Homemade Tootsie Rolls

October 18, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by Heather Baird
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Makes 22 to 24 pieces of candy
Author Notes

Make your own Tootsie Rolls at home using this easy recipe! There's no cooking or baking required and it's made using simple pantry staples, so enjoy them often!

Note: Powdered milk should be very fine. If your powdered milk is lumpy or coarse, run it through a food processor before using. —Heather Baird

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups instant non-fat dry milk powder
  • Wax paper
  1. In a large bowl, combine honey, cocoa powder and vanilla using a whisk. Add the melted butter and whisk until well incorporated. Add in the powdered sugar and pinch of salt; whisk again until well combined.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the instant milk powder 1/4 cup at a time until a dough forms. When you can no longer stir the mixture with a spoon, knead it with your hands. Keep adding in milk powder until a firm dough forms. You may not have to use all the milk powder. The finished dough should be firm and a little sticky but not so sticky that you can’t handle it. Roll the dough into a ball and place on waxed paper lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Let dough rest uncovered on wax paper for 5 to 10 minutes. As the candy stands it will relax from a ball shape into a disc. Cut candy into 3/4-inch strips and then into 2-inch lengths. If candy sticks to the knife, spray it with cooking oil or coat it with butter.
  3. Cut wax paper into 3 1/2 x 5 inch pieces. Wrap candies with the wax paper pieces. Store candies in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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  • BayBodyCo
I'm Heather, an artist-turned-baker with a passion for desserts! I write the SprinkleBakes blog - a place where I show people how to add more sparkle to their baking. I live in Knoxville, TN. with my husband Mark and two pugs named Biscuit and Churro. My book "SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist" was published May 2012.

48 Reviews

BayBodyCo February 1, 2021
Thank you for sharing! Great information.
BayBodyCo February 1, 2021
Thank you for sharing!
eNMh!!SLneLsz57 September 25, 2020
The honey completely overpowers the chocolate flavor. I think next time I’ll try a recipe that cooks the candy to bring out the cocoa flavor. Would not recommend this recipe!
Steven R. September 23, 2019
I had great success with this recipe. If doing this by hand knead the dough like you are making mozzarella cheese. The grainy texture melts away and looks almost like a taffy just before it turns colour. My wife loves them so Im happy. I too thought oh wow this could be the centre layer of a square or a frosting of some sort as I had visions of butter cream as I first started to mix it. Next batch on the stand mixer though. save my arms and time.
s.mcatee August 9, 2019
I made this recipe twice! The first time I made it exactly as the recipe called. I used locally harvested honey and organic powdered milk. The texture was perfect with just a hint of honey taste. Today I made it with corn syrup. To me it tastes more like the Tootsie Roll. Either works for me. I know my husband approves...the container was nearly empty this morning! Good thing I just made my second batch. Thank you for a great recipe for my most favorite candy!!
GeorgiannaN October 1, 2017
Thoughts on a way to repurpose this "dough" into a different recipe? (Frosting? Cake?) I also have the grainy issue. My powdered milk was more flaked/balls than perfect powder. So I've got a 1/2 finished tootsie dough that I'd like to not waste. Ideas???
Vivian May 16, 2016
This recipe turned out grainy and tooooo sweet I would NOT recommend these.
Jenifer A. June 19, 2015
Unless you have the forearms of The Hulk, use a stand mixer for this recipe. It smooths out the consistency really well. I will try adding some orange extract next time, as someone suggested. Otherwise. this turned out pretty well, I found.
Audrey December 23, 2014
Yikes. Despite reading all the comments, and having faith in the gorgeous photography of these homemade tootsie rolls, and faith in my own experience in making confections/candies: these turned out just awful. The concept of adding instant nonfat dry milk powder directly to the room-temperature wet mixture sounded like a recipe for grittiness, but I took the plunge and tried it anyway.

Total waste of time and ingredients. (And yeah, the time required was a little ludicrous for this 'simple' recipe. I sifted cocoa powder, sifted powdered sugar, ran the milk powder through my food processor to get a finer texture: and THEN I sifted that, to try to eliminate the grit issue others had encountered.)

The taste is spot-on if you substitute a bit of the vanilla with orange extract (made all the difference in the world-- otherwise would have been quite one-dimensional.) But the bizarre, gritty texture made me throw this away. It was also extraordinarily difficult to cut: rolling the 'dough' and snipping it into Midgee-sized bites was much easier, though ultimately not worth it because of the unpleasant texture of the candy.
Devon December 13, 2013
This has WAY too much honey! My kids said all they could taste was honey, and I followed the recipe exactly. Also, I thought the dry milk made it grainy, even though I used a fine sifter. My family did NOT like this recipe, and I won't be making it again.
GregoryBPortland June 30, 2013
Yes, it is the same thing. Looks like bigger granules than powder. And it is skimmed milk. I had to drink it as a kid and loathed it. However, it does tenderize homemade bread, which is why I still give it room in my kitchen.
Grainnie June 30, 2013
okay, thanks!!
Grainnie June 30, 2013
I know this isn't a recent post, but i was wondering whether anyone could help me out with something... i live in the UK and i don't think we have 'milk powder', i bought 'dried skimmed milk' which isn't powder it has bigger granules, will this work? does anyone have any advice?
Jazzball June 30, 2013
What you have should be fine. It's not actually powder in the US, either, it's just called that.
Ceege March 26, 2013
Oh my. My husband LOVES tootsie rolls. His birthday is in Apr. I plan on making a batch or two of these to surprise him. Wish me luck as I see some have had problems with them forming.
bad024 March 14, 2013
mine were a little to sticky so i added butter. i also put them in the freezer for 1 hour then into the fridge and they hardened up very nicely
ChrissieRusso February 21, 2013
I used Karo syrup and Coffeemate instead of powdered milk--both things I had on hand..Turned out great, not gritty at all, and I'm thinking of trying the Irish Cream or Hazlenut flavored coffee creamer next!
ChrissieRusso February 21, 2013
Oh...and I rolled it into a long rope and cut it in pieces...easier, I think!
BobbaT February 21, 2013
Wow...great ideas. I'll try another batch. Thanks.
Gardenmom49 January 20, 2013
I will make a batch using honey as the recipe states, and I will make another using brown rice syrup and let you know how it turns out.
BobbaT November 11, 2012
I just found another recipe for tootise rolls that have less powdered milk and much more sugar. I wonder if that would cut the "milky" taste. I'm going to try it tomorrow and will "report" back!!
Cecilia M. November 4, 2012
This is the second time I've made it. First time all I had was raw honey,but I just heated it slightly and it was easy to bring together. After a few days in the refrigerator they were fantastic! I used a drop of orange extract and sure enough they taste exactly like tootsie rolls. The second batch I made with regular honey and it tastes just as good.
BobbaT October 28, 2012
That's a great idea. I, too, had the batter ALL over my hands. I still have a batch in the freezer (to peel of the paper to throw away) so I'll take it out and try your suggestions!
amhendricks October 26, 2012
Umm.... didn't love this one. Took FOREVER to knead it together to not be a sticky mess all over my hands. My powdered milk made it pretty grainy too. Fortunately, my roommate and I got a little crafty and dropped the chunks into cups of boiling water to make hot chocolate!