I Tried Twizzlers and Red Vines Back to Back — Here's the Winner

red vines vs twizzlers

Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

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red vines vs twizzlers
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

The Great Debate

Pepsi and Coke. Skippy and Jif. Those two brothers that live across the street from each other and make Twix bars. There are so many great rivalries in this world, and the Red Vines versus Twizzlers debate has always been one to stir up strong feelings on either side.

Which is truly the better licorice candy? I’ve had it in my head for years that I like Red Vines better, but it’s been a very long time since I tried either one. So I cleared my head, went in with an open mind, and tasted both Red Vines and Twizzlers back to back. Here are my findings.

the american licorice company
Red Vines

The Backstory: Red Vines

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Remember way back in that last paragraph when I said Red Vines were licorice? That’s actually not technically true, because there is no licorice root in the classic flavor of Red Vines. The American Licorice Company created the candy in the '20s and experimented with a variety of different flavor profiles, like raspberry and cherry, before finally settling on a classic flavor dubbed “Original.” (Though you can still buy various flavors, including black licorice, grape, and strawberry.) Today, Red Vines are made in Union City, California.

twizzlers spiral
The Hershey Company

The Backstory: Twizzlers

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Twizzlers are a little younger than Red Vines, but not by much. In fact, the manufacturer, Y&S Candies, Inc., is one of the oldest candy companies in the country, dating back to 1845. Since the late '90s, Twizzlers have been manufactured in Memphis, which supports the theory that the rivalry is geographic.

a red vine candy
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

The Taste: Red Vines

This is a tale of surprises. My first surprise was how much less I like these things than I recall. I never really loved them that much, but I do at least remember thinking I would happily eat a package. Not the case today.

Red Vines are quite chewy, and the flavor is unplaceable. It's not strawberry or cherry or raspberry. I guess that's why it's just Original. I really like the squeeze on a Red Vine. Even though it's so thin, it never seems like the structural integrity is in trouble. I recall using these as straws constantly.

The other thing I recall is that I had to really tear through them with my teeth before they gave way, like a tendon snapping. I didn't have to do that at all with this package, and I was surprised by that. Perhaps I was just eating stale Red Vines all the time as a child, like a little raccoon boy, hungry for whatever I could find in the trash.

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one twizzler
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

The Taste: Twizzlers

Twizzlers are far thicker than Red Vines, yet not as chewy. They're longer too, or perhaps that's just the slight difference in bag sizes that showed up when I ordered them on the internet.

Twizzlers are not as hollow as Red Vines, which seems like it will play to extreme personal preference. There's a stronger strawberry flavor here than the indistinguishable Red Vines flavor, but it borders a little bit on the edge of cough syrup.

Related: I Ranked 16 Haribo Flavors, the Best Gummy Candy Ever

a twizzler and a red vine
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

The Verdict: Red Vines

I still like Red Vines better, but honestly, only by a hair. For some reason, I really pondered this one way harder than I expected to; I foresaw a landslide victory for Red Vines. Not the case this time.

Most surprising of all, I think my biggest takeaway is that I don't like either of these candies very much. But due to the slightly better flavor and consistency, Red Vines takes this victory.

Related: I Tried Every Single M&M's Flavor, and I Had a Surprise in Store