A Hard Candy Recipe to Kickstart National Candy Month!

Old-fashioned hard candy

The beginning of June means, among other things, the beginning of National Candy Month! To celebrate, I’ll be posting a series of fun (and easy) candy recipes. First up is a family recipe for old-fashioned hard candy.

I’m not sure how long the recipe has been in the family, but growing up I can remember my mom making it every year for Christmas. There were different varieties, one of which was always cinnamon. (And for some reason, in our family the cinnamon flavor was traditionally yellow rather than red!) We would give some of the candy away as gifts, and enjoy the rest ourselves during the holiday season.

For this batch I made five colors/flavors of hard candy:

  • Red (cherry flavor)
  • Orange (orange flavor)
  • Yellow (banana flavor)
  • Green (pear flavor)
  • Blue (blueberry flavor)

For each flavor, I quartered this recipe (using .5 cup sugar, .25 cup corn syrup, and so on) and each flavor batch resulted in about 2 cups of candy pieces. So, if you were to make one full batch of this recipe in a single flavor, you’d likely end up with about 8 total cups of candy.

Old-fashioned hard candy

This old-fashioned hard candy is fairly fast and easy to make; just a handful of ingredients and the only special equipment needed is a candy thermometer. (I use this one, made by Oneida.) It also ships well and stays fresh for a long time, making it ideal for holiday gift-gifting. And it’s perfect for care packages, too, since it won’t melt or spoil. (Plus it’s already “broken,” so no worries about the candy arriving damaged, either!)

I chose fruit flavors in rainbow colors, but this candy also works quite well with non-fruity flavors such as licorice, cinnamon, chocolate, root beer, or coconut. This was my first time candymaking with these super strength flavor oils from LorAnn Oils, and they were very tasty–I’ll definitely be using them again:

I hope you have fun making this candy at home. Stay tuned for my next National Candy Month recipe…lemon drops!

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Print Recipe
Old-Fashioned Hard Candy
A simple method for making old-fashioned hard candy, based on a family recipe. This candy ships well and stays fresh for a long time, making it ideal for gift-giving.
Old-fashioned hard candy
Course Sweets
Cuisine Candy
Course Sweets
Cuisine Candy
Old-fashioned hard candy
  1. Grease a large pan or baking tray and set aside.
  2. Mix granulated sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Heat mixture, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in flavor oil and food coloring, if desired.
  5. Immediately pour hot candy mixture onto prepared pan, and allow to cool completely. Mixture will cool very quickly, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Once candy has hardened, break apart and toss pieces in powdered sugar to coat. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to six weeks.
Recipe Notes

It is best to use a flavor oil rather than an extract. Extracts are much weaker, so you'd need a lot more product to produce a flavorful piece of candy,

I poured my candy mixture onto a large cookie sheet wrapped in a sheet of foil, which I sprayed lightly with olive oil. You could also skip the foil and pour your mixture directly onto an oiled or buttered pan. Do not use wax paper; your candy mixture will stick to the paper and be very difficult to remove!

To break this candy apart, I put it in a large ziploc bag and use a mallet to crack it into smaller pieces. This is easier than breaking it with your hands, and it prevents candy pieces from flying everywhere!



  1. Hi Becky,

    Thank you for a great recipe.

    I have 2 gallons of leftover snow cone syrup. I’m searching for a candy recipe to use the syrup.

    Can your recipe be adjusted to use the snow cone syrup?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Suzanne! I’m honestly not sure. Is corn syrup the primary ingredient of your snow cone syrup? If so, there is a chance it might work, but it’s hard to know without actually trying it. I’d suggest making a small batch as a test and see what happens!

    • Hi Crystal! This most likely means that you didn’t get the sugar mixture quite hot enough. Make sure you’re using a good-quality candy thermometer, and that you allow your candy mixture to reach the “hard crack” stage (300 degrees Fahrenheit) before pouring it out to cool.

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