Homemade Hard Candy is easy to make and really easy to customize to whatever flavor and color you want! This hard candy recipe will become a favorite in your family.
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How pretty is this candy? I like that it looks like broken glass.
I didn’t realize hard candy was so simple to make, it’s just a little time consuming. Only six ingredients and really, the food coloring & powdered sugar dusting at the end are optional.
WHAT IS HARD CANDY
Hard candy is a boiled sweet made of sugar that is usually brightly colored and made to slowly dissolve in your mouth.
The flavors we used were strawberry and lemon but you can use whatever extracts you can find. Meijer had orange, cherry, mint, etc. in the baking aisle.
IS HARD CANDY CRUELTY FREE
Hard candy is made with no animal by-products so it is indeed vegan and cruelty free.
HOMEMADE HARD CANDY INGREDIENTS
- Sugar – White, granulated sugar. This is candy, after all.
- Light Corn Syrup – Karo syrup is used for a light sweet flavor, in sauces and jams and such. It is made with real vanilla.
- Extract Flavoring – We used strawberry and lemon in this batch but there are many possibilities.
- Food Coloring – Not necessary, but candy just isn’t as pretty without it.
- Powdered Sugar – You’ll dust the finished candy with powdered sugar.
You can easily adjust how much flavoring/color your candy has and you could color coordinate for a party or shower.
HOW TO MAKE HARD CANDY
Making homemade hard candy is probably easier than you think. You’ll combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan and stir continuously over medium heat until dissolved.
Then, you use a candy thermometer to make sure the temperature gets to 290 degrees, which takes about 35-45 minutes.
Once it hits temperature, you remove from heat, add whichever coloring and extracts you’re using, stir it up, then pour it onto a baking sheet to cool.
Once it’s cooled, you break it up into whichever size pieces you want. Sprinkle in powdered sugar & you’re done. Easy!
HOW MUCH FLAVORING FOR HARD CANDY
You can use whichever flavor you like for this hard candy recipe and how much flavor you use is also customizable. It’s best to use a highly concentrated candy oil that can stand up to the heat without losing flavor. You’ll typically use a teaspoon of flavoring if it’s super-strength, or one Tablespoon if it’s “regular” strength.
CAN YOU USE SILICONE MOLDS FOR HARD CANDY?
Yes, you can use silicone molds to make hard candy or lollipops, as long as they are heat safe (some aren’t!). Make sure you check the labels – they should be heat safe to 350+ degrees. This set would work for fun shapes and this set would work for suckers.
CAN YOU USE CHOCOLATE MOLDS FOR HARD CANDY?
Yes, most molds double for chocolate or hard candy, just double check that they’re heat safe.
TOOLS TO HELP MAKE HOMEMADE HARD CANDY
- Candy Thermometer – You NEED a candy thermometer to make this hard candy. Not optional.
- Lipped Baking Pan (Jelly Roll Pan) – You also need a pan with a lip. You’ll pour the hot mixture onto the pan to cool and without a lip…you’ll have a mess.
- Silicone Baking Mats – It’ll make your life easier to line the baking pans with silicone baking mats. It’s easy to peel the cooled candy off of.
- Flavor Extracts – Like I said, you can likely find individual flavor extracts at your grocery store, but this set has some unique ones – crisp champagne or salted caramel, anyone?
- Food coloring – I always recommend this color performance kit. It has a really helpful color chart that makes mixing whatever color you want really easy.
WANT TO MAKE MORE HOMEMADE CANDY? TRY THESE RECIPES:
- Homemade Chocolate Nonpareils (Sno Caps!)
- Gummy Bears
- Homemade Twix
- Homemade Rock Candy
- Easy Peanut Brittle
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HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE HARD CANDY
Homemade Hard Candy
- 3 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups light corn syrup Karo syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon extract flavoring we used strawberry & lemon
- food coloring 7-10 drops, depending
- powered sugar for dusting
- Line cookie sheets (it’s best to use cookie sheets that have a lip) with silicone liners. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and set aside.
- Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan and continuously stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Once dissolved, insert a candy thermometer to the pan (it should rest about an inch from the bottom of the pan) and continue to cook, without stirring, until the thermometer reaches 290 degrees. It should take around 35-45 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add food coloring and extract. Eyeball the coloring to get the color you want. We matched red with strawberry and yellow with lemon.
- Pour mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and allow it to cool completely.
- Once cooled, lay a clean towel or parchment/wax paper over the candy and gently tap with a hammer/meat tenderizer/mallet to break into pieces.
- Sprinkle candy with powdered sugar & toss to coat.
- Repeat process for each flavor/color you’re making.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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Originally published December 31, 2012.