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5 Car-Friendly Snacks for the Ultimate Road Trip

To avoid unnecessary bumps in the road, plan your snacks ahead.
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Published Sept. 5, 2023.

Theres nothing wrong with stopping at a local gas station for a quick road trip snack, but if you’re anything like us, you believe that planning your car snacks ahead of time is key to the ultimate road trip. 

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

Whether youre driving cross-country or a taking a day trip across state lines, your snack selection should get just as much love as your road trip itinerary. Here are our favorite snacks to bring with us on the road.

Popcorn

If microwave popcorn is what you’ve become accustomed to, you owe it to yourself to revisit stovetop popcorn. It’s not much more work; all of our popcorn recipes require only two steps. Keep it simple with our Buttered Popcorn recipe or spice it up with our other varieties.

Our Buttermilk Ranch Popcorn recipe is the perfect companion for a trip out West. Personally, we wouldn’t mind taking some Cinnamon-Malt Popcorn along the ride for a romantic getaway. Parmesan-Pepper Popcorn is a kid-pleasing snack, and our Sriracha-Lime Popcorn is packed with just the right amount of heat to keep you alert on the road!

Recipe

Buttermilk Ranch Popcorn

We left no kernel unpopped in our search for crispy, light stovetop popcorn.
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Beef Jerky

OK, I know this one is going to take a little bit more time and planning ahead. But when so many of us opt for the prepackaged gas station variety, we dont realize that were missing out on jerky that is boldly seasoned, salty-sweet, and pleasantly chewy (not parched and leathery).

Thats why our Beef Jerky recipe, which uses commonly available top sirloin, rather than making you hunt down expensive steak, makes for the very best car trip snack. Your road trip companions will thank you (once theyre finished chewing).

Recipe

Beef Jerky

The right cut of beef and a flavorful marinade create an irresistible snack.
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Sichuan Snack Peanuts

These spicy, pleasantly tongue-tingling peanuts are a popular snack in Sichuan and should make the list for your next road trip, thanks to their easy-to-eat nature and satisfyingly bold flavor.

Simple to make, and even simpler to throw in a small bowl and pass around the car (or keep in the front console all to yourself), these ultracrunchy Sichuan Snack Peanuts will keep even your most picky eaters mouth full the whole trip.

Recipe

Sichuan Snack Peanuts

This next-level spicy, crunchy snack is easy to make and hard to resist.
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Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whats a road trip without some sweet snacks? Sure, you can whip up something fancy that will ultimately end up dripped onto your new car seat covers . . . or you can turn to a classic for that familiar yet always surprisingly delicious chocolaty flavor.

Our Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies go beyond the pack youd be able to pick up at your local supermarket. Thick, chewy, and loaded with as many chocolate chips as they can hold, these cookies retain the soft and tender texture of bakery-fresh cookies, even after a day or two (or a few hours sitting in a hot car).

Recipe

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

After testing 40 variations, we discover how to make a thick, chewy gourmet shop cookie at home.
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Banana Bread

Whats simpler than throwing together some banana bread and having a whole loaf of precut slices available for anyone who wants it? And when we say simple, we really mean it with this recipe.

Our test cooks were after a banana bread that was tender, moist, buttery, just the right amount of sweet, and (most important) heavy with the aroma and flavor of bananas, but also incredibly simple. Was that too much to ask? Not for us! Our Banana Bread recipe is as easy as mixing wet and dry ingredients together in a bowl, and it packs in a bit more butter and loads more bananas than the average recipe. What’s more, we think it tastes a lot better, and your fellow road-trippers will think so too.

Recipe

Banana Bread

We put in more bananas than we thought our bread could hold. Then we added more.
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