What Can You Buy With Food Stamps/EBT/SNAP? Answered

A Sign at a Retailer - We Accept SNAP II

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is widely accepted for food purchases at most grocery stores and some gas stations, convenience stores, and farmer’s markets.[1]

However, you can’t use your SNAP benefits to buy any item in the store. Eligible food items include staples like meat, vegetables, bread, and cereal, as well as snack foods and frozen meals.[2]

If you receive SNAP benefits, you can use an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card, to make your purchases.[3]

We list what you can and can’t buy with your EBT card below.

What Can You Buy With EBT/SNAP?

Under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services guidelines, you can use SNAP benefits to buy the following:[2]

  • Food for your household, including bread and cereal; fruit and vegetables; meat, fish, and poultry; and dairy products
  • Snack foods
  • Seeds and plants that produce food
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

As a general rule, if an item has a Nutrition Information or Nutrition Facts label (rather than a Supplemental Facts label), it is likely eligible under SNAP.[2]

Unlike WIC, which has strict requirements for the nutritional content and product sizes you can buy with your benefits,[4] SNAP doesn’t restrict you from buying certain brands of eligible food. Your benefits are valid on all major and store brands of each eligible item.[2][5][6]

Below, we detail which items you can buy with SNAP benefits within each category and where you can generally find them.

Baby Food/Formula


  • EBT-eligible types: All types (powdered, concentrated, ready-to-feed liquid formula, baby food jars, baby cereal, baby snack items); includes store brands and major brands like Similac and Enfamil[7][8]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Baked Goods

baked goods

  • EBT-eligible types: Fresh, prepackaged, or day-old/discounted bagels, pitas, rolls, and buns[6]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, bakeries, gas stations, convenience stores, farmer’s markets

Bread and Cereals


  • EBT-eligible types: All types of bread, cold breakfast cereal, wheat- or oat-based infant cereals and instant breakfasts, as well as pasta and rice[6]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, farmer’s markets



  • EBT-eligible types: Mints, chocolate, marshmallows, gum, toffee, brittle, fudge, candy bars, and other packaged candies[5]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores



  • EBT-eligible types: All types except hot, ready-to-drink coffee; you can buy coffee grounds, whole beans, bottled cold coffee, and single-serve pods for machines like Keurig.[9]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Cooking Ingredients/Spices


  • EBT-eligible types: Any spice, ingredient, or condiment with a “Nutrition Facts” label, such as vinegar, cooking oils, food coloring, dry spices, sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt substitutes, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, corn syrup, flavor extracts, baking soda, baking powder, and cooking spray[10][5]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Dairy Products


  • EBT-eligible types: All types, including milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, and plant-based alternatives[6]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, farmer’s markets

Energy Drinks

energy drinks

  • EBT-eligible types: Ready-to-drink cans that have a Nutrition Facts label,[11] such as Monster,[12] Red Bull,[13] AMP,[14] NOS,[15] and Rockstar[16]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Frozen Foods

frozen pizza

  • EBT-eligible types: All types, including frozen pizza, frozen pasta like macaroni and cheese or ravioli, entrees, frozen meats like chicken strips, and single-serve microwavable dinners[17]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Fruits and Vegetables


  • EBT-eligible types: Any variety of fresh, frozen, canned, or prepackaged fruit or vegetable[6]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, farmer’s markets

Lunch Meat/Deli Food

lunch meat

  • EBT-eligible types: Fresh sliced or pre-sliced deli meats and cheeses; packaged deli foods and prepared foods (including rotisserie chicken and cold sushi) that will be eaten at home; Lunchables and other prepackaged combination foods; does not include hot, prepared foods to be eaten at a store, such as in-store café services[6][17]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Meats, Fish, Seafood, and Poultry


  • EBT-eligible types: Fresh, frozen, canned, prepackaged meat and fish, plus live seafood (lobsters, fish, shellfish); note that live animals, such as chickens, are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.[2]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, farmer’s markets

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

sparkling cider

  • EBT-eligible types: Non-alcoholic beverages (only those with 0% alcohol content, not low alcohol content), fruit juices, sparkling cider, cooking wine, and mixers[18][5]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Nutrition and Dietary Supplements


  • EBT-eligible types: Powdered and ready-to-drink options with Nutrition Facts labeling, including Slimfast, Pedialyte, Ensure, and some store brands; note that anything with a “Supplement Facts” label is not eligible.[18][19]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, health food stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Seeds and Plants


  • EBT-eligible types: Any edible plant, edible plant seed, or food-producing root, bush, or bulb[18]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, health food stores, farmer’s markets

Soft Drinks (Soda/Pop/Coke)

soft drinks

  • EBT-eligible types: All types[5]
  • Where to buy: Grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores

Specialty/Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the main categories, several specialty food items are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.

These include:[18][20]

  • Bagged, blocked, or cubed ice (excluding dry ice)
  • Baker’s yeast
  • Bottled water
  • Corn husks
  • Gift baskets that contain at least 50% of their value in food items
  • Goat’s milk
  • Honey
  • Special occasion cakes (birthdays, graduations, etc.) as long as non-edible decorations aren’t worth more than 50% of the price
  • Vegan foods, such as meat replacements
  • Whole pumpkins
  • Rural Alaska only: hunting and fishing items like bows, arrows, harpoons, knives, fishing lines, hooks, nets, and other necessary equipment[18][21]

For specific places to shop, see the lists of stores that accept EBT, gas stations, and delivery options that take EBT.

Note that you can also use your EBT card to buy these items in different states while traveling (as previously reported).

What Can’t You Buy with EBT/SNAP?

SNAP benefits can’t be used to purchase:[18]

  • Alcohol-based flavoring such as liqueurs
  • Beer, wine, or liquor
  • Cigarettes or tobacco
  • Dry ice
  • Energy drinks with Supplement Facts labeling (including 5-Hour Energy and G Fuel Energy)
  • Fertilizer and insecticides
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Gift baskets containing less than 50% food
  • Gourds used for decorative purposes
  • Ice cream cones and sundaes (fresh-dipped and made for on-premise consumption, such as at an ice cream stand)
  • Livestock (live animals or birds, such as live chickens)
  • Non-food items, such as canning jars, charcoal, household supplies, soaps, paper towels, toilet paper, cosmetics, diapers, and grooming items
  • Pet products (dog food, cat food, etc.)
  • Special occasion cakes that are more than 50% non-edible
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements like cod liver oil, flax oil, cough drops, Metamucil, Body Fortress, GNC, and most protein powders

Additionally, any prepared or hot foods that are to be eaten on-premises, such as at restaurants, fast food places, and in-store cafes, are generally not eligible for purchase with EBT/SNAP.

The only exception to this rule is the Restaurant Meals Program, which provides prepared food for the elderly, disabled, and homeless in limited areas from participating restaurants.[22]

The Restaurant Meals Program is only available in select states. You can find out more about which states and restaurants participate in this program in our research on fast food that takes EBT.

  1. https://usda-fns.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=15e1c457b56c4a729861d015cd626a23[]
  2. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items[][][][][]
  3. https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/361[]
  4. https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-food-packages-regulatory-requirements-wic-eligible-foods#INFANT%20FORMULA[]
  5. https://fns-prod.azureedge.us/sites/default/files/resource-files/Accessory_Foods_List.pdf[][][][][]
  6. https://fns-prod.azureedge.us/sites/default/files/snap/SNAP-Staple-Foods.pdf[][][][][][]
  7. https://www.enfamil.com/reimbursement-support/[]
  8. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Is-baby-food-and-infant-formula-eligible-for-purchase-with-Supplemental-Nutrition-Assistance-Program[]
  9. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Are-drinks-hot-coffee-tea-fountain-drinks-slushies-iced-coffee-coffee-smoothies-etc-eligible-for[]
  10. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Are-cooking-spices-and-condiments-eligible-for-purchase-with-Supplemental-Nutrition-Assistance-Progr[]
  11. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Are-energy-drinks-eligible-for-purchase-with-Supplemental-Nutrition-Assistance-Program-benefits[]
  12. https://www.monsterenergy.com/en-us/energy-drinks/[]
  13. https://www.redbull.com/us-en/energydrink/red-bull-calories[]
  14. https://www.heb.com/product-detail/mountain-dew-amp-energy-boost-original-energy-drink/901796[]
  15. https://www.heb.com/product-detail/nos-original-energy-drink-16-oz-cans/2197099[]
  16. https://www.rockstarenergy.co.uk/products/rockstar-energy-drink-original[]
  17. https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-7/subtitle-B/chapter-II/subchapter-C/part-271/section-271.2[][]
  18. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/food-determinations-eligible-foods[][][][][][]
  19. http://services.dpw.state.pa.us/oimpolicymanuals/snap/FSP_EligFoodList_2_18_05.pdf[]
  20. https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/wr/snap-eligible-foods.pdf?_ga=2.255139085.46967995.1585141848-1340380686.1579544316[]
  21. http://dpaweb.hss.state.ak.us/e-forms/pdf/FSP80(06-4184).pdf[]
  22. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Can-I-buy-food-at-restaurants-with-Supplemental-Nutrition-Assistance-Program-benefits-For-SNAP-Clien[]

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