Every Hostess Snack, Ranked Worst To First

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From the beloved Twinkie to the decadent Ho Hos, Hostess treats are the reigning monarchs of the snack food world. Available in a dizzying array of flavors and forms, these sweet foodstuffs are also darn close to ubiquitous. They're in roadside gas stations, where they provide weary road-trippers with some much-needed energy in the form of a Jumbo Honey Bun. They're in convenience stores, where a kid who's saved their pennies can spend them all on a bright pink Snoball. They're in grocery stores, where a nostalgic grandmother might decide to bring home the fruit pies she loved as a kid, in the hopes of sharing them with her sweet-toothed granddaughter. No matter who you are or where you live, you'll encounter Hostess snacks — and you probably have more than a few warm memories already attached to them.

But not every Hostess product is created equal. Some are scrumptious tributes to the power of sugar, icing, and cream, but others are downright disappointing, and even actively unappetizing. Textural issues, off-putting-flavors, and lackluster ingredients plague certain Hostess snacks — including some of the brand's most famous offerings. Which treats distinguish themselves as the best and worst of the bunch, and where do your personal favorites fall? We're here to find out, by ranking every single Hostess snack from worst to first.

21. Mega Muffins

Muffins might seem like fairly simple baked goods, but the very best succeed because they combine a complex variety of flavors and textures. A muffin should be soft, moist, and studded with blueberries, nuts, or other flavorful additions. Yet the widely beloved muffin top is defined by its crisp, well-browned edges, and, oftentimes, a sparkling sprinkle of coarse sugar. That toothsome contrast is entirely missing from Hostess' Mega Muffins: These treats are simply soft and moist all the way through. They taste less like muffins and more like slices cut from the middle of an ever-so-slightly underbaked cake. Even worse, the flavors — banana, blueberry, and double chocolate — are distinctly lacking, with an odd chemical aftertaste. Leave these muffins behind and choose literally any other Hostess snack when you're feeling peckish.

20. Zingers

Zingers are easy to confuse with a wide variety of Hostess' other snacks. The devil's food flavor consists of chocolate cake, chocolate icing, and vanilla cream filling — so, basically the iconic Hostess cupcake in a different shape. Similarly, the vanilla Zinger is essentially a Twinkie with a thick shingle of icing. Raspberry comes the closest to being something unique, but its coconut coating brings Snoballs to mind. One wonders why Zingers even exist, especially since they fail to surpass the treats they bring to mind in every single way. The icing added to the vanilla and devil's food Zingers is simply too much of a muchness, while the raspberry variant's berry-and-coconut coating fails to bring out either ingredient's strengths. Why bother with a Zinger when you can have its superior siblings?

19. Baby Bundts

Hostess' Baby Bundts are undeniably cute, but their adorability can't make up for what they lack. These cakes are soggy, squishy morsels of oddly unpleasant flavor. Conventional Bundt cakes are meant to be moist, sure, but these itsy-bitsy versions taste more like they were steamed than baked. There's no rigidity here, let alone browned edges — the worst offenders go beyond moist and simply taste wet. Each flavor — lemon drizzle and cinnamon swirl — is somehow bizarrely off: Lemon has a too-sour edge to it, while cinnamon swirl lacks the classic spice's true punch. The effect is of cakes made by somebody with no firsthand knowledge of what lemon and cinnamon are meant to taste like and is going off others' descriptions.

18. Crispy Minis

Crispy Minis manage to pack a lot of layers into a bite-sized package. Each morsel boasts layers of wafers, cream, and a crumbly topping. The engineering here is undeniably ambitious, especially when compared to Hostess' other snacks. Unfortunately, the brand's inexperience with wafers dooms it. These snacks get smashed to bits in their bags, so that when you take one home and open it, you're left with nothing but sweet-smelling rubble. The Crispy Minis that stay intact are decent enough, but often tend toward staleness. Is this staleness what keeps the survivors standing? It seems likely — and if the only way a treat can keep itself together is to go stale, there's a problem.

17. Muff'n Stix

Hostess' Muff'n Stix avoid their Mega Muffins' flaws: These sweet little bars boast a golden-brown top. Unfortunately, sidestepping that pitfall isn't enough to land them all that high on the list. These pillowy cakes aren't bad, exactly — they're soft, well-baked, and available in chocolate chip and blueberry flavors, both of which Hostess typically excels at capturing. But they're also significantly hamstrung by their oiliness and haphazard distribution of chocolate and blueberries. These Stix are almost outright greasy; anyone who takes a bite is left with a film on the inside of their mouth. Moreover, while some Stix are chock-full of chips and berries, others are barely pocked with the tasty little nuggets. You never know what you're going to get — beyond a tongue coated in soybean oil, that is.

16. Kazbars

Hostess' Kazbars is an overachiever. This petite snack boasts six layers of cake, cream, candy crunch, and caramel or fudge, entirely enrobed in chocolate. Aiming for the stars is noble, and it does lend this treat an impressive degree of distinction in the Hostess lineup. Sadly, the Kazbars don't exactly stick the landing. While the multiple layers are tasty, they mush together into one big lump of sweetness after a couple of bites. The crunchy elements are especially indistinct, collapsing under the weight of all that cream and cake as soon as you bite down. The chocolate caramel flavor does deserve some props, however, for its mellow sweetness and solid balance of caramel to chocolate. It's not enough to overcome the Kazbars' flaws, but it will keep you from being entirely dissatisfied with the eating experience.

15. Fruit Pies

Hostess' fruit pies are among the company's most classic products. But while those who chowed down on them back in the day might have fond memories of their golden-brown goodness, those who pick one up today are largely disappointed. Whether you go with cherry or apple, you're in for a so-so crust and a filling that offers a lot more vaguely fruit-flavored gel than actual fruit. The apple pie is particularly disappointing: It leans way too hard on cinnamon, to the point that it obscures the actual flavor of apples. The cherry pies are marginally better, boasting thicker filling with more actual fruit. But this just isn't enough to overcome the treat's flaws.

14. Bouncers

Bouncers aren't exactly their own snacks — they're bite-sized versions of Twinkies, cinnamon Donettes, and Ding Dongs, filled with vanilla cream and draped in glaze. This is a solid idea, and the execution is pretty decent. The Twinkies-inspired Bouncer is especially strong: That beloved treat is just as good wrapped in vanilla glaze and shrunk down to a mouthful as it is in its full size. The Ding Dong bouncer isn't far behind. Sadly, the Donette variant leaves a lot to be desired, as is evidenced by its weak Amazon reviews. Its cinnamon flavor just doesn't play well with the vanilla cream, and the glaze takes things into an even more over-the-top place. The cake itself is perfectly fine, which keeps this from being a totally unpleasant experience, but all in all, it's an overly gilded lily.

13. Snoballs

Hostess' Snoballs are weirdly enigmatic, as far as snack cakes go. These luridly pink little globes aren't raspberry, strawberry, or pink lemonade-flavored, as you might imagine: They're cream-stuffed chocolate cakes, swaddled in marshmallow fluff and rolled in pink coconut. Can they live up to this mystery? Sort of. The Snoball has a bad habit of getting smushed, given its soft-on-soft layers of cream and cake. The coconut coating is also prone to developing a bit of an odd aftertaste if it's been sitting around for a while. But if you like coconut or marshmallow, this is a solid snack. The marshmallow fluff is an especially enjoyable detail, and one that remains fairly unique in Hostess' lineup.

12. Mini Muffins

Compared to Hostess' severely lacking Mega Muffins, their Mini Muffins are positively impressive. These itty-bitty treats are enjoyably moist, thoroughly studded with chocolate chips or blueberries, and sweet without being unpleasantly saccharine. Like their super-sized cousins, however, they do lack the kind of tasty browning that makes regular muffins shine. While this is a bummer, their smallness makes this less frustrating — you're not chewing through mouthful after mouthful of so-so dough. This does mean, however, that they succeed more because they're decent pieces of cake than actual miniature muffins. Muffin devotees will be disappointed, but everyone else will enjoy them enough to finish a package.

11. Danishes

Hostess offers their icing-drizzled danishes in a wide variety of flavors. You can chow down on cherry cheese, plain cheese, mixed berry cheese, blueberry cheese, or apple cinnamon danishes, among other offerings. For the most part, they're all pretty solid. The cream cheese is appropriately tangy, and the fruit filling is better than what's found in Hostess' fruit pies. The cherry cheese danish stands out as a particularly successful variation on the recipe: As one Amazon reviewer put it, "So fresh, moist, and perfect with morning coffee." Only one flavor, apple cinnamon, manages to significantly disappoint: Its filling is mushy, weirdly tasteless, and seems to seep into the crust, making it a messy ordeal to eat.

10. Jumbo Donettes

Jumbo Donettes are somewhat confusingly named — wouldn't a jumbo edition of a diminutive Donette just be a regular donut? But they're a solid snack. Available in plain glazed, glazed blueberry, and glazed strawberry flavors, these are pretty much default donuts. As they're wrapped in plastic, rather than waiting in a tray as you'd find at a typical bakery, they do lack the best donuts' freshness and often feel a bit wet once they're out of their package. In hot weather — and especially in direct sunlight — the glaze becomes positively slippery. But if you're miles away from an actual bakery and craving a donut, these will do the job. While all three flavors are solid, the glazed blueberry is the best of the trio: The individual blueberries retain their shape well, and the glaze plays tastily off their fruity flavor.

9. Boost Donut

This unique treat combines the classic coffee-and-donut breakfast pairing into one ready-to-go package. That's right: These donuts are caffeinated. Available in caramel macchiato and chocolate mocha flavors, each contains roughly the amount of caffeine found in a standard cup of coffee. For those who want a morning jolt without actually drinking java, these donuts will do the job. They're also fairly tasty, though those hoping for the flavor of actual coffee will be disappointed: They just taste like caramel and chocolate, sans the macchiato and mocha elements. In fact, these donuts border on too sweet. If you've got a strong sweet tooth, this won't bother you. If you don't, however, you might want to continue keeping your morning coffee and donut separate.

8. Cinnamon Rolls

The first thing you notice when looking at Hostess' cinnamon roll is how thoroughly iced it is. It's not just smeared with one thick layer of frosting, either: Each roll is striped with multiple closely-spaced lines of glaze. This ensures an excellent distribution of icing, which pairs wonderfully with the roll's sweet cinnamon swirl. Neither the glaze nor the cinnamon are overpowering, and both feature clear, strong flavors with no unpleasant aftertaste. There's just one problem: The dough itself is way too dry. The cinnamon swirl and icing manage to ameliorate this issue, but they can't overcome it entirely: Some mouthfuls just feel like bites of day-old bread. Most don't, granted, but the ones that do definitely leave an impression.

7. Ding Dongs

Ding Dongs keep things simple: They're sweet little pucks of chocolate cake that have been stuffed with cream and dipped in a smooth chocolate coating. This timeless expression of one of Hostess' most classic combos — chocolate cake, chocolate icing, and vanilla cream — is as good here as it is in the brand's Ho Hos and chocolate cupcakes. Yet those treats manage to rank higher than the humble Ding Dong. Why? The ratio of cake to icing to cream just isn't ideal. There's a bit too much cream in these petite cakes, and while the icing helps give things a chocolate-y boost, it isn't enough to overcome such lopsided flavor distribution. The first bite of a Ding Dong is pretty pleasant, but the second, and all the ones that follow, are too uncomplicatedly sweet to fully enjoy.

6. Coffee Cakes

An excellent coffee cake offers a moist crumb, a generous amount of cinnamon, and streusel topping that is both delightfully crumbly and firm enough to keep from collapsing into a loose pile of sugar and butter. Hostess' coffee cakes succeed on all counts. These tempting treats boast real, vibrant cinnamon flavor, from the swirls that ripple through the dough to the luscious streusel topping. The texture is a particular highlight: These cakes are soft without being insubstantial, springy without being off-puttingly chewy, and always manage to stay moist. This last detail occasionally becomes a flaw — a coffee cake that's been sitting around in a too-warm environment might become a tad damp. If you store them properly, however, you should have no trouble.

5. Donettes

There's something magical about a tiny donut. Regular-sized versions of the classic pastry are delicious too, of course, but miniature versions are charming to the eye and mouth. Hostess' Donettes are among the most classic examples of the form. Available in an array of flavors ranging from strawberry cheesecake to double chocolate, these teensy treats are utterly scrumptious. Every type is worth trying, but the most classic flavors — chocolate frosted, powdered, and glazed — are especially good. Something about the Donette's small size seems to concentrate its taste, making every single bite a serious punch of flavor. Chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla are never more vibrant in a Hostess snack than they are in the Donettes. The one fly in the ointment is their packaging: Donettes that come in bags tend to stick together, which can make eating them a messy affair. But trust us — they're worth getting a little powdered sugar on your sleeve.

4. Jumbo Honey Bun

Honey Buns aren't just delicious, they're enduring. One Amazon reviewer summed this quality up perfectly: "As a child, my grandfather would share his sweet treats with me over a cold glass of milk. This has the same flavor I recall from decades ago." This sweet spiral is indeed a classic, whether you opt for the iced or glazed version. Hostess' Honey Bun is especially distinguished by its fluffy dough, which somehow resists getting squished, stale, or saturated in condensation, even when its plastic sleeve has been hanging out in a vending machine for a little too long. They're particularly good when they've been popped in the microwave for a few seconds, as many reviewers all over the internet have noted. But no matter what kind of appliances are at your disposal, the Honey Bun never disappoints. It's a true stalwart of the Hostess line.

3. Ho Hos

Ho Hos are simultaneously simple, yet complex. They consist of chocolate cake, rich cream, and a chocolate coating — fairly standard stuff. Yet its slabs of cream-slathered cake are rolled into long, tubular spirals before they're dipped in chocolate. As anyone who's tried to make a roll cake knows, this is a delicate operation. Yet Ho Hos don't suffer from crumbling, cracking, or lopsided cream distribution, as so many similar desserts do — they're perfectly little cigar-shaped treats, each and every time you unwrap one. The spiral shape isn't just a gimmick, either: It ensures the eater gets an equal portion of cake, cream, and icing in every single bite. This stands in sharp contrast to the similarly-flavored Hostess cupcake and Ding Dong, delicious though they may be. Ho Hos are an excellent execution of an ambitious idea, and a true joy to eat.

2. Twinkies

Lots of things get called iconic nowadays, but the Twinkie actually deserves the adjective. This golden snack cake is a symbol as much as it's an actual dessert, deployed in everything from courtrooms — the "Twinkie defense" is an actual legal term — to pop songs. Why all the hubbub? Because this snack is absolutely scrumptious. Twinkies are simple, consisting of nothing more than vanilla sponge cake and cream. A number of flavors exist beyond classic vanilla, including pumpkin spice and cotton candy. But the original Twinkie, with its pillowy cake and luscious cream, is where it's at. Though its sweetness is uninterrupted by the complex flavors of chocolate, fruit, and confectionery that characterize other Hostess snacks, Twinkies never become boring — their vanilla flavor is fresh, strong, and distinct. You can't go wrong with this titan of tastiness, which is sure to endure for many more decades to come.

1. Cupcakes

The classic Hostess cupcake needs no introduction. It comes in all sorts of flavors, some of which are only available seasonally, including orange, lemon, strawberry, and sprinkle-laden birthday cake. But the chocolate cupcake is what most people think of when they summon this treat to mind, and for good reason. This cupcake is, simply put, the perfect cupcake. The cake itself is springy, deeply flavorful, and decadently moist. Lush cream filling lies at its center, providing a bright vanilla contrast to the cake's chocolate intensity. It's all crowned with a thick, smooth layer of chocolate frosting, bisected by a single scribble of vanilla loop-de-loops. It's not just tasty — it's visually stylish. But boy, is it tasty. This cupcake brings the perfect amount of sweetness to any moment of the day. After-dinner treat? Yes. Between-meal snack? Absolutely. Breakfast? You do you. The Hostess cupcake will never let you down, no matter where you are, what you're doing, or what you're pairing it with. That's what it means to be number one.