Aunt Mahalia’s Candies

Aunt Mahalia's Candies: A Sweet Spot to Stop
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Worth the visit, if only to watch how candy is made. While some candy is made on-site, the rest is prepackaged. Prices are relatively high, but the sweet aroma and selection of homemade treats may be worth the price.

- The Local Expert Team

1Right in heart of downtown Gatlinburg are two Aunt Mahalia’s Candies locations, a local staple since 1939. For decades, employees have made candy in a glass-enclosed kitchen that allows guests to watch the process. With two stores in downtown Gatlinburg, Aunt Mahalia’s is conveniently located along Parkway.

Famous homemade treats include:

  • Caramel Apples
  • Cinnamon Candied Apples
  • Deluxe Assorted Chocolates
  • Divinity
  • Fruit Jellies
  • Fudge
  • Rocky Road
  • Peanut Brittle
  • Maple Pralines
  • Old Fashioned Stick Candy
  • Pecan Logs
  • Pecan Nests
  • Pecan Puffs
  • Smokey Mountain Taffy Logs

Children particularly enjoy a trip to Aunt Mahalia’s and not simply because they might get candy. At regular intervals throughout the day craftsman move into the kitchen area to show the crowd how it’s done, from mixing the candy batter to forming and cooling it. Actually, grandmothers and grandfathers seem equally intrigued with the process.

In addition to a selection of homemade creations, the stores offer sugar-free candies such as deluxe chocolates, taffy, hard candies,  peanut brittle and taffy. They also carry a variety of tempting novelty candies like chocolate covered pretzels, peppermint twists, candy corn,  old fashioned peanut butter sticks, vanilla caramels, milk chocolate stars, creamy wafers, jelly beans, soft stick candy, old fashioned licorice twists, fruit slices, cherry and fruit sours, tart taffy kisses and hard balls. A collection of homemade syrups, apple butter, toe jams and Smokey Mountain honey are other customer favorites.

If that sounds like a huge selection, it is. The way the staff is able to neatly organize so many delectable treats into such a small space is a bit of an engineering miracle. If you are unable to find what you’re looking for right away, staff is happy to help.

One complaint longtime customers have is the sense that there are less old fashioned candies available than in days gone by. One possible reason for this is the room needed to display the types of candies children today are drawn to, like gummy bears.

The truth is, tastes evolve and retailers have to roll with those changes.  Still, one-half star was deducted for the disappointment old-timers feel at not being able to find their favorites anymore. Another one-half star is deducted due to the relative high price of treats. Part of that price can be attributed to high quality ingredients, but the rest is surely due to Aunt Mahalia’s prime locations along the busiest street in Gatlinburg.

Still, the aroma of confectionary treats draws customers in, young and old alike, and whether they’re looking for old-fashioned fudge, popcorn, or a novelty container of M&Ms, everyone leaves happy. That’s enough to make Aunt Mahalia’s Candies a must-visit.

Insider Tip:
Aunt Mahalia’s is one of the first downtown shops to open its doors each morning. Be there at 8:00 AM if you hope to avoid the crowds and have access to the greatest selection of homemade candies.