Homemade Candy Corn Recipe

This Halloween treat recipe is adapted from a recipe that's been based on the original and has been widely published.

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2/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup (2-1/2 oz) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups powdered icing sugar
1/3 cup powdered milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Red and yellow food coloring

In a large saucepan combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Bring to a boil over high heat while stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from heat and add vanilla extract.

Combine the icing sugar, powdered milk, and salt in a separate bowl and add to the mixture in the saucepan, mixing thoroughly. Allow the dough mixture to sit until it's cool enough to handle.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and place each part in a small mixing bowl. Add orange food coloring to one part (a combination of yellow and red) and yellow food coloring to another part, leaving the remaining part uncolored or white.

Knead the dough in each bowl until smooth and stiff enough to hold its shape, and the colors are even. Wearing plastic gloves can help prevent your hands from being stained by the food coloring.


Still using your hands, roll each part into a long, thin rope, making each rope of equal length. You may need to use a long countertop or tabletop covered with a strip of waxed paper for this. You'll also need to be careful when rolling as the ropes can easily break if you form them too thin.

When you're done, lay the three ropes of dough along side each other with the orange dough in the middle and carefully press them together to make a long, narrow rectangle. A gentle, light rolling with a rolling pin along the length of the rectangle helps to press the rope edges together, but be careful not to flatten the dough so the rectangle stays as narrow as possible, plus you'll also want the kernels plump looking and not flat.

Finally, cut the dough into triangles or "kernels" using a sharp knife and gently shape the kernels with your fingers, if needed. Allow the kernels to sit for a while and become firm.

You'll end up with over a pound of homemade candy corn, some with yellow tips and some with the traditional white tips. There's no getting around it, kneading the dough and forming the ropes IS time-consuming, hard work, but the results are worth it.