate sponge cake and cream filling
TextureSoft, delicate, airyDense, tender, slightly bready
BrandMultiple brandsHostess
Size1.5 – 2 inchesUsually 2 inches
Serving Size2 cakes (63g)1 cake (33g)

Which Is Better, Ho-Hos or Swiss Rolls?

Comparing Ho Hos and Swiss rolls can be difficult since they are virtually the same product with more or less the same flavor and texture. But many people find Swiss Rolls, particularly produced by Little Debbie, to be the best option. 

Swiss rolls use an aerated sponge cake that provides soft textures, unlike Ho Hos which uses a slightly denser cake.

On the other hand, since Ho Hos are slightly dense, they can retain their shape longer and can even be paired with milk-flavored drinks, or just warm milk.

You can even try dunking Ho Hos in milk and trying them to get a rich chocolatey and milky flavor and a soft texture! 

Interestingly, there are several blind-test videos online where people try Ho Hos and Swiss rolls to see which one they like the best.

In most of these videos, Swiss rolls seem to come out on top while Ho Hos are preferred as the second choice. 

But at the end of the day, it will come down to your personal preference.

If you like a delicate sponge cake that can be enjoyed on its own then we highly recommend Swiss rolls but if you like a cake snack that is a bit bready and can be paired with a glass of plain or flavored milk, then Ho Hos will be a great option!

Related Questions 

Swiss rolls and Ho Hos are similar snacks that can be enjoyed by people of all ages! Now that you know all about them and their differences, here are some related questions:

Do Swiss Rolls and Ho Hos have the same shelf life?

Both products can be made fresh by artisanal bakeries and are also available as commercial snack products. 

As you would imagine, the fresh variety will have the least shelf life while the commercial variants produced by Hostess,

Little Debbie, Drake’s, or more will likely contain a lot of preservatives and stabilizers which will give them a longer shelf life. 

Please check the back of the packaging for each product to find out the expiration dates. 

Can you freeze Ho Hos and Swiss Rolls?

While it is not recommended that you freeze these delicate bread products, you can freeze both of them to prolong their shelf life.

Simply move each product into an airtight and freezer-safe container and store it at the back of the freezer at 0F. 

To thaw them, simply leave them in the fridge at 40F overnight or defrost them in the microwave. Please note that these cake snacks will likely lose their original texture and perhaps even flavor after being thawed. 

How long do opened Ho Hos and Swiss Rolls last?

Opened commercial cake snacks will last 1-2 days at room temperature and up to a week in the fridge. We recommend eating opened Ho Hos and Swiss Rolls on the same day to get the most out of their flavor and overall quality. 

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