For other uses, see Twinkie (disambiguation).

Whole and split Twinkies
Type Snack cake
Place of origin United States
Region or state River Forest, Illinois (Chicago, Illinois)
Creator James Dewar
Main ingredients Wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, niacin, water, high fructose corn syrup, Eggs, shortening, and others
Cookbook: Twinkies  Media: Twinkies

A Twinkie is an American snack cake, marketed as a "Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling." It was formerly made and distributed by Hostess Brands. The brand is currently owned by Hostess Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWNK), having been formerly owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company as the second incarnation of Hostess Brands. During bankruptcy proceedings, Twinkie production was suspended on November 21, 2012, and resumed after an absence of several months from American store shelves, becoming available again nationwide on July 15, 2013.[1][2]

Twinkies are produced in Canada by Saputo Incorporated's Vachon Inc. (at a bakery in Montreal) which owns the Canadian rights to the product and were still available during the absence in the U.S. market.[3][4] Twinkies are also available in Mexican stores as "Submarinos" and "Twinkies" made by Marinela, and as "Tuinky" made by Wonder; both Marinela and Wonder are subsidiaries of Mexican bread company Grupo Bimbo.[5][6] In Egypt, which does not permit imports of the snack cake from other countries, Twinkies are produced under the company Edita. Twinkies are also available in the United Kingdom under the Hostess brand name and sold in Sainsburys, Tesco, ASDA and B&M stores. Twinkies are produced and distributed by multiple commercial bakeries in China, where Hostess does not own the brand.[7]


Box of Hostess Twinkies by Saputo Incorporated (in production)

Twinkies were invented in Schiller Park, Illinois[8] on April 6, 1930, by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company.[9] Realizing that several machines used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when strawberries were out of season, Dewar conceived a snack cake filled with banana cream, which he dubbed the Twinkie.[10] Ritchy Koph said he came up with the name when he saw a billboard in St. Louis for "Twinkle Toe Shoes".[11] During World War II, bananas were rationed and the company was forced to switch to vanilla cream. This change proved popular, and banana-cream Twinkies were not widely re-introduced. The original flavor was occasionally found in limited-time promotions, but the company used strawberry cream for most Twinkies.[12] In 1988, Fruit and Cream Twinkies were introduced with a strawberry filling swirled into the cream. The product was soon dropped.[13] Vanilla's dominance over banana flavoring would be challenged in 2005, following a month-long promotion of the movie King Kong. Hostess saw its Twinkie sales rise 20 percent during the promotion, and in 2007 restored the banana-cream Twinkie to its snack lineup.[14]

Hostess bankruptcy

On January 11, 2012,[15] parent company Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[11] Twinkie sales for the year ended December 25, 2011, were 36 million packages, down almost 20% from a year earlier.[11] Hostess said customers had migrated to healthier foods.[11] On November 16, 2012, Hostess officially announced that it "will be winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities." Bakery operations were suspended at all plants.[16]

Box of Hostess Twinkies by Hostess Brands

On November 19, 2012, Hostess and the Bakers Union agreed to mediation, delaying the shutdown for two days. On November 21, 2012, U.S. bankruptcy judge Robert Drain approved Hostess' request to shut down, temporarily ending Twinkie production in the United States.[17]

Return of Twinkies to U.S. market

On March 12, 2013, it was reported that Twinkies would return to store shelves in May of that year. Twinkies, along with other famed Hostess Brands, were purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co for $410 million.[18][19] Twinkies returned to U.S. shelves on July 15, 2013.[20]

Before Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy, Twinkies were reduced in size. They now contain 135 calories and have a mass of 38.5 grams, while the original Twinkies contained 150 calories and had a mass of 42.5 grams. The new Twinkies also have a longer shelf life of 45 days, which was also a change made before bankruptcy, compared to the 26 days of the original Twinkies.[21]

Use as an ingredient

Twinkies have notably been used as a component ingredient in other dishes.

Deep-fried Twinkie

A deep-fried Twinkie

A deep-fried Twinkie involves freezing the cake, dipping it into batter, and deep-frying it to create a variation on the traditional snack cake. In a story in The New York Times speaking of the deep fried Twinkie with its inventor, Christopher Sell, who is originally from Rugby, England, it was described in this way: "Something magical occurs when the pastry hits the hot oil. The creamy white vegetable shortening filling liquefies, impregnating the sponge cake with its luscious vanilla flavor.... The cake itself softens and warms, nearly melting, contrasting with the crisp, deep-fried crust in a buttery and suave way. The pièce de résistance, however, is a ruby-hued berry sauce, adding a tart sophistication to all that airy sugary goodness".[22] The Texas State Fair had introduced the fried Twinkie to great popular acclaim, and the notion spread to other state fairs across the U.S., as well as some establishments that specialize in fried foods.[23] Fried Twinkies are sold throughout the U.S. in fairs as well as ball games, and in various restaurants. Starting in August 2016, Walmart began selling prepackaged, frozen versions of the deep-fried Twinkie at stores nationwide in the US.[24]

Twinkie wiener sandwich

A scene from the 1989 film UHF shows the creation of "Weird Al" Yankovic's signature food, the "Twinkie Wiener Sandwich". The snack consists of an overturned Twinkie split open as a makeshift bun, a hot dog, and Easy Cheese put together and dipped in milk before eating. Yankovic has stated that he has switched to using tofu hot dogs since becoming a vegetarian, but still enjoys the occasional Twinkie Wiener Sandwich.[25]

Cakes and pies

Twinkies can be used in recipes as quick substitute for sponge cake. In 2013, Fox News published a list of best Twinkie recipes, which included a tiramisu and Paula Deen's "Twinkie pie".[26]

Twinkies, as-is or split lengthwise, can also be used as the cake in the strawberry shortcake dessert.

The chocolate creme from the middle of double chocolate bismarcks or other such pasties can be removed from the pastry and used to replace that which comes in the middle of the Twinkie.

Cultural references


The Twinkie became known worldwide in countries which did not sell the confection in 1984 due to a reference in the hit film Ghostbusters. In the film, the character Egon Spengler describes a speculated level of psychokinetic energy and uses a regular Twinkie size to represent the normal level of such energy in New York City. He then says that based on a recent sample, the Twinkie representing New York would be over thirty-five feet long and weigh approximately six hundred pounds, to which the character Winston Zeddemore replies with the famous line "that's a big Twinkie."

Twinkie defense

Main article: Twinkie defense

"Twinkie defense" is a derisive label for an improbable legal defense. It is not a recognized legal defense in jurisprudence, but a catchall term coined by reporters during their coverage of the trial of defendant Dan White for the murders of San Francisco city Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. White's defense was that he suffered diminished capacity as a result of his depression. His change in diet from healthful food to Twinkies and other sugary foods was said to be a symptom of depression. Contrary to common belief, White's attorneys did not argue that the Twinkies were the cause of White's actions, but that their consumption was symptomatic of his underlying depression. [10]

Song lyrics

John Fogerty's 2004 album Deja Vu All Over Again includes the satirical and somewhat world-weary song "Nobody's Here Anymore", which ponders people's infatuation with modern technology and its ever more sophisticated consumer devices. "He got a stash of Twinkies up in his room" is a line lamenting the self-absorption and social isolation of the protagonist of the song's first verse. Twinkies are also one of the products mentioned in Junk Food Junkie, a Top 40 1976 novelty song by Larry Groce. And in "Habits (Stay High)", a 2013 song by Swedish singer Tove Lo, Twinkies are mentioned in the line "I get home, I got the munchies / Binge on all my Twinkies / Throw up in the tub / Then I go to sleep".[27] The singer confessed she had thought that "twinkie" was a synonym for "cookie" and that Hostess had sent her a sample of the product after the success of the song.[28]

Shelf life

A common urban legend claims that Twinkies have an infinite shelf life, and can last unspoiled for a relatively long time of ten, fifty, or one hundred years due to the chemicals used in their production.[29] An homage to the unlimited shelf life urban myth appears in the movie WALL-E. His pet cockroach is shown eating his way into the creme filling at one end and emerging out the other, none the worse for wear.[30]

Another homage to the Twinkie's shelf life myth was shown in the 2016 animated film Sausage Party, where a Twinkie is amongst the "Non-Perishable" foods.

In reality, Twinkies are on the shelf for a short time; a company executive told the New York Times in 2000 that the "Twinkie is on the shelf no more than 7 to 10 days."[31] The maximum shelf life was reported to have been 26 days, until the addition of stronger preservatives made beginning in 2012 increased it to 45 days.[32]

Twinkie diet

In 2010, Kansas State University professor Mark Haub went on a "convenience store" diet consisting mainly of Twinkies, Oreos, and Doritos in an attempt to demonstrate to his students "that in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most, not the nutritional value of the food". He lost 27 pounds over a two-month period, returning his body mass index (BMI) to within normal range.[33][34] In addition to Twinkies, Haub ate Little Debbie snack cakes, cereals, cookies, brownies, Doritos, Oreos and other kinds of high calorie, low-nutrition foods that are usually found at convenience stores. However, he supplemented this diet daily with a multivitamin, a protein shake and fresh vegetables.[35]

Because of their cake-like consistency and high energy density, Twinkies, other Hostess products, as well as Zingers, a Twinkie analogue, and other items of this type were mentioned as good optional food item in the semi-underground book The Pop & Chocolate Milk Diet,[36] which focuses on a high liquid percentage intake along with supplements, with a central idea being pre-empting hunger pangs by coating, inflating, and/or filling up (as with crackers, for example) the stomach.[37] It can be said that a somewhat similar conclusion to that of Dr Haub was reached by the authors and speakers on the diet.[36]

See also


  1. Parija Kavilanz (July 12, 2013). "'First batch' Twinkies go on sale at Walmart". CNN. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  2. Staff and wire reports (July 12, 2013). "Hostess Twinkies make an early return to Southland shelves". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  3. Marotte, Bertrand (November 16, 2012). "As Hostess winds up, who will bite on Twinkies?". The Globe and Mail.
  4. "Twinkie the Kid Is Alive and Well and Living in Canada". November 16, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  5. "Campaña de la semana: Dona Twinkies a un Americano". Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  6. "How Hostess Surrendered The Twinkies Brand In China". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  7. Staff and wire reports (August 21, 2014). "Hostess closing bakery that created the Twinkie". MSN Money. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  8. Biemer, John (April 30, 2006). "Homeowner Discovers That Mr. Twinkie Slept There". U-T San Diego. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  9. 1 2 Belcher, Jerry (June 3, 1985). "Man Who Concocted the Twinkie Dies : James A. Dewar's Treat Is Part of America's Diet and Folklore". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 3, 2011. It was Dewar's inspiration to fill the cakes with a sugar-cream mixture, the formula for which is still a tightly held secret.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Ovide, Shira (September 2, 2011). "Great Moments in Twinkies History". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  11. "The History of the Hostess Twinkie". Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  12. Continental Baking Company (1988). "Fruit and Cream Twinkies commercial". Continental Baking Company. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  13. Shepherd, Lauren (June 13, 2007). "Hostess selling banana-creme Twinkies". USA Today. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  14. Knipp, Christopher. "City of Saginaw, Michigan; Notice of Chapter 11" (PDF). Hostess Brands, LLC. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  15. Erik_Halvorson, Blynn Austin. "Hostess Brands is closed; HOSTESS BRANDS TO WIND DOWN COMPANY AFTER BCTGM UNION STRIKE CRIPPLES OPERATIONS". Hostess Brands, LLC. Media_Division. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  16. "Twinkie maker Hostess to 'immediately' fire 15,000 workers as liquidation approved". Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  17. Chris Isidore (March 13, 2013). "Twinkies due on shelves by summer as $410 million bid OK'd". CNNMoney.
  18. Mark Lacter (March 12, 2013). "Hooray, Twinkies are coming back". LA Observed.
  19. "Twinkies, Hostess snacks back in stores today". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  20. Choi, Candace (July 15, 2013). "New Twinkies weigh less, have fewer calories". USA Today. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  21. "Fry That Twinkie, But Hold the Chips". The New York Times. May 15, 2002. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  22. "New junk food fad: Deep-fried Twinkies". CNN. September 18, 2002. Archived from the original on 24 January 2002. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  23. "Walmart is selling deep-fried Twinkies". CNN. August 12, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  24. "Midnight Star "Ask Al" Q&As for October/November, 1995". Archived from the original on November 6, 2006. Retrieved October 26, 2006.
  25. "Best Twinkies recipes". Fox News. June 24, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  26. Pathak, Shirani M. (6 October 2014). "Heart Break For The Self-Respecting Woman". Relationship Center of Silicon Valley. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  27. Held, Joey. "Tove Lo on Coming Back from Surgery and the Stupidity of Censorship". Paste Magazine. Archived from the original on August 15, 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  28. "Forever Twinkies". Snopes – Urban Legends Reference Pages. May 19, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  29. Walt Disney Productions/Pixar Animation Studios. WALL-E, 2008.
  30. Kelley, Tina (March 23, 2000). "Twinkie Strike Afflicts Fans With Snack Famine". The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  31. Kim, Susanna (July 9, 2013). "What's New About the Twinkie and Other Hostess Brands Favorites". ABC News. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  32. Park, Madison (November 8, 2010). "Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds". CNN. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  33. "Exclusive Interview with Prof. Mark Haub". Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  34. "Healthy Diet of Twinkies? - Organic Authority". December 2, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  35. 1 2 The Pop & Chocolate Milk Diet, compiled by PCMD staff, © 24 March 1988, National Caucus-SSFC Publishing, Des Moines, Iowa, no ISBN found
  36. On The Road With The Pop & Chocolate Milk Diet, compiled by staff, © 12 December 1988, National Caucus-SSFC Publishing (Milwaukee)

Further reading

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