We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Licorice Brands For 2024 – Tested & Reviewed

Norah Clark
Black licorice

I first fell in love with licorice when I was a child. I love licorice because of the distinct flavor of sweet and slightly bitter.  My father and I often went to our local sweet shop to buy some, and I have been addicted to licorice ever since, so I guess you can call me a licorice connoisseur!

 

In this guide, you'll find 9 varieties of licorice brands included in our sweet hampers which are perfect for gifting to any sweet tooth.

The Best Licorice Brands Tested & Reviewed

There are a lot of brands of licorice that don’t contain licorice. We’ve picked 9 licorice manufacturers that produce delicious licorice snacks using authentic licorice extract:

Product Key feature
1. Wiley Wallaby Classic Black Licorice Australian-style black licorice
2. Darrell Lea Soft Australian Licorice Hand-crafted non-GMO licorice
3. TWIZZLERS Black Licorice Candy Sweet-spicy, low-fat licorice twists
4. Panda All Natural Soft Licorice All-natural licorice made with molasses
5. Tara’s Handcrafted Black Licorice Caramel All-natural caramels with licorice and anise
6. SweetGourmet Italian Black Licorice Wheels Old-fashioned classic licorice twists
7. Red Vines Black Licorice Twists Fat-free black licorice twists
8. RJ’s Soft Eating Licorice Black licorice made with natural ingredients
9. Fazer Super Salmiakki Salty licorice made in Finland

But, if you’re a lover of red licorice (the type that doesn’t usually contain any actual extract) Some of these brands also offer this option.

Let’s dive in and look at why each product is one of my licorice choices!

1. Wiley Wallaby Classic Black Licorice

The bag is filled with Australian-inspired licorice. 

Wiley Wallaby Classic Black Licorice

The texture is soft and chewy and it’s exactly what licorice lovers are looking for in their black snacks of choice.

To give this black licorice its authentic flavor, the manufacturer uses real licorice extract and star anise oil that greatly enhances the licorice flavor.

Palm oil from sustainable sources is also one of the ingredients in Willey Wallaby black licorice. 

2. Darrell Lea Soft Australian Licorice

Darrell Lea makes some of the most authentic licorice available. They have been making this licorice in Australia and perfecting its process for over 100 years!

Darrell Lea Soft Australian Licorice

First, it is created using real licorice extract and the addition of oil from anise seeds to enhance the flavor.

Furthermore, it doesn’t contain any palm oil, a major step towards more sustainable production. Third, Darrell Lea’s Black Licorice has no genetically-modified additives or preservatives.

Its texture is soft and chewy making it an enjoyable eating experience.

Darrell Lea also produces strawberry and mango-flavored licorice, as well as sugar-free licorice for health-conscious consumers. The licorice uses recyclable packaging, another point in its favor.

3. TWIZZLERS The Black Licorice Candy

You can't go wrong with handy packets of TWIZZLERS Black Licorice.

TWIZZLERS The Black Licorice Candy

These long licorice twists come with an effervescent, sweet-spicy taste as they are made from the extract of licorice and other ingredients.

Texture again is key as apart from taste and Twizzlers does not disappoint on either score. 

If you’re a lover of red licorice, you can also purchase that version of the same candy.

4. Panda All Natural Soft Licorice

If you want the most nutritious licorice available on the market, look no further than Panda all-natural sweet licorice.

Panda All Natural Soft Licorice

The list of ingredients for the licorice-based treats is impressively short.

They are made from molasses, which contains a high nutritional value and is rich in protein. It also offers an explosion of sugar and carbohydrates that provide energy.

Panda Licorice contains aniseed oil, wheat flour as a natural flavoring agent, and, of course, the extract of licorice.

Panda black licorice is packaged in an open-top zip-top container, which you can close after opening to ensure it stays fresh. We believe you’ll be able to take to these the way a panda does to bamboo.

5. Tara’s Handcrafted Black Licorice Caramel

Tara’s gourmet black licorice candy is the perfect present for licorice connoisseurs. The candies are individually wrapped and packaged in a transparent glass jar that is stunning to display.

Tara's Handcrafted Black Licorice Caramel

The candy is flavored with natural licorice flavoring, which originates from the root of licorice. With the anise flavoring, you get delicious candies with a perfect mixture of bitter and sweet.

The sweets also contain corn syrup-sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, heavy cream butter, and a couple of other ingredients. 

The candies are made by hand in small-scale batches, so you are assured that you will get the same taste and texture in each jar.

The texture is soft and smooth, with a buttery caramel taste. Also, you won’t experience the irritable feeling of the sweets sticking to your teeth.

6. SweetGourmet Italian Black Licorice Wheels

The black licorice candy sweets from SweetGourmet are a classic Italian delight!

SweetGourmet Italian Black Licorice Wheels

They are among the top candy to try if the licorice flavor in the traditional wheel form is what you like.

These low-calorie sweets make a great treat for anyone who loves licorice.

The first time I tried these was when I was in Rome, Italy – wow, they just had to go into this guide.

7. Red Vines Black Licorice Twists

This Red Vines Licorice, which comes in a 4-pack is a must-try.

Red Vines Black Licorice Twists

Old-fashioned black licorice twists fill the box, flavored with authentic extracts of licorice. A delicious and chewy treat for your sweet tooth. 

Also included in the ingredients are wheat flour, corn syrup, and molasses. Similar to the majority of licorice candy available, the ones made from Red Vines also contain anise flavor.

8. The Soft Eating Licorice From RJ’s

The Soft Eating Licorice From RJ's

RJ’s Soft Eating Licorice is a great choice for those who want their licorice treats made from all-natural ingredients.

The sweets contain wheat flour, sugar from cane Molasses, glucose syrup, and other ingredients. But the main thing is that they are flavored with natural extracts of licorice and aniseed oil. Therefore, rest assured you’ll get the real licorice flavors.

The licorice, produced in New Zealand, are not only free of artificial colorants and flavors but are also nut-free. So, unlike other brands of licorice, they are safe for people who have nut allergies.

RJ’s Soft Eating Licorice is packaged in a resealable package that is environmentally friendly and also provides airtight storage for any unlikely leftover candy.

9. Fazer Super Salmiakki (Finnish Salty Licorice)

Fazer Super Salmiakki (Finnish Salty Licorice)

Salmiak licorice, also known as salty licorice, is a very popular specialty of licorice in Finland. The sweets are great for people looking to enjoy a stronger taste than ordinary black licorice.

You will receive 25 fat-free licorice pastilles inside the bag that contains Fazer Super Salmiakki.

By adding menthol to their licorice sweets, the company has enhanced the Salmiakki flavor with astringency.

In contrast to soft and chewy twists of licorice, these snacks from Fazer are hard, round pastilles. However, despite the variation in the texture, these pastilles contain real licorice extract, too.

What Is Licorice?

Licorice is a sweet treat flavored with extract from the root of the licorice tree--Glycyrrhiza Glabra. This plant is indigenous to Southern Europe and Western Asia and has been used for treating various diseases for hundreds of years.

Licorice root contains antimicrobial properties and is used to treat stomach pain,  sore throats, skin inflammation, and infections.

However, its most common use is in sweets, which is why the term “licorice” is often used to refer to confections made with extracts of licorice.

Confectioners include mint, menthol, and laurel to make delicious licorice-flavored candies. Some incorporate aniseed oil as it allows for a similar taste without adding licorice extract.

Black and Red Licorice

If you look up licorice, you’ll see black AND red licorice.

It can be confusing because the black and red licorice appear similar and might taste the same, but the ingredients are totally different. It is difficult to know how differently black and red sweets are made of licorice until you go through the ingredients lists.

This is what makes black and red licorice distinct:

Red licorice

There is typically no actual licorice extract. Red Licorice is created to look similar to black licorice and contains ingredients different from black. 

Black Licorice

Some companies don't add natural licorice to their product as in red licorice, so if you are looking for authentic licorice candy made with extracts of licorice, black licorice is where to begin.

Black licorice can be sold as a sweet treat and a treatment for stomach pains and other gastrointestinal problems.

If the real licorice ingredient isn’t important to you and delicious sweets are what you want, then you should choose red licorice.

In addition to black and red licorice, you may also discover licorice of different flavors and colors, such as watermelon, mango, orange, apple, mango, etc.

The Variety of Licorice Treats

When you are choosing a licorice treat, there are three aspects to take into consideration if you’re looking for high-quality candy:

Ingredients List

As we’ve mentioned, some confectioners who make licorice include aniseed oil instead of flavoring their sweets with real licorice root.

If you’re searching for authentic licorice-flavored candies look over the list of ingredients to ensure that genuine extracts of licorice are incorporated to flavor the candy and not just aniseed oil.

It’s also important to pick treats that don’t have artificial flavors, are too high in sugar, or are genetically modified. If you’re trying to reduce your calorie intake it can be helpful to determine the number of calories in a licorice-based candy and see whether it’s fat-free or not.

Texture

Choose licorice with a pleasantly chewy texture.

When you purchase licorice, you can easily feel the texture through the soft packaging. Look through customer reviews on the internet to learn more about the texture of the licorice you’re thinking of buying.

If you are looking for softer sweets made of licorice, choose those advertised as licorice candy since they tend to be more springy with a more pleasing texture.

Flavor

Some licorice, in addition to being sweet due to the addition of extract of licorice, is enhanced by other flavors.

If you’re bored with plain black licorice and are looking to experiment with something different, then buy black licorice with the added flavor of fresh menthol, caramel, and others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which licorice brands are safe to eat during pregnancy?

A study suggests that pregnant women may want to avoid licorice, which may affect their children’s cognitive abilities. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, a sweetener derived from the root of the licorice plant, and is used to flavor candies, soft drinks, herbal teas, and other products.

Which licorice brands are vegan?

Many are vegan-friendly and include Twizzlers, Red Vines, Wiley Wallaby’s, and Panda’s licorice. However, the most popular licorice candies (i.e., not soft licorice) are not vegan-friendly.

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

Back to Boyd Hampers Magazine

8 comments

My family have always been licorice fans……….#1 for me would be Panda (black)………..though it seems harder to find lately……perhaps pushed out by the Australian brands which I do not like; as one of the other comments said: too rubbery………I grew up with Switzer’s and Twizzlers; but the taste of those has changed (recipes changed I figure; to their detriment)

Jim Drebitko

I’ve tried every one of those except the Finnish licorice(not a fan of Finnish Licorice) Nuts.com Black Australian Licorice beats all of them hands down and it’s only $7.99/lb. Close second on flavor but expensive is Kookaburra Black Australian Licorice.

Wess

Thanks for the article but I have to respectfully disagree with you on your #1. I am not a fan of Wiley Wallaby at all. I find it to be flavorless and the texture is rubbery. Right now my favorite black licorice is Walgreens house brand, Nice! Australian Style Black Licorice. I know what you are thinking but seriously, it’s the best. It has a great, strong licorice flavor and is firm but chewy. I am told that Darrell Lea is really good, too, so I intend to try. I have tried the salted kind because I like hard licorice but couldn’t get used to it. Maybe if it a tad bit sweeter to balance the saltiness. I am not a red licorice fan as it really isn’t licorice at all, but I did get hooked on the sweet and sour filled Twizzlers a few years ago. They are good if you like that sort of thing.

Lisa W

In my humble opinion panda is the best black licorice on the market

Brian Taylor

It would be interesting to know the amount of glycyrrizin contents of different licorice candies since it is difficult to know how much we are getting of this specific part of the candy
-only the grams of the whole candy is given. Is there any place we can find out this information?

L Gordon

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

1 of 4