Age Your Easter Peeps For A Crunchy Twist

From cheddar and gouda to beef or a bottle of wine, there are plenty of foods that benefit from aging, but marshmallows are a far less popular example. No one likes them stale instead of soft and fresh, right? Not true: While marshmallow Peeps may not be as fancy as a Pinot Noir or porterhouse steak, they have plenty of avid fans (some might say connoisseurs) who who swear that the iconic Easter candy gets better with age.

Since the mid-1950s, these colorful marshmallow chicks have popped up on store shelves as a sign that Easter is near. There are countless varieties in different shapes, colors, and flavors, but all have the same soft marshmallow interior with a grainy sugar coating. Many Peeps lovers enjoy the treat au naturale, but tons of others let them go stale, creating a crunchier exterior that encases a chewy interior.

If you're now curious to try crunchy Peeps this Easter Sunday, you'll want to plan ahead. Just poke some holes in the plastic packaging and let the treats sit for a few days. Some fans even like their Peeps both stale and cold, so they slice open the package and keep it in the fridge. And if you forgot to pick your Peeps a few days before Easter, don't despair. You can place fresh ones in the microwave, slightly melt them, then let them cool for a "staled" effect. Just don't heat for too long, or you'll wind up with a pile of goo.

What to do with crunchy Peeps

You can enjoy crunchy Peeps on their own, or use them in place of regular marshmallows in drinks and desserts. Any of these ideas are also great for Peeps that went stale by accident. For an Easter treat for kids, the only thing more fun than marshmallows in hot chocolate is a Peeps chick or bunny relaxing in the cup like a cocoa jacuzzi. To make Peeps hot chocolate for adults that are young at heart, try Jacques Torres' indulgent recipe. If you're not as inclined to anthropomorphize your marshmallows, melt them to make colorful s'mores or Alton Brown's Rice Krispies treats

Peeps can also decorate festive baked goods. Melt them down and swirl into brownie, cookie, or cake batter for a gooey and colorful marshmallow ribbon, or plant them on top of desserts as-is. You can even use them to make marshmallow fluff, or stuff them right into a fluffernutter sandwich. For a fun snack, skewer Peeps and partially dip them in melted chocolate, then serve them like lollipops. Or, save time and just melt the chocolate, then serve with Peeps as dippers. 

If you're looking to add sweetness and a pop of color to popcorn or trail mix, toss in pieces of Peeps. Finally, you can even use Peeps as a playful cocktail garnish, or just blend them right into a milkshake. In the latter case, their stale texture will be disguised — great if you just can't get behind the crunch.

What other kinds of Peeps are out there?

Peeps shaped like chicks and bunnies are the most iconic type, but producer Just Born makes a huge number of Peeps products. In 2024, the brand introduced several new additions to its Easter lineup, including Rice Krispies Treats shaped and decorated like the classic chick, and a new S'mores Graham Cracker flavor. Plus, you can now buy chicks that taste like Blue Raspberry or Sour Strawberry ICEE beverages.

Contrary to popular belief, peeps aren't just for Easter, either. During other seasons, you can celebrate Christmas with Peeps shaped like stockings and gingerbread men, as well as classic chicks in flavors like candy cane or peppermint bark (which is also dipped in chocolate). And during spooky season, the brand's Halloween lineup includes marshmallow monsters, skulls, ghosts, and pumpkins.

If you've never been able to love these bland yet super-sweet treats — crunchy or not — Just Born sells over a dozen other flavors year-round. If fruity flavors are your jam, try Fruit Punch, Sour Watermelon, or Wild Berry Peeps. You can also find nostalgic flavors like Party Cake, Cotton Candy, Dr. Pepper, or Mike and Ike-inspired versions (Just Born also owns those classic jellybean-like candies). There are more than a few chocolate-dipped varieties, too, which could add some crispness to the soft marshmallow, without the overt crunch of hardened sugar.