‘Swicy’ Is the Best Food Trend Right Now—Here’s Why

The word looks straight out of Dr. Seuss, but "swicy" combines sweet and spicy, for a variety of creative flavors.

Is “swicy” a Swedish icy drink? Or the name of a lesser-known Smurf or possibly a Spice Girl? No, no and no. But this Dr. Seuss-sounding word is suddenly taking over restaurant menus everywhere!

What Is Swicy?

It’s a word that takes the “sw” from sweet and the “icy” from spicy to make whole new term. This combination word is called a portmanteau. Think of how “hangry” combines hungry and angry, or “spork” mixes spoon with fork.

It’s not like we really needed a single word for sweet and spicy. No one, to my knowledge at least, is calling sweet-and-sour sauce “swour.” Back in 2021, The New York Times mentioned swicy as an up-and-coming food trend, along with the more unfortunately named “swalty” for sweet-and-salty. (Think kettle corn, or salted caramel anything, for a “swalty” example.)

It looks like the prediction about “swicy” food seems to be coming true!

What Types of Food Are Swicy?

One popular example of a swicy food is hot honey, aka sweet honey that’s been jazzed up with chili peppers.

Mike’s Hot Honey sells this combination in stores, and its website suggests using the sauce to top everything from pizza to ice cream. According to the company website, founder Mike Kurtz first came across the flavor combo while studying in Brazil. He discovered a restaurant that offered jars of honey with chiles for drizzling on pizza, and Mike eventually turned the taste into a business.

Speaking of pizza, Pizza Hut is all about that swicy taste, trying out hot honey pizza and hot honey wings in Dallas and Cleveland this summer. And other restaurant chains, including Mod Pizza, offer Mike’s Hot Honey as a pizza topping.

Doritos also has a spicy sweet chili flavor that blends sweetness and heat, and there’s now a Takis dragon sweet chili flavor as well.

And if you’ve been to Mexico, or a grocery store with a good Mexican candy aisle, you already know that sweet, fruity mango mixed with chili powder is delight. Plus, the seasoning Tajín, made from dried chiles, dehydrated lime and salt, is good on almost everything—but especially pineapple.

Can Drinks Be Swicy?

Beverages can be swicy too, as anyone who’s ever downed a jalapeno margarita can attest. One of the better-known swicy drinks is a mangonada, a chilled blended mango drink layered with chamoy and Tajín.

Burger King, too, got in on the swicy craze, with a frozen mango-citrus Fanta drink spiked with chili.

And if you like to buy beverage syrups to swice up your own drinks, Monin has a hot honey syrup, and Torani has one simply called Sweet Heat that uses cayenne pepper. Cheers to swicy!

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is a pop culture junkie and the co-author of Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops and The Totally Sweet '90s. She covers TV, movies, books and pop culture, as well as food news of all kinds. Gael is a weblog pioneer who started her first blog, Pop Culture Junk Mail, in 1999.