Christmas Rock Candy

Christmas Rock Candy Recipe


224, 000+ views since first publish in 2013!

I’ve been making rock candy since I was 15 years old. One summer, I taught myself how to bake out of boredom, using one cookbook and trying everything. I’d always loved Christmas Rock Candy, with its yummy layer of powdered sugar, such a great confection to indulge in as a teen. These days I still make it the same exact way I did then, with just a few ingredients. I think I love making it because it is like food chemistry, breaking down sugar and syrup so much that it becomes a new product. I admit I am a food science nerd, I could be Alton Brown’s assistant very easily.

NOTE: You really should use a Candy Thermometer for this one, hard crack is very hard to reach with just testing the sugar in water.

Christmas Rock Candy Recipe


The pan I use: Kitchenaid Jelly Roll

Here are the cellophane bags I buy to gift the candy

The oils I use: LorAnn Oils

Here is the parchment paper I use: Reynold’s sheets

4.9 from 12 reviews
Christmas Rock Candy
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Christmas Rock Candy
Serves: many
  • 3¾ C. Sugar
  • 1 C. Light Karo Syrup
  • 1 C. Water
  • 1 TSP. Flavoring: I use LorAnn candy flavors, and for this I used cinnamon oil
  • Food Coloring (optional)
  • ⅓ C. Powdered Sugar
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I used a light cooking spray on the paper just in case but this is optional)
  2. Combine sugar, syrup, water and color in saucepan, dissolving the sugar as much as possible.
  3. Bring to boil and reduce to medium, let simmer until the candy thermometer reads 302 degrees (VERY HOT BE CAREFUL!) (Anywhere from 20-45 minutes)
  4. Remove from heat, then add your flavor. Be sure to turn your face away if using cinnamon oil, it is very potent. Mixture will bubble and shoot up some steam, which is normal.
  5. Pour mixture onto prepared pan and cool completely. My candy was cool in about 45 minutes.
  6. Break candy into pieces, and make sure you break of the sharp points by just tapping the piece lightly to smooth it out. You can avoid this by cutting the candy while it is still warm. That isn't as fun though.
  7. Add your powdered sugar to a ziploc bag, add the candy and shake to coat.

Christmas Rock Candy Recipe

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About Candace Reid

Candace Reid is the owner and author of My Serendipity Life. She is the mother of 3 and a college graduate having earned her Associates Degree in Business for Hospitality/Food Service Management. an an AAS degree in Photographic Imaging from Lansing Community College. She also loves to blog about food, fun tech and travel. Email Candace


  1. That looks delicious….and very pretty!

  2. This sounds so delicious. Can I use any old type of flavoring?

  3. I SO want to try this! I love rock candy in all shapes and forms, and to make my own would be fantastic. Thanks!

  4. Just tried out your recipe and it’s perfect. Just the right amount of wonderful cinnamon flavor without it turning into a “Red Hot” as the recipe on the package of cinnamon flavor oil is. Thanks so much.

  5. I have hunted most of the evening for this recipe and had no luck. I love this candy and at one time I had the recipe and have made it 2 or 3 times. I will be using your recipe tomorrow. Thank You

  6. I made this today. This is the first time I ever made candy, so I was a bit nervous about it, but your instructions were very easy to follow. It came out perfect and very giftable.

  7. Carolyn Scott says:

    For the baking sheet – what size do you use – 9×13

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Is there a substitute for corn syrup? We are kind of snowed in at the moment and cant go buy some…

  9. Carol Ann says:

    Boy did rock candy bring back some memories! I haven’t had it in at least 49 yrs or more. I thought the recipe was lost when grandma died..then folks had her cookbooks who died and so on. I absolutely loved this candy. I want my kids and grand kids to have this recipe for a great treat πŸ™‚ Thank you Soooooo Much!!

  10. Has anyone or did you have an issue with the solution not hardening? I have tried it 3 times and it just stays a gel consistency. What am I doing wrong?

  11. Silly question, not a fan of cinnamon * audience gasps* can I make the leap and say most any flavoring can be used? (Oils that is)
    Thanks for your time.

  12. This is very similar to my recipe! mine ,also uses vinegar, which sounds odd but works and everyone loves it. I’ve made it for over 25years on my own and mom made it all my childhood! I make cinnamon red mostly and my 23 yr old daughter told me last year after my first much delayed batch, that ” NOW the house smells like Christmas! ” Mine cooks to hard crack, yet gets” bendy ” whilst being sucked on. Enjoy. πŸ™‚

  13. sondra darras says:

    when do you add the food coloring? with the flavoring? and does it matter what kind of food coloring? I’m not that great of a cook. LOL

  14. This candy was so easy and tasty. Can’t wait to get more flavors. One question. What do you / can you do with all of the extra tiny candy bits that remain after breaking the candy into bite size pieces? I LOVE THIS RECIPE!!

    • Honestly I take those TEEEEEEENY tiny pieces and rebag them, pound the ever lovin stuffin out of them with my rolling pin and save them in jars for candy sugars to sprinkle on cupcakes. If you do that be sure to label the jars, cinnamon won’t go that well with lemon cupcakes!

  15. where can I find the oils? I would love to try this for my grandchildren. Have no idea where I find oils…I would like to do cherry, strawberry as well as cinnamon. thanks for the help

  16. Do you stir it during the 45 mins it’s cooking? Thank you!

  17. I was wondering if you stired at all durring the 45 minutes that it simmers?

    • NO!!! Do not stir and also make sure you have that thermometer because you could reach the desired temp in less time. The important thing is to not walk away at all after that thermometer hits 275, it can take seconds for the stuff to burn so its really important to keep an eye on it.

  18. My candy won’t get hard any ideas on what I’m doing wrong?

  19. This recipe is fabulous. Be patient and use a candy thermometer. It took mine nearly an hour to come to temperature. So worth the time. Thanks you for a new holiday tradition!

  20. Wondering if I can use a jello packet for flavoring? Any thoughts on that?

  21. Curious– do you use the LorAnn β€œnatural” flavors or β€œsuper strength”? I ordered some β€œsuper strength” because they have many more flavors, but since they claim to be twice as strong as their β€œnatural” flavors I wondered which you use, so I can tweak the recipe if need be. Many thanks and Merry Christmas!

  22. Do you use a cookie sheet or a cake pan to pour the candy into?

  23. Just made this – waiting for it to set up so I can package it and send it off to my brother for Christmas. First time I’ve ever made candy like this. Thanks for the recipe. I was so excited when I saw it. It brought back memories from my grandma’s – and I’m sure it will for my brother, too!

    For those looking for cinnamon oil, I finally found it at Hobby Lobby (although it wasn’t the brand she uses, they had a variety of flavors).

  24. When the recipe says TSP. Does that mean teaspoon or Tablespoon? I’m excited to try this out!

  25. I spent the last two hours looking for candy flavor oils at Kroger and Walmart . All I can find is extracts, where can you buy the oil ?

    • In my Walmart I got to the Wilton cake area, the ones with the pans and cookie cutters, NOT the aisle with cake mixes and flour and things. No idea on Kroger though I have never shopped there,

  26. Walmart has them in the cake decorating area not in the food area

  27. Can you use the Gel Food Coloring?

    • I think that you can, I haven’t but I imagine the results will be good and you use less anyway with a gel πŸ˜‰

      • I made a batch this evening with the food gel. Only a few drops as it goes a long ways. In fact, you have more colors and shades of colors to pick from than just the regular food coloring.

  28. Hi Candace I can’t wait to make this it looks so good … just wondering do you add the food coloring at the end with the oil flavoring or do you add it at the start with the sugar, syrup and water? I found my oil flavors at Bulk Barn .. I’m in Canada .. if that helps anyone trying to find oils πŸ™‚ <3

  29. I always add a bit of cream of tarter in my recipe.and in stead of parchment paper I pack a large cookie sheet with sides with powdered sugar and pour candidates on top of it and then when it begins to harden I flip it over and let it finish hardening then that way both sides already have the sugar on it. Then tap and break box and bag for gift treats

  30. Linda Mosley says:

    I haven’t made this for 30 years. At Christmas I made 7 or 8 flavors… each a different color for identifying purposes. The only place I ever bought my oils was from our local pharmacy. (Orange was orange, lime was green, pineapple was yellow, cinnamon was red, etc)…

  31. Whats cream of tartar for n how much?

  32. Kelly Eitter says:

    Is there an anise oil?

  33. I have never made candy until I tried this recipe, and after two tries, I had to come back and read the posts on what I was doing wrong as the Candy was still sticky…. I also checked out other blogs and now after 5 NEW batches, I have it down to a “Science” as they say. AND, I will share in what I am doing…

    Put the sugar, water and syrup in the pan…. I stirred the ingredients until most dissolved. I turned the eye of the stove on High but backed off just a tad….. Of course, I used a good Candy thermometer. As it is getting ready to start to boil, I backed off on the heat…. by doing this, it does not allow the mixture to OVER boil from the pot… I went from a 8.5 on my dial on the stove to a 4…

    I watched the thermometer carefully until it reached 260. This was when I put in my food coloring or Gel. I really like the gel as they are richer in colors and you have more colors… Remember, a few drops goes a long ways in the gel.

    AGAIN, NO stirring !!! The simmering will move the coloring all around…. When my temp got to 300, I added the OIL of your choice…. I slowly moved the rubber spatula back and forth a couple of times VERY slowly. I waited for the Candy to reach 302. I kept it on the stove until it reached 304.

    This was when, I poured into my sheet… Be careful as it will burn you if you get it on you. It is HOT!
    Once cool, I broke the Candy into small pieces. It will not need the Powder Sugar as the water has been cooked out and it really breaks into nice pieces. In fact, it looks like broken glass. I save the small bits in a plastic bag, so when I make ice cream this coming summer… I will sprinkle them on it.

    This evening, I made a Emeral Green Color and it was pretty to look at. I use the Creme De Menth Flavor…. Last night, I made Peppermint and used Red… I also ordered a lot of oils from Loranne as they are quick in getting it to you by UPS. I suggest going to their site…..

    The reason, I put the food coloring in at 260…. so it will help evaporate any of the water which may be in the coloring. If you put the coloring in at the same time you put the oil… you may end up with Sticky Candy. I have bags of candy to give out now. I hope this helps…. πŸ™‚

    • I’m sitting here reading your reply realizing you are using an electric stove, which can completely alter the conditions with trying to keep the temperatures exact. I am so glad you figured out the perfect combinations! The biggest thing with this candy is waiting, lower heat, if you rush the boil the water doesn’t evap, and that leads to sticky candy.

      PS. I don’t add sugar for any sticky-ness its just part of the nostalgia. I made broken “glass” sugar for my Halloween cupcakes, no powdered sugar there πŸ™‚

      • You are so correct, as you cannot rush the boiling. I am using electric and when it does come to a boil, I pick the pot up for several seconds to give the eye a chance to cool down….
        I feel like after I break the pieces of Candy, I have Rubies and Emerals…. I really like the Gel, after using it for the first time. A few drops goes a long ways, and you have better choices in colors than just ordinary food coloring.
        I now have the Pina Colada oil, and I want to do one in Blue, like what you did. I also have a Lemon, however I read somewhere, you should use 2 Drams of Lemon to get that really Lemon taste as one is NOT enough.
        Like yourself, I have been scrapping up all the shards of Broken bits of Candy as it looks like Glass…. I am saving them so, when I make Ice Cream, I can put them in the Ice Cream Maker and sprinkle them on the Ice Cream.
        I was in Southern Season, and they have Gold Flake to sprinkle on cake and cupcakes…. I am thinking of buying some, and put some in the candy at the same time I put the oil in the Candy. I hope to see if I get some interesting effects.
        I am glad I saw your recipe on Pinterest, as I thought making Candy would be difficult, and after two failed batches which I am sharing with the neighbors…. lol.
        I am now making Candy to give away to friends for Christmas….
        Merry Christmas… πŸ™‚

        • Awe you are the sweetest I am so glad you found your sweet spot in candy making. You are so much like me, cooking and especially baking is such a science. Candy is the ultimate challenge for food science. If you do get the gold flake and use it please share a picture because I think it would look AMAZING!

    • love the idea of using the teeny tiny pcs on cupcakes, think I’ll try some on a cookie recipe for texture. I’m glad I kept reading your posts, I also cook with electric and after reading Thomas’s post, I will do as he did! a big shoutout to Thomas!

  34. Can you add more of the extract flavoring to match the oil potency? I did not order in enough time and only found the cinnamon extract.

    • I have never used extracts, I wouldn’t suggest them but if you are in a pinch I say try it, better to try and fail than to not have made any candy at all, right? Good luck, come back and let me know how it worked!

  35. Sherri Martin says:

    We made this candy recipe last year to give to family members as Christmas gifts, among other candy goodies, and EVERYBODY loved it! They’re already asking for it again this year…haha…it was definitely a hit last year and I’m sure it will be again this year! Thank you so much for providing the recipe!

  36. Can this be doubled as is, or would I need to make adjustments?

    Cannot find our candy recipe card and yours is the closest one I have found (if I double it). 2 cups of water seems like too much though, so I wondered what you thought.

    • If you double it you need to double everything because you need the water to keep the sugar from cooking too much and burning too early. Basically that water makes the sugar molecules ready to break apart and be transformed but you have to go slow. Personally I would just make 2 batches but yes use 2 cups of water if you end up doubling!

  37. First time at making candy and I tried to be sentimental use my grandmothers candy thermometer, which is obviously broken :(. Made two batches and they won’t harden. Question is can I just put the solution back into the pot and reboil to temp? I also stirred the first go round, so I’ve read and learned my lesson for this re heat :)!


  38. This recipe is awesome! These turned out perfect. You really mean it when you said turn your head! I turned mine when stirring in the oil but got a face full when pouring into pan. Cough Cough! But worth it!

  39. Great recipe – no problems.
    Also made some lollipops but they were to thin so next time I will use a ring mold and then try and insert the stick once it sets up. I made some dinosaur candy using a silicone dinosaur mold. They came out great and any excess was able just to be chipped away.
    Thank you

  40. How long will this recipe stay fresh? I am wanting to use it in a candy bar for my daughter’s wedding reception, but I need to make it at least two weeks in advance.

  41. I remember this so well, but I have a question for you. Any ideas or suggestions on how to make this sugar free, or will that simply not work? I have a sugar substitute that we love and works well in all the baked goods we’ve converted, but not sure what to do with the light karo syrup.

    Thanks in advance for any insight you may be able to give me!

    Merry Christmas! ~Theresa

    • The syrup is the glue that gives the candy its plasticity if that makes sense. Honestly I don’t know if there is a karo syrup substitute and I have not tried sugar substitute either but if you have good luck baking with it, it might work, the trick is that the temperatures won’t be the same as this recipe because the chemical makeup is different. I wish I had the magical answer, and I know there is hard candy that is sugar free on the market, I just don’t know off hand. I will look into it though!

  42. Can I order some, and if so-how ?

    • I generally don’t sell my baked goods and confections, but even so, I highly doubt it would make it to you before Christmas this year. If you contact me before December 15th of next year I might be able to hook you up πŸ™‚

  43. I love the cinnamon candy. I wanted to try root beer flavor. I made watermelon few weeks ago and it wasnt as strong as i would have liked. Do u think it would be okay to use 2 drams instead of 1 for the root beer. I used lorann flavors.

    • Yes absolutely. Case in point when I make Pina Colada flavor I actually don’t buy the specific dram of that flavor I buy a pineapple and a coconut and I put both of them in there and it works PERFECTLY.

  44. Hmmm….my mind is spinning! Will be using this recipe!!! Do you think I can pour the hot mixture into candy molds to shape the rock candy???? If yes, any suggestions, pointers or do’s and don’ts you’d like to share???? Endorsements of specific products may not be allowed, but would appreciate any hints to what’s “best” on the market!!!!

    Many thanks!

    • 1. YESSSSSS yes yes yes you can definitely pour them into silicone candy molds! 2. I have listed the exact items I use above the recipe if you want an idea.

      As I state in the recipe this is my go to for ANY rock candy recipe, meaning you can swap the cinnamon for root beer flavor and pour them into a barrel shaped mold! SO many ways you can take this recipe!

  45. Maryaloce says:

    Help me out here, please..ive never made candy before til today, and i wound up with a pan of goo…my thermometer is brand new, so did i need to cook longer on a lower heat, and is it possible to re cook it?

  46. Jennifer Gibson says:

    Make this a lot and it is always perfect. I ran out of oils this year and didn’t know it until it was too late. I ended up using extracts and went by the 4ths rule – 4 parts extract to replace 1 part oils. It worked perfectly and came out just as it always does. ^_^

  47. My great aunt use to make rock candy can you use any type of candy mold


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