Humans have been creating candles that smell like food for thousands of years. Some researchers say the Romans used tallow wax — derived from the meat of cows and sheep — and twine in 500 BC. Others go back farther pointing to the ancient Egyptians 5,000 years ago. Over the last few months, with the release of several new scented candles from restaurateurs, it’s safe to say we’ve hit peak smelly candles.
An article in Eater recently drew attention to the latest wave of candles, those that smell like dishes you can order at beloved restaurants and fast-food chains, including Junior’s cheesecake, Katz’s egg cream, and Shake Shack’s burger. We’ve covered the topic before (as in the White Castle burger candle from 2010), but not the big picture.
The global scented candle market was valued at $533.5 million in 2020. Pumpkin, vanilla, and citrus are the best-selling scents, in that order. Companies that offer a wide range of smelly candles include Magic Candle Company, GooseCreek Candles, Beaver Creek, OverSoyed, H-E-B and The Bath & Wick Shop. And then there’s always Etsy.
Below, we spotlight 34 food-forward candles you can buy today. We’ve also organized them into four conceptual categories: highbrow delicious, highbrow gross, lowbrow delicious and lowbrow gross (these are often gimmicks and products you give others).
Full disclosure: Just because a candle can smell like something doesn’t mean it should. We approach this topic with optimistic skepticism. And for the record; we did not purchase or test any of these products. Yes, it’s possible that, say, a canned tuna candle could actually blanket a room with an intoxicatingly pleasing fragrance. But we doubt it.
Highbrow – Delicious
Peeled Tangerines Candle
Dark Chocolate Candle
Highbrow – Gross
Orange Salmon Candle
$27 (Ok, it doesn’t actually smell like fish; it has an orange scent.)
Hoppy IPA Candle
Lowbrow – Delicious
Pineapple Whip Candle
Apple Cheesecake Candle
Buttered Maple Syrup Candle
Junior’s Strawberry Cheesecake Candle
Katz’s Chocolate Egg Cream Candle
Lowbrow – Gross
Lucali & Joya Brooklyn Pizza Candle
Burger in the Park & Shake ‘n’ Fries Candle
BLT Club Sandwich Candle
Bud Backyard BBQ Candle
French Fries Candle
Ramen Noodle Candle
Butter Tortilla Candle
Smoked Brisket Candle
Nacho Cheese Candle