For more than 100 years, the Girls Scouts have sold a lot of cookies. These days, the number of cookie flavors is down to 12, and Samoas and Thin Mints dominate as the most popular. Does that mean those two are the best? I decided to try all the different cookies and rank them. And while yes, I do have a go-to Girl Scout cookie, I did keep an open mind since I hadn't yet tried all of the flavors.
Before you read my rankings, know that I don't like extra crunchy or hard cookies. When I was a teenager, I took a bite out of a hard cookie and it broke my permanent retainer loose. Now, I don't trust them and it may have (definitely has) affected my decision.
Special thanks to the Girl Scouts for providing me with all the cookies for this important project. I also learned during my adventure.
Note that this taste test is nonscientific and based solely on my opinion. I'm not an experienced food critic. I just like trying new cookies and riling up family and colleagues who don't have the same opinion as me about which cookie is best. Here's how I ranked all 12 cookies and why.
Here's how my colleagues voted
Before I began my taste test, I wanted to see which Girl Scout cookie was the favorite among my CNET colleagues. To my surprise, nearly 55% voted Samoas, with Thin Mints coming in second place with just over 27%.
Here are the survey results based on 55 responses:
- Samoas/Caramel deLites: 54.5% (30 votes)
- Thin Mints: 27.3% (15 votes)
- Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties: 10.9% (6 votes)
- Do-si-dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich: 1.8% (1 vote)
- Trefoils/Shortbread: 3.6% (2 votes)
- Lemonades: 1.8% (1 vote)
How I ranked all 12 Girl Scout cookie flavors
Note that some of the cookies have different names in different regions due to being made by different bakeries.
This is the only cookie that I couldn't swallow. After biting into the hard, gluten-free cookie and letting it dissolve, it felt like I had just eaten a spoonful of sand. And it didn't get any better from there: The toffee bits tasted more like a mediocre caramel and the cookie smelled like actual dirt.
Toffee-Tastic is a very hard cookie similar to biscotti, and it might be better if used to dip into tea or coffee to soften it. The cookie was so hard that I conducted a "drop test" over a concrete sidewalk to see what it would take to break it. After four attempts and a toss, the cookie finally broke clean in half.
Needless to say, I don't recommend this cookie.
When I first saw the Adventurefuls cookies, I thought they'd become a new favorite. A brownie with caramel filling seemed like it would be delightful, but this cookie was anything but what I expected. For starters, I only like the center of freshly baked brownies, and I won't eat the edge pieces. Unfortunately, this cookie reminds me of overdone brownies.
I first tried to break it in half, but it was super hard -- even the caramel wasn't as soft as I thought it would be -- so I bit into the center using my molars. The flavor of the brownie part was meh and the caramel-flavored center tasted artificial.
10. Caramel Chocolate Chip
This is another gluten-free option the Girl Scouts offer and while it's way better than Toffee-Tastic, it's still bland. The texture is pleasant, soft and has large chocolate chunks. However, it's not much different from a regular chocolate chip cookie. It's extremely sweet since it has caramel flavoring but it's also a bit salty, which I didn't like.
Lemonades taste like the custard of lemon meringue pie, but it's the icing that's doing all the work. The cookie itself leaves little to be desired, and maybe it's because the icing is so overpowering. It's one of the larger cookies the Girl Scouts sell, but thin enough to eat in a few bites. If you're going for a lemon-flavored cookie, I suggest trying the Lemon-Ups instead (see below).
8. Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties
I've only ever had the Tagalongs, but for this taste test I received Peanut Butter Patties. It's been years since I've actually indulged in Tagalongs, but the taste between the two is somewhat different (they're made by different bakeries).
The upper layer is a soft peanut butter while the lower layer is a crunchy crust, and the entire cookie is covered in a soft chocolate coating. Peanut Butter Patties are a bit too rich in flavor for me but have an overall good taste.
I thought Lemon-Ups and Lemonades would taste the same, but they don't at all. Lemon-Ups taste fruitier than the Lemonades and smell like fresh-squeezed lemons. There's a lemon glaze on the cookie's bottom that really drives the flavor home, and also a sort of tanginess that you don't typically get with the average cookie.
I could definitely enjoy these cookies in the spring with a glass of unsweetened iced tea.
6. Girl Scout S'mores
S'mores Pop-Tarts heated in a toaster were always my favorite as a kid, and the Girl Scout S'mores cookies taste similar. They're very soft with a buttery graham cracker sandwich filled with creamy chocolate and marshmallow-flavored filling.
But since s'mores aren't meant to be cold, I decided to heat these cookies up in my microwave. Fantastic decision. The chocolate melted as it should and the marshmallow filling became much softer. If you buy these, I recommend heating them up (I used increments of 7 seconds to be on the safe side).
No, they still don't taste like the s'mores you make by a campfire, but they're pretty good.
Trefoils may look like plain cookies, but the taste is far from plain. They have a buttery taste perfectly balanced with a sweetness that isn't overpowering. These cookies pair great with coffee if you're a cookies-in-the-morning kind of person.
This simple shortbread cookie is baked in the shape of the Girl Scouts logo and has a soft texture that melts in your mouth like cotton candy. Now I understand why these cookies came in fifth place in our survey above.
Do-si-dos are soft, easy to break peanut butter sandwiches. Not only do they have peanut butter in the center, but the cracker also tastes like peanut butter. The entire cracker melts in your mouth and has a nice, subtle flavor -- I could eat these as is without the peanut butter.
The peanut butter tastes different in the Do-si-dos than in the Tagalongs because it's not so overwhelmingly sweet. To me, it tastes more like authentic peanut butter without artificial flavors and has the same texture.
3. Thin Mints
Thin Mints are a popular choice for a reason. They melt in your mouth with the first bite and have a minty-chocolate flavor similar to an Andes chocolate mint. They're thin and have just the right amount of crunch.
Pro tip: Eat one right after a garlicky meal to cleanse your palate. It's a close second to brushing your teeth, right?
On a professional note, if you ever decide to do a Girl Scout cookie taste test, save the Thin Mints for last because the minty flavor sticks around for a while after eating and could compromise the flavor of the next cookie you try.
These cookies knocked Thin Mints into my personal third place, and I'm not sorry about it. Have you ever tried Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal? That's what the Toast-Yay cookies remind me of. They have a gingerbread and cinnamon graham cracker taste with a delicious layer of icing. The crust melts in your mouth almost instantly.
The large bread-shaped cookies are nearly the size of my palm. They're only available in certain regions, however, so they may be hard to come by. But if you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend them.
1. Samoas/Caramel deLites
If you know, you know: The Samoas cookies are the best. If there was ever a perfect cookie, it's this one. It deftly balances coconut, chocolate and caramel with a soft cookie crust. Samoas are really the only Girl Scout cookies with a classically chewy texture, and they're also a bit sticky if you break them in half. The texture reminds me of a no-bake cookie.
The Samoas Girl Scout cookie is easily the most divisive, as one of the main ingredients is coconut, a consistently polarizing food. It seems that most people I've spoken with who don't enjoy the donut shaped chocolate and caramel goodness of this cookie are usually not a fan of coconut. Go figure.
You certainly don't have to agree with how I ranked each Girl Scout cookie flavor. After all, they're just cookies. What you can do is have some fun with it as I did.and have a tasting party with friends and let us know which one is your favorite.