How Is Candy Made? The Alchemy of Sugary Treats

From the moment I first unwrapped a candy as a child, the vibrant colors, tantalizing aromas, and diverse textures have always fascinated me.

How does a simple combination of sugar, syrup, and a few other ingredients transform into the delightful treats we all know and love?

Whether it’s the melt-in-your-mouth sensation of fudge, the popping surprise of certain candies, or the chewy delight of a jelly bean, the art of candy-making is a mesmerizing journey of flavors and forms.

Join me as we delve into the sweet world of confections, uncovering the secrets behind some of our favorite candies.

Prepare to be amazed, because the magic isn’t just in the tasteā€”it’s in the creation.

How Is Candy Made?

Candy is made by combining sugar, syrups, and flavorings, then heating, molding, or setting them into various shapes and textures. Techniques and ingredients vary, producing diverse candies like fudge, gummies, and hard sweets.

Candy Cane

Candy canes are made by heating sugar, corn syrup, and water, then flavoring and coloring the mixture.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, corn syrup, water, peppermint oil, red food coloring.
  • Candy-making technique: Boiling, pulling, twisting, and shaping.
  • End result: A striped, hook-shaped peppermint-flavored stick.


Honeycomb candy is a light, airy treat made by adding baking soda to caramelized sugar.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, golden syrup, baking soda.
  • Candy-making technique: Caramelizing, aerating.
  • End result: A crunchy, bubbly, golden candy.

Sponge Candy

Sponge candy is a toffee treat with a sponge-like interior.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, corn syrup, baking soda, chocolate (for coating).
  • Candy-making technique: Caramelizing, aerating, coating.
  • End result: A chocolate-coated candy with a crunchy, airy center.

Sour Candy

Sour candies get their tang from acidic ingredients.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, citric acid, malic acid, gelatin, flavorings.
  • Candy-making technique: Mixing, molding.
  • End result: A chewy or hard candy with a tangy taste.

Freeze Dried Candy

Freeze drying removes moisture from candy, intensifying its flavor.

  • Typical ingredients used: Varies based on the candy type.
  • Candy-making technique: Freeze drying.
  • End result: A crunchy, intensely flavored candy.

Hard Candy

Hard candies are made by boiling sugar syrup to a high temperature.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, corn syrup, water, flavorings, colorings.
  • Candy-making technique: Boiling, molding.
  • End result: A clear, shiny, hard candy.

Gummy Candy

Gummy candies are chewy treats made from gelatin.

  • Typical ingredients used: Gelatin, sugar, corn syrup, flavorings, colorings.
  • Candy-making technique: Mixing, molding.
  • End result: A chewy, jelly-like candy.

Cotton Candy

Cotton candy is made by melting sugar and spinning it into fine threads.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, food coloring.
  • Candy-making technique: Melting, spinning.
  • End result: A fluffy, cloud-like treat.

Rock Candy

Rock candy is formed by allowing a sugar solution to crystallize.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, water, flavorings (optional).
  • Candy-making technique: Crystallization.
  • End result: Large sugar crystals on a stick or string.

Candy Corn

Candy corn is a layered candy made from a sugar paste.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s wax, food coloring.
  • Candy-making technique: Mixing, layering, molding.
  • End result: A tri-colored, kernel-shaped candy.

Chocolate Candy

Chocolate candy is made from cocoa beans that are roasted, ground, and mixed with sugar and milk.

  • Typical ingredients used: Cocoa beans, sugar, milk, cocoa butter.
  • Candy-making technique: Roasting, grinding, tempering, molding.
  • End result: A smooth, melt-in-your-mouth treat with varying levels of sweetness and cocoa content.

Peppermint Candy

Peppermint candies are made by mixing sugar with peppermint oil and forming into desired shapes

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, peppermint oil, corn syrup, food coloring.
  • Candy-making technique: Boiling, molding.
  • End result: A refreshing, minty candy, often in disc or pillow shapes.

Licorice Candy

Licorice candy is made from the root of the licorice plant, combined with sugar and other flavorings.

  • Typical ingredients used: Licorice extract, sugar, flour, molasses, aniseed oil.
  • Candy-making technique: Mixing, extruding.
  • End result: A chewy, black or red candy with a distinct anise flavor.

Ribbon Candy

Ribbon candy is made by pulling sugar into thin strips and folding them into ribbon-like shapes.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, corn syrup, food coloring, flavorings.
  • Candy-making technique: Boiling, pulling, folding.
  • End result: A delicate, wavy candy that resembles ribbons.

Popping Candy

Popping candy bursts in the mouth due to trapped carbon dioxide gas.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, lactose, corn syrup, carbon dioxide.
  • Candy-making technique: Heating, aerating with carbon dioxide.
  • End result: Small candy crystals that pop and fizz when eaten.

Nerds Candy

Nerds are tiny, tangy candies made by coating sugar crystals with flavored syrup.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, dextrose, malic acid, corn syrup, flavorings, colorings.
  • Candy-making technique: Coating, tumbling.
  • End result: Small, irregularly shaped, crunchy candies with a tangy taste.


Fudge is a creamy candy made by boiling sugar, butter, and milk to a specific temperature.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, butter, milk, chocolate or flavorings.
  • Candy-making technique: Boiling, beating until creamy, setting.
  • End result: A soft, smooth, and rich candy, often cut into squares.


Nougat is a chewy candy made from whipped egg whites, sugar, and nuts or dried fruits.

  • Typical ingredients used: Egg whites, sugar, honey, roasted nuts (like almonds or pistachios).
  • Candy-making technique: Whipping, boiling, folding in nuts, setting.
  • End result: A chewy, sweet treat with embedded nuts or fruits.


Marshmallows are soft, pillowy sweets made from sugar, gelatin, and egg whites.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, gelatin, egg whites, corn syrup, vanilla extract.
  • Candy-making technique: Whipping, setting.
  • End result: A spongy, airy candy that’s soft to the touch.

Jelly Beans

Jelly beans are small, bean-shaped candies with a soft center and a hard shell.

  • Typical ingredients used: Sugar, corn syrup, starch, flavorings, food colorings.
  • Candy-making technique: Cooking, molding, sugar panning.
  • End result: A glossy, colorful candy with a chewy interior and a crisp exterior.