Teen Tuesday: Rock Candy Tutorial

Traditionally, rock candy can take up to seven days because you have to make the sugar-water mixture, then set it aside to wait for the sugar crystals to form.  It’s a pretty cool process to watch, but if you want to get right to the good part, here's a tutorial for making rock candy (with a slightly different recipe) that will be ready in hours - not days.

This recipe involves cooking a hot sugar/water mixture on the stove, so kids - please make sure you have a parent there to help.

Make sure your supplies and ingredients are ready to go before you begin.


  • A pot to cook everything in
  • Candy thermometer (alternate method provided below for those who don't have a candy thermometer)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Greased cookie sheet
  • Bamboo skewers


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Food coloring


1. To make the rock candy, add 2 cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of corn syrup, and 1/2 cup of water to a pot.  Give it a stir to mix it all together. 

2. Add your candy thermometer.  Turn the stove to low or medium heat.  Stir continually until the mixture reaches 300◦.  Instructions online, say this could take from 5 - 10 minutes, but every stove is different.  I found that it took 20 minutes for my mixture to make it up to 300◦ on medium heat.  If you don't have a candy thermometer or can't get one, you can test if your mixture is ready another way.  Simply drop a little bit of the mixture into cold water.  If it is ready, it will form hard, brittle threads that break when bent (just be sure to give it a chance to cool before you attempt to pick it up and test this).

3. Remove the mixture from the heat, add the food coloring and give it a stir to mix. 

4. Carefully, pour this mixture onto a greased baking sheet.  Leave to sit for 2 hours (more if it's still sticky). 

5. Break the candy up using a meat tenderizer.

You can enjoy the candy as is, or you can make the traditional swizzle stick.  To make the swizzle stick, cook up a much smaller batch of the rock candy mixture (1/4 cup sugar, 1 TBSP water, 1 TBSP corn syrup).  Dip the bamboo skewer into the mixture, then roll it into the rock candy mixture.  Repeat until you are happy with the way it looks.  Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this virtual program and want to try your hand at some other confections, check out some of our downloadable sources available through Overdrive.  Stay safe, and don’t forget to check out the library’s webpage for even more fun activities you can do at home.

Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Create and Enjoy by Jennifer M. Besel

Teens Cook Dessert by Megan Carle

Candy Aisle Crafts: Create Fun Projects with Supermarket Sweets by Jodi Levine

Teen Tuesday: Rock Candy

Posted by KarenM on May 1, 2020