I Tried 7 Off-Brand "Oreos" & These Were the Absolute Best
Ever since introducing its original cookie in 1912, Oreo has released countless flavors, elevated numerous desserts, and climbed to the top of the snack industry as the best-selling cookie brand in America.
Interestingly enough, the Oreo wasn't even the first chocolate sandwich cookie to make its way into the mainstream. In fact, it was born out of a sibling rivalry between two brothers with competing bakery companies. America's first chocolate sandwich cookie actually debuted in 1908 and was called "Hydrox." Despite its initial success, the Oreo—aka the copycat—ultimately went on to reign supreme.
Today, the cookie space is chock-full of Oreo knock-offs, with grocery stores and snack brands attempting to put their own spin on the beloved cream-filled cookie. As a cookie fanatic, I decided to try seven different chocolate sandwich cookies to see which one was the best, as well as which one tasted the most like the original Oreo.
How we tested the cookies
To pinpoint the best copycat Oreo, I picked up varieties of off-brand sandwich cookies, which included:
- Back to Nature Classic Creme Cookies
- Bowl & Basket Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (ShopRite)
- Goodie Girl Chocolate Creme Sandwich Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- Great Value Twist & Shout Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Walmart)
- Newman's Own Newman-O's
- Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Joe-Joe's Chocolate Vanilla Creme Sandwich Cookies
- Whole Foods 365 Chocolate Sandwich Cremes
It's important to note that I included Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Joe-Joe's in this taste test because the grocery chain is in the midst of switching suppliers for its original Joe-Joe's. The cookies are expected to return in August 2023, according to employees at two New Jersey locations.
After securing the goods, I enlisted one cookie-loving co-taster (aka my friend) to help me assess the Oreos based on their texture, flavor, and cookie-to-cream ratio. Here's how the brands stacked up against each other.
Goodie Girl Chocolate Creme Sandwich Cookies (Gluten-Free) – $6.49
In addition to being gluten-free, these cookies are made without artificial colors or preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, peanuts, eggs, and dairy. The box also points out that the chocolate wafers are "made with real cocoa."
The Look: These cookies looked the most different from the rest, as the wafers didn't have a pattern on the surface. Instead, they had the Goodie Girl logo stamped in the center, which was surrounded by the brand name. The cookies were also a lighter brown than the other off-brand Oreos.
The Taste & Texture: Before taking a bite, my friend noted, "It smells like straight cocoa, like hot chocolate, in a way." The cookie was a bit dry and the most crumbly out of all of the brands we tried, which makes sense because gluten provides structure to baked goods. Meanwhile, the cream, which was less sweet than Oreo's, was on the stiffer side.
Gluten-Free Joe-Joe's Chocolate Vanilla Creme Sandwich Cookies – $4.49
A crew member at my local Trader Joe's told me the gluten-free Joe-Joe's taste more similar to Oreos than the original Joe-Joe's. While I won't be able to put that to the test for a few months, I can say that these cookies were quite different from Oreos.
The Look: The floral-patterned cookies featured a somewhat thin layer of cream that had real vanilla speckles in it as advertised on the box.
The Taste & Texture: While the cream was sweet, it had a slight grittiness to it that the other cookies lacked. Perhaps that could be attributed to the ground vanilla beans, though I didn't detect a particularly strong vanilla flavor. Similarly, the chocolate cookie, which wasn't overly sweet, was on the "crumby" side and had a somewhat grainy texture—dare I say sandy?
Whole Foods 365 Chocolate Sandwich Cremes – $3.19
While cookies might not be the first product that comes to mind when thinking of Whole Foods, the supermarket chain boasts a wide variety of them, including five different types of sandwich cream cookies.
The Look: Each chocolate disk, which is slightly thicker than an Oreo, features Whole Foods' 365 logo surrounded by a floral design. Unlike the other cookies, which had opaque white cream, this one had a bit of an "iciness" to its color.
The Taste & Texture: Upon twisting open this sandwich cookie, the first thing I noticed was the hard filling, which didn't even stick to my finger when I tapped it. The box describes it as "cane sugar frosting," which I thought was an accurate description of the taste. As for the cookie, I thought it had a pleasant cocoa flavor that was less sweet than some of the other options.
Back to Nature Classic Creme Cookies – $5.49
This chocolate sandwich cookie highlights on its box that it's plant-based, non-GMO, and free of hydrogenated oils. It also specifies that the chocolate wafers are made with "dutched cocoa," which means the cocoa beans were washed in an alkaline solution to neutralize its acidity. This gives the cocoa powder a darker hue.
The Look: These cookies were the darkest in color, bordering on black, which is possibly because of the dutched cocoa (though several of the cookies are made with cocoa powder that's been processed with alkali and those still varied in color). "Back to Nature" is stamped across the top, and like the rest of the cookies, the edges have a ridged indentation.
The Taste & Texture: The chocolate wafer itself was less sweet than some of the other options, presenting a noticeable contrast from the sweet cream. Maybe it's because this was the last cookie we tasted, but the Back to Nature cookies had a lingering aftertaste, which my friend described as "almost metallic." Additionally, most of the cookies in the box appeared to have a Double Stuf-level of filling, which had a notably soft and creamy consistency.
Newman's Own Newman O's – $6.49
Founded in 1982 by the now-deceased actor Paul Newman, the Newman's Own brands carries an array of items ranging from salad dressings and salsa to popcorn and cookies. The Newman O's differentiate themselves by showcasing on the package that they're made with organic flour and organic sugar.
The Look: Following Goodie Girl, Newman O's had one of the lightest shades of brown, resembling the color of milk chocolate. Encircled by an embossed pattern, the word "Newman" appears in the center of the cookie. Right off the bat, I could also see that these cookies also had one of the thickest layers of cream, which was comparable to the level of filling found in "Double Stuf" Oreos.
The Taste & Texture: The filling was creamier than the Oreos, but what I found most noteworthy about the Newman O's was the flavor of chocolate cookies. To me, they tasted almost like a chocolate graham cracker—an observation my friend agreed with, as well. While it may not have had the exact Oreo cookie flavor, I still thought it was delicious.
Walmart's Twist & Shout Chocolate Sandwich Cookies – $2.68
Among Walmart's sandwich cookie offerings are two Great Value-branded options. There are the Sandwich Crème Cookies, which have a few varieties, none of which include just the chocolate cookie and vanilla cream flavor. (They're only included in the variety pack). Then, there are the Twist & Shout Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, which are available in multiple flavors and more closely resemble Oreos.
The Look: Walmart's Twist & Shout cookies were darker in color than Oreos, printed with a four-leaf clover design. They were also filled with a nearly identical layer of cream.
The Taste & Texture: As soon as I opened the cookie package, an overly sweet smell filled the air, reminding me of store-bought vanilla frosting. While I would have expected the overpowering scent to cloud my perception of the sandwich cookie, once I tasted it, I found it to be quite similar to the original Oreo, with my friend calling it her favorite of the seven brands. Then biggest difference we noticed was that this Walmart cookie had a creamier filling than an Oreo.
ShopRite's Bowl & Basket Chocolate Sandwich Cookies – $2.49
This New Jersey-based supermarket cooperative has stores across Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. In 2019, the grocery chain launched its own private-label food and beverage brand, Bowl & Basket, which aims to sell products at a "budget-friendly price."
The Look: Like the Twist & Shout Cookies, Shop Rite's Bowl & Basket cookies have a slightly darker color than some of the other options. The chocolate cookie is patterned with what looks like a four-leaf clover design similar to Walmart's, while the layer of cream was thinner than all of the brands.
The Taste & Texture: Out of all the cookies I tried, I found this variety to taste the most similar to an actual Oreo—and it was the cheapest one! Although the cream was stickier than an Oreo's, the flavor was pretty-spot on. The same goes for the cookie.