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The History of Oreos

Oreo stamps, 1916-1924
Oreo cookies are one of the most beloved and most easily recognizable cookies that you can find anywhere – and there are many reasons why people love them (even when they regularly bake cookies at home!). Oreos made their debut 100 years ago, at the Nabisco factory in New York on March 6, 1912. The sandwich cookies were originally available in two flavors: lemon meringue and cream. The cream-filled chocolate biscuits were Nabisco’s more popular offering, but they kept the lemon meringue flavor on the market until the 1920s when they dropped it in favor of the combination we all know today. The origin of the name Oreo seems to be shrouded in mystery, with no direct answer even from Nabisco historians.

The cookies have really changed very little over the years, with the exception of the design stamped on the top, which underwent a few changes before taking on its current appearance. The current design (above, right) has been unchanged since 1952. The cookies are still the best selling cookie in the US and more than 491 billion Oreo cookies have been sold to date all over the world. The Oreos sold in the US are also produced here, and are both dairy and egg free.

The original cookies remain popular, but these days Nabisco is constantly adding new products and limited edition items to the Oreo line to keep things fresh for consumers. They are playing with flavors and colors while keeping the look and feel of the cookie the same so that Oreo-lovers can always Twist, Lick and Dunk their cookies into a tall glass of milk. In fact, they’re even launching a Birthday Cake flavor in honor of their 100th anniversary. The chocolate cookies n’ cream flavor combination is also so popular that there are all kinds of recipes that use it as their inspiration, from cookies n’ cream ice creams to Oreo brownies and cheesecakes.

I’ll still dunk one in milk when I have a package at home, but most of my Oreos are going into tasty cookies n’ cream baked goods like these:

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  • lynn @ the actor's diet
    February 16, 2012

    i just bought a bag of fudge covered ones today!!!

  • JS
    February 16, 2012

    Bah! Bah I say! I still miss my beloved Hydroxes. 😛 No history of the Oreo is complete without mentioning that the Hydrox came first! 😛

  • LisAway
    February 17, 2012

    Oreos just came to Poland about a year ago! We only have the regular ones, and they are quite expensive and sold in smaller packages. After eating them I thought “Oh, I guess I don’t like Oreos as much as I remembered”, but after a visit to the states and trying them there I realized that the cookie part here is far inferior to the version in the states. They look the same, but the cookie won’t dissolve in your mouth, or soften up much in milk. They’re even a bit grainy. Too bad! At least they’re similar…

  • Maureen
    February 17, 2012

    Are all Oreos made in China or just the ones we have here in Australia? I love Oreos but I like knowing exactly what goes into them.

    Nice to know more history.

  • Gabriela Rodiles
    February 17, 2012

    This is such an interesting post! Thanks for informing us about the history of these yummy cookies. I am a huge Oreo fan, especially when they are dipped in Peanut Butter like in the movie The Parent Trap!

  • Nicole
    February 17, 2012

    Maureen – Oreos sold in the US are made in the US. Here, they also happen to be dairy and egg free (vegan – believe it or not!).

    Oreos sold elsewhere in the world are often produced outside of the US. For instance, those sold in the UK are produced in the UK. The recipes differ slightly from country to country, often in an effort to suit local tastes. It’s interesting to know that those sold in Australia are made in China. I’ve heard that Chinese Oreos are slightly less sweet than American Oreos, too.

  • CookwareBliss
    February 22, 2012

    This was a very interesting, I always loved the Oreo comercials through-out the years and was cool to learn more about Oreo’s history. Thanks for sharing!

  • isaac
    October 9, 2014

    oreos are the best cookies in the world!

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