What do edible packing peanuts taste like?

Edible packing peanuts are a popular alternative to traditional styrofoam packing peanuts. They serve the same purpose of cushioning and protecting items during shipping, but they are made from food-grade ingredients rather than polystyrene foam.

What are edible packing peanuts made of?

There are a few main varieties of edible packing peanuts:

  • Cornstarch peanuts – These are made from cornstarch and sometimes also contain potato starch. They may be flavored with vanilla or other natural flavors.
  • Yeast peanuts – These are made from yeast extract, which gives them a cheesy, savory flavor.
  • Sugar peanuts – These are made from various sugars like sucrose, dextrose, and maltodextrin. They have a sweet taste.
  • Protein peanuts – These are made from plant proteins, usually wheat or soy. They have a nutty, cereal-like flavor.
  • Nuts – Some companies use chopped and crushed nuts like almonds or walnuts for a natural packing material.

The exact ingredients vary by manufacturer, but edible packing peanuts are generally made from starchy vegetables, grains, legumes, or nuts. This allows them to be eaten without harm.

What do cornstarch packing peanuts taste like?

The most common variety of edible packing peanut is made from cornstarch. Plain cornstarch peanuts have a mild flavor. They are crunchy and dissolve in the mouth, leaving behind a slightly sweet, starchy taste. The texture is a bit like puffed rice cakes.

Cornstarch peanuts are sometimes flavored with vanilla or other essences. This makes them taste slightly more interesting. The vanilla adds a sweet, aromatic quality. The overall effect is like a very mild vanilla cookie or popcorn.

Other flavors

Besides vanilla, some other popular flavorings added to cornstarch packing peanuts include:

  • Strawberry
  • Chocolate
  • Banana
  • Mint chocolate chip
  • Peanut butter
  • Cinnamon sugar

These flavors come through moderately but are not overpowering. The peanuts still taste like puffed cornstarch with hints of the added flavors.

What do yeast peanuts taste like?

Yeast peanuts have a more robust flavor than cornstarch varieties. The yeast extract gives them a cheesy, umami, savory taste. Some describe it as similar to puffed cheese popcorn or Cheetos.

The flavor is not exactly like cheese but has some of the same savory characteristics. There are notes of salt, butter, creaminess, and richness. The aroma is also more complex than standard packing peanuts.

Overall, the yeast peanuts deliver more taste but are still relatively mild. The yeasty flavor mingles with the crunchy, crispy texture.

What do sugar-based peanuts taste like?

Packing peanuts made from sugar have a very sweet taste. Plain sucrose peanuts are similar to crunchy candy, with a taste of crystallized sugar. They begin to dissolve on the tongue, releasing pure sweetness.

Varieties made with dextrose or maltodextrin are not quite as sweet. They still taste sugary but in a more subtle, muted way. Overall the effect is like a slightly sweet breakfast cereal.

The sugar peanuts are usually crunchy but become chewy as they dissolve. The sweet taste lingers in the mouth after chewing.

What do protein-based peanuts taste like?

Packing peanuts made from plant proteins like wheat and soy have more complex, savory flavors. They are often described as nutty, grainy, or cereal-like.

Wheat protein peanuts taste similar to unflavored puffed wheat snacks. They have a mild, wheaty aroma and a nutty taste. Soy protein peanuts have a stronger aroma and taste more like roasted soy nuts or edamame.

The protein gives these peanuts more body and chew than starch-based varieties. The flavors are more roasted and full.

Peanut Type Texture Flavor
Cornstarch Crispy, crunchy, dissolves Starchy, mildly sweet
Yeast Crispy, puffy Savory, umami
Sugar Crunchy then chewy Very sweet
Protein Chewy, dense Nutty, roasted

What do nut-based peanuts taste like?

Some edible packing peanuts are made from chopped or crushed nuts. These include:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Cashews

The nut pieces provide cushioning and protection just like other edible peanuts. Their flavor is much more natural and nuanced than shaped nut snacks.

The nuts retain their distinct flavors and aromas. Almond peanuts have a sweet, nutty aroma while walnut peanuts are earthier. Peanuts have that nostalgic peanut scent.

Chewing the nut peanuts releases oils and allows their richness to emerge. They are more texturally complex than uniform, puffy starch or protein peanuts.


Since they are made from whole nuts, nut-based packing peanuts are nutritious as well as tasty. Just 1/4 cup of almond peanuts provides:

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 15g
  • Carbs: 6g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Fiber: 3g

Other nutrients like vitamin E are also present. The nutrition facts vary slightly between nut types but all provide healthy fats, protein, and fiber.

Can you eat any type of packing peanut?

While edible packing peanuts are designed to be eaten, traditional styrofoam peanuts are not. Styrofoam peanuts should not be consumed.

Be sure to check the packaging or contact the shipper to confirm if received peanuts are the edible variety or regular plastic foam.

Edible peanuts are always labeled clearly and branded as such. Manufacturers want to avoid any accidental ingestion of plastic foam.

Are edible peanuts safe for all ages?

Edible packing peanuts made from cornstarch, sugar, protein, or nuts can be safely eaten by most people. However, some precautions apply:

  • Allergies – Those with food allergies like nut allergies or gluten intolerance should avoid eating peanuts containing their allergen. Opt for cornstarch or sugar varieties instead.
  • Choking hazards – Very young children should be supervised when handling edible peanuts as they pose a choking risk like any small, hard food.
  • Dental issues – People with dental problems like braces or loose teeth may want to avoid excessively hard foods like some crunchy peanuts.

As with any snack food, edible packing peanuts should be eaten in moderation. Most are relatively low calorie and non-toxic if consumed accidentally in small amounts.

Do packing peanuts expire?

Like any food product, edible packing peanuts have a shelf life. Exact expiration time varies based on ingredients:

  • Cornstarch peanuts last 6-12 months.
  • Yeast peanuts last 2-4 months.
  • Sugar peanuts last 9-18 months.
  • Protein peanuts last 4-6 months.
  • Nut peanuts last 2-3 months.

Proper dry storage extends freshness. Check packaging for any expiration date stamped by the manufacturer.

Over time, peanuts may lose their crunch and absorb moisture from the air. Discard any that become excessively soft or show visible mold.

Can you reuse edible packing peanuts?

In most cases, edible packing peanuts cannot be reused. They are designed for single use to protect items during shipment. When exposed to air and humidity, they begin to break down.

Attempting to reuse peanuts can allow contamination and mold growth. They lose their cushioning ability as they degrade.

For very short term storage in sealed bags, some nut-based peanuts may retain freshness. However most types have too short a shelf life for reuse.

Sourcing edible packing peanuts

Edible packing peanuts are available from various manufacturers online. Some options include:

  • Storopack (Hansaplast Peanuts)
  • Sealed Air (Nutra-Guard Peanuts)
  • Foam Fabricators (Over Nuts Peanuts)
  • Uline (Edible Packaging Peanuts)

They can be purchased in cases containing multiple large bags. Cornstarch, yeast, and sugar varieties are most common. Nut-based peanuts have a more limited availability.

Many eco-friendly shipping stores offer edible peanuts as a biodegradable packing option. Some major retailers like Amazon also use them.

For very small quantities, various edible peanut flavors can be found online sold in snack packs. This allows tasting different types easily.

Pros of edible packing peanuts

Compared to regular plastic foam peanuts, edible varieties have some advantages:

  • More eco-friendly – Made from natural biodegradable ingredients like cornstarch or nuts.
  • Reduced waste – No need to dispose of used peanuts after opening package.
  • Fun novelty factor – Interesting tasting experience for kids and adults.
  • Free snack – Nutritious nibble while unpacking delivery.
  • Timesaver – Skip cleanup by eating used peanuts.

For those reasons, many environmentally-conscious businesses have switched to edible peanuts for packing needs.

Cons of edible peanuts

There are also some potential downsides to keep in mind:

  • Shorter shelf life – Last months not years so may not work for archival storage.
  • Food allergy risk – Contain common allergens like corn, wheat, nuts.
  • Not reusable – Typically single use only.
  • Cost – Usually more expensive than plastic foam peanuts.
  • Limited cushioning – Not as protective for some fragile items.

For some applications like occasional shipping of durable goods, traditional plastic foam peanuts may be a better choice.


Edible packing peanuts provide a fun and innovative way to protect items for delivery. Beyond just cushioning products, they also deliver some tasty snacking!

The many peanut varieties made from cornstarch, yeast, sugar, protein, and nuts each have their own distinct flavor and texture. Chewing on these crunchy, puffy, or chewy peanuts is an unusual but satisfying snack experience.

While they shouldn’t replace a balanced diet, edible peanuts add a novelty factor to unpacking new packages. They provide environmental advantages over standard plastic foam too. Overall, edible packing materials are a playful solution for certain packaging needs.

Leave a Comment