16 Sweet Facts About Peeps

Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying they’re an iconic part of the Easter holiday season.
Fun fact? Those eyes are virtually indestructible.
Fun fact? Those eyes are virtually indestructible. / Joe Raedle/GettyImages

You know whether you prefer chicks to bunnies, fresh to stale, or plain to chocolate-covered. But there’s a lot you may not know about Peeps, which have a pretty divisive reputation as far as non-chocolate Easter candies go. And whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that these marshmallow treats are an iconic part of the holiday.

1. It used to take 27 hours to make a Peep.

Peeps candy facts: Marshmallow Peeps Production Hits High Gear Before Easter
Now it takes under 10 minutes. / William Thomas Cain/GettyImages

That was in 1953, when Sam Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company and its line of marshmallow chicks. Back then, each chick was handmade with a pastry tube. Just Born—the Born family candy company—set about automating the process, so that it now takes just six minutes to make a Peep.

2. An average of 5.5 million Peeps are made every day.

All of them at the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In one year, the company makes enough Peeps to circle Earth twice.

3. Yellow chicks are the original Peep, and still the favorite.

Peeps candy facts: Some colored Peeps contain controversial red dye No. 3
Yellow bunnies might not be the most popular, but they still have that classic yellow hue. / Anadolu/GettyImages

Yellow bunnies are the second most popular color/shape combination. Pink is the second best-selling color.

4. The Peeps recipe has never really changed.

Peeps facts: Consumer Groups, Scientists Call On Peeps Candies To Stop Use Of Red Dye 3
They might be a different color than you're used to, but the traditional recipe is more or less the same. / Joe Raedle/GettyImages

The recipe begins with boiling granulated sugar, liquid sugar, and corn syrup together, to which gelatin and vanilla extract are later added.

5. The Peeps equipment has also (mostly) stayed the same.

Since Just Born turned Peeps-making into an automated process, the chicks have been carefully formed by a top-secret machine known as the Depositor. Created by Sam Born’s son, Bob, the Depositor could manufacture six rows of five Peeps apiece in a fraction of the time it took workers to form them by hand. And that same machine that Bob built kept the Peeps flowing for several decades.

In 2014, the company announced that it was planning to renovate its manufacturing plant, including the Depositor. “It’s a little sad,” senior vice president of sales and marketing Matthew Pye told Candy Industry magazine at the time. “Bob Born made it from scratch in 1954 and it allowed us to distribute and grow the brand nationally." 

6. The updated equipment means new Peeps innovations could be coming.

“The investment in our marshmallow-making process will allow for more efficiency, more consistency, improved quality, and additional innovation capabilities,” co-CEO Ross Born told Candy Industry about the new Depositor, which will be able to produce a wider variety of Peeps in all sizes. “The [old] Peeps line did one thing and one thing very well—cranking out chicks day in and day out. Five clusters, just in different colors,” Born said.

7. Peeps used to have wings.

They were clipped in 1955, two years after the first marshmallow chicks hatched, to give the candy a sleeker, more “modern” look.

8. A Peep’s eyes are the final touch.

Peeps facts: Some colored Peeps contain controversial red dye No. 3
They save the eyes for last. / Anadolu/GettyImages

The final flourish for all of these squishy balls of sweetness is adding the eyes, which are made of carnauba wax—a non-toxic vegetable wax (that is also found in some shoe polishes and car waxes, plus many other candies).

9. Peeps may be destructible, but their eyes are not.

In 1999, a pair of scientists at Emory University—dubbed “Peeps Investigators”—decided to test the theory that Peeps are an indestructible food. In addition to Peeps’ performance in a microwave, the pair tested the candy’s vulnerability to tap water, boiling water, acetone, and sulfuric acid (they survived them all). When they upped the ante with some phenol, the only things that didn’t disappear were the eyes

10. Peeps really are one of the most popular non-chocolate Easter candies.

Peeps facts: Just Born Quality Confections launches digital marketing campaign
They're an Easter holiday mainstay for a reason. / Richard Levine/GettyImages

You might not like them (in fact, a lot of people don’t), but for decades, the non-chocolate candy has dominated Easter baskets. With more than 1.5 billion Peeps consumed each spring, they have topped the list of most popular treats for the holiday for more than two decades.

11. There are sugar-free Peeps.

Counterintuitive, we know. But in 2007, the first line of sugar-free Peeps hit store shelves. While they have zero fat, each Peep chick has 28 calories; bunnies have 27.5 calories.

12. There are also chocolate-covered Peeps.

Chocolate-covered Peeps hit the market in 2010. Today there’s a full line of them for every occasion.

13. Peeps come in a variety of flavors.

Consumer Groups, Scientists Call On Peeps Candies To Stop Use Of Red Dye 3
These days, those classic yellow chicks aren't the only pick you can grab off the shelf. / Joe Raedle/GettyImages

Color and shape (i.e., yellow and chick) are no longer the only ways to categorize a Peep. They now come in an array of flavors, including pancakes and syrup, gingerbread, cotton candy, root beer float, and chocolate pudding.

14. On New Year’s Eve, a giant Peep is dropped in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Peeps facts: Giant inflatable yellow Peep is seen.
A giant ball isn't the only thing dropping on New Year's Eve. / PEEPS

The drop is done with a traditional chick that flashes different colors at midnight.

15. Peeps are not Just Born’s best-selling brand.

That honor belongs to Mike and Ike. (Sorry, Peepsters.)

16. Peeps are a boon to a creativity.

All over the country, Peeps have become the preferred media for a number of highly anticipated annual art contests. (You can check out some of the coolest creations from Westminster, Maryland,’s long-running PEEPshow here.)

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A version of this story was originally published in 2020 and has been updated for 2024.