Make Your Own Candy Corn

What’s your favorite Halloween candy? In an age where holiday candy is big business, you might go with Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, or fun-sized anything, but I’m sticking with a true classic of the season. Invented in the 1880s, candy corn found commercial success in 1898 when their creator founded the Goelitz Candy Company. Without automation, production was labor intensive and limited to just a few months a year, but the popularity of the tri-colored fondant soared. Today, the Goelitz Candy Company is now known as the Jelly Belly Candy Company and although automation now allows for mass production, they still use the same recipe that started it all. And making candy corn is surprisingly easy to do at home.

Over nine billion kernels of the fat-free candy are now sold each year, now expanded to include other holiday themes (pastels for Easter, red and green for Christmas, pink for Valentine’s Day). Dress them up however you like, candy corn is still an undeniable Halloween staple and the season is here at last.

Short of digging out the vinyl Batman costume I wore as a kid and traipsing across my neighbor’s lawns with a pillow case, making candy corn at home is about as much fun as I know how to have when Halloween rolls around. It’s easier than you might think and kid-friendly to boot. Although homemade candy is no longer an option for stuffing the treat bags of those costumed night visitors, making candy corn at home is a family-friendly Halloween activity that just might become a new tradition at your house, too.


Step 1

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Combine 2 ½ cups powdered sugar, ⅓ cup powdered milk and ¼ teaspoon salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

Step 2

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Combine 1 cup sugar, ⅔ cup corn syrup, 6 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring until boiling.

Step 3

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Continue to cook until a temperature of 230 degrees is reached, remove from heat and stir in vanilla (2-3 minutes).

Step 4

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Pour liquid mixture into bowl with dry ingredients.

Step 5

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Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

Step 6

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Pour dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and allow to cool until able to handle.

Step 7

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Divide into three balls, press an indentation into two. Add 15-20 drops of yellow food coloring to each and then add 10 drops of red to one to make orange.

Step 8

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Knead dough until pliant and color is even.

Step 9

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Tear off a small piece of orange dough and roll into a snake about ¼” thick. Lay on parchment paper.

Step 10

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Roll a strand of yellow dough of the same length and width as the orange, and lay yellow strands against orange. Repeat with white dough, laying against yellow strands. Press gently together. Repeat process until all the dough has been rolled and pressed into tri-colored ribbons.

Step 11

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Use the back of a knife to press down on each set of strands lengthwise, forming a long wedge that is thicker on the white edge.

Step 12

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Using a pizza roller or knife, cut each strand into short triangles. Break candy corn apart and allow to rest 2 hours to harden.

Step 13

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Candy corn may be eaten right away or stored in an airtight container lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Best when eaten on Halloween!


  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • red and yellow food coloring


  • Measuring cups
  • Large bowl
  • Heavy pot
  • Candy thermometer
  • Rubber spatula
  • Parchment paper
  • Long knife
  • Pizza roller
About Mick Telkamp 


A former Midwesterner living in North Carolina, I write about my adventures in backyard chicken-keeping and suburban homesteading over at HGTVGardens, and my exploits in the culture of Southern cooking ...

More About Mick Telkamp

3 Responses

  1. kari says:

    o.k. so how do i print it out

  2. gail says:

    this is my favorite and now I can make it all year long. thanks. gm

  3. Joy says:

    This seems easy thing to do

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