The Accidental Scientist: Science of Cooking Exploratorium
Candy Bread Eggs Pickles Meat Seasoning

photo of fudge recipe: Fudge
Lollipops look like big crystals, but the fact is that sugar crystals are the enemy of successful lollipops. We’ll show you how to keep those pesky crystals at bay. Find out how making lollipops is similar to making glass .

Makes about 8–10 lollipops per batch

Recipe Conversions

When making candy, the syrup gets very hot. Kids, don’t try this without the help of an adult!

See how they make lollipops at Kendon Candies in San Jose, California.
What Do I Need? .
1 cup sugar Did You Know?
The world’s largest lollipop is at Bon-Bon Land in Denmark. It's peppermint-flavored and weighs over 3,000 pounds!

Visit the candy links page to find places to buy candy making supplies online, including molds, flavoring, and coloring.

1/3 cup corn syrup     Why do I add corn syrup?
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar     What is cream of tartar?
1/4 to 1 teaspoon flavoring     Some tips for flavoring hard candy
liquid food coloring
1 to 2 teaspoon(s) citric acid (optional)     Why do I add citric acid?
a nonstick or enameled saucepan, preferably with a spout
 a wooden spoon  
 lollipop molds (either metal or white plastic hard-candy molds)  
•  lollipop sticks or wooden skewers cut in half  
•  a candy thermometer  
•  a pastry brush  
•  cooking oil spray  
•  parchment paper  
a cookie sheet or marble slab  

plastic wrap or cellophane bags for wrapping finished lollipops

twist ties, ribbon, or cellophane tape for wrapping finished lollipops  
What Do I Do?


It’s best not to make lollipops on a rainy or humid day.
About candy making and the weather.

1. Prepare either a marble slab or an upside-down cookie sheet (air underneath the sheet will help the candy to cool faster), by covering it with parchment paper and spraying it with oil. If you're using molds, prepare the molds with lollipop sticks, spray with oil, and place them on a cookie sheet or marble slab.


2. In your pan, over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar with a wooden spoon until the sugar crystals dissolve.


3. Continue to stir, using a pastry brush dampened with warm water to dissolve any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan, then stop stirring as soon as the syrup starts to boil.

Why do I need to stop stirring after the syrup begins to boil?
Why do I wash down the sides of the pan?

Don’t have any molds? You can simply pour small circles of syrup onto a greased cookie sheet and place sticks in the middle to make pops.

4 . Place the candy thermometer in the pan, being careful not to let it touch the bottom or sides, and let the syrup boil without stirring until the thermometer just reaches 300° F (hard-crack stage).

What is the hard-crack stage and how can I tell when I’ve reached it?


5. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and let the syrup cool to about 275° F before adding flavor, color, and citric acid (adding it sooner causes most of the flavor to cook away).

Some tips for flavoring hard candy.

Be careful! The sugar syrup is extremely hot! If you burn yourself, run cold water over your hand for several minutes, but do not apply ice.

6. Working quickly, pour the syrup into the prepared molds and let cool for about 10 minutes. If you're not using molds, pour small (2-inch) circles onto the prepared marble slab or cookie sheet and place a lollipop stick in each one, twisting the stick to be sure it's covered with candy. (It helps to have a friend do this since you need to work quickly.)

7. Let the lollipops cool for at least 10 minutes, until they are hard. Wrap individually in plastic wrap or cellophane and seal with tape or twist ties. Store in a cool, dry place.  
What Else Can I Try? .

• Try unlikely matches of color and flavor (blue orange-flavored pops, green cherry-flavored pops, red grape-flavored pops)—and see if your friends can guess what flavor they are! How much influence does color have on our perception of flavor?


Share & Discuss
Share your results!


- - - Candy Home Page - - - Kitchen Lab - - -


© Exploratorium | Use Policy | Privacy Policy