We Blind Tasted 4 Samoas Knockoffs to Find the Best Caramel-Coconut Cookie Out There

Can coconut-caramel cookie dupes measure up to the beloved Girl Scout Samoas? Only a blind taste test will tell.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

several types of samoas girl scout cookies on a white piece of paper with text
Abbi Wilt

It seems, in recent years, Girl Scout Samoas have finally gotten a bit of the respect they deserve. Bite into one of these "crisp cookies with caramel, coconut, and dark chocolaty stripes" and find yourself transported to a textural wonderland that's chewy, crispy, crunchy, and everything in between. Samoas — along with Trefoils, Thin Mints, and Do-Si-Dos — were introduced back in 1974 for Girl Scouts by Little Brownie Bakers, one of two U.S. bakeries with whom local councils have the option to work. The other bakery, ABC Bakers, produces a similar (but decidedly not the same) cookie called Caramel deLites. (We will not be including them in our research because, lucky me, I've been exclusively in Samoas territory.)

While Thin Mints have always had a special place in the hearts of Americans (and Thin Mint purists are a passionate, vocal bunch), Samoas sell like hotcakes each cookie season. In fact, unlike Thin Mints, Samoas even have their own Facebook page (with over half a million likes) and Instagram account where coconut-crazed fans can download Samoas-themed wallpapers for their phones.

According to the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, a local council serving over 11,000 young female leaders, 20 percent of cookie sales in 2022 have been Samoas. With nearly 1.6 million boxes sold, this means that roughly 320,000 boxes of caramel-coconut glory are making their way around the area. At 15 cookies per box, that's a consumption of 4.8 million Samoas. Not bad, right?

It's no wonder that, in the off-season, other brands have tried to replicate Samoas' success with their own version of a ring-shaped caramel-coconut-chocolate cookie. When the craving hits mid-summer (unless you are one of the remarkable super-humans who has the self-control to store boxes away in the freezer) I turn to my local grocery store to help fill the void. But, how do these imitations measure up against the original cookie? Twist my arm — a Samoas taste test was in order. According to the Little Brownie Bakers' "What's Your Cookie Personality" Quiz, those of us with a "soft spot for Samoas," (sane Americans) are "brave, curious, and innovative." So, it's in my cookie personality to boldly venture into worlds unknown. I do it for you.

Best Samoas Alternative at a Glance

The Champion: Girls Scouts Samoas Cookies
1st Runner-up: Great Value Caramel Coconut & Fudge Cookies
2nd Runner-up: Keebler Coconut Dreams
3rd Runner-up: Benton's Caramel Coconut Fudge Cookies
4th Runner-up: Crav'n Flavor Striped Cookies: Caramel Coconut

Sweet, Sweet Analysis

To me, the ideal Samoa is a crisp shortbread-like cookie with an equally thick coconut-caramel topping and just enough chocolate to round out each bite. It's all about ratio. To ensure a fair analysis, I broke the cookies' defining qualities into different categories: Cookie Crispness, Coconut Ratio, Caramel Chewiness, and Chocolate Flavor. Then, I gathered some friends for a final blind taste test. Each cookie scored a set of points: If it ranked first in the category, it earned one point. If it ranked second, it earned two points (and so on). This Samoas taste test followed golf rules: The lowest score won.

The Reigning Champion: The OG Samoa

A box of Samoas girl scout cookies on a white background

Cookie Crispness: 4th place
Coconut Ratio: 1st place
Caramel Chewiness: 3rd place
Chocolate Flavor: 1st place
Blind Taste Test: 1st place

Overall, the Girl Scout Samoas tasted freshest and like they were made with higher-quality ingredients, which may be reflected in its price-point (and the quick cookie-peddling skills of our young female entrepreneurs). The Samoa was also the smallest cookie of the bunch, and the only one with "dark" chocolate. The stripes tasted least artificial, and the cookie itself, though not especially crisp, had a buttery aftertaste. The caramel on the Samoa was almost toffee-like (i.e., more snappable than chewy, with a deeper flavor) but brought out a nuttiness in the coconut that the other cookies lacked. Fun fact: Little Brownie Bakers prides itself on Samoa caramel, taking great care to craft it in big copper kettles. Overall, the more delicate Samoas were the hands-down winner of the blind taste test.

1st Runner Up: Great Value Caramel Coconut & Fudge Cookies (Walmart)

Great Value Coconut Caramel & Fudge Cookies - image credit Walmart.com

Cookie Crispness: 2nd place
Coconut Ratio: 2nd place
Caramel Chewiness: 1st place
Chocolate Flavor: 4th place
Blind Taste Test: 3rd place

OK, Walmart! I was pleasantly surprised. These cookies are second-lowest in cost, making them a (pun intended) great value. The cookie itself was crisp and snappy, with good coconut flavor in the topping and first place in caramel chewiness. No part overpowered another element. The coconut texture was less prominent, as the pieces were more pulverized than the shred-like coconut bits on the original Samoas. There was less chocolate flavor overall — more reminiscent of melting bark that you'd buy around the holidays. But, all things considered, these will be my go-to cookies when I can't have the original.

2nd Runner Up: Keebler Coconut Dreams

Keebler Coconut Dreams - image credit Walmart.com

Cookie Crispness: 1st place
Coconut Ratio: 5th place
Caramel Chewiness: 5th place
Chocolate Flavor: 2nd place
Blind Taste Test: 2nd place

Little Brownie Bakers is owned by Ferrero, the same company that owns Keebler. Meaning: If they wanted to make the two cookies taste the same, they could. Based on this knowledge and the higher price point, I assumed that the Keebler cookie would be at the top of the imitation list. However, the Keebler cookie brand really stuck to what they know (and, do best). Think of a fudge-stripe cookie, add coconut, and that's what you've got in a Coconut Dream. The shortbread itself was top-tier — the crispest cookie of all — but it definitely overpowered the other elements. The coconut lended more texture than taste, and the classic Keebler fudge flavor was the last note in your mouth. It's a good cookie, don't get me wrong — but it doesn't replace a Samoa.

3rd Runner Up: Benton's Caramel Coconut Fudge Cookies (Aldi)

Aldi Caramel Coconut image credit Aldi.us

Cookie Crispness: 3rd place
Coconut Ratio: 3rd place
Caramel Chewiness: 2nd place
Chocolate Flavor: 3rd place
Blind Taste Test: 4th place

Aldi's contender, the Caramel Coconut Fudge Cookie, was saved by its decently chewy coconut-caramel layer. The cheapest of the Samoa hopefuls, the cookie layer itself feels almost non-existent; it melts away in your mouth instead of holding its own shape. Visually, it looks closest to Samoas in size. There isn't much chocolate or coconut flavor, though it is redeemed with a good variety of textures. This cookie is one of the sweeter imitations. For the price point, again, it's a good cookie. But, it can't measure up to the Coconut Crown Jewel.

Last Place: Crav'n Flavor Striped Cookies: Caramel Coconut

Crav'N Flavor image credit Hy-Vee.com

Cookie Crispness: 5th place
Coconut Ratio: 4th place
Caramel Chewiness: 4th place
Chocolate Flavor: 5th place
Blind Taste Test: 5th place

All generic cookies are not of the same caliber. Though the Crav'n cookie had some good coconut flavor and texture, it lacked chewiness. The most notable downfall of said cookie, however, was that the shortbread layer was so thick that it was the toughest of the bunch to bite into. In our blind taste test, the fudge was described as "plasticky" and "fake-tasting" — a poor replica of Keebler fudge. Overall, I would opt to leave these cookies on the shelf.


Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love