How many calories is in one piece of licorice?

Licorice is a polarizing candy – some people love the unique flavor, while others can’t stand it. But whether you’re a licorice lover or hater, most people don’t realize that it’s also a relatively low calorie candy option.

What is Licorice?

Licorice is a confectionery product flavored with the extract of the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra). The plant contains glycyrrhizin, which gives licorice its signature sweet yet earthy flavor. Licorice candy can come in many forms – as a chewy candy, licorice whip, licorice wheel, or licorice allsorts.

The base ingredients of licorice candy are sugar, corn syrup, wheat flour, anise oil, licorice extract, gelatin, and various colors and flavors. The specific ingredients and calorie content can vary slightly between brands and types of licorice candy.

Calories in Licorice

Most licorice candies contain around 20-60 calories per piece, depending on the size. Here’s the calorie breakdown for different types of licorice candy:

  • Licorice whip or wheel – About 20 calories per 2 inch piece
  • Licorice allsorts – Around 25 calories per piece
  • Chewy licorice candy – Around 50 calories for a 1 ounce piece
  • Licorice straws – Around 60 calories per straw

For comparison, here are the calories in some other popular candies:

Candy Calories (per piece)
Reeses Peanut Butter Cup 100
M&Ms 47
Skittles 20-25
Twizzlers 25
Snickers Bar 250

As you can see, licorice is on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to calories in candy. While it’s still considered a sugary treat, having a piece of licorice is a better option calorie-wise than chocolate, caramel, jelly beans, and more.

Nutrition Facts of Licorice

Aside from calories, licorice contains small amounts of some vitamins and minerals:

  • Carbohydrates: Most coming from sugar. Around 13 grams per 1 ounce serving.
  • Fiber: Around 1 gram per 1 ounce serving
  • Protein: 0-1 grams per serving
  • Fat: 0-1 grams per serving
  • Vitamin C: 1% Daily Value
  • Iron: 1% DV
  • Magnesium: 1% DV
  • Potassium: 1% DV

Licorice is low in fat, protein, and micronutrients. The main nutrients in licorice come from carbohydrates in the form of sugar. So while licorice can help satisfy a sweet craving, it is considered more of a confectionery treat rather than a nutritious food source.

Black Licorice vs Red Licorice

There are two main varieties of licorice candy – black licorice and red licorice:

  • Black licorice gets its signature flavor mainly from licorice root extract, anise oil, and added sugar. It has a very sweet yet earthy, almost bitter taste.
  • Red licorice is flavored with artificial cherry or strawberry flavor instead of licorice root extract. It often contains red food coloring as well. The calories and nutrition profile is similar to black licorice, but the flavor is sweeter and fruitier.

Both types of licorice are relatively low in calories. Black licorice has a stronger licorice flavor since it’s made with the real licorice extract. Red licorice tastes more similar to other fruity candies like Twizzlers.

Calorie Comparison

Here’s a calorie comparison of black licorice vs red licorice:

Type Serving Size Calories
Black Licorice Wheels 2 inches 25
Red Licorice Wheels 2 inches 20
Black Licorice Allsorts 1 piece (13g) 28
Red Licorice Allsorts 1 piece (14g) 24

As you can see, black licorice tends to be slightly higher in calories than red licorice. But the differences are small, and both remain low calorie confectionery options.

Benefits and Downsides of Eating Licorice

There are some potential benefits associated with licorice, as well as some downsides to consider:

Potential Benefits

  • Low calorie treat – Licorice can satisfy a sweet tooth while providing far fewer calories than most other candies.
  • Antioxidants – Contains antioxidants that help fight free radical damage in the body.
  • Supports digestive system – Has been used traditionally to help soothe upset stomachs and aid digestion.
  • Respiratory relief – Licorice root has been used to help relieve sore throats and other respiratory issues.

Potential Downsides

  • Blood pressure – Can negatively affect blood pressure control in some people due to the compound glycyrrhizin.
  • Hormonal effects – Glycyrrhizin can mimic the hormone aldosterone and lead to electrolyte imbalance.
  • Blood thinner interaction – Licorice may interfere with the effectiveness of blood thinning medications.
  • During pregnancy – Large amounts of licorice is sometimes cautioned against during pregnancy. But occasional licorice candy in moderation is likely fine.

The negative effects apply more to consuming large amounts of licorice root or extract. Eating occasional licorice candy is unlikely to cause significant effects in otherwise healthy adults. But those with heart disease, liver disease, hormone-sensitive cancers, or on blood thinners should be more cautious and speak to a doctor if concerned.

Tips for Eating Licorice

Here are some tips for enjoying licorice candy while keeping calories in check:

  • Read nutrition labels and look for licorice options lowest in calories, sugar, and fat per serving.
  • Stick to reasonable serving sizes like 1-2 pieces rather than the whole bag.
  • Reach for licorice over other candy options like chocolate and jelly beans.
  • Pair licorice with fruit if wanting something sweet after a meal.
  • Drink water when eating licorice to help offset the sugar content.
  • Watch out for licorice sodas and other drinks which can be high in added sugar.

Recipes With Licorice

Here are some interesting ways to use licorice in recipes:

Licorice Hummus


  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp licorice powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, licorice powder and salt.
  2. Blend ingredients until smooth.
  3. Scrape down sides and blend again until creamy.
  4. Serve drizzled with olive oil and a dash of paprika if desired.

The licorice powder gives this hummus a unique, earthy sweetness.

Licorice Molasses Cookies


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp licorice powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in egg, molasses, and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and licorice powder.
  5. Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet until just combined.
  6. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.
  8. Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

The licorice flavor pairs wonderfully with the molasses in these cookies.


Licorice is a relatively low calorie candy option, with about 20-60 calories per piece depending on the size and variety. It offers a unique flavor from the licorice root extract, anise oil, and added sugar. Licorice is low in fat, protein, and most vitamins and minerals, though it can provide a little boost of antioxidants. Eating licorice candy in moderation can satisfy a craving, just be mindful of portion sizes.

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