Nostalgic Snacks from the 80s and How to Recreate Them

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In Defense of Nostalgic 80s Snacks

The 1980s was an era of big hair, neon fashion, and unforgettable snacks that still hold a special place in our hearts. Whether you were born in the 80s or just love the retro vibe, the snacks from this iconic decade bring back a flood of memories. From tangy, fizzy candies to chewy, fruity treats, these snacks were the epitome of fun and creativity. So, let’s dive into the world of nostalgic 80s snacks and learn how to recreate them in your own kitchen.

Why These 80s Snack Recipes Are Our Favorites

There’s something magical about the snacks from the 80s that goes beyond their taste. They represent a time when food was as much about fun as it was about flavor. These snacks were often featured in lunchboxes, birthday parties, and after-school treats, creating a sense of nostalgia that makes us yearn for simpler times. Plus, the vibrant colors and unique textures of 80s snacks made them a sensory delight.

Nostalgia aside, 80s snacks also remind us of the innovation and creativity of the food industry during that decade. The era saw the birth of some of the most iconic snacks that still inspire new products today. And let’s not forget the ingenious marketing campaigns that made these snacks even more appealing. Who wouldn’t want to experience that all over again?

Key Ingredients To Our Favorite 80s Snacks

Before we jump into making these delightful treats, let’s talk about the essential ingredients you’ll need. Many 80s snacks relied on simple, readily available ingredients, but they combined them in fun and unexpected ways. Here are a few staples:

  • Sugar and Corn Syrup: These were the backbone of many candies and sweet snacks, providing the sweetness and chewy textures we loved.
  • Gelatin: Essential for creating those wobbly, fun textures in snacks like Gushers and Jello Pudding Pops.
  • Flavored Extracts: Think fruit flavors like strawberry, cherry, and grape, which were popular choices.
  • Food Coloring: The brighter, the better! Neon and bold colors were all the rage.
  • Citric Acid: For that tangy kick found in many 80s candies.

With these ingredients in hand, you’re ready to recreate some classic 80s snacks that will transport you back in time.

Not Your Average 80s Snack: Homemade Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks were the ultimate fun candy of the 80s. The sensation of the candy crackling and popping in your mouth was nothing short of magical. While making them at home is a bit of a science experiment, it’s totally worth it.


  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of citric acid
  • 1/2 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Food coloring of your choice
  • Flavored extract (such as raspberry or cherry)


  1. Prep Your Workspace: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely.
  3. Cook to Hard Crack Stage: Continue to cook the mixture until it reaches 300°F (hard crack stage). You can use a candy thermometer for accuracy.
  4. Add Flavor and Color: Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda, citric acid, flavored extract, and food coloring. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and froth.
  5. Spread and Cool: Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and let it cool completely. Once cooled, break it into small pieces.

Enjoy your homemade Pop Rocks! They’re perfect for surprising your friends or adding a touch of fun to any party.

How To Make Gushers From Home

Gushers were another beloved 80s snack, known for their juicy, fruit-filled centers. Making them at home is a bit more involved, but the result is a delicious treat that’s just as good as the original.


  • 1 package of flavored gelatin (any flavor you like)
  • 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of fruit juice (matching the flavor of the gelatin)
  • Cornstarch for dusting


  1. Prepare the Gelatin Mixture: In a saucepan, combine the flavored gelatin, unflavored gelatin, water, and fruit juice. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly until all the gelatin has dissolved.
  2. Form the Gushers: Pour the mixture into small molds (silicone molds work best). Let them set in the refrigerator until firm.
  3. Create the Filling: In a small bowl, mix a bit more of the flavored gelatin with a small amount of water to make a thick syrup.
  4. Inject the Filling: Using a small syringe or dropper, inject the syrup into the center of each gummy.
  5. Dust and Store: Lightly dust the Gushers with cornstarch to prevent sticking, and store them in an airtight container.

Now you have your very own homemade Gushers to enjoy and share!

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Homemade Dunkaroos: A How-To

Dunkaroos were the very definition of fun snacks during the 80s, combining cookies with frosting in such a convenient package. It’s surprisingly easy to make your own version at home, allowing you to infuse a little bit of flavor creativity and decorative imagination.


  • For the Cookies:

    • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
    • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup of sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • For the Frosting:

    • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon of milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • Food coloring and sprinkles (optional)


  1. Prepare the Cookies:

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
    • In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing well.
    • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until combined.
    • Roll the dough into small balls and flatten them slightly on the baking sheet.
    • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Allow to cool.
  2. Make the Frosting:

    • In a bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth.
    • Divide the frosting into smaller bowls and add food coloring if desired.
    • Stir in sprinkles for a fun, colorful touch.
  3. Assemble Your Dunkaroos:

    • Pair the cookies with a small container of frosting, perfect for dunking.

At-Home Jello Pudding Pops

Another blast-from-the-past treat of the 80s included those creamy-textured, refreshing Jello Pudding Pops, which were a summer favorite. Recreating them at home revives the enjoyment of those warm afternoons together, making it a great home activity to do with the kids.


  • 1 package of instant pudding mix (any flavor)
  • 2 cups of cold milk
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Popsicle molds and sticks


  1. Prepare the Pudding:

    • In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and cold milk for about 2 minutes.
    • Add the heavy cream and continue to whisk until well combined.
  2. Fill the Molds:

    • Pour the pudding mixture into popsicle molds, leaving a little space at the top for expansion.
    • Insert popsicle sticks into the molds.
  3. Freeze:

    • Place the molds in the freezer for at least 4 hours or until fully set.
    • To release the pops, run warm water over the outside of the molds for a few seconds.

Recreating the Iconic 80s Fruit Roll-Ups

The 80s were a time when Fruit Roll-Ups served as the go-to fruity snack for elementary school children. Sweet, chewy, and fun to eat and play with, these treats are even better now with homemade versions and healthier ingredients.


  • 2 cups of fresh fruit (such as strawberries, mangoes, or apples)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey or sugar (optional, depending on the fruit’s sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice


  1. Prepare the Fruit:

    • Preheat your oven to 170°F (75°C) or the lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    • Puree the fruit in a blender until smooth. Add honey or sugar and lemon juice, blending until combined.
  2. Spread and Dry:

    • Pour the fruit puree onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it evenly.
    • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 4-6 hours or until the fruit leather is dry to the touch but still pliable.
  3. Cut and Store:

    • Once cool, peel the fruit leather from the parchment paper and cut it into strips.
    • Roll the strips in parchment paper and store them in an airtight container.

Healthier Alternatives to Some of the Most Popular Snacks of the 80s

Indulging in nostalgic snacks is fun, but sometimes it’s good to have healthier alternatives that still capture the essence of the originals. These recipes let you have all the flavor and fun of 80s snacks but with no guilt.

  • Homemade Fruit Snacks: Use real fruit juice and pureed fruit to make gummy snacks without the added sugars and artificial ingredients.
  • Veggie Chips: Slice up your favorite vegetables (like sweet potatoes, beets, or kale) and bake them for a crunchy, nutritious snack.
  • Yogurt Popsicles: Blend yogurt with fresh fruits and freeze them in molds for a creamy, healthy treat.


Conclusion: The Magic of Snacking in the 80s is Back

Bringing back the magic of the 80s isn’t just about culinary adventures; it’s about reaching back in time, recapturing the past, and sharing its exuberant joy with a new generation. Whether you’re hosting a retro-themed party or just craving a taste of your childhood, these recipes are sure to bring a smile to your face. And don’t forget to complete your retro experience with stylish apparel from Newretro.Net. Our retro clothing line, featuring classic denim and leather jackets, vintage sneakers, sunglasses, and watches, is the perfect way to add a touch of 80s flair to your look while enjoying these nostalgic treats.