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Almost every single one of my climbing and backpacking trips of the past five years has been accompanied by a Clif bar. I’ve eaten hundreds over the course of my life.
Despite that, I realized recently that I hadn’t tried all of the different flavors.
Curious to see which were actually the best, I purchased a variety pack and sat down for a taste test. To keep it simple I stuck to flavors from the original Energy Bar product line — No Builder’s bars, Clif Mojo, or the like.
Over the course of an afternoon I ate and then ranked 12 of the best Clif bar flavors out there. Here are those rankings.
To see how Clif bars compare to options from other top brands, check out our guide to the best energy bars.
This was without a doubt the worst Clif bar flavor I tasted. But you could probably already tell that by the fact that it contains apricot. Seriously — does anyone like apricot?
It’s overly sweet and the apricot flavor is just unpleasant. I don’t recommend it.
Let’s move along.
When someone brings oatmeal raisin cookies to a party or cookout, I’m always one to partake.
However, if that same person instead brought Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Clif bars, I wouldn’t partake at all.
The flavor of this bar is mediocre. It has a slightly unpleasant aftertaste that I’d like not to have to taste again.
Even if, like me, you tend to like oatmeal raisins treats, know that there are tastier flavors to come.
10. Peanut Toffee Buzz (Contains Caffeine)
Unlike the Apricot and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut flavors, the Peanut Toffee Buzz isn’t bad. It’s just not as good as the rest of the field.
Peanuts and toffee is a solid combination, but somehow the flavor on this one ended up a little muted. I find this strange because it’s not like Clif doesn’t know how to pack a strong peanut taste into their bars. The Crunchy Peanut Butter bar (to come) is nothing but pure peanut power, after all.
And the toffee — one of my favorite treats of all time — is hard to taste. I guess I’ll just have to wait until Christmas for my mom to make another batch to get my toffee fix.
This flavor contains caffeine, but I didn’t feel any noticeable caffeine kick from eating it. My morning green tea feels stronger.
If you’re looking to get your caffeine fix in the great outdoors, don’t look for it in a bar. Pick up some good instant coffee instead.
Like the Peanut Toffee Buzz, this flavor isn’t terrible it’s just bland compared to the ones to come. Overall I found the Chocolate Chip to be rather uninspiring. The best thing it has going for it is it’s not too sweet.
If you’re the kind of person who prefers chocolate chip cookies to all others, you might like this flavor more than I did.
The Chocolate Almond Fudge is the first flavor that I actually wouldn’t mind eating on a regular basis.
Some of the chocolate-containing Clif bar flavors only have it in the form of chocolate chips. The Chocolate Almond Fudge, however, contains cocoa which gives the entire bar the appearance and taste of a brownie.
If you’re a chocolate lover this is definitely one to consider. Though it does have almonds, I found the texture to be oaty and chewy with no crunch.
If you like a bar with some crunch, the Chocolate Brownie (to come) is a very similar flavor and has chocolate chips that provide a more satisfying crunch.
One of my favorite snacks as a kid was banana slices with peanut butter on top.
Though not as classic a combination as peanut butter and chocolate or peanut butter and jelly, in my opinion it’s one of the best.
This bar does a nice job of balancing the two flavors, and the dark chocolate chips make it even tastier. To nitpick the banana flavor isn’t my favorite, but it’s still pretty good.
If this were the only Clif bar I had to eat, I’d be happy.
It’s hard to go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate. I’d classify this as a safe flavor — everyone is bound to enjoy it.
The peanut flavor, like in the Peanut Toffee Buzz, is a little subtle, and the chocolate chips aren’t as plentiful as I’d like (though, to be frank, if they were it would essentially be a Hershey’s bar).
But the balance is good and I know that if I were eating multiple Clif bars a day, such as on a backpacking trip, this is a flavor I would not tire of quickly.
The flavors from here on out are what I would classify as good, starting with Coconut Chocolate Chip.
This flavor is like an energy bar version of a Mounds bar. The upside is that it’s tasty. The downside is that it will be too sweet for some.
Also some people don’t like coconut and chocolate. But those people are weird.
The coconut flavor is strong and the chocolate glaze across the top means you never go a bite without tasting it. If you like coconut and chocolate together, you’ll like this bar.
Some days I’ll eat straight peanut butter as a snack. Other days I’ll add powdered peanut butter to my morning smoothie. I like peanut butter.
If you like peanut butter, too, then you’ll like this flavor. It’s very peanutty. For those who don’t like peanut butter that much the peanut flavor might be a little overpowering.
Despite the name, I wouldn’t classify the texture as very crunchy. In fact, none of these flavors were very crunchy, especially when compared to nut-based energy and nutrition bars such as Kind bars.
After so many flavors containing peanut or chocolate, the Blueberry Crisp was a welcome change of pace. And it isn’t awful like the Apricot and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut flavors. Hooray.
The blueberry taste is strong but not overpowering. The flavors are so well balanced that I tasted oaty and nutty undertones — something I didn’t pick up in many of the flavors despite Clif’s Energy Bars being oat-based.
Though this flavor has 22g of sugar, a gram or two more than many other flavors, it didn’t taste as sweet and the sweetness didn’t build up as much in my mouth while eating it.
It’s clearly a top three flavor.
With chocolatey oats plus chocolate chips mixed in throughout, this flavor is appropriately named.
Chocolate Brownie is like the Chocolate Almond Fudge bar (#8) but better in every way. It actually has chocolate chips in it, after all. They add the perfect amount of texture and chocolatey goodness that you need in your life.
Chocolate lovers look no further. This will be your favorite Clif bar.
White chocolate glaze, macadamia chunks, and rolled oats. Those looking to indulge in a sweet treat should know that this flavor has got your back.
The white chocolate is sweet, but I have an insatiable sweet tooth so I like it. The macadamia nuts are not too tough and add a perfect amount of crunch — and a counterpoint of flavor — to the whole shebang.
Though this isn’t a flavor I’d want to eat exclusively, or multiple times in one day — it’s too sweet for that — this is the flavor I’d reach for if I were craving some sweetness on a day hike or during a day at the office.
Here are the best Clif bar flavors:
- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut
- Chocolate Brownie
- Blueberry Crisp
- Crunchy Peanut Butter
- Coconut Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch
- Peanut Butter Banana with Dark Chocolate
- Chocolate Almond Fudge
- Chocolate Chip
- Peanut Toffee Buzz (Contains Caffeine)
- Oatmeal Raisin Walnut
3 Promising Flavors We Weren’t Able to Get Our Hands on
For this taste test, I scoured Amazon for a solid Clif bar variety pack. Then I purchased the most promising one (this one).
However, the pack was missing some popular flavors. Here are a few that other reviewers have liked:
- Cool Mint Chocolate. If you like Thin Mints, this flavor is for you.
- Berry Pomegranate Chia. Another promising flavor without chocolate or peanut butter.
- Sierra Trail Mix. GORP in bar form. What more could you want?
At the time of publishing Clif also just released some tasty-sounding flavors like Caramel Toffee with Sea Salt, Chocolate Chunk with Sea Salt, and Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt. Sounds like someone at Clif is getting their Salt Bae on.
For the full list of flavors see clifbar.com.
Overall Thoughts After Tasting 12 Different Clif Bar Flavors
Clif bars are sweet. Most of the bars I tasted had around 20g of sugar. I realized that if I ate too much too quickly the sweetness built up in the back of my mouth and became overbearing.
If you eat a single Clif bar, you won’t experience this issue. On the other hand if you plan on eating multiple Clif bars a day as trail snacks during a backpacking trip (or any outdoorsy adventure) then you might want to reconsider.
Add some less sweet snacks to your rotation. Don’t burn yourself out on Clif bars.
Energy bars are incredibly convenient, though, so I understand the desire to have them as snacks during your adventure. There are plenty of other bar brands out there though that you can buy to mix things up — Kind bars, Larabars, Luna bars, RxBars, Probars, and Greenbelly Meals to name a few.
Many of these brands have bars with comparable amounts of sugar to Clif bars, but for whatever reason their flavors often don’t taste as sweet.
While Clif is one of the OGs in the world of energy bars geared towards outdoor athletes, the more of their bars I eat the less I like them. They’re good but not great.
Nowadays with newer brands like Kind and Larabar sporting cleaner labels and more intriguing flavors, when I go to Trader Joe’s and make it to the bar section I find myself reaching for Clif bars less and less often.