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A Top 10 of the Best Sunflower Seeds

posted on: Aug 10, 2022

A Top 10 of the Best Sunflower Seeds

By: Jordan AbuAljazer / Arab America Contributing Writer

In my personal opinion, sunflower seeds are an incredibly underrated snack in the United States. The saltiness of roasted sunflower seeds provides a great flavor, and the crunch of the kernel makes for great snacking food. It is also a much healthier food than other salty snacks like chips and popcorn! Sunflower seeds are rich in healthy fats and vitamin E, vitamin V, thiamin, and selenium. Studies show that they can lower cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. They are also a great source of energy throughout the day.

While I feel they might be underrated in the States, anyone familiar with Arab culture knows that sunflower seeds are incredibly popular. A popular way to consume sunflower seeds is to simply layout the head of a sunflower like it is a plate and munch on them raw while you talk with your friends and family. Because of the cracking process, a large sunflower can last for a while in even a large group, and it pairs great with shai, a traditional Arabic tea.

What is not as popular in Arabic culture, though, is flavored sunflower seeds. From personal experience, many Arabs who have grown up eating raw and salted sunflower seeds are completely unaware of, even a little intimidated by, the vast world of flavored seeds that is waiting for them. There are certainly some odd (and great) ones like caramel, pickle, and even cinnamon toast flavors, but there are also some that might get you excited to start this journey. To those that are just a bit adventurous enough to try them out, I have gone ahead and prepared my personal list of the best flavors to go ahead and start trying.

10. Chinook Smokehouse BBQ

Starting out the list is one of the most popular brands of sunflower seeds: Chinook Seedery. This flavor will definitely be a flavor to anybody who has had a classic Texan barbecue dish. Along with the distinct sweet and tangy taste of barbecue, what makes this specific flavor special is the added notes of smoke, a staple of southern-style BBQ. For those looking for a savory taste, you can’t go wrong with this one.

9. ChaCha Coconut       

ChaCha is a brand you can find in nearly every Asian market, and these seeds are known for their large size compared to other types of sunflower seeds. You will not get a lot of saltiness with this one, the coconut seasoning is much sweeter than one might expect for a roasted seed. However, if you are in the need of something a little different from the ordinary, this is perfect.

8. Bigs Tapatío Chile Limón

This flavor is by far the spiciest one on this list, so it’s not for those that might shy away from a burning taste. This brand is known for its collaborations with other popular snacks and sauces, and those who are fans of hot sauce will be right at home here. What makes this flavor even better is that it has no ordinary hot sauce, it is Tapatío, and it tastes exactly like the classic citrus heat the sauce is known for.

7. Chinook Hatch Chile

Like most flavors by Chinook Seedery, their hatch chile seeds have a layered flavor. This makes it great for those who choose to put a few sunflower seeds in their cheek to savor the flavor instead of cracking them one-by-one. They have a slight spiciness to them with a distinct taste of onion as well, but they are nowhere near the spiciest you can find.

6. David Original

Out of all the original flavors put out by different manufacturers, David’s version is the most robust. It does not shy away from the saltiness, but they do offer a version with less salt for those who might find it more palatable. You can find this one pretty much everywhere, considering that David is the most popular brand sold in the United States.

5. David Sweet & Spicy

This flavor is more of a fun one to try than the others! It might sound like a bit of an odd pairing at first, but anyone who is a fan of sweet and spicy soups or sweet and sweet and sour sauce will find this flavor to be pretty much the same. David is also the only brand to offer this kind of flavor, and it is definitely worth a try! Just make sure you do not get the sweet and salty one by mistake. Same idea, but a much worse execution.

4. Spitz Flamin’ Hot

Fans of spicy Cheetos will find this one incredibly exciting! These seeds use the same Flamin’ Hot seasoning, except this one also has a distinct lime flavor as well. They translate incredibly well to sunflower seeds, and they let you enjoy the Flamin’ Hot flavor for much longer than Cheetos.

3. David Cracked Pepper

Nearing the top of the list is one of my personal favorites, David’s Cracked Pepper sunflower seeds. This is a perfect addition to the saltiness of most roasted seeds. It gives a lot more kick than the original for those who might need it, but it doesn’t stray too far from the classic taste we all know and love. If you’re looking to start trying flavored sunflower seeds but are a bit unsure where to start, this works great as a starting point!

2. Bigs Takis Fuego

Takis chips have become incredibly popular in recent years, and Bigs’ effort to translate the flavor to the world of sunflower seeds is an admirable one. Anyone who’s a fan of the chips will find themselves right at home here. Like the chips, they are not too spicy that you can’t enjoy the chili and lime flavor: they’re just spicy enough to savor.

1. Bigs Dill Pickle

            My all-time favorite is definitely not one I would have guessed myself. However, Bigs’ Dill Pickle flavor is just subtle enough that it’s not at all overpowering of the classic sunflower seed taste. Instead, these seeds provide a nice and savory tanginess you just can’t find anywhere else! The flavor even has a little sweetness as well! For anyone who wants a nice, maybe a little odd, flavor to try, this is the best of the best.

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