How to Make Homemade Candy Corn

October 23, 2015

Remember coming home from trick-or-treating on Halloween and trying to figure out a safe place to stash all your candy before your family members would find and eat it?

I would always try and stash some candy corn—those tri-colored candies that are probably dentists' most-hated sweet. Meant to resemble kernels of corn, these very sugary candies come and go as quickly as fall moves into winter. 

Shop the Story

I'd always hide them on a top shelf way in the back of the cupboard, but despite my efforts, I'd always return to find my stash slightly depleted. I've now found a solid solution to keeping a stash of candy corn past October: Make them yourself! 

Not only can you have homemade candy corn year-round, long after Halloween has come and gone, but you can also get a little crazy and mix up the colors and flavors, too. Coconut- or almond-flavored candy corn—why not?! 

I now have a nice little stash of candy corn hidden in one of my kitchen cupboards. We’ll see how long they last...

Homemade Candy Corn

Makes 120 pieces

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup instant skim milk powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 drops orange food color
1 to 2 drops yellow food color

Place a Silicone baking mat on a large baking sheet. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, milk powder, and salt, set aside. In a small pot, mix together sugar, corn syrup, water, and butter. Place on high heat and stir with a Silicone spatula until everything has melted together and the sugar has dissolved.

Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Boil the corn syrup mixture, without stirring, until it reaches 240° F, about 2 to 3 minutes. (In candy-making terms, this is the soft ball stage).

Quickly remove from heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Be careful, as it may sputter a bit. Pour the syrup into the bowl with the confectioners' sugar and milk powder. Using your Silicone spatula, mix until everything is combined and the mixture forms into a ball.

Dump the candy corn dough onto the prepared Silicone baking mat. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle.

Split the candy corn dough into three equal-sized pieces. Color one orange by adding a few drops of orange food color, and color the other piece yellow. 

Knead the food color into the candy corn dough until it is thoroughly mixed in.


Remove about 2 tablespoons of each color candy corn and roll into thin strands (about the width of a pencil). Wrap the remaining pieces in plastic wrap and set aside.

Stack the strips on top of one another starting with the white and followed by the orange and then the yellow. Press them together so they make one tri-colored strip. Using a small paring knife cut triangles out of the strip to form your candy corn. Continue with remaining mixture.

Leave candy corn pieces on the Silicone baking mat until dry, about 2 hours. Keep in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Miranda Keyes

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Tess
  • Patricia Irvine Asher
    Patricia Irvine Asher
  • Shalyn McFaul
    Shalyn McFaul
  • Tamara
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
Freelance food stylist & recipe developer


Tess October 7, 2017
I made this recipe today and it did not go in my favor. Very disappointing. After transferring the mixture to a slipat to cool to handle it essentially became hard as a rock.
Patricia I. October 3, 2017
Are you sure it's safe to use a sharp knife on a Silpat (or any silicone) sheet? The Silpat FAQ warns against using a knife or any sharp tool.
Shalyn M. October 3, 2017
I wonder if you could divide the color sections less evenly and roll them into a ball with the colors layered over each one before cutting them up in order to get the consistency of color gradation and shape from commercial ones, instead of the equal color stripes that forces half of them to be backwards in color.
Tamara October 26, 2015
Also, do you think I can just eliminate the skim milk powder? Can I make these dairy free? It's the only "annoying" ingredient that I don't already have on hand, you know?
Ness October 27, 2015
I'm tempted to suggest cornstarch, but I'm not sure what proportion/substitution would work.
Miranda K. October 28, 2015
I tried the recipe without milk powder - because I agree, it's not something you have on hand. It actually makes the dough really crumbly. You CAN make it without but the texture will not be the same and the dough becomes more difficult to work with. Let me know how it goes!
Tamara October 26, 2015
This has to be the most fun recipe ever!! I really want to make this--definitely one of those "how did they make that?!?!" recipes! And not too hard at all!! Thanks!
Miranda K. October 28, 2015
Thanks so much Tamara! They are super fun to make and even better if you have extra hands to help cut the candy!
Kristen M. October 23, 2015
These are so much cuter than regular candy corn!
Miranda K. October 24, 2015
Thanks so much Kristen! :)
debi T. October 23, 2015
Miranda. These are simply amazing! I wanna try them and eat them all!
Miranda K. October 24, 2015
haha thanks Debi! They are pretty tasty!