The Best Burger in All 50 States

iStock
iStock

From five-pound meat monsters to greasy, drive-in comfort food, America’s most delicious burgers come in all shapes and sizes. To honor National Hamburger Day, we compiled the best burger from each state based on quality, preparation, creative flavors and, of course, taste. So dig in, find some new and well-known burger joints, and let the meat sweats ensue.

1. ALABAMA // J AND J GROCERIES

Location: Bessemer, Alabama

Housed in an old brick gas station, J and J doubles as a grocery store and burger joint. The restaurant’s simple, classic—and often messy—burgers are served up for takeout or dine in, the latter providing a fun way to mingle with locals and experience some small-town Alabama culture.

2. ALASKA // THE WEST RIB PUB & GRILL

Location: Talkeetna, Alaska

The West Rib Pub & Grill is famous for its gigantic “Seward’s Folly,” a five-pound Caribou burger topped with ham, 12 slices of bacon, 12 slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, and the restaurant’s homemade “Fat Ass Sauce.” Those opting for portion control can go with the Northern Lights burger, filled with Caribou meat, onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, and Swiss cheese.

3. ARIZONA // INGO’S TASTY FOOD

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

burger at ingos tasty food
Ingo's Tasty Food

Ingo’s Tasty Food, an upscale outdoor food stand, takes pride in its fresh, local ingredients and made-from-scratch menu. The popular Paris Texas burger, a beef, bacon, cheddar, pickle, and apple barbecue sauce delight, is one of the restaurant’s many mouthwatering options.

4. ARKANSAS // MIDTOWN BILLIARDS

Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

Some may consider Midtown Billiards an after-hours dive bar, but this hot spot is more than just pool, partying, and jam sessions. It’s home to the famous Midtown Burger, along with the gigantic half-pound Gut-Bomb Burger, which is served beneath a variety of toppings, including bacon, cheddar, eggs, and SPAM. Yes, you read that right: SPAM. The bar was damaged in a fire last fall, but is on track to reopen this summer.

5. CALIFORNIA // FATHER'S OFFICE

Location: Los Angeles, California

burger at fathers office
Alan Nakkash, // CC by NC-ND 2.0

Father’s Office is one of California’s most decorated restaurants, and its iconic house burger has a loyal fan following among locals and visitors alike. The Father’s Office Burger isn’t outrageous in size or topping selection. In fact, diners can’t ask for customizations or substitutions—the restaurant doesn’t even carry ketchup—which is why, perhaps, this simple sandwich has reached a state of near perfection.

6. COLORADO // HIGHLAND TAP AND BURGER

Location: Denver, Colorado

Highland Tap and Burger may be a casual neighborhood bar, but there’s nothing casual about its award-winning Shroom Luva’s burger. With unique, upscale ingredients—including Emmenthaler cheese, white truffle aioli, and shaved foie gras—it’s easy to see how this burger stands out from the crowd. Not a mushroom “luva”? Try the Tap Burger, a beef patty with Eli’s root beer pulled pork, onion rings, American cheese, cheddar cheese, and the Highland Tap and Burger’s signature sauce.

7. CONNECTICUT // FLIPSIDE BURGERS & BAR

Location: Fairfield, Connecticut

It’s easy to see why Flipside Burgers & Bar draws a crowd: the menu has a seemingly endless list of unusual, adventurous sliders, and burgers. We’re talking mac n' cheese burgers, burrata burgers, goat cheese sliders and oh so many more. One of the most popular menu items—the potato-chip-topped crunch slider—is a safe, scrumptious bet for first-time Flipside diners.

8. DELAWARE // DOGFISH HEAD BREWINGS & EATS

Location: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Dogfish Head has a cult following for its wildly amazing beer selection, but the beloved brand actually got its start as a beer and food company at the Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Today, foodies and beer nerds can enjoy fresh-from-the-source beers and delicious Dogfish Head bites, including the Get Him to the Greek Burger, a wood-grilled lamb and chorizo burger topped with goat cheese, feta, cured tomatoes, red onions, arugula, and cucumber tzatziki sauce.

9. FLORIDA // ENGINE NO. 9

Location: St. Petersburg, Florida

Casual, laid-back Engine No. 9 is home to one of the most upscale, elegant burgers in all of Florida: the Van Helsing. This giant, juicy burger, served with roasted jalapeños, roasted garlic bulbs, pepperjack cheese, and crumbled bacon, is one of many reasons St. Petersburg locals return to Engine No. 9 regularly.

10. GEORGIA // HOLEMAN AND FINCH PUBLIC HOUSE

Location: Atlanta, Georgia


Wally Gobetz, Flickr // CC by NC-ND 2.0

 

Holeman and Finch’s iconic double cheeseburger (of which they limit to 24 highly sought-after burgers per night) has some major history: the burger served today descends from their original burger, which debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. More than 100 years later, the burger remains an icon throughout Atlanta, at both the Holeman and Finch Public House as well as the offshoot H&F Burger joints sprinkled throughout the city (where there's no limit on the number made each night).

11. HAWAII // PINT + JIGGER

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii


Diane Y., Yelp

Honolulu’s Pint + Jigger combines two of the greatest things in the world—beef and beer cheese—for a popular burger that brings diners back again and again. The Pint + Jigger Stout Burger is served with beer cheese, garlic aioli, lettuce, pickle, and French fries. To make the burger "more expensive" (their words, not ours), add caramelized onions, fried onions, bacon, or avocado. Looking for a true explosion of the taste buds? Combine all four toppings.

12. IDAHO // MOON TIME

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Coeur d'Alene residents can’t speak highly enough about this neighborhood hangout. The traditional Moon Time burger is six ounces of perfectly cooked beef, topped with melted cheddar and caramelized onions. For those seeking more flair, there’s the Mediterranean Lamb Burger, served with melted goat cheese, oregano pesto mayo, and grilled vegetable relish.

13. ILLINOIS // LOCKDOWN BAR AND GRILL

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Given its loud, heavy metal music and rough-around-the-edges atmosphere, Lockdown Bar and Grill may not be the best first date spot, but it’s far and away Illinois’ best burger joint. Located in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, Lockdown’s hardcore vibe carries over into its burgers. Highlights include the signature Lockdown Warden, which is infused with bacon, leeks, garlic, and shallots, along with the Fat Elvis, with peanut butter, bacon, flambéed banana, butter, and brown sugar.

14. INDIANA // FARM

Location: Bloomington, Indiana

FARM operates under the fresh, local, farm-to-table ideology, which shines through in its popular dishes like the award-winning “Food Network Fave” Lugar Burger. This bison burger, a legend in the Bloomington area, has a unique espresso-chile rub, and can be upgraded with peppered bacon and a choice of cheddar, Swiss, goat, or blue cheese.

15. IOWA // RIDES BAR & GRILL

Location: Fort Dodge, Iowa

Don’t let the drab exterior and skull logo fool you: Rides Bar & Grill makes one of the most delectable burgers around. Rides’s signature Burn Out burger—an open-faced hamburger topped with fries, chili, cheese, ham, bacon, and onion—has placed this dive bar on the “top burgers of Iowa” lists year after year.

16. KANSAS // BRGR KITCHEN + BAR

Location: Prairie Village, Kansas

burger at BRGR
Daniel H., Yelp

BRGR’s menu offers a unique blend of elegant-yet-edgy burgers, including the Road Hoss, topped with bacon, cheddar, and onion straws, or the Fast Cow, an espresso-encrusted burger with blue cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, and rosemary aoli served on an English muffin. The restaurant’s trendy vibe and top-notch service make it a regular dining spot for those around the Kansas City suburb.

17. KENTUCKY // OLLIE'S TROLLEY

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

For a teeny, tiny kitchen, Ollie’s Trolley offers surprisingly big flavors. The Ollie Burger—served with mozzarella cheese and Ollie Sauce—is a delicacy among Louisville locals. Insider tip: Ask for a second order of fries. With Ollie’s signature seasoning, one order is never enough.

18. LOUISIANA // ABITA BREW PUB

Location: Abita Springs, Louisiana

Abita Brew Pub, the restaurant arm of Abita Brewery, offers a number of tasty entrée options, including their well-known Killer Burger, a 10-ounce patty topped with fried onion rings, pepper jack cheese, and the signature Abita wing sauce. The restaurant is housed in Abita’s first brewery, and the main dining room offers a sneak peek at the company’s original 15-barrel brew-house.

19. MAINE // GRACE

Location: Portland, Maine

When a burger is so popular it needs its own Twitter account, you know it has to be good. Grace’s beloved Grace Burger—or should we say @GraceBurger—is topped with cheddar, tomato confit, and pickled onions and is a staple of the restaurant's bar menu.

20. MARYLAND // ABBEY BURGER BISTRO

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

burget at abbey burger
Kirstie L., Yelp

Walking up to the Abbey Burger Bistro feels like a stroll through Brussels, but rest assured—with toppings like fried eggs, peanut butter, and crab dip—these burgers are American through and through. While the restaurant offers unusual burger options like bison and Gochujang spiced duck, Abbey Burger Bistro has perfected the Black Angus patty down to the last juicy bite.

21. MASSACHUSETTS // TASTY BURGER

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Tasty Burger may have a hole-in-the-wall vibe, but its consistently long lines make clear that this delicious burger joint is no hidden gem. Given the restaurant’s proximity to Fenway Park and multiple college campuses, Tasty Burger attracts an interesting mix of rowdy fans, drunk college students, hipsters, and families. The burgers may not be exotic or fancy, but boy do they hit the spot.

22. MICHIGAN // DUGGAN'S IRISH PUB

Location: Royal Oak, Michigan

Burger and fries from Duggan's Irish Pub.
Jamie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Duggan’s Irish Pub has a relaxed, casual ambiance, a robust beer list and—most importantly—an award-winning, enormous burger. The Famous Big Chief Double Decker Burger is not for the faint of heart. It comes with two quarter-pound patties, cheese, lettuce, pickles, and Duggan’s secret curry-flavored sauce. Those looking for a less intense meal can try the Little Chief, a smaller portion with the same great flavors.

23. MINNESOTA // 112 EATERY

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ask any Minneapolis resident for their burger recommendation, and nine times out of 10 they’ll suggest 112 Eatery. The restaurant’s popular 112 Cheeseburger takes the traditional cheese-and-patty sandwich to a new level. Its ground beef patty, mixed with butter, eggs, onions, and a variety of seasonings, is served below a pile of gooey, melt-in-your-mouth brie.

24. MISSISSIPPI // NEON PIG

Location: Tupelo, Mississippi

The Neon Pig—famous for its delectable Smash burger—is a fan favorite across Mississippi. The burger offers a hearty combination of aged filet, sirloin, ribeye and bacon, topped with pickles, bacon bits, and pickled onions. Plus, the Neon Pig doubles as a butcher shop, which gives it a major advantage when it comes to serving fresh meats.

25. MISSOURI // TOWN-TOPIC

Location: Kansas City, Missouri

Town-Topic is more than a tasty, beloved burger joint—it’s a staple in Kansas City’s history. After introducing its iconic five-cent burgers in 1937, Town-Topic quickly developed a following that has kept the eatery buzzing to this day.

26. MONTANA // RICHWINE'S BURGERVILLE

Location: Polson, Montana

Open for more than 50 years, Richwine’s Burgerville drive-thru restaurant has offered an unusual, 100 percent bull hamburger in an old-school, nostalgic setting. Richwine’s is open seasonally, from early March through the end of September.

27. NEBRASKA // STELLA'S BAR & GRILL

Location: Bellevue, Nebraska

burger on a table at stellas diner
Edward P., Yelp

Stella’s Bar & Grill is known for its popular burgers, including the traditional Stella Burger, which is served with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg. Hungrier, more adventurous diners can have a go at the Stellanator challenge, which involves eating the restaurant’s monstrosity of a sandwich (a stack of six burgers, six fried eggs, six slices of cheese, 12 slices of bacon, lettuce, tomato, jalapeños, peanut butter, and more) in less than 45 minutes. For dessert, it’s BYO Tums.

28. NEVADA // MIDTOWN EATS

Location: Reno, Nevada

Midtown Eats is a family-owned, locally sourced restaurant that’s known for experimenting with traditional classics. From the lamb burger with olive tapenade and tzatziki to the elk burger with caramelized onions and garlic aioli, Midtown Eats has a delicious, perfectly prepared burger variety that keeps locals coming back for more.

29. NEW HAMPSHIRE // LEXIE'S JOINT

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

While Lexie’s may be known for its creative burger toppings, it’s the precise preparation of each and every patty that keeps new and old customers coming through its doors. The popular Stairway to Heaven burger is served with cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, braised short ribs, and caramelized onions, while its Wild Things burger comes topped with bacon, avocado, muenster cheese, tomato, and sriracha aioli.

30. NEW JERSEY // BURGER 25

Location: Toms River, New Jersey

low carb burger at burger 25
Burger 25

Named for its 25-burger menu, Burger 25 offers some of the most unusual concoctions in the country, including a French onion soup burger, a mac 'n' cheese burger, and a breakfast burger. While it has an extensive variety, Burger 25 carefully cooks each patty to perfection to ensure the core of the burger is as good as its toppings.

31. NEW MEXICO // BUCKHORN TAVERN

Location: San Antonio, New Mexico

Food experts across the country continuously name Buckhorn Tavern’s Green Chile Cheeseburger one of the best burgers in the U.S. The small, family-owned Buckhorn Tavern is so popular that many visitors actually plan their trips around this burger hot spot.

32. NEW YORK // SHAKE SHACK

Location: New York, New York

What started as a hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park has turned into a mouthwatering phenomenon. Try the beloved ShackBurger or ‘Shroom Burger at one of Shake Shack’s many locations across New York City, including its original site at Madison Square Park’s southeast corner. Expect long lines, but rest assured your tasty reward is well worth the wait.

33. NORTH CAROLINA // THE LIBERTY

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina


Billy M., Yelp

The Liberty serves up some of North Carolina’s largest, most delicious burgers in a trendy, hip environment. Try the Black Angus Fresh Ground Liberty Pub Burger, topped with cheddar, bacon, onions, pickles, lettuce and tomato, or go even bigger with the American “Crunch” Burger, served beneath a tall stack of chips, bacon, and pimento cheese.

34. NORTH DAKOTA // SICKIES GARAGE

Location: Fargo, North Dakota

With 50 burgers on the menu, even the pickiest eaters can find something they like at Sickies Garage. As you’d imagine, Sickies has a number of unusual concoctions—we’re talking glazed doughnut, jalapeño, and peanut butter burgers—but it’s best known for the enormous Sickies Burger, which comes with peppered bacon, fried egg, pulled pork, BBQ sauces, cheese, onion rings, and hot sauce.

35. OHIO // THE MAID-RITE SANDWICH SHOPPE

Location: Greenville, Ohio

Many Ohioans know and love Swensons in Cleveland (including Akron native LeBron James), but few have heard of hidden gem Maid-Rite in Greenville. Established in 1934, Maid-Rite’s loose-meat burgers have a cult following among those in on the tasty secret, with many driving hours out of the way to get their fill of delicious Maid-Rite and Cheese-Rite sandwiches.

36. OKLAHOMA // S&B’s BURGER JOINT

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Housed in a renovated garage, S&B’s Burger Joint pairs chill vibes with tasty burgers and sliders, such as The Smokin’ Okie, topped with jalapeños, smoked gouda, bacon, mayo, and BBQ sauce. Want your burger with a side of flashbacks? S&B’s plays old-school music videos on its flat screen TVs, so prepare for a blast from your teenage past.

37. OREGON // KILLER BURGER

Location: Portland, Oregon

Killer Burger diners can’t speak highly enough about the restaurant’s 100-percent beef Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon Burger. The restaurant’s homemade peanut sauce—as well as the option of bottomless fries—make Killer Burger a must-visit for locals and tourists.

38. PENNSYLVANIA // GOOD DOG BAR

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

burger at Good Dog burger
Bader A., Yelp

Stuffed with Roquefort cheese and topped with caramelized onions, the Good Burger at Good Dog Bar has a loyal Philly following. Environment-wise, Good Dog Bar has the greatest decorating theme of all time—dogs!—and its craft beer list isn’t too shabby, either.

39. RHODE ISLAND // HARRY'S BAR & BURGER

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Harry’s Bar & Burger specializes in sliders, letting diners try a combination of quirky burgers without bursting any pant buttons. Unique menu items like the Pig Pile Burger, with BBQ pulled pork, and the Mother of All Burgers (MOAB) with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and fried onion strings can be tempting, but don’t forget the simple, delectable Harry’s Classic Cheese slider.

40. SOUTH CAROLINA // THE PARK CAFE

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

The Park Cafe is a quaint, friendly, farm-to-fork restaurant that offers, among other fresh entrees, an absolutely scrumptious burger. The restaurant is known for its simple, local ingredients, but those who order the traditional Park Burger are pleasantly surprised to find that behind this classic beef, bacon, and spicy mayo goodness lies the most delicious burger in South Carolina.

41. SOUTH DAKOTA // BLACK HILLS BURGER AND BUN CO.

Location: Custer, South Dakota

When people rave over “The Hot Granny” in Custer, South Dakota, they’re not talking about an attractive grandma—they’re salivating over a bacon, cream cheese, jalapeño, and sweet/spicy jalapeño sauce burger. The Black Hills Burger & Bun Co., home of “The Hot Granny,” offers a number of meat options, including a traditional beef patty, a buffalo burger, or—for those who can’t decide—both, with two patties on one burger.

42. TENNESSEE // LITTON'S MARKET AND RESTAURANT

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

Since 1949, Litton’s has served up an array of southern comfort foods in a casual, “everyone knows your name” setting. Litton’s most popular burger, the Litton Thunder Road, comes with pimento cheese, sautéed onions, and jalapeños, and all six of its burgers are served between fresh buns, baked onsite daily.

43. TEXAS // ALAMO SPRINGS CAFE

Location: Fredericksburg, Texas

Way off the beaten path in Fredericksburg, Texas, lies a small, unassuming cafe with a major, mouthwatering secret: the best green chile cheeseburger in Texas. Alamo Springs Cafe has a loyal following of locals and tourists who go out of their way to get their hands—and mouths—on this award-winning burger. With green chiles and a jalapeño-cheese bun, the Alamo Springs Cafe Green Chile Cheeseburger provides a spicy little taste of Texas.

44. UTAH // SALT CITY BURGER CO.

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Bacon lovers, rejoice! Salt City Burger Co. is what bacon enthusiasts’ dreams are made of. Three of the restaurant’s signature burgers have the word “bacon” in the title, and with a full-service condiment bar, those crispy strips can be added to every single burger on the menu.

45. VERMONT // KEVIN'S SPORTS PUB AND RESTAURANT

Location: North Bennington, Vermont

Kevin’s Sports Pub and Restaurant has the laidback vibe of a neighborhood sports bar, with simple yet mouthwatering burgers that keep loyal customers coming through its doors. For a flavorful experience, try the Kevin’s Burger, or for a traditional bite of beefy goodness, go with the tried-and-true (and tasty!) Classic Burger.

46. VIRGINIA // MELT GOURMET CHEESEBURGERS

Location: Leesburg, Virginia

burger at Melt
Megan T., Yelp

There’s a reason Melt wins the best burger award year after year—its burgers are seriously that good. Try its classic burger for a simple taste of grilled perfection, or get exotic with options like the Tex-Mex Burger, the Caprese Burger, or the Greek Lamb Burger, topped with roasted garlic and feta.

47. WASHINGTON // JOHN HOWIE STEAK

Location: Bellevue, Washington

As its name suggests, John Howie Steak knows a thing or two about meat. Their expert chefs make a mean, massive half-pound prime beef burger, topped with cheddar, bacon, and their own special “drive-in sauce.” Word on the street is it tastes just as delicious heated up on day two or three, so grab a doggy bag and don’t let a single bite go to waste!

48. WEST VIRGINIA // JIM'S DRIVE IN

Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

Jim’s Drive In, an iconic Lewisburg restaurant, has been serving up tasty, classic burgers to this West Virginia community for more than 60 years. Today, Jim’s continues to operate as a traditional drive-in restaurant, with carhops and all. The popular Famous Ranch Burger is a must-try for all first-time diners.

49. WISCONSIN // AL'S HAMBURGER SHOP

Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin

Al’s bare bones exterior believes the pure brilliance that's going on in the kitchen, particularly when it comes to the restaurant's beloved—and award-winning—Al Burger. With a tiny seating area that fits maybe 20 people, Al’s is definitely a hole in the wall, but this authentic, old-school diner is no secret among locals. The restaurant’s cheesy, gigantic burger brings fans back in hungry hordes.

50. WYOMING // THE BIRD

Location: Jackson, Wyoming

the bird burger at the bird
Clay E., Yelp

With stunning views and scrumptious burgers, it’s no wonder The Bird is such a popular spot. The restaurant’s famous burgers are prepared fresh daily, and are available with a variety of toppings—think guacamole, salsa, grilled onions, and fried eggs—all sandwiched between two perfectly toasted English muffins. Talk about burger heaven.

A version of this story originally ran in 2016.

This Indoor Garden Grows Up to 30 Fruits and Vegetables With Little Maintenance Required

IGWorks
IGWorks

If you want to always have fresh tomatoes and basil on hand without having to visit your nearest farmers' market or devote multiple hours each week to gardening, there's an easier option—no green thumb required!

The iHarvest is a hydroponic gardening system that lets you grow up to 30 varieties of fruits and veggies—including tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, watermelon, and various herbs—right in your kitchen. Powered by 72 watts of low-energy LEDs, the system's lighting and watering functions are fully automated, which keeps maintenance to a minimum.

All you have to do is plant a seed in an apparatus called the media, place the media in a pod, and add water to the iHarvest. The built-in timers do the rest of the work, ensuring that your plants are adequately fed and nourished each day, regardless of the season. After water is pumped to the plant's roots, it runs through a filter and returns to the bottom reservoir of the iHarvest device. The water and nutrients only need replenished once every two weeks, on average.

It's quick, too. Tomatoes are estimated to reach their full size in 10 days, and everything that you harvest will be free of herbicides and pesticides. Hanging plants and fruits like squash and cucumber can be suspended from the iHarvest's trellis, and the vertical design also makes it ideal for people in tight living quarters. The entire system takes up just 2.5 square feet of space, measuring 2 feet, 8 inches wide.

Order the iHarvest now on Kickstarter to get 35 percent off the retail price, which lowers the total cost to $549. And if you want to do some comparison shopping, you may also like the OGarden Smart—an indoor garden that lets you grow up to 90 fruits and vegetables.

17 Delicious Facts About Peeps

Getty Images
Getty Images

You know whether you prefer chicks to bunnies, fresh to stale, or plain to chocolate-covered. But there’s a lot you may not know about Peeps, everyone’s favorite (non-chocolate) Easter candy.

1. It used to take 27 hours to make a Peep.

A candy Peep being made
Getty Images

That was in 1953, when Sam Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company and its line of marshmallow chicks. Back then, each chick was handmade with a pastry tube. Just Born quickly set about automating the process, so that it now takes just six minutes to make a Peep.

2. An average of 5.5 million Peeps are made every day.

Peeps candies being made
Getty Images

All of them at the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In one year, the company makes enough peeps to circle the earth—twice!

3. Yellow chicks are the original Peep, and still the favorite.

Boxes of yellow chick Peeps
Getty Images

Yellow bunnies are the second most popular color/shape combination. Pink is the second best-selling color.

4. The recipe has stayed pretty much the same.

Cooking up a batch of Peeps
Getty Images

The recipe begins with a boiling batch of granulated sugar, liquid sugar, and corn syrup, to which gelatin and vanilla extract are later added. 

5. The equipment has also (mostly) stayed the same.

Peeps candies being made
Getty Images

Since Just Born turned Peeps-making into an automated process, the chicks have been carefully formed by a top-secret machine known as The Depositor. Created by Sam Born’s son, Bob, The Depositor could manufacture six rows of five Peeps apiece in a fraction of the time it took workers to form them by hand. And that same machine that Bob built has been keeping the Peeps flowing ever since. Until rather recently …

In 2014, the company announced that it was planning to renovate its manufacturing plant, including The Depositor. “It’s a little sad,” vice president of sales and marketing Matthew Pye told Candy Industry Magazine at the time. “Bob Born made it from scratch in 1954 and it allowed us to distribute and grow the brand nationally." 

6. The updated equipment means new Peeps innovations could be coming.

Making Peeps at the Just Born factory
Getty Images

“The investment in our marshmallow making process will allow for more efficiency, more consistency, improved quality, and additional innovation capabilities,” co-CEO Ross Born told Candy Industry magazine about the new depositor, which will be able to produce a wider variety of Peeps in all sizes. “The [old] Peeps line did one thing and one thing very well—cranking out chicks day in and day out. Five clusters, just in different colors,” Born said.

7. Peeps used to have wings.

They were clipped in 1955, two years after the first marshmallow chicks hatched, to give the candy a sleeker, more “modern” look.

8. The eyes are the final touch.

A close up of a yellow chick Peep
Getty Images

The final flourish for all of these squishy balls of sweetness is adding the eyes, which are made of carnauba—a non-toxic edible wax (that is also found in some shoe polishes and car waxes, plus many other candies).

9. Peeps may be destructible, but their eyes are not.

Making Peeps at the Just Born factory
Getty Images

In 1999, a pair of scientists at Emory University—dubbed “Peeps Investigators”—decided to test the theory that Peeps are an indestructible food. In addition to a microwave, the pair tested the candy’s vulnerability to tap water, boiling water, acetone, and sulfuric acid (they survived them all). When they upped the ante with some Phenol, the only things that didn’t disappear were the eyes. 

10. They really are everyone's favorite non-chocolate Easter candy.

For more than 20 years now, no other non-chocolate Easter candy has been able to compete with the power of Peeps. With more than 1.5 billion of them consumed each spring, Peeps have topped the list of most popular Easter treats for more than two decades.

11. There are sugar-free Peeps.

Counterintuitive, we know. But in 2007, the first line of sugar-free Peeps hit store shelves.

12. There are also chocolate-covered Peeps.

Chocolate-covered Peeps hit the market in 2010. Today there’s a full line of them for every occasion.

13. Peeps come in a variety of flavors.

Color and shape (i.e. yellow chick) are no longer the only ways to categorize a Peep. They now come in an array of flavors, including fruit punch, sour watermelon, lemon sherbet, blueberry, and pancakes and syrup.

14. Peeps lip balm is a thing.

Yep.

15. On New Year's Eve, a giant Peep is dropped in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


PEEPS®

The drop is done with a traditional chick that flashes different colors at midnight.

16. Believe it or not, Peeps are not Just Born's best-selling brand.

That honor belongs to Mike and Ike. (Sorry, Peepsters.)

17. They're a boon to a creativity.

Blue chick Peeps
Getty Images

All over the country, Peeps have become the preferred media for a number of highly anticipated annual art contests. (You can check out some of the coolest creations from Westminster, Maryland's PEEPshow here.)

Updated for 2019.

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