What Are Boiled Sweets?

Have you come across boiled sweets? Are you wondering what they are exactly, how they are made, and if they are, in fact, “boiled”? I questioned the same. After some research, here is what I managed to find.

So, what are boiled sweets? Boiled sweets are confectionery items that are predominantly made of sugar (or a sugar-based syrup) and have been made through a heating process. Typically ‘boiling’ occurs at temperatures of around 160 °C (320 °F). Boiled sweets or typically hard in texture (sometimes all the way through), although some varieties have a chewy center.

Chances are – you’ve actually consumed a lot of these already.

Likely without even knowing!

But why are they called this and what are some examples of such sweets?

Lets find out!

Why Are Sweets Called Boiled?

Some sweets are called boiled if they have gone through a heating process where sugar (or glucose syrup) is boiled until it reaches a certain temperature.

As such, not every sweet is “boiled,” nor are all sweets classified as “boiled.”

One thing to consider here is that Boiled Sweets is very much a British English term.

In American English, this particular type of confectionery and sweet is called “Hard Candy.”

Are Boiled Sweets Actually Boiled?

Boiled sweets are not actually boiled, at least in the traditional sense of the word and in regards to placing sweets in hot water.

Instead, “boiled” refers to the process of heating and melting sugar (or a sugar-based syrup) at high temperatures before letting it cool and solidify into a particular shape. 

How Are Boiled Sweets Made?

Most boiled sweets are made by heating sugar-based syrups (typically glucose, sucrose, fructose, or a sugar-free alternative – e.g., isomalt) to a temperature of 160°C (320°F).

At this point, additional ingredients (such as preservatives) and flavorings are mixed in.

While still in a liquid state, the mixture is then poured into a shaping device, such as a mould, before being left to cool.

In doing so, the sweets dry hard into a particular shape.

It also ‘boils’ off all the water, resulting in crystalized sugar confectionery. 

It is believed that this process dates back centuries. 

Which Sweets Are Boiled Sweets

Here are some common and popular boiled sweets:

  • Aniseed Twists
  • Apple and Cinnamon Balls
  • Buttermints,
  • Glacier Mints,
  • Humbugs
  • Sherberts
  • Cough Candy,
  • Lollipops
  • Drops, 
  • Bon Bons

And many more.

You’ll also find boiled sweets in a range of different flavors, including:

  • Cola
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Raspberry
  • Licorice
  • Toffee,
  • Chocolate
  • Lime
  • Butterscotch

And many others, predominantly fruits!


Boiled Sweets are a timeless classic, available in a range of different shapes and flavors and enjoyed by all age ranges. 

And whether you want to buy them for enjoyment, to relieve a sore throat, or to help soothe your ears on a long-haul flight – they always seem to go down well!

If you were put off by the word “boiled.” Don’t be.

That just refers to the process of making them – particularly the heat!

It has nothing to do with the flavor or texture – you can be sure of that! 


Who invented boiled sweets?

The inventor of boiled sweets is unknown. However, the process and availability of boiled sweets date back to the 19th century.

Can I melt hard-boiled sweets?

You could melt hard-boiled sweets if you desired. To do so, you would need to expose them to a high temperature. A microwave, oven, stovetop, or even double-boiling are all potential options. 

What temperature do you melt boiled sweets?

The best temperature to melt boiled sweets is around 150-160C. This will ensure the sweets melt without burning.