Homemade Rock Candy is awesome! It really is food science working at its finest. Not only is it a fun experiment to do but the end result is so tasty.
Using just a few ingredients you can make rock candy at home. It would make a great activity to do with the kids as well. Maybe someone needs to conduct a science experiment for school? This would work perfectly for that. It is easy to do, if I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients and tools
Homemade rock candy only requires a few ingredients. You will need:
- Water – I generally use filtered water, since my tap water tastes gross.
- White granulated sugar – The sugar is the star of the dish. You can’t make rock candy without the sugar.
- Food coloring – This is an optional ingredient. It is great for making all kinds of different colors.
- Flavoring – There are a variety of flavorings that you can put in your rocky candy.
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers
- Wide glasses or mason jars
Step 2: How to make homemade rock candy
To begin you need something for the rock candy crystals to form on. I generally use cake pop or lollipop sticks, strings are used frequently. I have also used bamboo skewers as well.
Dip the stick in water and then roll it in a plate that has some white granulated sugar on it. Little sugar crystals will stick to the stick. These are what are called “seed crystals.” The other crystals will attach themselves to these. Once the sticks are coated allow them to dry for 25 to 30 to minutes.
Step 3: Create the sugar solution
Time to make the sugar solution. Take a medium saucepot and add in the water. Place it on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium.
Once the water starts to simmer add in one of the cups of sugar. After that sugar dissolves add in another cup and repeat with the last cup of sugar. Stir the mixture and bring it to a boil.
Once it comes to a boil add in the food coloring and any flavoring that you may have. Mix it in and then turn off the heat. Allow the hot sugar solution to cool for 20 minutes. This is the base solution for rock candy.
Note: Please do not touch the liquid or the pot it is extremely hot and will burn you. Young children should have adult supervision when making rock candy at home.
Step 4: Containers for the Rock Candy to grow in
Next, you need some sort of container to put the solution in. The container shouldn’t be too narrow it needs to be wide enough to allow the crystals to form without sticking to the sides. I generally use a large mason jar for my rock candy (800 ml size). That, size jar will make one large rock candy. Or can can try it with smaller containers.
Use a funnel so it is easier to fill up the jar. Leave about an inch to an inch to two inches of space from the top. Add a circular ring to the top of the jar and then dip one of your sugar sticks in it and attach it with a clothespin.
Make sure there is an inch and a half of space between the bottom of the jar/container and the stick. If you want to make a few different colors and flavors, don’t add the food coloring and flavoring while the solution is heating. You can add it to the individual jars instead.
Now it is time to wait for those sugar crystals to develop. This will usually take 5 to 7 days for a good amount of crystals to form making that awesome rock candy.
Step 5: Homemade Rock Candy has formed!
After a few days, you will be able to see the progress of rock candy. Notice the film of sugar that has grown on the very top surface of the sugar solution, this is normal. Time to remove the candy from the solution.
Use a fork and gently break apart the thin layer of sugar crystals on the top. Pull the stick with the rock candy out of the solution and place it on another glass to dry.
This will allow any dripping sugar water to be contained. Let them dry for about 4 hours. The longer you allow them to sit in the water the larger the crystals will grow. Don’t they look awesome?
Rock Candy Troubleshooting Tips
It is possible that so many crystals will grow in the glass or cup and the stick will get stuck. This glass is a little too narrow of a glass. This is science but not always an exact science, meaning sometimes the sugar crystals just don’t grow how you want them to.
I have found an 800 ml size mason jar works great, it is about 3.5 inches wide and 6.5 inches tall. But it will only make one large candy with this recipe. The cool thing is the science still worked.
Sugar crystals did form, just too well, because the stick won’t come out. Sometimes you can run hot water on the bottom of the glass to release the stick.
Why are my rock candy crystals so small?
Was your glass or container cold by chance? When pouring the hot liquid into the container it may have cooled quicker causing the development of smaller crystals. One way to avoid this is the heat the jar up on the outside with hot water before adding the sugar solution. Or just a metal container like a wide thermos.
How long can I store the rock candy?
Rock candy, if stored in a dry place, can last for up to a whole year.
Can I reuse the leftover liquid?
Yes, you can reuse the leftover sugar syrup. If you want to make more rock candy, just heat it up with an additional cup of sugar, to replace the sugar that grew on the previous stick.
How do I clean the mason jar or glass after growing the rock candy?
Sometimes when you make rock candy the whole bottom of the glass gets covered with crystals, and they seem to grow everywhere but on the stick, haha. It can be a little bit of a pain to clean the glass. I find running incredibly hot water in the glass for a few minutes will melt the sugar enough to get it out of the glass. If you use something like a plastic cup, you can just throw it out.
Homemade Rock Candy
- wooden spoon or spatula
- lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers
- wide glasses or mason jars (400 to 800ml) or wide metal thermos
- 1 cup of water 240 ml
- 3 cups of white granulated sugar 600 g
- 1 – 2 tsp flavoring
- Begin by dipping the sticks in water and then rolling them in sugar. A plate works well to hold the sugar. I only dip it where I want the sugar crystals to grow. Set the sticks aside and allow them to dry. These are the seed crystals that the other crystals will grow on.
- Add a large pot to the stovetop and set to medium heat. Pour in the water and bring it to a simmer. Then add in the sugar a cup at a time, stirring it to dissolve the sugar. Bring it to a boil. If you are only using one color and flavor you can add it in right when it boils.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow the sugar solution to cool for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes run the tap water until it gets really hot, let the water run over the glass or mason jar to heat it up until really warm. Make sure to use a wide glass or mason jar like the 800ml kind if you want larger candies, but you will get fewer of them, with this amount of liquid you will get 1 large one. Smaller mason jars or glasses for smaller candies, but you will get more of them. 2 to 3 of them.Pour the hot sugar solution into the containers. If you are using a metal thermos no need to heat it up. If you want different colors now would be the time to add those colors and flavors.
- Attach a clothespin to a sugar stick and set it in the solution. If necessary use a metal ring on top of the mason jar so the clothespin can sit on it. Try and keep the stick in the very middle of the glass and at least 1.5 inches from the bottom. If it is too close to the bottom the crystals might fill up the bottom.
- Let the crystals form for 3 to 5 days. Use a fork and gently break away any thin layer of sugar that has formed on the surface of the solution. Then pull out the rock candy and place in another container to dry for 4 hours. That's it! Enjoy!
Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.
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Just finished making these, now we wait! Thanks so much for the recipe – very easy to follow & understand! Started out making these with my nephew and ended up doing it alone, it was quite fun though! I don’t understand the amount of negative comments, you made the entire process simple, leaving little to no room for error. Thanks so much!
You are so very welcome! 🙂 Let me know how the crystals grow and how it turns out. If you see too many crystals forming on the bottom, you may need to raise the stick a little more from the bottom, otherwise, they can cover the entire bottom and the stick! haha.
We are excited to try this out later today! Thank you for such a detailed recipe (kids will be leading the project)! Am wondering if you think kool aid packets, without sugar, would work for the flavor and color?
Awesome, Amanda! Have fun with the kids and let me know how they turn out. 🙂 You are so very welcome! I am not sure about the Kool packets, it is a great idea, I wonder if it will prevent crystal growth. Maybe try a few different ones as part of an experiment. 🙂
Hi I cant wait to try this a couple ?’s i want to make multiple ones4 a baby shower can i put more then 1 stick in a jar?? And also where do I get flavoring? I want to do pink and white ones any suggestions
Hello! No you can only do one per jar, they need to have room for the crystals to grow. 🙂 The flavoring can be found at places like Walmart or online. These are some of the kinds you can buy – https://amzn.to/2XRsmSC
The sugar melted off the stick as soon as I put it in bc it’s still super hot after 20 min. Is it still going to work??
Put more sugar on the stick and let the mixture cool a little bit longer.
It would have been helpful to have an idea of what size container works best for the amount of ingredients you gave. For 1 recipe we used two 500 mL canning jars (roughly 3″ across and 5″ tall), and it was a disaster. The entire container crystallized- and not in the cool rock candy shape or look. 🙁 I ended up making 2 batches, double checking the recipe carefully each time, and the results are the same.
Hi there Beth! Did you review the rock candy troubleshooting tips? That is in the actual body of the post, not the printable recipe. You can see an image of one I did where the whole thing filled with crystals, most likely what happened to you. But yes you are right, instead of just saying a mason jar works best, I should have stated what size. The ones I used are the larger ones, (800ml) which are nearly 4 inches wide by 6.5 inches or so tall. This was one of the first recipes on my blog that I converted from my YouTube video, if you get a chance watch the video, it may help as well. It probably needs to be revamped. Will definitely make those edits so it is clearer 🙂 But glad you tried it and at least got the crystals to grow. Oh also make sure the stick isn’t too close to the bottom of the jar either. 🙂
It kinda takes a long time to prepare, whereas other recipes finish the candies in 4-6 hours. Plus, it is not worth it because they don’t taste that good anyway. Kinda doubtful about all the “fun and easy” comments cause it ain’t that easy or fun.
Wait did you or didn’t you try it? Sorry, you can’t argue with science or rush it. That is how long it takes for the sugar crystals to grow that specific kind of candy and have them look as nice with the big crystals. It can’t be done in 4 to 6 hours there is no way the crystals can grow that fast. And you are accusing the other commenters of lying then? haha Also, easy and fun a matter of opinion I guess. Here is another recipe which is pretty much the same, takes 5 to 10 days. https://www.thespruceeats.com/rock-candy-521016
I am planning to try. What do you do with the sugar solution after 5-7 days when candy is ready. Can you reuse it to make more rock candy or is it trashed?
Hello Anu, the reason why the solution works to grow the candy is because, it is supersaturated with sugar. Once the crystals formed, it can beused but it is no longer saturated, so you need to reheat it and add more sugar to it, but not as much. If that makes sense?
Thank you for this awesome recipe! I’m super excited to try it! Is there a way to make crystals form with out a stick? Like out on a flat surface? I wanted to try to make my own rock candy for a geode cake! Or could I just break it of the stick once its all done? Thank you!
Hi Lauren, you need to have seed crystals for the sugar crystals to grow on. I have never tried it without a stick. You could just break it off the stick once it is done. Some people do it with a string as well!
This is interesting and delicious! It would have never occurred to me, to make “Homemade” Rock Candy. Thanks!
You are welcome, Myrah! 🙂
I want to make my own version of Homemade Rock Candy! Sounds like a fun treat for kids!
For sure! 🙂
This looks amazing and tasty, can’t wait to try this
This looks way easier then I would have thought. I am thinking about making this for my daughter’s next birthday party. Who doesn’t like rock candy? I will let you know how it turns out.
For sure! Super easy and fun to make. This will be perfect for a birthday party! 🙂
Such a fun and creative idea. I absolutely love it. I can’t wait to make this with my kids. Thanks! 🙂
Thank you, Natalie! 🙂 🙂
Looks great and I can’t wait to make them later! Just curious, how many sticks of rock candy should I expect this to make.
It will make a few of them, depending on the jars you use. It is a long but fun process growing your own rock candy haha. 🙂
Nnniiccceeee….I like this candy already! Though, it has quite a lot of sugar. I may not handle it so well now.
Thanks! It’s popular among kids here in the United States. Pure sugar, haha.
Wow, that candy looks good. I never knew it was possible to make at home. Thanks for the recipe.
You are very welcome, Denise! 🙂
This is probably my favorite blog post so far from you. This is by far one of the coolest DIY I have ever read regarding how-to-make-rock-candy because it gives you a real, tried and true in depth way of making it. I think I am going to try this recipe. Excellent blog post.
Thank you, Sarah! Such a nice compliment. 🙂 🙂
I am making these with my kids! This looks so fun!
Awesome!! 🙂 Let me know how it turns out.
That is so awesome! I’m going to bookmark this for a future day.
Thank you! 🙂
My kids would LOVE these! I can’t wait to try this recipe!
Great!! 🙂 You will have to let me know how they like making them. 🙂
I know so many kids that will be all over this. Can’t wait to try it!
I LOVE these! This would be something awesome to make with the kids!
Thank you! For sure! 🙂