Hard Candy Recipe




About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

Making hard candy at home is an easy thing to do. This is a fairly standard recipe that can be used for making candy drops, lollipops, and other types of sucking candies. All you need to get started is some fairly standard ingredients, and tools. The nice thing about making candy is it really allows you to experiment with coloring, flavor, and form.

Step 1: Hard Candy Ingredients

To make hard candy you will need:

2 scant cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon flavored extract (to preference)
Food coloring (to preference)

You will also need a sauce pan, cake pan, aluminum foil, a candy thermometer, a bowl, measuring spoons, a large knife, and a spatula.

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Step 2: Aluminum Foil

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

It also helps to grease the aluminum foil. Candy likes to stick to things.

Step 3: Mix the Candy Ingredients

In a large sauce pan mix together the sugar, corn syrup, and water until just dissolved.

Step 4: Cook Hard Candy

Cook the mixture until it reaches the hard crack stage -- approximately 300 - 310 degrees.

Dropping a little bit into a cold bowl of water and seeing if it hardens is the best indicator it is done.

You will also see it start to yellow around the edges of the pan.

When ready, immediately remove it from the burner to begin cooling.

Step 5: Final Ingredients

Add the flavoring and food coloring to preference.

I wanted to experiment with marbling the color, so used an opaque white base with a few drops of various other colors.

You can also just mix the color uniformly in. This is the chance to get creative and experiment.

Whatever you do, just do it quickly.

Step 6: Pour

Pour the candy into the aluminum foil lined pan.

Step 7: Mark the Candy

Use a spatula to lightly push lines into the surface of the candy every 1/2". Continue doing this until you have made a grid of 1/2" squares.

Repeat this process until you have managed to push down all of the rows to the bottom of the pan.

Step 8: Candy Time

Once hardened, remove the candy from the aluminum foil. Use a knife to cut the candy into individual pieces. If you made decent indents, you may be able to just break them cleanly apart by hand.

The candy is now ready to be eaten.

If you would like, you can also coat the pieces in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together.


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    25 Discussions


    Question 8 months ago on Introduction

    I am looking for a way to make protein hard candy. Could you add whey or casein to this recipie?

    1 answer

    Answer 8 months ago

    I have no idea if it would cook off, but it would be easy enough to try. It does not take very long to make it.


    2 years ago

    I love the colors.


    3 years ago

    Corn syrup is usually the best choice. 'Any' syrup will do, short molasses. If you want to use dark molasses syrup with making hard candy, make some hard candy, let it cool, then warm it to where you can form it into 1/2 spheres. Then add some molasses and close them into little balls to have molasses-filled hard candy balls.

    Regular brown syrup works fine. You can also get most of the color out of it by 'pulling and combining' the candy while it is still warm but not too hot to the touch. Be careful not to touch candy that is still hot; it can really burn you. Have water nearby.

    Honey will also work but can be tricky.

    A variation of the recipe in this instructable is one I deducted 4 years ago: boil 2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of corn syrup, 1/8 cup of water, and 2 tblspn of vinegar to 295 deg f, and remove from heat.

    A technique for cooling the candy that comes in handy is to use parchment paper on a plate instead of oiled foil. Foil can tear, and so can parchment paper. Cheap parchment paper or wax paper or foil just does not work as easy as decent parchment paper. You have to get some(parchment paper) and try it out to see which kind works best. The only kind I use come from "Reynold's."

    The vinegar in the above recipe is required for combining the differing kinds of glucose in syrup and sugar to make candy. You can also use a tablespoon of tartaric acid (cream of tarter) or a tblspn of your favorite extract for the sugars to 'fuse' when heating.

    If you take your mixture off of heat at about 270 deg f, it will still cool to harden and you can call it 'soft crack,' as seen on many thermometers.

    If you have no thermometer and want to make some candy, simply mix 2 cups of sugar with 1/2 cup of sprite (7-up or comparable soda, even Fanta Grape) and a spoon of vinegar. Heat the mix until you see it turn yellow or nearly brown, then remove from heat.

    If you ever over-heat your sugar-syrup combination, simply boil it with water to clean out your cookware and try again. Don't get discouraged, the best confectioners know how easy it is to over-cook a batch of candy.

    Hard candy recipe mixes removed from heat at 290-300 deg f can be cooled and re-warmed to make small objects such as animals, flowers, ornaments, ect.

    Be sure to always have a container of water near you if you are just starting with making candy - it gets really hot and is not easily removed from skin upon contact.

    I like to make the cooling syrup into a ball and pull it and combine it into twisted strands, then cut or break the candy into jolly rancher-sized pieces. I also coat them with powdered sugar so the candy lasts a long time. The sugar coating keeps moisture in the air from melting the candy.

    I love making candy and do it all the time. My favorite recipe yields a white soft-crack candy. Here it is:

    Combine 4 cups of sugar, 1/2 fl. oz of vinegar, 1 cup of corn syrup, and 7/8 cup of Red Bull blueberry (or the kind in a blue can). Boil until 270 deg f and pour into two plates covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle powdered sugar on the parchment paper before pouring the mix, if you like. It is not necessary, but I usually do. Once you pour the mix onto the paper, sprinkle powdered sugar onto the top of the cooling candy, even before it cools. You can watch it cool this way and tell by barely touching the surface of the 'puddle' if it has cooled enough by playing around with the powdered sugar on top of it. When you do this properly, and it actually took some practice, for me, when you pour the syrup (mix) onto the paper, it will look like a clear, bronze bubbly color. The absolute key to making it to where it is better than over 400 different ways I have, is the combining. Once the syrup has cooled to the touch, but still pretty warm, you can ball the syrup into a gel. Remember not to burn yourself, however while the ball of gel is still warm (when the candy does not yet break) pull it and combine it into the same ball a few times. Then make an 8" log and cut the still-warm syrup into separate balls with scissors. This way you can pull and combine it over and over easier. Once you have repeated the process at least a dozen times for each ball, twist or pull the little balls (somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball) into foot-long strands and let cool on powdered sugar parchment paper. It has a very neat look to it before it cools completely. You can easily refrigerate the strands in order for it to completely cool quicker, but remember to sprinkle powdered sugar onto the strands so the moisture won't liquidate the candy. Once it cools all the way, it will be solid white, easy to break. It will last a long time so long as it does not get warm or wet, and softens quickly in your mouth upon consumption -tasty stuff.

    I do apologize if this comment was super long; I love making candy and have experimented with various techniques, again, for years now. Anyone who wants to talk about candy, send me a twitter message to @jcm3rockstar -candy is a lot of fun to make and I was happy to figure out how.

    Great instructable; thank you for the neato pictures. :)

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi! I'm doing my best to find a recipe for hard liquorice balls, using molasses. Can you help??


    Reply 3 years ago

    you seem to be pro with candy making,can you teach me,i love candy so much

    no joker

    3 years ago

    this looks like real rocks. you should of named this edible rocks


    Reply 3 years ago

    It helps keep the sugar from burning. You might be able to figure out a way not to use it, but its pretty standard.

    It's not needed for this recipe.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Is there any way to make hard candy this is "SUGAR FREE"? I'm Diabetic and am trying to find recipes that are "sugar free" even though I do cheat once in a while and have one or two pieces of candy a month, if my blood sugars are ok. hehe Let me know if you find any and good luck in the contest


    Reply 3 years ago

    Oh yeah, if possible, and if you find any, could you let me know if you find any candy or food recipes that DO NOT have any corn products or milk products in them because my sister and her husband are allergic and this makes it nearly impossible to make Thanksgiving or Christmas foods that they can eat. Thanks again. :)


    3 years ago

    looks very good :)


    3 years ago

    Did you use something specifically to make the candy white? If so, what did you use? Did you use regular food coloring (like from the grocery) or any kind of special coloring? This looks yummy. I'm wondering if you could put the hot candy in the foil-covered pan and then add the coloring. How easy is the cooking pot to clean? Any tips there? Thanks so much for this instructible!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I used a white food coloring I got from the specialty baking store. I think they also sell it at Michaels crafts. Making things white is sort of a pain.

    You could definately do it the other way around and add the coloring second.

    Cleaning the pot just requires letting it soak in soapy hot water for a while. If that does not fully loosen all the candy the first time around, simply repeat the process.

    I also found that if you are particularly impatient, you could reheat the pot on the stove for a little bit which will soften everything, but make it slighly more of a pain to clean since the pot is then obviously quite hot.


    3 years ago

    While I was still a youngster, my mom use to make something similar to this every Christmas. Hers came out clear, not white. We grew up calling it "Stained glass candy" because once broken up, they looked like broken pieces of glass. we always flavored ours with Cinnamon and usually, red food coloring.


    3 years ago

    Great pictures!!!


    3 years ago

    Whoa. I love the marbling!