How to Make Homemade Candy Corn

Let the other houses serve candy from the drugstore because with this how to, you're about to win Halloween.

Candy corn is everywhere during the Halloween season. But did you know that you can make this ever-popular classic at home? Create your own homemade version of this iconic candy with just a little sugar syrup-based dough, vibrant food colorings, and a bit of patience.

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1 Combine Dry Ingredients

Sifting the dry ingredients helps ensure there are no lumps in the finished candy. Sift together 1 and 1/4 cups of confectioner's sugar, 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk, and 1/8 teaspoon  of kosher salt. Set aside.


2 Prepare Sugar Syrup

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/3 cup of light corn syrup, and 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of water. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Insert a candy thermometer and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Watch the sugar syrup's temperature closely. Not reaching 240 degrees makes the dough too soft, while going over 240 degrees causes a dry grainy texture.

3 Mix & Cool Dough

Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Stir with a firm silicone or plastic spatula until well combined. Pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined jelly roll pan or baking sheet. Allow the mixture to stand until it’s cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes).

4 Color Dough

Divide dough into three equal pieces. Set aside one piece to remain white. Make a well in the center of each remaining piece. Place 5 drops of yellow food coloring in the well of one piece to make yellow dough. In the other, place 7 drops of yellow food coloring and 2 drops of red food coloring to make orange dough.

Use gel or paste food colorings to create the brightest colors. You could also try making different colors for different occasions. Red, white and blue candy corn for the 4th of July, anyone?

5 Knead Dough

Use your hands or a dough scraper to knead the yellow and orange dough pieces until uniform in color.

Knead dough on a silicone mat or parchment paper to protect counter tops from the color. If kneading with your hands, wash hands immediately after kneading to remove color, or wear plastic gloves.

6 Roll Ropes

Pinch off a small piece from each dough ball. With your hands, roll each piece into a rope about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick. Lay the ropes side-by-side to form a strip with yellow on the bottom, orange in the middle, and white on top. Gently press the ropes with your fingers so they stick together.

Flatten the top of the pressed-together ropes by lightly rolling with a rolling pin, smoothing out the curved edges.

7 Cut Triangles

Use a sharp chef's knife, bench scraper, or pizza cutter to cut the dough strip into triangles. Alternate cutting angled to the left and then angled to the right as you work down the strip. Repeat rolling the ropes and cutting with the remaining dough.

If your dough becomes too stiff as it cools, hold a piece in your hands for several seconds to warm it. If this doesn't make it pliable, heat in the microwave for about 5 seconds.

8 Dry

Lay the cut candy corn on a parchment-lined baking pan in a single layer, separating to prevent sticking. Allow it to dry, uncovered, overnight. In an airtight container, store the candy corn in a single layer, placing parchment between each layer.  

The candy corn will stick together, even after drying. To prevent sticking, lightly dust it with cornstarch and gently rub onto the top surface of the corn with your fingers. Once the top surface is coated, gently toss the corn with your fingers to coat all sides. This will dull the colors slightly.

About Kitchen Is My Playground

Tracey is the creator of the popular blog The Kitchen Is My Playground, which she founded in 2011. Her goal is to share recipes with other home cooks looking to create flavorful (and somewhat adventurous) food for their families and friends. Connect with her on PinterestFacebookTwitter or Google+.