Which snacks are black?

When it comes to snack foods, black snacks aren’t always the first ones that come to mind. However, there are actually quite a few delicious black snack options out there! In this 5000 word article, we will explore some of the most popular and tasty black snack foods.

What makes a snack black?

For a snack to be considered black, it must be dark in color, usually close to black, dark brown or very dark purple. The black color typically comes from main ingredients like black beans, dark chocolate, black sesame seeds, activated charcoal or black rice. Black food coloring is sometimes added to achieve a darker hue as well.

Some examples of popular black snack foods include:

  • Black bean chips
  • Dark chocolate
  • Black sesame snacks
  • Activated charcoal products
  • Black rice cakes
  • Oreo cookies
  • Black licorice

While the color black can come from natural ingredients like beans and seeds, it is sometimes achieved artificially with food coloring. The safety of artificial food dyes is controversial, with some studies linking them to hyperactivity in children. When possible, snacks colored with natural ingredients are ideal.

Black Bean Snacks

One of the most popular sources of black color in snacks is the black bean. Black beans have a naturally dark hue that lends well to chip and snack formulations. Here are some of the top black bean snacks on the market:

Black Bean Chips

Dehydrated black bean chips are a crunchy, protein-packed snack option. Major brands like Snak Yard and Beanfields make versions that are popped and seasoned with salt and other spices. The chips may also include other legumes like lentils or garbanzo beans for more nutrients and fiber.

Black Bean Crackers

Another way that black beans are turned into snacks is in the form of crispy crackers. Brands like Mary’s Gone Crackers offer gluten-free crackers made from a mixture of black beans, sesame seeds, whole grains and spices. They make for a fiber-rich, vegan-friendly crunchy snack.

Black Bean Dip

While not a chip or a cracker, black bean dip is another appetizing snack featuring these legumes. Blending the beans makes for a thick, hearty dip that pairs perfectly with tortilla chips or fresh cut vegetables. Some store-bought versions add in avocado, salsa or Greek yogurt for even more flavor.

Dark Chocolate Treats

For those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is one of the most delicious black snack options. From candy bars to baked goods, here are some tasty ways to get your chocolate fix:

Dark Chocolate Bars

Plain dark chocolate bars are a classic choice, featuring deep, rich chocolate flavor. The cacao percentage can vary, with some bars nearing 90% for intense bitterness. Popular brands like Lindt, Endangered Species, Theo Chocolate and Green & Blacks all offer quality dark chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Nuts/Fruit

For added crunch, chocolate covered nuts and fruits are a favorite. Almonds, peanuts and raisins coated in a layer of creamy dark chocolate make for a sweet and salty (or sweet and tart) treat. Dried cherries, banana chips and pretzels also pair nicely with melted dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Popcorn

Another fun way to enjoy dark chocolate is drizzled or coated onto air-popped popcorn. The popcorn still maintains its light crispness, while the chocolate adds a pleasant sweetness and texture contrast. Companies like Smartfood and Lesser Evil make packaged versions of chocolate-dunked popcorn.

Black Sesame Snacks

Black sesame seeds are another source of midnight coloring in the snack world. Here are some of the tastiest ways sesame is used to make addictively delicious black snacks:

Black Sesame Crackers

Crispy crackers accented with aromatic black sesame seeds are popular favorites. Brands like Blue Diamond makes snack crackers featuring both black and white sesame seeds for great flavor and crunch. The rich, nutty taste is hard to stop eating when snacking right out of the box.

Black Sesame Rice Cakes

Another way black sesame shows up is coating the outside of mini rice cakes, in flavors like seaweed. Companies like Quaker make crunchy little puffed rice rounds covered in a mix of dried black sesame seeds and seasoning. They’re perfect for mindless munching at your desk or on the go.

Black Sesame Popcorn

Popcorn gets an upgrade too with the addition of aromatic black sesame seeds. Light, airy popcorn perfectly balances the hearty sesame crunch in each bite. Black sesame popcorn can be found at stores like Trader Joe’s for an anytime snack.

Activated Charcoal Snacks

Activated charcoal has become a popular “superfood” ingredient, known for its pitch black color. Though the research is still inconclusive, some claim it has detoxifying properties. Here are some of the inky black snacks made with activated charcoal:

Charcoal Lemonade

Fun to drink and Instagram, charcoal lemonade turns an ordinary beverage neon black. The juicy lemonade helps offset the bitter taste of the fine charcoal powder. Many juice bars now offer charcoal lemonade to adventurous drinkers.

Charcoal Ice Cream

Another unexpected use for activated charcoal is in ice cream – it adds a gothic look and a slightly bitter flavor. Retailers like Graeter’s and Little Moons make charcoal-infused ice cream pops and pints. The flavors often include fruit or chocolate to balance out the charcoal’s edge.

Charcoal Chips

Taking the charcoal craze even further, some snack brands now offer blackened potato chips. Boulder Canyon makes charcoal infused kettle chips in flavors like aged cheddar and olive oil. They have all the charcoal color without too strong of a flavor.

Black Rice Cakes

Moving away from beans and seeds, black rice is yet another natural source of midnight munchies. When puffed into cakes, black rice retains its dark purple-black hue. Here’s where to find these mystical rice cakes:

Lundberg Black Rice Cakes

Lundberg Family Farms makes mini rice cakes out of a blend of black and brown rice. They have a mild nutty, almost grape-like flavor from the black rice that contrasts the white puffed kernels. These unique cakes are gluten-free and vegan too.

Urban Platter Black Rice Cakes

For larger, pan-fried black rice cakes, the Urban Platter brand is a good pick. They fry the dense cakes in sunflower oil, creating a crispy outer layer. The inside stays chewy with a very subtle fruitiness. Try adding peanut butter or bananas for extra flavor.

Oreo Cookies

America’s favorite cookie, Oreos are a go-to black snack from the baking aisle. Here’s the scoop on what makes Oreos their distinctive black color:

The Cookie

Oreo cookies get their rich dark color from both cocoa powder and caramel color. Cocoa powder adds chocolatey flavor along with blackish-brown color. Caramel color provides an even darker, jet-black color through added corn syrup.

The Filling

The classic Oreo filling is bright white to contrast the almost-black cookies. The filling is made with sugar, vegetable oil and emulsifiers to create the light, creamy texture.

Special Edition Oreos

Oreo constantly releases special flavors and colors, but usually maintain the classic chocolate wafers. Some limited editions like Golden Oreos feature vanilla cookies instead. Most retain at least some dark color though, often with darker filling too.

Black Licorice Candy

Licorice candy is one of the original old-fashioned black snacks. The inky color and distinct flavor comes from the licorice root used. Here’s a look at popular forms of black licorice candy still around today:

Licorice Whips

Twizzlers black licorice whips are a top choice for chewy licorice candy. Bites of the thin, pliable whips pack an intense licorice flavor that’s irresistible to fans. Twizzlers uses ammonium glycyrrhizinate from licorice root to get the black color and taste.

Licorice Scottie Dogs

Scottie dog candies are another nostalgic black licorice treat. Brach’s makes the penny candy favorites, with a wheat flour base flavored and colored with licorice extract. Their cute shapes and sweet-sour flavor make them perfect for snacking.

Licorice Drops

For loose licorice pieces, try Darrell Lea Soft Eating Liquorice. These tender Australian candies come in small discs perfect for popping in your mouth. They go quickly when pouring a handful of the rich, black licorice drops.

Other Notable Black Snacks

Some additional black snacks that didn’t quite fit into a full category above include:

  • Takis – rolled tortilla chips coated in black chili powder
  • Pocky – cookie sticks dipped in dark chocolate
  • Seven Layer Bars – chocolate and coconut bars
  • Black Pepper Sunflower Seeds
  • Squid Jerky – dried black squid snacks

Are black snacks unhealthy?

Since black snack foods are such a broad category, healthiness really depends on the specific ingredients used. Here are some tips for picking healthier black colored snacks:

  • Look for whole food sources of black color from beans, seeds, rice, etc.
  • Avoid excessive charcoal, chocolate or artificial coloring
  • Check labels for unwanted additives and hydrogenated oils
  • Pair with protein, fiber and healthy fats for satiety
  • Practice portion control, as even healthy snacks have calories

As part of a balanced diet, enjoying the unique flavors and colors of black snacks can absolutely be healthy. Just be mindful of nutrition facts, ingredients and portions.


Black snacks may seem unconventional, but they offer some deliciously unique flavors. Darker hues come from nutritious whole foods like beans, seeds and rice, as well as rich sources like chocolate and charcoal. Next time you crave a crunchy or sweet treat, venture into the dark side and try one of these top black snack foods!

Leave a Comment