How to Make Candy Corn

Learn how to make candy corn using the easy candy corn recipe below. You'll discover that you can make homemade candy corn, a popular confection long enjoyed in North America, especially around the time of Halloween.

This colorful homemade confection comes very close to the taste and appearance of commercial candy corn. Some candy lovers think it even tastes BETTER than the store-bought corn!

How to Make Candy Corn

© by Don Bell

Homemade Candy CornYou Can Make Colorful Homemade Candy Corn
(Source: ©123rf/southernlightstudios)


1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup (2-1/2 oz) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups powdered icing sugar
1/3 cup powdered milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Red and yellow food coloring

Candy Corn Kernel

In a large saucepan combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Bring to a boil over high heat while stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from heat and add vanilla extract.

Combine the icing sugar, powdered milk, and salt in a separate bowl and add to the mixture in the saucepan, mixing thoroughly. Allow the dough mixture to sit until it's cool enough to handle.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and place each part in a small mixing bowl. Add orange food coloring to one part (a combination of yellow and red) and yellow food coloring to another part, leaving the remaining part uncolored or white.

Knead the dough in each bowl until smooth and stiff enough to hold its shape, and the colors are even. Wearing plastic gloves can help prevent your hands from being stained by the food coloring.

Still using your hands, roll each part into a long, thin rope, making each rope of equal length. You may need to use a long countertop or tabletop covered with a strip of waxed paper for this. You'll also need to be careful when rolling as the ropes can easily break if you form them too thin.

When you're done, lay the three ropes of dough along side each other with the orange dough in the middle and carefully press them together to make a long, narrow rectangle.

A gentle, light rolling with a rolling pin along the length of the rectangle helps to press the rope edges together, but be careful not to flatten the dough so the rectangle stays as narrow as possible, plus you'll also want the kernels plump looking and not flat.

Finally, cut the dough into triangles or "kernels" using a sharp knife and gently smooth and shape the kernels with your fingers, if needed. Allow the kernels to sit for a while and become firm.

You'll end up with over a pound of homemade candy corn, some with yellow tips and some with the traditional white tips. There's no getting around it, kneading the dough and forming the ropes IS time-consuming and hard work, but the results are worth it.

Traditionally, each piece of candy is about the size of a kernel of dried corn, but by learning how to make candy corn, yours can be made the size of today's Giant Candy Corn confection.

How to Make Candy Corn for Holidays

Over the years, different food colors were added to the candy corn fondant for celebrating the different holidays.

Halloween Candy Corn

Traditionally colored with a white tip, orange center, and a yellow base.

Thanksgiving Corn

Colored with a white tip, orange center, and brown base, with chocolate flavoring added to the brown.

Reindeer Corn for Christmas

Colored with a white tip, green center, and a red base.

Cupid Corn for Valentine's Day

Colored with a white tip, pink center, and a red base.

Bunny Corn for Easter

Colored with a white tip and pastel shades of pink, purple, yellow, or green for the center and base.

Party Corn

You can develop your own color combinations for birthdays and parties. Simply choose your favorite colors let your creativity flow.

Chocolate Dipped Candy Corn Patties

Candy Corn PattiesCandy Corn Patties with Chocolate for Halloween
(Source: ©123rf/southernlightstudios)

Now here's a great idea: After making your candy corn dough (fondant) using the candy corn recipe instructions above, instead of rolling it into 3 ropes of orange, yellow and white, use a rolling pin to roll it into 3 thin sheets of orange, yellow and white.

Then, cut each sheet in small rounds using a cookie cutter. Place an orange round on top of a yellow round, then place both rounds on top of a white round, or place them in whatever color combinations you prefer for your patties.

Finally melt some dipping chocolate in a double boiler and using a small fork to support them, carefully dip your patties into the melted chocolate.

Hold them over the chocolate until they've almost stopped dripping, then set them on a pan to dry and firm. Enjoy!

How to Make Candy Corn Pumpkins

Candy Pumpkin

Once you learn how to make candy corn, you'll find other uses for the fondant. The fondant-like dough when colored orange is great for hand molding into tiny Halloween pumpkin candies that can be used for decorating cakes, cupcakes, desserts, or for simply eating on their own.

Save a tiny bit of the dough and color it green for shaping the stems. Shape the pumpkin's ridges with a table knife. The tiny candy pumpkins are perfect for decorating a Halloween cake.

About the Candy Corn Recipe

Candy corn is said to have been invented in the United States by George Renninger in the 1880s, and it was all originally made by hand. Nowadays, it is mass produced by Jelly Belly® using a recipe unchanged since about 1900.

Homemade candy corn kernels are certain to become a Halloween tradition at your house.

By learning how to make candy corn yourself, you get to enjoy this unique confection the year-round at other holiday times too. You've only to change the kernel colors to suit the special occasion.

Your family and friends will be absolutely amazed that you made it yourself, so make plenty and get ready for the compliments.

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