Planter's Nuts Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

selection of planters flavored nuts
selection of planters flavored nuts - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

When Planters was started in 1906, it was just two guys in Pennsylvania, roasting and selling peanuts. More than a hundred years later, this massively popular company makes just about any nut product you can think of, from trail mix to peanut oil. Still, no matter how far it expands from its humble roots, Planters' bread and butter (peanut butter, perhaps) is nuts. While the company's focus is still primarily on peanuts, of which Planters offers a head-spinning variety, its branched out to include options like cashews and almonds, offering customers an abundance of choice.

Along with embracing a wider assortment of nuts, Planters has also created some truly fun and wild flavors. Check out the snack aisle the next time you're getting groceries, and you'll see an embarrassment of riches when it comes to flavored nuts, with new options hitting the shelves all the time. Nuts just happen to be my favorite snack, so naturally, I felt compelled to try as many Planters flavors as I could get my hands on. Here are 10 different styles and flavors of Planters nuts, tasted and ranked, so you'll know which ones you should always have on hand when the snacking mood strikes.

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10. Nut Duos: Peppercorn Pistachios And Parmesan Cashews

bag of peppercorn parmesan nut duos
bag of peppercorn parmesan nut duos - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

On paper, this combination of nuts and flavors sounds like it would be right up my alley -- like cacio e pepe pasta in nut form. In practice, though, it was somewhat underwhelming. I strained to find the peppercorn flavor as I tasted the pistachios; it's there, but very subtle. The cashews have a pretty hefty dose of sweetness, which would be welcome if there was a strong peppery flavor to balance out. But there isn't, making what should be a savory combination overly sweet. The parmesan flavor is cheesy but fairly neutral, lacking the umami character that the cheese is famous for.

The ideal bite turned out to be at least three pistachios for every one cashew. Because pistachios are so much smaller, this ratio also made the textures more interesting and brought enough pepper flavor to almost create some heat. Even so, the sweetness and cheesiness were still overwhelming. As an experiment, I cracked a little bit of fresh pepper on a handful of these nuts. It really helped balance things out. If they amped up the pepper flavor here, these would definitely be higher up on the list.

9. Deluxe Salted Mixed Nuts

can and bowl of mixed nuts
can and bowl of mixed nuts - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

Planters Deluxe Salted Mixed Nuts offers a classic mix of five different types of nuts. Cashews and almonds make up the bulk of the mix, with a decent amount of pistachios, as well as Brazil nuts and pecans that pop up here and there. It's a great combination of textures and sizes, making each mouthful unique. You get a creamy, buttery base of cashews along with the woodiness of the almonds. Little crunchy pistachios bring an earthiness to the mix. When the pecans and Brazil nuts show up for their cameos, it's a delightful surprise, adding more unique textures and flavors.

The seasoning on the nuts is incredibly restrained, with only a very light and subtle dusting of salt. This lets the nuts' natural character come through. You can tell these nuts are high quality and don't need anything extra added to them to make them delicious (in fact, nuts, peanut oil, and salt are the only ingredients). However, that did make them taste a bit bland to me after a while. My other gripe was with the Brazil nuts: Due to their large size, it makes sense that there are fewer of them than the other smaller nuts, but there were only a few in the can. Once they were gone, the mix felt a little less interesting.

8. Honey Roasted Peanuts

jar of honey roasted peanuts
jar of honey roasted peanuts - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

As someone who generally prefers savory to sweet flavors, I almost never reach for honey roasted nuts -- at least not while there are other flavors around. I assumed this would be the least exciting variety to me as a result. But I was pleasantly surprised by Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts. They're not very sweet, which may disappoint lovers of sugary snacks, but the interplay of salt and honey complements the roasted flavor of the peanuts beautifully. They also have a great crunch.

The only reason these aren't ranked higher is because of their competition: There are a few other sweet varieties that packed more of a punch and gave me a little more of a flavorful thrill. However, if you're looking for a snack that's got a hint of sweetness, these might be the nuts for you. If you have a sweet tooth, though, these probably won't satisfy it very well.

7. Salt & Vinegar Cashews

bag of salt and vinegar cashews
bag of salt and vinegar cashews - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

Thanks to my restaurant food-adjusted palate, having worked in the industry for over a decade, I'm always looking for intensity. Briny, acidic, funky, bitter -- these are the flavors that speak to me. Salt and vinegar is one of my favorite flavor combinations, whether it's on potato chips, French fries, popcorn, or nuts. I assumed I would fall instantly in love with Planters Salt & Vinegar Cashews as a result. They are quite good, but the experience was not what I expected.

Like all of Planters' products, the seasoning on these cashews is rather restrained. I expected a big punch of tang and salt up front, but what I got was a more subtle, slow build of flavor. At first I was annoyed, scooping my hand to the bottom of the bag, wondering where all the seasoning went. But as I kept tasting the cashews, they grew on me. There's a sweet, fruity quality to the vinegar flavor that matches up beautifully with the creamy, buttery nuts, and it gives the tanginess a softer quality than I'm used to from salt and vinegar-flavored snacks. It took some adjusting, but once I got used to the delicate interplay of flavors, I became a fan. That said, I still think they could benefit from being a bit saltier (but that could just be my restaurant-worn palate speaking).

6. Dill Pickle Cashews

bag of dill pickle cashews
bag of dill pickle cashews - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

If you were able to peek into my fridge, you'd see an entire shelf dedicated to pickles. Anything that can involve pickles should involve pickles, in my opinion, from "dirty pickle" martinis to shrimp cocktail with a briny kick. Whether it's the preserved pickles themselves or just a slug of that tasty brine, I want it: The bright, zesty, herbal tang of a dill pickle truly has no equal when it comes to flavor. That's what Planters tries to capture with its Dill Pickle Cashews, and they do a pretty decent job of it.

Like many other Planters flavored nuts, the intensity of these cashews was a tad more muted than I expected. The tanginess is about on par with the Salt & Vinegar Cashews, which is to say it's soft and fruity, rather than sharp and acidic. There's a lot of dill flavor, which is wonderfully fresh, and a good dose of garlic that adds dimension. The cashews' natural creamy sweetness dampens the flavoring's zip somewhat, and brings to mind sweet or bread-and-butter style pickles. So if you're a fan of a mellower, sweeter type of pickle, you'll probably love these.

5. Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Cashews

bag of cinnamon sugar cashews
bag of cinnamon sugar cashews - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

I never thought I'd rank any sweet nuts over savory ones, but there's something spectacular about the combination of cinnamon and brown sugar with Planters cashews. The soft, buttery texture of the nuts is the perfect vehicle for these warm, sweet flavors. I love a good cinnamon coffee cake, and that's what these nuts reminded me of. In fact, I had a handful in the morning with my cup of joe and the pairing was impeccably synergistic.

Cinnamon is the star here, its aroma bursting out of the bag. Planters doesn't shy away from the spice's natural intensity. The crunchy brown sugar exterior adds an extra layer of texture that some of the savory cashews don't have, contrasting nicely with the creamy interior, and adding just enough sweetness to enhance the cinnamon and nuts without turning this snack into a dessert. I bet they'd make a great topping for vanilla ice cream, though.

4. Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts

open can of planters peanuts
open can of planters peanuts - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

What can you say about Planters Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts that hasn't been said in the last hundred years? These are the classics, the gold standard of snacking nuts. When you see the iconic Mr. Peanut, these are the nuts that immediately come to mind. The roasted flavor is satisfying, giving the nuts nice depth of flavor. Texture-wise, they're pleasantly crunchy without being rigid. The salt level is just right, seasoned enough to keep the flavors vibrant but not so salty that you have to put them down after a few handfuls. In addition to the salt, there's a melange of spices that's barely perceptible, but adds just enough flavor to keep them from tasting bland.

Despite all the fun and wildly flavored nuts I tried, I found myself consistently returning to these. Sure, they're not as flashy or trendy as some of the quirkier selections, but they're hard to beat for pure, simple snacking satisfaction. There are other flavors that I found more exciting, which are ranked higher, but these Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts are the ones I always want to have around. I could (and probably will) eat these every day.

3. Nut Duos: Ranch Almonds & Buffalo Cashews

bag of ranch buffalo nut duos
bag of ranch buffalo nut duos - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

Buffalo wing purists may scoff at the pairing Planters chose for this version of Nut Duos, as there's no blue cheese to be found. But whether you think that's a travesty or the way it should be, you just can't argue with the way these nuts and flavors work together. (For the record, I dip my wings in both ranch and blue cheese, so I'm already a fan of this combo.)

Pairing almonds, with their hint of bitterness, with cashews keeps the nuts from tasting too sweet. Pairing the buffalo flavor with said cashews is an even more perfect move, as they temper the spice from the cayenne. The ranch almonds are cool, herbaceous, and delicious on their own, but they really sing with the fiery tang of the cashews. I couldn't decide which of the nuts I liked more individually -- I enjoyed them best together. That makes this duo a success in my book. They're not very hot by buffalo sauce standards, but they are packed with flavor and have just enough of a kick to earn the buffalo name.

2. Nut Duos: Espresso Hazelnuts & Cocoa Cashews

bag of espresso and cocoa nut duos
bag of espresso and cocoa nut duos - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

Here are the ultimate sweet Planters nuts: Nut Duos with Espresso Hazelnuts & Cocoa Cashews. It's tough to beat the flavor fusion of coffee and chocolate, so it's no surprise that these work together. The pairing of hazelnuts and cashews is similarly inspired, with the hazelnuts providing a good crunch to complement the soft and creamy cashews. Individually and together, these nuts make a delicious snack.

As a coffee fiend, I found myself going a little overboard with the espresso hazelnuts. The coffee flavor is nutty and roasted with just a tinge of bitterness. I had a hard time not eating them all on their own, but with the cocoa-coated cashews, they were even better. The soft, milky chocolate flavor brings richness without heaviness or cloying sweetness. This combo nearly perfectly echoes the flavors of tiramisu. If you find yourself craving that classic Italian dessert often, you should keep a bag of these around.

1. Rosemary & Sea Salt Cashews

bag of rosemary salt cashews
bag of rosemary salt cashews - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

I had a feeling this Planters flavor would take the top spot as soon as I opened the bag. The woodsy, piney aroma of fresh rosemary surged at me and I audibly gasped. I used to grow rosemary in my herb garden, and it transported me right back there. The heady, complex, delightful scent made my mouth water. The smell alone was enough to push this flavor high up the ladder, and thankfully, the flavor and texture delivered on its promise.

Cashews' sweetness is utilized really well here, mellowing the pungency of the rosemary. Both are balanced by the sea salt, ensuring the nuts land in the savory arena. There's some subtle onion, garlic, and paprika in the background that add dimension to the rosemary so it doesn't seem one-note. This flavor has a touch more saltiness than the other savory nuts, which suited my palate very well. There's nothing I would alter with these cashews. They're perfectly balanced, perfectly delicious, and right at home on a well-designed charcuterie board or with a selection of cheeses. (I can also attest that these Rosemary & Sea Salt Cashews make a stunning pairing with brut champagne.)


selection of planters flavored nuts
selection of planters flavored nuts - Wendy Hector/Daily Meal

This selection of nuts was provided by Planters. Every type of Planters nut included in this ranking was tasted separately over the course of several days.  Each was rated first and foremost on flavor and texture -- of the nuts themselves as well as the seasoning. I assessed how well the seasoning and the type of nut meshed, and in the case of the Nut Duos, how well the two flavors worked together as well as individually. I also ranked them according to a criterium I call "repeat snackability" -- that is, how eagerly and often I went back for a specific flavor.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal