Cake Decorating Blog

This Homemade Candy Corn Recipe Tastes Far Better Than Store Bought

Candy corn: it's one of those Halloween foods that people seem to love or hate. But this homemade candy corn recipe creates a candy experience unlike any commercial variety. It'll delight candy corn lovers even more than usual...and it might even convert some of the haters. 

Homemade Candy Corn That Tastes as Good as the Store-Bought Stuff

Do you think candy corn is something that can only be bought? Think again. This homemade candy corn recipe is easy and delicious.

Candy corn lovers will rejoice at the familiar flavor in fresh, homemade form; haters may rethink their candy corn kibosh and find that they truly enjoy the DIY kind, which is buttery, delicately vanilla-scented, slightly chewy and just a touch salty. 

Homemade Candy Corn

Homemade candy corn recipe

Makes 200+ kernels of candy corn

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Red and yellow food coloring

Step 1:

Powdered Sugar and Powdered Milk Sifted Together

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the sifted powdered sugar and powdered milk together. Set aside.

Step 2:

Butter Melting on Stove Top

In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup and butter over high heat, stirring frequently until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, stir in the vanilla and continue stirring frequently for 5 minutes. The mixture will begin to reduce and thicken.

Step 3:

Remove from heat, and pour into a large, heatproof bowl. Add in the powdered sugar bit by bit, stirring after each addition, until it has all been incorporated into the wet mixture.

Stirring Candy Corn Mixture

Use a sturdy spoon or spatula, as the mixture will become quite thick. (I tell you this because moments after snapping this shot, that spoon spatula snapped in half, causing me to switch to a wooden spoon.)

If the mixture is too hot to handle, let it chill out in the bowl for another few minutes. But you should start working with the dough as soon as you can stand the temperature. If the dough sits too long, will become harder and more difficult to work with.

Step 4:

Divide the dough into three equal parts, and put them in separate bowls. Leave one portion white; tint the remaining portions yellow and orange, respectively.

Tinting candy corn dough

Work the dye into the dough by hand or with a spoon until it is streak-free, adding in more coloring if desired. You may find that you can start with a spoon, but at a certain point, working with your hands is more efficient. Use gloves to protect your hands, or prepare a story to tell your friends why your hands have red and yellow streaks on them.

Since the dough is pretty thick, with a consistency like marzipan, it may need some working to get the dye incorporated.

Step 5:

Ropes of colored candy

On top of a sheet of waxed or parchment paper, or on a silicone mat, roll out each color of dough into long, thin ropes. The thinner the rope, the smaller that segment of color will be in your finished candy. An easy-to-handle size is a 12"-long rope.

Step 6:

Candy Corn Dough and Mellowcreme Pumpkins

Press the ropes of dough together in whatever color combination you’d like. The classic combo is white, orange and yellow (in that order).

To ensure that each segment sticks together, you can press the ropes of candy color together by hand, or press a second sheet of waxed or parchment paper on top and press very gently with a rolling pin. Don't worry if the dough looks slightly uneven — during the next step it will even out a bit.

Note: If you find yourself with more of one candy corn color, mold the leftovers different candy shapes. For instance, I had extra orange dough, so I used it to make some homemade mellowcreme pumpkins, tinting some of the leftover yellow dough green to form stalks.

Step 7:

Cutting the corn

Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut dough into triangle segments. Yes, this means that half of your candy corn will have an upside-down color combo, but isn't that just proof that they're homemade?

Dip the knife in powdered sugar to keep it from sticking. Keep a damp, clean cloth nearby to wipe off the knife in the event that it gets sticky.

Step 8:

Repeat with the remaining dough until you’ve used it all. Let the candy set in a single layer on parchment, waxed paper or a silicone-lined baking sheets for about 2 hours. They will keep for at least a few weeks if kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Learn to make classic homemade candy corn on Craftsy

Do you prefer mellowcreme pumpkins to candy corn? Check out our tutorial for how to make homemade mellowcreme pumpkins!

FREE PDF Guide: DIY Pantry Staples

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Store-Bought: 6 DIY Pantry Staples

Trying to eat fewer processed foods? Stock your pantry with homemade essentials like butter, confectioners’ sugar and more, with this FREE downloadable guide. Get My FREE Guide »

15 Comments

Sara Nelson

Thank you! Believe it or not all the store bought candy corn contains honey. My daughter loves candy corn and cannot eat honey at all. This is a great alternative! 🙂

Reply
Frans

Are you sure you only need a 1/3 cup of butter as the picture seems to show about four times as much butter being melted.

Reply
Ally

There’s three pats of butter there, roughly 3 tablespoons. It’s mixed with sugar and corn syrup.

Reply
Hills

Can I use a butter substitute instead of butter? I have a dairy allergy. Maybe coconut oil or crisco?

Reply
Ana

No you cant use butter substitute , coconut oil or crisco if the recipe doesn’t say’s you can.

Reply
Marsha | Marsha's Baking Addiction

This recipe is perfect seeing as I can’t buy candy corn here in the UK, only if I order online!

Reply
Lois sirry

I really do like this.

Reply
Ana

Thanks for the homemade candy corn recipe.

Reply
lee

We can’t use dairy at all. Can I use margarine instead of butter? Can I use soymilk instead of powdered milk (even though it’s a liquid)?

Reply
DavidaRochelle

You can’t change the proportion of dry ingredients to liquid when making candy as there’s a chemical process occurring when the sugar is heated and combined with the butter. That’s why a candy thermometer is absolutely necessary. Even a few degrees off can result in a sweet that won’t harden or a grainy product you can’t remove from the pan. Warning you can also wreck candy by using the wrong cooking pot so don’t use anything lightweight like Teflon.

I can’t drink dairy milk either. Livestrong.com is one of several companies online offering vegan powdered milk choices like powdered almond milk.

Reply
DavidaRochelle

Oh do I miss the candy corn of my childhood which didn’t have an artificial aftertaste of chemicals Thanks so much for sharing.

Butter when heated with sugar carmelizes and that’s what you taste when you make candy the old-fashioned way. Very high quality margarine would work but won’t turn out as tasty. Compare the difference in taste when making something simpler like chocolate chip cookies. Growing up butter was so expensive we added a dash of spice like cinnamon to cover up for the cheaper ingredient.

Please be extremely careful when making candy as changing or leaving out an ingredient or even altering the amount may result in a complete failure. It absolutely must be heated to the correct temperature.

Reply
Nancy S.

Suggestion (and maybe it’s there and I just don’t see it). Could you please offer a print-friendly option for your recipes? The pictures are nice, but I don’t want to print 16-17 pages.

Reply
Chrissy

Would it be OK to use UNSALTED butter?

Reply
Anita

I made the recipe and I couldn’t work it into a dough, just lots of small pebbles. It’s cement like really. There is no way to shape it or work with it to make the ropes. Do you have any idea what I might have done wrong?

Reply
Disappointed Person

If wasnt literally like rocks, I would like it. We couldn’t even get it to the point where we could roll it out. It hardened while we were mixing it and was still so hot, we were wearing nitrile gloves. We followed the directions exactly – timing, heat level, everything. Maybe a temperature or a candy stage that we needed to achieve would have been helpful.

Reply

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