The Foolproof Way to Make Homemade Lollipops

Bright green large round lollipops standing in a glass filled with sugar

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 8 to 12 servings
Yield: 8 to 12
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
106 Calories
0g Fat
28g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 106
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 9mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sure, it's easy to buy lollipops at the store, but this old-fashioned favorite is fun to make at home. The best part about making your own lollipops is that you can completely customize them—choose your favorite flavors and create combinations that appeal to you, your family, and friends. Coconut-lime? You got it. Spicy pineapple mint? Sounds delicious. Once you master the basic recipe, you'll love crafting new combos and experimenting with your own lollipops. (They make great gifts, too.)

You do need a few pieces of inexpensive equipment to start, such as a candy thermometer and a lollipop mold, both of which can be found for a few dollars at cake and candy supply stores, many craft stores, or online. You'll also want lollipop sticks, flavoring extracts (it could be simple vanilla or a variety of fun flavors), and perhaps even food coloring. 

If you have never learned how to make candy, it is important to understand the process before you start. There are six stages: thread, soft ball, firm ball, hard ball, soft crack, and hard crack, and each stage happens at a different temperature. Thus, using a candy thermometer is crucial; even if you have owned the candy thermometer for some time, it's a good idea to test it to make sure it's still accurate. You can also do a test by dropping a spoonful of the syrup into a bowl of cold water: When it reaches the hard-crack stage, it will form brittle threads in the water and crack once you remove and try to bend it.

“I love making homemade lollipops, and think this is a great recipe if you want to try candy making. Make sure you cook your sugar to 300F to ensure the lollipops set up correctly.” —Tracy Wilk 

Lollipops/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extract of choice, such as vanilla, mint, cinnamon

  • Food coloring, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lollipop recipe gathered

    ​The Spruce Eats

  2. Prepare your lollipop molds by spraying them lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Wipe out the inside with a paper towel so that only the thinnest layer of oil remains.

    Lollipop molds sprayed with nonstick spray and wiped down with paper towel

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Insert the lollipop sticks into the molds.

    Lollipop sticks inserted into the lollipop molds

    The Spruce Eats

  4. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

    Sugar, corn syrup, and water stirred together in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats

  5. Stir until the sugar dissolves while brushing down the sugar crystals that accumulate on sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.

    Sides of saucepan being brushed down with a silicone brush

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  6. Once boiling, insert a candy thermometer. Let the mixture boil without stirring until candy reaches 300 F (149 C). This is called the hard-crack stage. 

    Candy thermometer inserted into boiling syrup in the saucepan

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  7. Remove the saucepan from heat. Allow it to sit until it stops bubbling completely. Stir in the extract of your choice and, if desired, food coloring.

    Green food coloring being stirred into syrup with a spoon

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  8. Spoon the candy into the mold cavities, making sure to cover the back of the stick.

    Green candy mixture being spooned into the molds

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  9. Cool completely and remove the lollipops once hardened, about 10 minutes or so. Enjoy.

    Hardened lollipops being released from the molds

    The Spruce Eats

Tips

  • Make sure to have all of your equipment on hand before tackling this recipe. In addition to the molds and sticks, you will need a straight-sided saucepan with a heavy bottom, a wooden spoon with a long handle, and a pastry brush.
  • Save yourself some hassle (as well as possible skin burns) by using a candy thermometer with a clamp that secures it to the side of the saucepan.
  • Since sugar attracts water, the weather can have an effect on candy making. Humidity can ruin an otherwise perfectly good lollipop by making it nearly impossible to reach the hard-crack stage. Even though a rainy day is perfect for a kitchen project, it is not ideal for this one.

Recipe Variations

  • Vary the flavor of the lollipops by changing the extracts. Feel free to try out interesting flavor combinations but be sure to taste the mixture first before you make a whole batch.
  • You can also alter the colors, matching them to the flavors so they are easy to decipher from each other. Cinnamon pairs well with red food coloring, vanilla pops can be yellow, and mint pops look good in green.
  • If you like the lollipop process, try other candy recipes such as salted caramels and fruit jellies.

Why Is It Called Lollipop?

The candy we grew up with is named after a racehorse called Lolly Pop. George Smith, a candy maker from New Haven, Connecticut, had been manufacturing these sweets on a stick since 1908 but trademarked the term in 1931. The candy, though, in one way, shape, or form, dates back even further, to the late 1700s in England.