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Yellow and pink Peeps
Product typeConfectionery
OwnerJust Born
CountryUnited States
Previous ownersRodda Candy Company

Peeps are marshmallows sold in the United States and Canada that are shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals. There are also different shapes used for various holidays. Peeps are used primarily to fill Easter baskets, though recent[when?] advertising campaigns market the candy as "Peeps - Always in Season", as Peeps has since expanded to include Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day; since 2014 it has been available year-round with the introduction of Peeps Minis. They are made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, various food dyes and a pinch of salt.


Peeps bunnies in an Easter basket

Peeps are produced by Just Born,[1] a candy manufacturer founded in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, by Russian immigrant Sam Born (1891-1959). In 1953, Just Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company and its marshmallow chick line, and replaced the painstaking process of hand-forming the chicks with mass production.[2] When founder Sam Born would display a sign for his freshly made candy, he would title it "Just Born", playing off of his last name and the fact that he made his candy fresh daily.[3] According to Mary Bellis, the newly purchased company, Just Born, was soon the "largest marshmallow candy manufacturer in the world." New shapes other than the chicks were produced, following a theme according to the season starting in the 1960s. Twenty years later, the Marshmallow Peeps Bunny was released as a popular year-round shape of the candy.[4] The yellow chicks were the original form of the candy — hence their name — but then the company introduced other colors and, eventually, the myriad shapes in which they are now produced. Peeps were manufactured in different colors, such as lavender starting in 1995 and blue (allegedly) in 1998. Prior to that, they were only being produced in the traditional colors: yellow, pink and white. New flavors such as vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate were introduced between the years of 1999 and 2002.[5]

In 2009, Just Born expanded the Peeps product line further by introducing Peeps Lip Balm in four flavors: grape, strawberry, vanilla, and cotton candy.[6] Just Born has come out with several other various accessories. Items such as nail polish, wrist bands, umbrellas, plush toys, golf gloves, earrings, and necklaces are produced and sold online and in retail stores. Other companies have produced items based on the popular Peeps candy. Peeps micro bead pillows were made by Kaboodle and conform to one's shape. The company Kaboodle promises that "they'll last a lot longer than their edible counterpart!"[7] Ranging from infant sizes to adult sizes, Peeps Halloween costumes can also be found on the shelves of several costume stores. The first Peeps & Co. store opened in November 2009 in National Harbor, Maryland, Prince George's County.[8] Peeps & Company retail stores were later opened in Minnesota (as of 2019, shut down due to low profits) and Pennsylvania.[9] In 2014, Peeps Minis were introduced, and were intended to be available year-round.

Contests and competitions[edit]

Orange pumpkin Halloween Peeps

An annual "Peeps Eating" contest is held each year at National Harbor in front of the Peeps & Company store.[10]The 2017 winner, Matt Stonie of California, ate 255 Peeps in five minutes.[11] The first such event was arranged by Shawn Sparks in 1994, and had only six participants.[12] Dave Smith started an annual Peep Off in Sacramento after contacting a participant in the first Peep Off.[13][14] Another contest in Maryland asks that participants create a diorama of a culturally important scene from the modern era, featuring a number of Peeps. The winner gets two free inflatable life jackets.[15]

Several newspapers hold annual contests in which readers submit photos of dioramas featuring Peeps. The St. Paul Pioneer Press was the first paper to hold such a contest.[citation needed] Similar contests are put on by The Chicago Tribune, and the Seattle Times. These contests frequently correspond with the Easter holiday. MIT also has a yearly Peeps contest. [16]The Washington Post held an annual contest until 2017, when it was discontinued. The smaller Washington City Paper introduced their contest in its place.

The Racine Art Museum is sponsoring the International Peeps Competition from April 1–28. Anyone can enter the contest, centered on the theme "peep-powered work of art".[17]

The following are other contests held in various states. Peeps jousting consists of putting two Marshmallow Chicks into the microwave and seeing which one gets the biggest and therefore affects/deforms the other. "Peepza" is a dessert pizza made with Peeps. Also, blogs were created according to Fox News entitled "101 Fun Ways to Torture a Peep."[18]

Alleged indestructibility[edit]

Peeps are sometimes jokingly described as "indestructible". In 1999 scientists at Emory University jokingly[19] performed experiments on batches of Peeps to see how easily they could be dissolved, burned or otherwise disintegrated, using such agents as cigarette smoke, boiling water and liquid nitrogen.[20] In addition to discussing whether Peeps migrate or evolve, they claimed that the eyes of the confectionery "wouldn't dissolve in anything".[21] One website claims that Peeps are insoluble in acetone, water, diluted sulfuric acid, and sodium hydroxide (the site also claims that the Peeps experimental subjects sign release forms).[22] Concentrated sulfuric acid seems to have effects similar to the expected effects of sulfuric acid on sugar.[23]

This debate featured in an episode of the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle ("Traffic Jam"), in which Francis, insisting the "Quacks" (as they were called) would dissolve in his stomach rather than expand, takes up the dare to eat 100 of them and does so, but gets very sick in the process.

As marshmallow ages exposed to air — it dehydrates, becoming "stale" and slightly crunchy. According to Just Born, 25%-30% of their customers prefer eating Peeps stale.[24]

Public relations[edit]

Barry Church, a football player for the Dallas Cowboys, was unable to attend training camp due to an unexpected root canal. Peeps offered Church a season's supply of their product—in that marshmallows are a lot softer on the teeth than the Jolly Ranchers which caused Church's requirement of a root canal.[25]

Recipes using Peeps[edit]

A coconut cake garnished with Peeps candy

Several recipes and creative ideas to alter Peeps have been invented. Fox News Magazine published an article in 2013 including several recipes from various creators, including Peeps smores, Peeps pancakes, home-made chocolate covered Peeps, Peeps marshmallow chocolate chip cookies, Peeps brownies, Peeps popcorn, Peeps frosting, Peeps Krispie Treats, and Peeps syrup.[26]

Peeps can also be used as a marshmallow topper for hot chocolate. [27]

A recipe for "Peepshi" involves placing a Peep onto a Rice Krispie Treat and wrapping it in a Fruit by the Foot, to create a single "Peepshi roll" in the style of a sushi roll.[28]

In April 2017, several internet and Twitter postings, and TV news stories claimed 'outrage' that Peeps were being used as a pizza topping.[29]

In popular culture[edit]

  • On April 22, 2014, Adam Rifkin acquired the feature film and TV rights to the classic candies to make a franchise of it.[30]
  • In the 2000 Fox TV show Malcolm in the Middle episode "Traffic Jam", the candy is known as Quacks, of which Francis attempts to eat 100 of them to prove a skeptical cadet wrong, but ends up getting sick from it.
  • In the 2007 Comedy Central TV show South Park episode "Fantastic Easter Special", a man named Professor Teabag (who knows of an Easter conspiracy) helps Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski escape from some ninjas by putting Peeps in the microwave, causing an explosion that destroys the mansion and killing both him and the ninjas.
  • In 2007-2008, Peeps featured prominently in the Vlogbrothers video blog series, primarily serving as comedic fodder for punishments.
  • The fourth episode of the third season of The Good Place, "Jeremy Bearimy", includes a scene where the character Chidi Anagonye, played by William Jackson Harper, makes a pot of chili with some Peeps, which 'makes it taste bad'.
  • In 2015, Rapper Lil Peep used a picture of a purple Peeps candy as the album cover of his debut mixtape Lil Peep; Part One.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lehner, Marla (2003-04-17). "The Power of Peeps". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  2. ^ "Peeps: A candy and a technological wonder". USA Today. Associated Press. 2003-04-16. Archived from the original on 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  3. ^ "Fun Facts About Just Born Candies". Fun Facts About Just Born Candies. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. < Archived 2014-01-28 at the Wayback Machine>.
  4. ^ Bellis, Mary. "The History of Marshmallow Peeps." Inventors. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <>.
  5. ^ Bellis, Mary. "The History of Marshmallow Peeps." Inventors. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <>.
  6. ^ Zimmer, Erin (April 2, 2009). "Peeps Lip Balm, Reviewed". Archived from the original on April 5, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2009. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "Large Peeps® Microbead Pillows." Kaboodle. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. < Archived 2014-01-09 at the Wayback Machine>.
  8. ^ Mui, Ylan Q. (July 9, 2009). "Peeps Are Hopping to Their Own Store at National Harbor". Archived from the original on November 12, 2012.
  9. ^ "The History of Peeps." Fox News. FOX News Network, 8 March 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <>.
  10. ^ "World Peeps-Eating Contest Saturday at National Harbor". 30 March 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  11. ^ Reiss, Jaclyn (10 April 2017). "This man ate a record 255 Peeps in 5 minutes - The Boston Globe". Archived from the original on 16 May 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  12. ^ Jack Eidsness (April 1996). "The unofficial Marshmallow Peep page". Archived from the original on 2007-06-17. Retrieved 2007-07-09.[dubious ]
  13. ^ Vincent P. Bzdek (11 April 2004). "50 years of turning Easter into one big Peeps show". Oakland Tribune (reprinted from [Washington Post article]). Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  14. ^ First Peeps store is a mecca for all their 'peeple' Archived 2011-04-30 at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2009
  15. ^ "Peeps Madness | Bay Weekly." Peeps Madness | Bay Weekly. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <>.
  16. ^ Archived 2010-11-29 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Zagat Buzz Blog: It's Peeps Art Time! March 22, 2011 Archived March 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "The History of Peeps." Fox News. FOX News Network, 8 March 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <>.
  19. ^ "Emory pair unlocks the mystery of Peeps". Emory Report. Emory University. 1999-03-29. Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  20. ^ Severson, Kim (April 3, 1999). "Peeps Rule Roost / Easter's unofficial marshmallow treat now a chic and easy target to spoof". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
  21. ^ "What Do You Call a Guy Who Cuts Apart Peeps?". U S News. October 3, 1999. Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  22. ^ "solubility". Archived from the original on 2010-11-26. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  23. ^ "Peep Wars: Revenge of the Mole". 2005-10-23. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  24. ^ Bratskeir, Kate (18 April 2014). "Here Are The Answers To Every Question You've Never Asked About Marshmallow Peeps". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  25. ^ "Barry Church Gets Candy Offer." News. N.p., 1 Aug. 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. < Archived 2014-01-09 at the Wayback Machine>.
  26. ^ "8 Recipes To Make With Peeps This Easter". Fox News Magazine. N.p., 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. < Archived 2014-01-09 at the Wayback Machine>.
  27. ^ "Homemade Hot Cocoa with PEEPS®". Food Channel. 2016-03-17. Archived from the original on 2018-04-03. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  28. ^ Kang, Grace. "Serious Eats -" Serious Eats. N.p., 31 Mar. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <>.
  29. ^ "The Internet is Losing It over 'Peepza': Peeps on a Pizza". 5 April 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  30. ^ "Adam Rifkin Eyes 'Peeps' Classic Candy Treats For Animated Film & TV Franchise". 22 April 2014. Archived from the original on 25 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.

External links[edit]