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Peanuts and Coke: Why Putting Salted Peanuts in Coke Isn't as Crazy As It Sounds

There's something to be said for the salty-sweet combination.

Take me out to the ballgame…so that I can put peanuts into a Coke container? The combination might sound odd to northerners, but peanuts and Coke are a classic pair in the South. Intrigued by the unlikely pairing, we decided to test it out for ourselves. Here's what we thought of the snack/drink combo.

How do you make peanuts and Coke?

bottle of coke and packet of peanuts
Meghan De Maria / Eat This, Not That!

The way we tried it was pretty simple: We put peanuts (in this case, Planters Salted Peanuts) into individual cups and then poured Coke over them. (If you're eating this snack at a baseball game, though, it works just as well to toss some salted peanuts into a cup of Coke.)

The soda immediately fizzed around the peanuts, taking the salt off of them in the process. The result was a cup of soda that was, quite literally, chock-full of nuts. The smell was not the most appetizing—it was like peanut butter that had gone wrong.

According to legend (and the National Peanut Board), the combo was invented for convenience, rather than for taste. As the story goes, workers performing manual labor could pour individual packets of peanuts into Coke bottles and keep working without having to wash their hands to eat. Whatever the origin, this is definitely a convenient on-the-go snack that you can create at any gas station or bodega.

Do peanuts and Coke taste good together?

metal cup filled with coke and peanuts
Meghan De Maria / Eat This, Not That!

Only two of my coworkers were willing to try this Southern delicacy, and the results were mixed. One editor, who hails from South Carolina, loved the taste, calling it the perfect salty-sweet combo. She was more than willing to finish her Coke-and-peanuts portion—and she said she'd try this snack again in the future, too.

The other two of us, however, were less convinced. Neither of us got the salty taste in the Coke—it just tasted like regular Coke, with intermittent bites of unsalted peanuts. (I decided to let mine marinate a bit longer to see if the salt would settle in, but it only tasted like flat Coke and slightly soggy peanuts at that point.)

Still, I finished the cup absentmindedly while sitting at my desk. I like Coke, and I like peanuts—so while the combo didn't elevate either of them in my opinion, they're still both perfectly nice on their own.

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It's all about that sweet-salty combo

When it really comes down to it, peanuts and Coke might not be as odd a pair as you might think. You've probably had sea salt cookies or brownies, or a salted caramel drink. So why would the salty and sweet mix of the nuts and soda be any different?

There's a great reason why salty and sweet snacks taste so good together, too. "The receptors responsible for transporting sugars to cells can only do so with sodium present," registered dietitian and chef Jessica Swift explained to us. "Research suggests that this may be the reason we respond to the sweet and salty combination so well."

Even though I didn't find the salty taste of the peanuts and Coke to be as strong as I expected, I can definitely see the appeal behind this snack. I'll keep eating my peanuts and Coke separately, but there's something to be said for the unlikely pairing.

Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more about Meghan
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