Introduction: Homemade Lemon Drops

Picture of Homemade Lemon Drops

I couldn't stop smiling after I made these! In fact, I am smiling right now while I am eating one!

It took me right back to my childhood. My dad always had a bag of lemon drops in his car and I loved going on random and pointless car rides just so I could savor the tart and sour little drops of sunshine!

Don't be intimidated by this recipe just because it calls for a candy thermometer. If you have a bit of patience lemon drops are easy!

Step 1: Recipe

Picture of Recipe

Since I had never made lemon drop candy before I wanted to use an existing recipe instead of trying to come up with my own. I found this one that looked easy enough to follow. I used a half recipe from what the blog did and I formed them differently. So here is the recipe with my take on shaping them.

Lemon Drop Candy - (From - Adapted from Field Guide to Candy by Anita Chu)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 c. water
1 t. citric acid
1/4 t. lemon extract
yellow food coloring
powdered sugar for rolling - 1-2 T.

Coat a plastic scraper and kitchen scissors with butter and have a silpat ready. If you don't have a silpat a marble slab was recommended in the original recipe.

Preheat oven to warm.

Step 2: Boil Sugar

Picture of Boil Sugar

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat combine sugar, cream of tartar and water. Stir just until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue boiling mixture until it reaches 300 degrees F (or hard ball stage).

Step 3: Cool Sugar

Picture of Cool Sugar

Pour hot mixture immediately onto silpat. Sprinkle citric acid, lemon extract and coloring onto the sugar mixture.

Using a buttered scraper (of some kind) mix ingredients until combined.

The mixture will initially stick all over the scraper but will eventually come together into one cohesive glob of sugar!

Step 4: Shape Sugar

Picture of Shape Sugar

While the mixture is still hot pull or cut pieces off (with buttered kitchen scissors) and roll them in your hands to form a sphere or egg shape. Be careful not to burn your hands. The mixture should feel hot but not hot enough to burn your skin. If it is, wait for it to cool some.

Since the mixture is hot the lemon drops will ultimately be flattened on one side. Or at least mine were!

Roll the formed lemon drops in powdered sugar to coat. This way they will not all stick to each other!

Tip - If you find that the sugar is hardening too quickly to shape the pieces put them in the preheated oven (on warm) to reheat the sugar. You will be able to shape them again once they soften a bit.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!


nancyjohns (author)2017-02-17

Lemon is my favorite flavor! I want to make some now.

realife11 (author)2013-05-03

--You can use parchment paper instead of Silpat (same thing).
--If you can't eat sugar, then you can use xylitol or manitol, a natural safe sugar substitute and heat safe.
--If you can't consume suger, you can use corstarch or arrow root starch instead of powdered sugar for the last step, then just dust them off, so they don't stick.

JacobNealsDad (author)realife112016-12-24

xylitol and mannitol are sugar alcohols. There is no alcohol (ETOH), the chemical composition has structures that resemble both sugar and alcohol. They are not fermented by your gut's natural flora (good bacteria), therefore they have a scant enough amount of calories to be called 0 calorie and sugar free! I like to dust them with citric acid instead of sugar. It's a nice sour sensation first thing.

wold630 (author)realife112013-05-21

If you use parchment instead of a silpat I would highly recommend taping down the edges to a cutting board or other heat proof surface. It will be extremely hard to mix in coloring and flavors otherwise.

tracyjoan (author)2016-12-07

These came out great! I did roll some into a lemon shape but kind of liked the pillow shape from just cutting bits off the "log" of cooling candy with scissors directly into a bowl of powered sugar. Will definitely make them again!!

PaulaC21 (author)2015-08-22

For other flavors,

Just substitute powdered unsweetened Kool-aid for the lemon juice
and fruit fresh for the Citric Acid. Drop the food coloring.

Have made Black Cherry, Grape, and Watermelon. All turned out great..

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-15


jesebsp (author)2013-10-27

finally got these made. couldn't find the yellow food coloring so I made them pink. to help keep the roundish shape, I put about a cup of powdered sugar in a dredging dish. after shaping each piece I tossed them in the dish. once all cut and shaped I shook the dish covering them all. then let them sit so the sugar would be a cushion. they're AWESOME!

dnrister (author)2013-07-03

I just wanted to say thank you soooo much for the advice on my first post. It helped me alot!!:)

pork_N_chop (author)2013-06-17

My syrup caramelized before it reached 300 degrees
How can I prevent that next time

wold630 (author)pork_N_chop2013-06-21

I've never had this happen. I'm sorry. My guess would be that the heat was too high. Next time try the burner on medium and let the temp come up slowly.

izzy10127 (author)2013-05-29

How many do u get in a batch?

wold630 (author)izzy101272013-05-29

Depends on the size you make them. I got about 40 pieces.

milkdud55 (author)2013-05-09

Im making 7 jars for freinds+ upcoming camping trips!

wold630 (author)milkdud552013-05-21

What a great gift you will be giving!

HollyMann (author)2013-05-04

wow they look so good!!!

wold630 (author)HollyMann2013-05-21

They are! Thank you!

javajulz (author)2013-05-03

has anyone tried this using Loran or Lorain(not sure of spelling :/) oils? we use them to make the hard candy you pour onto a cookie sheet then break apart when it hardens. the flavor is intense. just curious since i won't have time to try these any time soon. but I WILL! cuz lemon drops are sooo tasty.

wold630 (author)javajulz2013-05-21

I would think LorAnn oils would work just as well. Good luck!

i5core (author)2013-05-02

What can I use instead of lemon extract? Lemon juice??
And for the cutting board thing.. Is wax paper okay? Thanks :)

realife11 (author)i5core2013-05-03

It would probably melt the wax. A safe and VERY easy alternative to non-sticking Silpats is to use a sheet of parchment paper. You should be able to find a roll of it in any grocery store, for a few dollars. Nothing will stick to it, and is exactly like a Silpat in that way. I use it all the time to line baking pans and cookie sheets. Works great!!

wold630 (author)i5core2013-05-02

You could try lemon juice instead but it probably won't be concentrated enough in that amount. Do you mean silpat instead of cutting board?

Wynd (author)wold6302013-05-02

I think they mean can they use waxed paper in place of the silpat :)

SixTwelve (author)2013-05-02

If that flat-on-one-side thing is really bugging you, you could leave them submerged in powdered sugar; like one makes cordials.

Looks fun, thanks.

wold630 (author)SixTwelve2013-05-03

Good tip, thank you! I didn't know that's how it was done.

creatormann (author)2013-05-02

Sounds interesting. I wouldn't use artificial yellow food coloring because it is probably Carcinogenic. To get a deep yellow colour, use a little Termeric. The sugar will mask any taste it has.

wold630 (author)creatormann2013-05-03

I love this idea especially since my family is all organic!

acousticavenger (author)2013-05-02

Can you use Splenda instead of sugar.....I love lemon drops, but can't have sugar

just use maltitol if you can find it in the store there. It's hard to find here (Indonesia). Maltitol can substitute sugar because the taste is almost the same and also the characteristic when boiled is the same.

wold630 (author)acousticavenger2013-05-02

I don't think so but you could research the topic a bit.

I don't think Splenda can reach 300 degrees F when boiled with water and since there is no actual sugar in Splenda I don't think it can crystallize either but like I said, do some research to find out for sure!

Let us know. There is sugar-free candy on the market so it can be done some way.

mir0k (author)2013-05-02

Looks great. I'll try this recipe. One question regarding cream of tartar, what is it for? Thanks.

deh260583 (author)mir0k2013-05-03

cream of tartar is an acidic crystal that prevent crystallization of sugar. If the sugar crystallize, you'll get a rock candy or rock sugar instead of hard candy.

wold630 (author)mir0k2013-05-02

It acts as an acid to break down sucrose. This following site explains it well:

mir0k (author)wold6302013-05-02

So, lemon juice can be a substitute...I'll try to experiment a bit with various sugars and see what do I get :-)

Wynd (author)2013-05-02

Yummy ^_^ I am going to try this as soon as I can get some of the ingredients :D I wonder how a plain vanilla candy would taste...

wold630 (author)Wynd2013-05-02

I've also wondered about vanilla candy. I think if I made it that way I would omit the critic acid. Sounds a bit weird, sour vanilla, but I've never tried it!!

Wynd (author)wold6302013-05-02

Mmm, yes I think I will have to try that :D Maybe mix up the flavors and colors [mess with people's minds, just a touch, lol!]. Blueberry and Lime would be my next choices for flavoring :)

craftyv (author)2013-05-02

Lovely. Yum, Yum. Is there a reason that the Citric, Lemon and colouring can't be added to the wet mixture in the pan? My daughter uses cornflour to coat because powdered sugar will still get sticky also you can put a little sachet of absorbent silica in the container they are stored in. Well done.

wold630 (author)craftyv2013-05-02

Thank you! My guess is that I don't think those ingredients would stand up to being heated to 300 degrees F.

craftyv (author)wold6302013-05-02

Ok. Thank's

i5core (author)2013-05-02

Hmm I did it, they turned out okay, I didn't have a candy thermometer, I only got to make three since the rest of the Bach turned into glass. ( I used lemon juice) on foil paper.
If I wasn't on my iPad I would have attached pictures, xP sorry

wold630 (author)i5core2013-05-02

A candy thermometer is ideal when making candy. You can always do the drop test in water to see if you are at a close temp but it isn't as accurate. Sorry to hear they didn't turn out like you had hoped.

In the last step I noted that if the candy starts to get too hard to work with you can put it in the oven on warm to reheat the sugar so it is workable again.

How did using lemon juice instead of extract work?

GyroGearLoose47 (author)2013-05-02

Me likey your ible! Great photos too. I usually enjoy readers comments. Sometimes in addition to great subjects, humor from the authors, and readers, is icing on the cake for me. Thanks.

wold630 (author)GyroGearLoose472013-05-02

Thank you!

bajablue (author)2013-05-01

These look so yummy... my lips are puckering!  ;-¤

wold630 (author)bajablue2013-05-02

Isn't sour candy great?!

bajablue (author)wold6302013-05-02

;-P~ That would be a mouthwatering "yes!" ;-)

straycatmeow (author)2013-04-30

Now I am sad that my package came before you made these cause Lemon Drops are one of my favorties... These look fantastic! Another great candy recipe from you

wold630 (author)straycatmeow2013-05-02

I will be sure to make more next time I send you a box! They are just like the original!!

jesebsp (author)2013-05-02

i have been craving lemon drops and can't find any! definitely going to try this.

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, my name is Jen! I'm a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, cake decorator ... More »
More by wold630:Whitening ToothpasteBat Napkin FoldingBlackout Menu for Halloween
Add instructable to: