How to Use Up Your Leftover Halloween Candy

You mean you don’t eat it all in one sitting?

November  2, 2021
Photo by MJ Kroeger

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. 

Today: Get creative with all of that leftover Halloween candy.

Perhaps you bought tons of Halloween candy for all of those trick-or-treaters that will definitely hike up the five flights of stairs to your apartment door (five bags seems reasonable, right?). Perhaps you’re always amazed to find that almost all of the candy is still there come November 1st, even when you and a friend ate two bags on your own. Or maybe you have kids who collected more candy than they can possibly eat without giving themselves sugar-related meltdowns. Either way, it’s November, and here you are with a lot of extra fun-sized bars and candy corn and not a lot to do with them.

Shop the Story

So, what can one do with bags and bags of leftover Halloween candy? Eating it plain is obviously a great option, but even if you have the biggest sweet tooth, things can start to get boring when you’re on your 100th bite-sized Kit Kat. Before you start pawning your candy off on hungry coworkers, consider giving it a new life instead.

Here are some of our favorite ways to use up leftover candy: 

Operation Gratitude

Skip the trip to the dentists’ office by donating sweet treats for troops through The Halloween Candy Give Back Program. Register to donate your leftover candy through the nonprofit's website and soon enough, your leftover candy bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups will be placed in a care package and sent to troops and first responders across the U.S. and overseas. They accept all unopened candy donations, even if they are individual pieces of fun size candy bars that have been removed from a larger package. 


Stir Them Into Your Ice Cream

Grab a pint of vanilla ice cream—or chocolate, or caramel, or whatever flavor you like—and let it soften for 20 to 30 minutes, until it's soft enough to stir. Chop up your chocolate bars, peanut butter candy, or Twix bars, and fold it in; store your spooky surprise in a lidded plastic container or a loaf pan and re-freeze. (If you're feeling lazy, you can always just sprinkle your leftover Halloween candy on top of your ice cream, too. Add a swirl of whipped cream and call it a sundae).


Blend Them With Your Ice Cream Instead

Blizzard, concrete, Friend-Z—no matter what you call it, ice cream swirled with chunks of candy is awesome. To make one at home, just put your candy bars and some softened ice cream in a blender and pulse until the candy is incorporated. Try it with Reese’s pieces, Butterfingers, M&Ms, Heath bars, or Snickers for a frozen treat inspired by the Dairy Queen delight. If you want a thinner milkshake, add a splash of milk, too.


Add Them to Your Trail Mix

Because the best trail mix has chocolate candy in it. Or peanut M&M's. Or both. Combine nuts such as cashews or peanuts, dried fruit like raisins or cranberries, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and any candy leftover from trick-or-treating. We guarantee you’ll want handful after handful of this sweet, protein-packed snack.


Bake Them Into Cookies

Next time you’re making chocolate chip cookies, reach for your leftover chocolate candies instead of the chips. Your cookies will be way more exciting. (Things like Heath Bars, chopped Snickers, and crushed peanut butter candy also work well here).

Put Them in Your Lunch Box

Remember when you were younger, and the weeks after Halloween were the best because you got to eat a few candies every day at lunch? Channel your inner child and throw a few little treats into your lunch box for lunch dessert if you’re working in the office. Or even if you’re still WFH, grab a candy bar for an afternoon pick-me-up.


Fold Into Your Granola

Bake your favorite granola recipe, then stir in Hershey's kisses, chopped peanut butter cups (or mini ones), or any other melty mini chocolate candy while it's still warm. It will melt and then firm up once your granola cools. Voilá! Now you get to eat candy for breakfast and call it cereal. We’re not judging.

Freeze Them for Later

Candy can freeze surprisingly well, so you can save some of your Halloween spoils so they don’t, well, spoil. And if you’ve never tried a frozen Twix, Snickers, or peanut butter cup, you’re in for an amazing treat.


Leftover Halloween Candy Recipes

M&M Cookies

This might seem obvious, but one of the best ways to use up leftover M&Ms from Halloween is to bake cookies! Equal parts of granulated sugar and light brown sugar help to create the just-right texture that is sweet with a slightly caramelized edge.

M&M Cookies

Dad’s Kitchen Sink Cookies

The reason why we love kitchen sink cookies—and why they’re so good for using up leftover Halloween candy—is because you can throw a little bit of this and a little bit of that in. Gaby Dalkin uses M&Ms, chocolate chips, dried apricots, and dried cranberries but there’s no reason why you can’t add white chocolate bars, chopped Halloween-shaped pretzels, or any other candy that you can’t wait to get rid of once and for all.

Dad’s Kitchen Sink Cookies

Dark Chocolate Bark with Almonds & Coconut

If you have leftover Hershey’s chocolate bars (especially dark chocolate ones), melt them in the microwave and use them as the base for this chocolate bark. The quality might not be on par with really good baking chocolate, but it’s such an easy and efficient way to use up an overload of Halloween leftovers. 

Dark Chocolate Bark with Almonds & Coconut

Brown Butter–Bourbon Rice Krispies Treats

Rice Krispies treats are a blank canvas for candy and the nuttiness of the brown butter offsets the sweetness of some add-ins, like leftover candy corn or Snickers bars. Fold chopped Halloween candy into the cereal mixture or sprinkle it on top, depending on how much you want to get rid of. 

Brown Butter–Bourbon Rice Krispies Treats

This article originally ran on October 29, 2014. We're re-running it in honor of, of course, Halloween! 

Tell us—how do you like to use up your leftover Halloween candy?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • cookinalong
  • Natasha
  • Ivory
  • Jennifer
  • witloof
I put chocolate chips in 95% of the things I make and am a strong proponent for lunch dessert.


cookinalong November 5, 2017
What is this 'leftover candy' of which you speak? I have searched high and low for it, but it cannot be found in my kingdom.
Natasha November 1, 2017
Box it all up and mail it to Operation Gratitude. They distribute it in care packages to U.S. service members, veterans, first responders, and their loved ones in the U.S. and around the globe. It's an awesome non-profit and a great way to share the abundance of Halloween candy.
Jen H. November 2, 2017
I love this idea!

Ivory October 31, 2017
I put any type of chocolate candy with or without nuts in brownie mix. Yum! I also give some to varies business. My son and I usually visit nursing homes and give candies to residents to give to family and/or friends when visiting them.
Ivory March 17, 2018
The leftover candies is Halloween candies. when making brownie I put chocolate candy in the brownie mix. I sometimes uses with nut, sometimes without nut. We always go to nursing homes and give some of the leftover Halloween candy, and to certain business, such offices that have candy on their desk for customers and/or patiences. sorry if my original post caused confusion. Hope this post clears things up.
Jennifer October 26, 2016
The office candy jar floweth over the week or two after Halloween (I'm not the only nor even the first with this idea).
witloof October 26, 2016
I haven't made this.

Sarah J. October 26, 2016
holy cow
witloof October 27, 2016
...and I never will.
marymary November 2, 2014
Cut candy bars into smaller pieces and bake in a brownie batter. Soooo good. And, yes, I purposely hold back Snickers for this very selfish purpose.
Tiffany J. November 2, 2014
I make Halloween Bark! http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/halloween-peanut-butter-and-toffee-candy-bark
meechiko November 2, 2014
we eat some and save the rest to decorate our Christmas gingerbread houses with. the candy corn gets saved for Rice Krispie turkey feathers, particularly.
ellemmbee November 2, 2014
Best idea yet!
Catie B. November 2, 2014
As the days for freshness generally go well into the next year, the extra bags you have can be saved, and placed along in the boxes make up for charities to give to families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I double seal them in bags for freshness, and they are always well received.
MissBrendaWi November 2, 2014
Leftover candy?!?!?! not in this household. too busy eating.
AntoniaJames October 29, 2014
I put a few each in small sandwich bags and give them, with a bottle of water and a dollar, to the people standing at the end of the freeway exit ramps with cardboard signs or major intersections saying they're homeless, down and out, etc. (When it's not Halloween, I give them a banana, Satsuma, or apple.) ;o)
Summer October 29, 2014
You know, you guys do something like this every year, and every year, I have to ask "Who ever has leftover Halloween candy?"
ginger October 29, 2014
throw em in brownies for a balanced breakfast
Sarah J. October 29, 2014
I want the world to know about candy granola!