Food & Drink

How to Repurpose Your Leftover Halloween Candy

Pop-Tarts, cheese boards, and tricked out cookie dough.

halloween candy cheese board
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

With trick-or-treating and large parties canceled this year, you may actually have some leftover candy for once. Sure, you could spend Halloween night on your couch pawing through a plastic jack-o-lantern and accumulating a pile of wrappers by your side. Honestly, that sounds pretty great. But at some point, you’ll probably get (literally) sick of eating all that candy straight out of the bag.

For when that time comes, we tapped bakers, ice cream makers, and others in the food world to suggest some creative ways to use up your leftover candy and turn it into new treats. So here are all of their ideas for how to repurpose your candy come November 1.

M&M cookies
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Mix it into your favorite cookie dough

“This year, instead of inhaling those fun-sized chocolate bars, try using them to make cookies,” Andrea Prunella, the executive pastry chef at Chip NYC, suggested. Prunella is opening up a new shop on Halloween this year and is debuting with a cookie called the Monster Chip that you can recreate at home by adding M&Ms to your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough. This technique can be done with any candy bars you have on hand, Prunella says. Simply chop your favorite up and add it to the dough.

Use it as a Pop-Tart filling

For Lani Halliday, the gluten-free baker who runs Brutus Bakeshop, Halloween usually means she’s in her own personal Candyland. “I have kids and when they go trick-or-treating, they are in their heyday,” she told me. “But the candy glut is dry this year.” Halliday is known for making a childhood breakfast favorite into a flakey vegan-friendly treat at her bakery and explained that candy is a perfect addition to homemade Pop-Tarts. These may not be vegan, but she said if she can steal away some extra candy from her kids, she’d use her gluten-free pie dough to make a seasonal, candy Pop-Tart filled with melted down chocolate bars topped with a Chick-o-Stick glaze—and maybe even some crumbled up peanut butter cups.

halloween candy cheese board
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Incorporate it into a cheese board

“Pairing candy and cheese is less daunting than one may think,” said Marrisa Mullen, the author of That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life. You may have seen plain old dark chocolate on a cheese board before, but there’s room to take it a little more outside the box for Halloween. 

Try pairing a triple cream cheese with Kit Kats that will cut through the fatty, milky flavor of the cheese and give the pairing some extra crunch. Or go for Twix and aged Gouda because the cheese already has some notes of caramel and salt that will create a perfect pairing. Finally, if you’ve had peanut butter cheesecake, you’ll love pairing manchego with Reese’s peanut butter cups. Mullen suggests plating candy next to the cheese it’s associated with to curate perfect, surprising bites.

candy ice cream
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Churn it into homemade ice cream

Sam Mason, the cofounder of Oddfellows ice cream shop, uses candy and other sweets like dark chocolate chunks, toffee pieces, and sprinkles to color his ice cream world, but he said anything you’d find out trick-or-treating would be the perfect addition to homemade ice cream. “You gotta be a kid again when you’re deciding what to put on or in ice cream because nothing is outlandish,” Mason says. So go wild.

Add it to banana pudding

Magnolia Bakery’s chief baking officer, Bobbie Lloyd, already taught us how to make the shop’s signature banana pudding recipe at home. But you can use your Halloween candy to take it up a notch. In the past, Lloyd has served peanut butter banana pudding with Reese’s Pieces or chopped up peanut butter cups mixed in, and she says any candy you have on hand would be a good addition to will add rich texture to your pudding. “You have a million options,” she said. “Depending on what you add in, it may soften with the rest of the pudding or hold its character to give you an added crunch—either way it’ll be delicious.”

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Liz Provencher is an editorial assistant at Thrillist. See what she eats on Instagram.