December 10, 2019

How to make your very own Rock Candy at home

DIY Rock Candy!

Who knew that making such beautiful, tasty, sugary Rock Candy at home would be so easy and FUN! It also doubles as a bit of a Science Experiment too!

Using only 3 ingredients, the goodies made from this fun ‘experiment’ can be used for kids parties, wedding favours or just a fun treat!

Now I wanted to make a HUGE batch of these for my son’s party, but you don’t need to make the amount I did! The general rule of thumb is 2 – 3 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water. I ended up using 10 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water. I will give you the basic recipe and you can double it, triple it, whatever you like!

You will need:

2-3 cups white sugar

1 cup water

Food colouring

Flavouring (optional) I had some ‘Bubblegum Essence’ so I used that

You will also need:

Jars/champagne flutes

Pegs

Skewers

Large saucepan

Method

DIY Rock Candy!

Add your water to the saucepan and bring to the boil

Start adding the sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, until it no longer dissolves (making a saturated sugar solution). The more sugar you add, the longer it will take to dissolve. Be patient and try to get as much to dissolve as possible.

DIY Rock Candy!

Add a few drops of your flavouring.

Take your mixture off the heat and allow to cool – approximately 15 minutes.

DIY Rock Candy!DIY Rock Candy!DIY Rock Candy!

While you are waiting, take a plate and add some sugar to it. Get your skewers and dip them into the liquid sugar mixture then dip it into the plain sugar to coat the stick. This will give your Rock Candy something to ‘grow on’. Let them dry for a few minutes until they are completely dry – if they are still too wet when you put them into the hot sugar solution, all of the sugar coating will fall off, and the new crystals will have nothing to grow on.

DIY Rock Candy!

Set out your champagne flutes/jars and add a few drops of food colouring to the bottom of each.

DIY Rock Candy!

Carefully add the sugary solution to each glass/jar and give it a little stir. I happened to have a baster on hand which made this task much easier, but you could use a gravy boat, funnel or small cup.

DIY Rock Candy!

Take your sugary skewers & place a peg at the top of each and place into the glasses (make sure they do not touch the bottom or sides as this will hinder the ‘growing process’.

DIY Rock Candy!

Now it’s time to be patient. The crystals will start growing in 2 – 3 days, but depending on how big you want your Rock Candy sticks will depend on how long you will need to keep them in the glasses (we let ours grow for 2 weeks). The kids loved checking in on the candy to see how much it had grown each day!

DIY Rock Candy!

We also used a food cover to cover the glasses to stop any nasties venturing in!

When you are ready to remove them, gently break the top with a butter knife or other sharp object. Gently remove the skewer and hang it upside down until the excess liquid drips off and it dries. You can pour out the liquid from the glass and use the glass to hang the skewer and catch the excess liquid.

DIY Rock Candy! DIY Rock Candy! photo 4 DIY Rock Candy!

Ta Da! Beautiful, home grown rock candy!

You may also like some of our other Fun Science Ideas:

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239 thoughts on “How to make your very own Rock Candy at home

      1. Can you make a video making one?
        I’m not good at reading and making, I make things worse doing that! And wonder if it works on “tang” juice?- Judy

    1. Hi!I can’t wait to try them.i am just wondering if the coloured sugar rock candy will stain the tongue?is it possible to make a non-coloured rock sugar candy?

      1. Hi there,

        You certainly can make the rock candy without the food colouring, it just won’t be as pretty : ( We haven’t had too much trouble with it staining the tongue…they are the same as most lollipops. Jenni x

  1. You could speed up the growing process by adding more saturated sugar solution after a couple of days. The more sugar in the solution the quicker it will grow.

  2. The Rock Candy recipe sounds like a good project to do with my grandkids while they are out of school over certain hollidays…like around Christmas…ty for sharing

  3. We tried this just one week ago today and followed the directions just as they were written. I haven’t seen any change in the solution as of yet. Did we do something wrong?

    1. Hi Jennifer, so glad you are trying this. It’s fantastic fun for the kids! Mine took 2 weeks to get to the stage they are at in the photos. I did however see crystals forming prior to that. Leave it the full two weeks & then let us know how you go! Jenni x

  4. I have seen since pretty cute Valentine’s Day gifts with the rock candy- a bit card with “you rock” written on it. I’ll have to share this with my sister to have my nieces do it for a school treat.

      1. Fantastic idea at any child’s birthday party either themed or radom colors. Instead of a lpot candy gift bag or box this is a great gift for guests as they leave the party. Or as a class gift for fellow students even at Christmas time red.and green would look great and halloween orange ones for trick or treatThanks for the great idea ans recipe im inspired to give these a go.

  5. Hi – we are making this for a school project. We doubled the recipe – 2 cups water and 6 cups sugar. Everything absorbed really well and the solution was pretty clear. Added food color to the flutes and set it up as you did. It is day 2 and the solution has crusted over and the sugar is one large mass around the skewers. Will this eventually shrink down to the sharp squared off crystals or do we need to start over? Thanks!

  6. This has been fun, but the liquid is no longer clear. It was starting to cloud over before I put it in the flutes. Is this supposed to happen?-Heather

  7. Hi,I can’t wait to try them.I am wondering if the food colouring will stain the tongue?n is it possible to make rock sugar candy without the food colouring?

    1. I’m so sorry Carissa, I am not sure what to tell you, I haven’t had that problem before. Have you followed all of the steps correctly? Jenni x

    2. From what it sounds like is that the sugar is caramelizing. Try reducing the heat. If the heat is to high the water will completely evaporate and the sugar will start to caramelize. I hope this helps.

    3. typically sugar solutions turn brown when cooked longer and hotter. this is what carmelizing is. really don’t need to have soln boiling. The reason to heat the water to boiling is so that the maximum amount of sugar will dissolve.

      1. If the sugar caramalized will it still make rock candy because wouldn’t that be yummy! Caramel Rock Candy! YUMMY!

    4. It sounds like your heat could be too high on the sugar and that you are caramelizing the sugar instead of just dissolving it. Try heating over a lower temp would be my suggestion.

    1. I do not know for certain but the gelatin may cause some issues. Koolaid would probably be a safer alternative to food coloring and flavorings, I am going to try this without coloring but with some hot
      cinnamon…. yummy

  8. What do you mean by “break the tops” in “When you are ready to remove them, gently break the top with a butter knife or other sharp object. Gently remove the skewer and hang it upside down until the excess liquid drips off and it dries. You can pour out the liquid from the glass and use the glass to hang the skewer and catch the excess liquid.”

    What are you breaking the ‘tops’ off? Sorry! Just curious! Beautiful photos and a wonderful idea! 🙂

    1. Good question! Sometimes the sugar will grow around the skewers but also grow across the top of the glass, so sometimes you will need to chip this away before you can remove the skewers : ) I hope this makes more sense now. Jenni x

  9. I made this last holidays with my boys and can’t wait to do it again. I’m also thinking of doing this with my Joey Scouts as a Christmas activity. Thanks for the great idea.

  10. I saw someone asked about jello for flavoring, I was wondering about koolaid powder to flavor and color the solution. Do you think that would work? Have you ever tried making it on strings?

    1. Hi Michelle, sorry I haven’t tested it out with Jello or Koolaid nor have I tried making this on strings…I have only used the method in this post. I’d love to hear how you go should you have some success in another ‘experiment’! Jenni x

      1. I made this as a kid over 40 years ago … we used kitchen string (turkey tie down string) .. tied the string to a pencil and hung it in a tall glass not allowing it to touch bottom .. poured in the solution and food coloring and just waited.

      2. I have made it with string with my mom when I was younger.. everything is the same we just used string If I remember right it was more like a cord than a string..

    2. When we were kids many years ago, about 50 give or take, we made these on strings. I like the stick idea and plan to try it for my grandkids.

  11. Thanks for the Rock Candy recipe! This will make great stocking stuffers. I was wondering, Is it possible to make multi-colored Rock Candy? If so, How? Maybe like an Easter egg? Let it dry, then put it in a different color? Would that work?

  12. Do you have to stir it while its boiling? And you only dip the skewer once in the sugar right? You dont repeat each time it dries?

  13. i made rock candy one year. Not like this but i used peppermint flavoring let me share my horror story. i did not read the full directions and when it came time to add flavor i poured the whole bottle of peppermint flavor in to the mix! you only need a few drops. my house smelled like peppermint til February and i made this at Christmas time

  14. I am wondering if you could wait to put a liquid flavoring in each individual flute? That way you could add flavor according to the color you are making, to have a variety of flavors as well???

  15. Can this be made with Stevia or Splenda type “sugar”??? My son is severely ADHD and I have him on a restricted sugar diet but would LOVE to make these with him….

    1. I’m not sure if those ingredients ‘crystalise’ like sugar does. If you try it out we would love to hear how it goes :). Louise x

    2. Hey Brandie, I am diabetic, and I have tried several sugar free sweeteners. I do not think that stevia will crystallize. I have discovered Xylitol sweetener. It is a crystal like sugar is, it has a low glycemic rating, and it has been used to prevent cavities and ear infections. It cost around $10.00 a pound around here, and is difficult to find. I have to go to a health food store to find it. I have made a simple syrup with it and it tasted like sugar in my tea this way. I do not know if it will work, but I would if any sugar free sweeteners would, I am guessing that it would. Another low glycemic sweetener to consider is coconut sugar.

    3. Splenda or Stevia won’t work. They don’t crystallize like sugar. This only works with real sugar. Try using raw sugar. My son is ADHD and raw sugar doesn’t hype him up.

  16. One thing I have found when making rock candy, either this way or the pour out on a pan and break in pieces way,,,, is use GOOD quality sugar. Use a good brand like Domino. Do NOT use any of the super fine almost powdery type. It has a anti caking agent added to it so it doesn’t clump up. It will ruin your candy, make it cloudy and won’t harden correctly. It is worth a few extra $$ to get GOOD sugar. I will only use Domino when I make this.

  17. I am amazed how this turned out the way I did it. I must have did something wrong for it crystalize over night. I went to check on it the next day after work and I pulled one out and it was a huge crystal sugar rock. Hmph! I’m confuggled. How did I speed up the process x1000? I followed your exact directions. I even have pictures. I am amazed!

    1. Mine also crystalized extremely fast. Within a few hours we noticed they were growing! The ONLY problem I had was that the sugar was starting to harden at the bottom of my jars. I used mason jars. When I took out the skewers there was about an inch of rock candy at the bottom. What did I do wrong? Other than that they came out awesome and very big!

  18. So great to hear so many other Fun Mums are giving this a go!

    We are curious how you found us and this recipe? Was it via a Facebook Page in particular?

    Thank you
    Jenni & Louise 🙂

    1. Yes, I saw this as a Facebook post and it looks like a great idea and so much fun to try with my girls. I also like some of the ideas and tips I’ve read in the other comments. I am going to also post to Pinterest, if you don’t mind. Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas! 🙂

  19. Since I’m not very good at science I’m trying to figure how to make this a science lesson. What questions would need to be asked? This seems like a very fun project to do with my kids.

    1. im going to use a camcorder that way i catch this growing from start to finshed should be interesting for the kids too watch there always like these things illjust speed up the video

      1. Awesome idea! Ww would love to see it when it’s done :). Maybe you could share it on our Facebook Page? Louise

    2. Many variables enter into this so called simple experiment. Cleanliness of flutes & all equipment, purity of sugar, good food coloring, & don’t disturb the solution once you pour it into flutes & all is set up. Allow plenty of time for crystals to grow. Enjoy!

    3. Look up growing sugar crystals on the internet. The experiment is probably listed on someone’s page.
      Here’s one: what if we used brown sugar?

  20. I was wondering if instead of glass flute can we use the plastic one’s..I like to try this n rather use plastic if I can so that there is no accidents of broken glasses 🙂

  21. Love it! I did this for a middle school science project. My science teacher also had a bunch of other crystal projects we could make. My first one didn’t take, so I did one with borax. I kept the recipes for a while and made the sugar one so we could eat it with my little brothers later. So fun!

  22. I did this using a Mason Jar and a Piece of yarn…It works and the kids love the candy…You can do it without coloring, or with coloring, and its awesome with or without flavor…The best part is…It is a great way to kids interested in science.

    1. Hi there, you can get pegs from the grocery store or $2 shops (they are what you use to hang your washing on the line). I have used more than one skewer in a glass & they have worked fine : ) Jenni x

  23. I’m so excited to have stumbled upon this recipe. My kids are adults now, but will always be my “kids”! My 22 year old son absolutely loves rock candy and can’t wait to try this. I will also be making the little ones in my community very happy! Thanks for these amazing ideas!

  24. Tks for posting this, I love rock candy and I work at an assisted living facility and asked the residents about how many remember it. They had so many great memories of it from when they were young . So this is gonna be a project i am gonna start with the residents this weekend. Cant wait . Tks again.

    1. Hi Nikki,
      Growing the crystals is almost as much fun as eating them.
      You could always try SEA SALT, they are still fun to make and sort of ‘edible’.

  25. Didn’t see a reply to Nikki Hall’s question in regards to using sugar substitute. My daughter is a diabetic but she would so love to try this. Thanks

    1. I am very sorry Misty, but I haven’t tried this recipe with a sugar substitute as yet…I will be sure to let you know if I do! Jenni x

  26. Oh I can’t wait to try this! I want to use green rock candy as kryptonite for my son’s super hero birthday party this year. Thank you, this will be so much cheaper!

  27. Green for St Pattys Day, Red for Valentines Day, etc! Great for holidays! I get grandkids on weekends, something for them to look forward to each time. Each week start a new batch so in 3’ish weeks you can enjoy them each time they are here! Love these in warm milk at bedtime!

  28. I have literally just finished making these. Brilliant idea 🙂 quick question though as I have turned the lights off to go to bed I noticed sugary sediment forming at the bottom & liquid sitting at the top on a few is this normal?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Yes that can sometimes happen. Just lift the sticks every day or so to make sure they don’t stick : ) Jenni x

  29. Hi I really what to try this for my daughter’s birthday but its a few months away. Do you know how long they will stay good for?? I just want to try them know so I know I can make them right lol

    1. We have made them a month in advance – just swirl them every couple of days, then when they’re ready keep them in a sealed container. Louise x

  30. Silly question but which end of the skewers do you put in the liquid the end that you have coated in sugar then dipped into the liquid or the end with nothing on it? Thanks

  31. I’m planning on making this for my daughter’s birthday, can is there any way for me to use two stick in one glass? That way I can make about 3 dozen? or maybe even use a plastic champagne flute that i can get at the dollar store?

    1. Hi Chai, yes I have made them with two or three sticks in each glass… just make sure you move them around every now and then to make sure they don’t ‘grow together’. Plastic is also fine too : ) Jenni x

  32. Just wanted to say. ..for everyone…thank you for being patient and answering every question. you seem like a genuinely nice person. I will try this soon..was wondering if this would work with those plastic popsicle makers??? does the stick have to be wood? thanks again.

    1. I think the wood helps the first ‘crystals’ to form and hold but I have seen images of them made on plastic. Can’t be 100% certain but worth a try Louise x

    1. Hi Mary, we will look into adding that feature to our site at some stage, but for now there isn’t – sorry. Louise x

    2. Mary, If you want to print a friendly version=
      right click by the recipe ….SELECT…. Print Preview from the list
      You will see the page #”s at the bottom
      scroll thru the pages and count how many you want…. That way you only have to print it….not all the 10 pages of reply’s
      Then click out of that—Because U can’t select pages there. Back to the recipe—
      Then right click again…select…. PRINT….then look down to (Page Range)….Click…(Pages)…..
      In box to right of that ENTER the page #’s you want… Like 1-3….
      Then Click…Apply and then…PRINT
      Sound like a lot…but it’s not. 🙂
      If you want to print a picture….Just right click (on) the picture…. and go from there.

      1. To have a printer friendly version select the text of the recipe go too file and select print preview. You actually only need page 1-6. I just went through the steps without printing, did that before awhile back.

    1. I have used the flavorings that I use to make hard tack candy and it tastes great (I get my flavorings at WalMart).

      I am going to have to try Stevia and see if it will work because my hubby loves these and he is diabetic!

  33. I made a big batch of blue, and big batch of yellow for my sons despicable me birthday party. They were a HUGE hit 🙂

    1. Tabatha,

      Did you try? I noticed you wanted to do it and only had a week. Wondering how much “growth” you noticed after only a week. We have a baby boy shower Sunday. Would love to make today for that, but wondering if that 6 days wouldn’t be worth the growth time.

  34. Hi Ashley, I always use the bamboo skewers…I think the wooden dowels would be too big for the Crystal to grow on. Any cup is fine, you can use plastic, glass, styrofoam…what ever tickles your fancy! Good luck and have fun! Jenni x

  35. Over 60 years ago I can remember my Dad doing this same project with us… He used a piece of string like candle string, and dangled it over the jar by tying it to a spoon handle. He also used peppermint candy to flavor them.

  36. To those asking about sugar substitutes, Splenda (which has been approved by the ADA for all three types of diabetes), should work since it’s actually sugar with only three of the atoms removed and replaced with chlorine. There’s no reason why the nucleation process shouldn’t produce some nice crystallization. 🙂

    Best of luck!

  37. Hey! I tried to make this candy and instead of the crystals growing on the sticks they grew in the glasses and I can’t get the crystals out with out ruining the glass. Please help!

    1. Hi Katy,
      Mine did the same thing. I soaked them in hot water for a while and that took care of most of it, then used a butter knife to break up the rest and it came right out. Hope this helps!

  38. I once saw this done with spoons, to stir in coffee or tea. I can’t remember if the spoon was wooden or not. Has anyone tried this on a spoon and if so, wood or plastic? Curious. I believe they were flavored.. like vanilla, cinnamon, peppermint, etc..
    Thanks in Advance for any helpful comments.
    Happy Holidays.

  39. Some of mine grew I made a total of 26 the ones that haven’t grown much are the ones where the water is evaporating and crystallizing can I make more solution and move them?

  40. I REMEMBER THESE AS KIDS……….. OH THE MEMORIES! AND THEY LASTED SO LONG! IT WAS A REAL CHRISTMAS………..
    THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES AND MOSTLY THE RECIPE. GOD BLESS, AND MERRY CHRISTMAS

  41. GREAT IDEA, I WOULD TO HAVE MORE INFORMATION OF YOUR WEBSITE. dO YOU HAVE ANY NEWSLETTERS i WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE IT. THANKS

  42. I think my grandkids and would love to do this all of my grandkids loves to do home made craft and goods like this thank you needed something different

    1. That’s a good question Sarah…they have never lasted long in my house if you know what I mean 😉 I dare say they would last quite a few weeks though! Jen x

  43. One more trick that you can use with this recipe…: Save/clean some old spaghetti sauce jars that you had left over from dinner one night(any glass jar with a metal/plastic top, really… I just happen to have like 20 spaghetti jars!), and you can drill a hole right in the middle of the top that is slightly smaller than the skewers you’re going to use. You can then slide the sugar coated skewer into the hole(much easier to adjust so that it doesn’t touch the sides/bottom), and then screw the top on to the jar once it’s full of the sugar solution. Not only will this succeed in “keeping the yuckies out”, it also allows you to move it to a different spot, in case you suddenly need to relocate it without making a mess, or having to remove whatever clothe you had draped over it!! Just a thought…

  44. just looks like a cool activity they would be pretty anyplace weddings, parties, a anyplace you want to make a colorful statement ! Cute cool and educational!!

  45. Would you be able to put different flavors in the glasses/jars instead of putting in the water in the very beginning?

    1. Wish I would have thought about that before I made mine. I think it would work. I am getting ready to take mine out after growing for 11 days 🙂 They are for my kids’ birthday parties on Sunday. They turned out really good from what I can tell. I only did 4 colors, but I will do more in the future. My kids check on them every day to see how they are growing.

  46. How many candies does the “General rule of thumb” make? This looks like a great idea do do with my brother. We want to make about 4.

  47. I think it would be fun to do with my grandkids .when they come to visit. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideals

  48. I love the colors! Thank you for the detailed instructions and pictures – I will definitely give it a try and maybe add them to my next “end of term” student gifts.

  49. I got a bit creative and found rubber grommets that fir the size of my skewers and drilled holes in mason jar lids allowing me to slide the skewer to the right height.

  50. Thank you for posting this! We had a great time creating our own Rock Candy. My daughters learned a lot about sugar and crystals and most of all about the rewards of patience. My favorite part was when we dipped the skewers in the sugary color!

  51. I tried the recipe and put in 2 1/2 cups of sugar but the mixture seemed a little to thick, will it be ok, or do I have to start again?

  52. So sad that with this many people posting here I’d be only the 2nd to even ask about using xylitol instead of white sugar. And I understand no one wanting to even try it without knowing it will work. That stuff is so expensive. I’ve tried substituting it in a few of my favorite recipes and only succeeded in ruining a large amount of the xylitol. Anyway, just hoping – still no one has tried this out?

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