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What Are Milky Way Candy Bars Made of?

The Milky Way candy bar, first created by Frank C. Mars in 1923, has been a beloved treat for generations. It features layers of smooth nougat and creamy caramel covered in rich milk chocolate. Its name and original flavor were inspired by a popular malted milk drink of the era, not the cosmic galaxy.

Key ingredients typically found in a Milky Way bar include sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, milkfat, and corn syrup, which combine to give the bar its signature sweet taste. Additionally, palm oil is used in the creation of the bar, contributing to its texture and shelf life. These components are carefully mixed to create the classic confection enjoyed by many.

The original recipe and design of the Milky Way candy bar have stood the test of time, with only slight variations in different regions affecting its ingredients and taste. As a product of Mars, Incorporated, the Milky Way remains a staple on the candy aisle, demonstrating the company’s longstanding commitment to confectionery delights.

History of the Milky Way Bar

The Milky Way bar, produced by Mars Incorporated, owes its origins to the creativity of Frank C. Mars. It was first crafted in 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its flavor was inspired by a malted milk drink, which was a popular treat at the time.

By March 10, 1925, the Milky Way trademark had already been registered in the United States, with the product’s initial conception claimed to be in 1922. The bar featured a simple yet appealing combination of chocolate, caramel, and malted milk nougat, which quickly became a hit among candy lovers.

With the first year sales skyrocketing to $800,000—equivalent to over $14 million today—the Milky Way bar not only set a precedent for future confectionery innovations but also cemented its place in the pantheon of classic American sweets. It symbolizes the early 20th-century American confectionery ingenuity and marks the beginning of the Mars candy empire.

Main Ingredients

The Milky Way candy bar, a delectable treat, is comprised of three main components each bringing its own unique texture and flavor to the overall experience. One will find a chocolate coating, a nougat core, and a luscious caramel layer in every bite.

Chocolate Coating

The outer shell of a Milky Way bar is a milk chocolate layer that encapsulates the entire confection. This milk chocolate is responsible for the bar’s smooth and creamy finish that many fans enjoy.

Nougat Core

At the heart of the Milky Way bar lies a soft, fluffy nougat. The nougat is made primarily from egg whites and sugar, which gives it a light, aerated texture.

Caramel Layer

Sitting between the nougat and the chocolate coating is a thick layer of caramel. This caramel is typically made from a mixture of sugar, butter, and milk or cream, providing a sweet and sticky contrast to the soft nougat below.

Nutritional Information

When examining the Milky Way candy bar, one encounters a classic treat that is rich in sugars and contains a notable amount of fats. It is important for consumers to be aware of the nutritional content that a single serving of this candy bar provides.


A typical 1.84 oz Milky Way bar contains approximately 240 calories. This energy comes largely from carbohydrates and fats present in the chocolate, caramel, and nougat.


Fat: A single bar has around 9 grams of total fat, which includes 6 grams of saturated fat and negligible trans fats.
Carbohydrates: There are 37 grams of total carbohydrates, with less than 1 gram of dietary fiber and 32 grams of sugars, of which 29 grams are added sugars.
Protein: It contains a modest 2 grams of protein.

Vitamins & Minerals

The Milky Way bar does offer small amounts of some vitamins and minerals. Each serving has:

  • Vitamin A: 7.13 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0.09 mcg
  • Iron: 0.11 mg
  • Calcium: 26.45 mg
  • Potassium: 29 mg

Bear in mind that these contribute insignificantly to the daily recommended values and should not be relied upon for nutritional needs.


The Milky Way bar comes in various iterations, each offering a different blend of flavors and ingredients. The following subsections present a glimpse into these flavorful diversities that echo across the Milky Way brand.

Original Milky Way

The Original Milky Way bar is a classic blend of creamy nougat and sweet caramel enveloped in milk chocolate. It was the first of its kind, providing a rich and indulgent treat for those yearning for a sweet escape.

Milky Way Midnight

Milky Way Midnight features a unique twist with its dark chocolate coating. Inside, one finds a vanilla-flavored nougat and caramel, offering a bolder, more mature flavor profile than its original counterpart.

Milky Way Simply Caramel

The Milky Way Simply Caramel bar simplifies the sensation by focusing on caramel. This version forgoes the nougat, allowing a full, soft caramel core, generously coated in milk chocolate, to take center stage.

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process of Milky Way candy bars is a systematic series of steps aimed at creating the familiar sweets that many enjoy. Each phase of production ensures the candy bars meet quality standards while showcasing the distinctive flavors and textures for which they are known.

Mixing Ingredients

To begin, the chocolate-malt nougat is made by combining malted milk powder with various ingredients, including sweeteners and egg whites. The mixture is carefully heated and blended to create a fluffy consistency, which is the core layer of the candy bar.


Once the nougat reaches the desired texture, it is poured into molds to set its distinct shape. This is followed by a layer of creamy caramel, added on top of the nougat. Both layers are then cooled to prepare for the coating process.


After shaping, the candy bars proceed to a coating station, where they are enrobed in smooth milk chocolate. This involves passing the bars on a conveyor through a waterfall of tempered chocolate, covering them completely.


Finally, the chocolate-coated bars are cooled to allow the chocolate to harden. They are then wrapped in branded packaging, sealed for freshness, and prepared for distribution to ensure they reach consumers in pristine condition.

Allergen Information

When enjoying a Milky Way candy bar, it’s important for individuals with allergies to be aware of the specific allergen content. The following outlines allergens found in Milky Way bars.

Dairy Content

Milky Way bars contain dairy products, such as milk. Milk is a primary ingredient that contributes to the creamy texture of the nougat and caramel.

Nut Content

Although Milky Way bars do not contain nuts as ingredients, they are manufactured in facilities that process peanut products. This may pose a risk of cross-contamination, making it necessary for those with nut allergies to exercise caution.

Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is used in Milky Way bars as an emulsifier. Those with soy allergies should be mindful of this ingredient as it is integral to the chocolate’s smooth texture.

Global Availability

Milky Way candy bars have distinct formulations and availability that vary by region, catering to different taste preferences and local regulations.

North America

In the United States, the Milky Way bar consists of nougat topped with caramel and covered in milk chocolate. However, it differs from the global version, as the Milky Way bar sold outside the US is similar to the US’s 3 Musketeers bar. Canada does not sell the Milky Way under its original name, instead distributing variants of this and similar products under alternative brand names.


The European Milky Way is lighter and fluffier in texture, and legislation in places like the UK mandates higher cacao content in milk chocolate products. Therefore, a Milky Way bar purchased in Europe may have a richer chocolate taste compared to its North American counterpart.


Japan offers a variety of Kit Kat flavors, exemplifying the region’s innovative approach to familiar confections. While the Milky Way itself may not see as much variation, it is part of this regional tendency to cater to local tastes and often includes unique packaging and presentation.