Cake Decorating Blog

Knock Your Friends’ Socks Off With Homemade Pop Rocks!

If you really want to knock people's socks off, all you have to do is make homemade pop rocks. 

Homemade Pop Rocks

Homemade Pop Rocks, right in your kitchen!

Photos and artwork via CakeSpy

Yes, it is possible to make Pop Rocks, that tongue-searing fizzy food, right in your own kitchen.

No, you don't need any fancy equipment or to have a science degree (though you can wear a lab coat if you'd like). This at-home version of the classic candy attains its magical fizz through a combination of citric acid and baking soda. 

Once you've assembled your ingredients, all you need is a candy thermometer, about an hour of time, and to prepare yourself for all of the compliments you're going to get once you serve this sweet and fizzy stuff to your friends. 

Homemade Pop Rocks Recipe

Make your favorite treats from scratch!

The From-Scratch Kitchen Craftsy Class

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Homemade Pop Rocks recipe

Adapted from The Daily Meal

  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons citric acid, divided (see recipe note)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Gel or liquid food coloring, your choice of color

Step 1:

Dust the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with the confectioners' sugar. Be sure to coat the surface.

Dust a baking pan with confectioners' sugar

Step 2:

Combine the baking soda and 1/4 cup of the citric acid in a small bowl, and mix gently to combine. Set to the side.

Step 3:

Clip your candy thermometer to the side of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, or have your instant-read thermometer at the ready. Place the sugar, honey and water in the pan. Stir to combine. Place the mixture over medium heat. The mixture will progress from quite sandy to liquid to vigorously bubbling. Once it starts bubbling, start monitoring the temperature closely. When the mixture reaches between 295 and 300 F, remove from heat. 

Note: If at any point you notice granules of sugar sticking to the sides, you can brush the sides of the pan with a slightly wet pastry brush.

boiling the candy

Step 4:

Immediately stir in the baking soda and citric acid mixture and the food coloring of your choice. Whisk until everything is combined. Work quickly, as the candy will begin to set rapidly. 

Add color and citric acid mixture

Step 5:

Pour the candy on to your prepared baking sheet. Try to pour so that you coat the sheet evenly, as the mixture is a little bit difficult to spread with a spatula (though it can be done; it will just look a little messy). Sprinkle the top of the candy with the remaining citric acid right after spreading (as it won't stick once the candy sets). 

Candy mixture

Note: if your candy layer looks somewhat uneven or ugly in the pan, or spots of sugar or citric acid are speckling it, don't worry. You will literally be crushing it in the next step, so the visual appeal isn't too important at this point.

Step 6:

The candy will set rather quickly, between 20 minutes and an hour depending on the heat and humidity in your kitchen. Break off a corner; if it is brittle and breaks off easily, you're ready to keep on going.

Test if your candy is ready

Step 7:

Break the candy into large shards to make it easier to handle, and transfer it to a large freezer bag (or divide it between two bags). Force out any extra air and seal the bag(s). Gently roll a rolling pin over the candy mixture to crush it to your desired degree.

Crushing candy for pop rocks

Store in airtight containers at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. 

Recipe notes

Citric Acid

Does citric acid sound scary? Don't worry, it's not.

It's a fermented citrus by-product which is used as a flavoring and natural preservative. Citric acid is also the trickiest ingredient to obtain for this recipe. This is not because it is a rare or exotic ingredient or even expensive (I bought mine for less than $2), but because it is not always consistently in the same spot in stores. Your best bet is a store that is well stocked in canning supplies, as citric acid is frequently used in canning. Citric acid may also be found in the baking aisle. While it may not be readily available at all grocery stores, your local superstore (Target, etc.) is likely to carry citric acid, or you can buy it online. 

A candy thermometer is vital to the success of this recipe.

It doesn't have to be a fancy one, but you'll need to be able to monitor the temperature of the candy to ensure it will set firm. 

Need to make a substitution? 

This recipe calls for honey; corn syrup can be substituted in the same quantity. 

When is the last time you had Pop Rocks?

Make your favorite treats from scratch!

The From-Scratch Kitchen Craftsy Class

Impress with homemade granola bars, pickles and even chocolate-hazelnut spread — better than store bought — with these HD video lessons you can watch anytime, anywhere.Enroll Now »

20 Comments

Misty

What ingredient causes the “popping”?

Reply
Christina

The citric acid and baking soda.

Reply
Anonymous

Citric acid and/or baking soda<3

Reply
Jennifer Juniper

Great photos! I really want to try this one😃 have you experimented with flavors? Watermelon was always my favorite or *gasp* blue razz

Reply
Jessie Oleson Moore

haha! You know, I have not messed around with different flavors. But I would be so curious to hear about your experiments if you give it a try!!

Reply
Kate

I found these to be SUPER tart and not very fizzy. Even my kids wouldn’t really eat them. We were fairly disappointed.

Reply
Riley

This looks really cool! I will try this

Reply
Kathy

Love this!! Just an FYI…i didn’t have citric acid but I had pectin which contains citric acid. Kids begged to just try since the store is an hour round trip. So we called it our science experiment and gave it a try. It did not work with pectin..lol…it prevented it from getting hard and didn’t pop at all. it ended up more like a taffy…i think if i had added some confection sugar at the end that would be exactly what we would have had. the kids have very much enjoyed eating the experiment though 🙂 We will try again using the correct ingredients!

Reply
Joely

I followed the directions and this didn’t work. No fizz at all. Very sour

Reply
Melanie

Pop rocks pop b/c of the c02 they use to make it. This is the equivalent of candy bath bomb 🙁 Thank-you all the same for the post, great step by step 🙂

Reply
will

This is soon cool thx for posting dis!!!

Reply
Kim

No pop, just spur rocks

Reply
mykeesha

i cant wait to try this…….

Reply
emmalee

nice

Reply
Yonatan

When I pour the foamy thing on the baking sheet it stays soft. It doesn’t get hard so I cant break it and it’s really sticky so I can barely touch it. I’ve left it overnight but it just won’t harden up. I’m gonna leave it another night. Any help very appreciated!

Reply
Anonymous

Maybe you did something wrong? mine hardened when i left it out in the cold so the tempurature probably matters. I would think about, what was the humidity, tempurature, and go over the steps again 🙂

Reply
mick

temp wasn’t high enough

Reply
James

I did this for a science experiment in high school for extra credit. Everything seemed to work correctly, but it turned out very sour and no pop or fiz occurred. The flavor was terrible, no one in my family liked it. It was very fun to make though. Might just make it again on my own time.

Reply
Anonymous

I was very excited to make this! It was a fun process! But there was no fizz or pop, it ended up being a sour hard candy which even though it was in NO way a pop rock, since i like sour candy i found it very delishous. It doesnt have a certain taste its just really sour and (somewhat) sweet. 🙂

Reply

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