I mean, it’s hard to imagine a world (or kitchen) without snacks.
They’re fun, delicious, and perfect when you just want a small bite to eat. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re convenient and easy to travel with.
While we can’t deny the importance of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s something special about the almighty snack.
One thing we’ve begun to wonder about from time to time, are just how our favorite snacks are made.
How cheese puffs get their puff? What does goes into making marshmallow Peeps?
Maybe these questions have never crossed your mind. We don’t blame you! But, we bet you’re racing to figure out how on earth jellybeans or rainbow sprinkles get such vibrant colors.
It’s easy to overlook these things when you’re a consumer. We only see the final products in all its packaged glory.
But before these snacks can reach our grocery stores and stomachs, there’s a lot that has to happen first.
In this roundup, we’ll talk about 11 popular snacks and the techniques that make them possible.
If you’re fan of the show How It’s Made, or if you simply love to make food, you’ll love this list just as much as we did.
At the very least, you’ll have some fun food facts to share with other foodies.
M&Ms might be tiny, but they go through a lot before they’re ready to eat.
First, the liquid ingredients are mixed together then repeatedly heated and cooled. This process, which is called tempering, helps strengthen the cocoa crystals. It’s essential for making M&Ms durable and hard.
The chocolate is then crushed up into a powder, mixed with cocoa butter, and formed into tiny bite-sized candies.
Finally, the chocolates are tossed in several coatings of color. Without these candy layers, the M&Ms would melt in your hand!
2. Frozen Sticky Buns
If you like sticky buns, you’ll want to watch check out this video by How It’s Made.
The dough, as you can imagine, is mixed and kneaded several times by a machine. But have you ever wondered how the spiral bun is constructed?
The machine literally rolls up the dough into one ginormous log, and it’s the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen.
Here’s the thing: When you buy pre-packaged or frozen sticky buns, it’s easy to assume it came from an average-sized roll. On the other hand, the idea of one large, never-ending sticky bun is something out of an actual dream.
Pringles are known for their duck beak shape, and it’s all thanks to how stackable potato chips are made.
Most potato chips are made from sliced potatoes. Pringles, however, are made by mixing potato flakes, water, and cornstarch. The mixture is then rolled into a long potato sheet, which is cut into ovals.
The ovals are placed on concave pieces of metal, which gives the chips their curved shape.
Finally, the chips are fried in oil for 11 seconds.
4. Cheese Puffs
Thanks to their iconic crispy texture, it’s easy to eat cheese puffs without a second thought.
But as it turns out, the process for making them involves thermodynamics, which makes them sound like a super cool science experiment.
To make cheese puffs, dough is placed under high heat and high pressure.
When the dough is exposed to the atmosphere, the pressure quickly drops, which flash-evaporates the water in the dough. The dough then runs through a heated machine. Once it exits the machine, it puffs up with air and becomes a cheese puff.
5. Crunchy Cheez Doodles
Like cheese puffs, crunchy Cheez doodles involve dough and thermodyanmics.
But unlike their puffy counterparts, Cheez doodles aren’t allowed to puff up when they leave the machine. Instead, the doodles are vigorously spun around, which keeps them flat and crunchy.
6. Rainbow Sprinkles
Rainbow sprinkles start out as dough made of shortening, sugar, and food coloring.
Depending on the color of the sprinkle, different amounts of food dyes are mixed into the dough.
Bright pink sprinkles, for example, are colored with varying amounts of three colorants.
The dyed dough is then pushed through tiny holes, creating hundreds of noodle-like strands.
Once the dough dries, it’s tumbled in a machine to break it up into little pieces.
7. Jelly Beans
When it comes to making jelly beans, the mold is the most intriguing part of the process.
Interestingly, jelly beans aren’t made with a candy mold that’s used over and over again. The process actually starts with large trays of powdered starch. A layer of metal presses into the starch, leaving jelly bean-shaped impressions.
Jelly bean centers are made by pouring liquid sugar mixture into the starch molds.
Once the mixture dries, the jelly bean centers are separated from the starch, which is re-used for molds. The centers are then covered with layers of food dye, flavoring, and more sugar.
8. Shredded Wheat Cereal
Shredded wheat cereal is made of, well, shredded wheat. But do you know how they’re formed into those famous little squares?
The process starts with raw wheat kernels. After they’re cooked with both water and steam, they’re sent between two rollers, which turns the kernels into thin strands.
Next, layers of wheat strands are placed on top of each other.
The sheet is then baked, toasted, and cut into pieces.
9. Pre-Packaged Sandwiches
Thanks to the potentially disgusting way they’re made, we couldn’t help but add pre-packaged sandwiches to the list.
A segment by How It’s Made shows factory workers making pre-packaged ham and cheese sandwiches for various retailers. The catch, however, is that they add shredded cheese with their hands — and they’re not wearing gloves.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean every pre-packaged sandwich is made like this…
But it definitely gives us a new appreciation for sandwiches that are made right in front of us.
10. Candy Canes
Like all hard candy, the life of a candy cane begins as a batch of sugar, corn syrup, and water.
Once the flavoring is added, the mixture is repeatedly folded and pressed to evenly distribute the flavor. Next, a machine pulls the sticky candy around a metal pole.
This incorporates air into the mixture, which turns it bright white. Pretty cool, right?
The white candy is then layered in between two slabs of red candy. This candy log is sent through a series of rollers and wheels, which rolls it into one long rope. Another machine also twists the rope before it’s sliced and hardened.
The process of making marshmallow Peeps starts with the only ingredients they’re made of: sugar, gelatin, water, and air.
The marshmallows are pumped out on a layer of colored sugar. Next, a “sugar shower” covers the Peeps in an even layer of sugary goodness.
There’s even a machine with a special sensor that makes sure the eyes are placed correctly.
The entire process takes six minutes. Back in the day, it used to take 27 hours!
12. Rice Krispies Treats
Just the thought of one of these delicious treats can transport just about back to memories of their childhood.
So how does Kellogg’s Rice Krispies get their signature snap, crackle, and pop? It’s not easy!
Rice Krispies start out as rice, so according to their website, the first step is to grind the rice into a paste with water, salt, sugar, malt flavoring, and vitamins.
Once it becomes cooked and molded into rice-shaped grains, the toasting process entails rolling, cooking, and some drying.
Voilà, just add butter and melted marshmallows.
This classic, delicious snack has been making memories for kids and parents alike for generations.
The world’s top-selling cookie, according to Business Insider, revealed more than 1 billion Oreo cookies are produced each year.
While the demand is high, nobody really knows how the popular sandwich cookie is made.
But don’t worry, we’ve done the research and the results are surprisingly what you’d expect.
The company has perfected the process, starting by placing granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, water, among other ingredients into a 2,000-pound tub and mixing them into a thickened dough.
Of course, the dough is embossed with the Oreo logo and cooled, before being flipped and “readied for the creme filling,” according to the outlet, which reveals, “the cookies are sandwiched together before being packed into plastic trays and packaged.”
Ultimately the process only takes about 90 minutes to churn out 3,000 cookies every minute.
14. Lay’s Chips
As you know, Lay’s Chips are super tasty. But even more so, the popular chip makes up over a fourth of the US’s potato chip market.
We’ve got all the details on how the satisfying salty snack is made, but unfortunately it’s a little too complex to replicate.
So basically, potato chips are thin slices of potato, fried quickly in oil and then salted.
They were invented by a chef named George Crum at a restaurant called Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Spring, New York, all the way back in 1853.
15. Fruit Gushers
While we may never know the true recipe on how to make these fruit snacks, with a liquidly center, we’ve rounded up the best theories.
Just like all fruit snacks they are mostly comprised of sugar, but how does he center gush into your mouth so perfect when you take that first bite?
The squishy sweet treats are flavored and mixed into a vat, while dye and other ingredients are added.
While we love these and all of General Mill’s products, they’ve come under fire for their labels calling them fruit flavored, since they’re filled with sugar and artificial dyes.
Nobody said they were healthy, did they?
16. Tootsie Pops
How many licks does it take to get to the center of… just exactly how these are made?
The Tootsie Pop, created in 1931, and most outlets, have confirmed it takes just about 2,500 licks to get to the center.
The hard candy suckers are filled with a chocolate-flavored chewy Tootsie Roll, and flavored with cherry, raspberry, orange, and grape flavor.
The candies are gluten, nut and peanut-free, and at least 64 million are produced each day (that’s: 740 per second.)
Another fun fact? They were considered a “quick energy,” during World War II and placed into every soldiers’ rations and were designed not to melt in the heat.