Learn how to make rock candy at home with our easy rock candy recipe and tutorial! A delicious STEM activity for kids that combines science and sweets! Kids love this yummy experiment!
Rock Candy Recipe and Tutorial
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Kids love learning how to make rock candy, and this rock candy recipe is a fun way to disguise a Summer Break science lesson as a delicious treat! All it takes to make rock candy are a few basic kitchen tools, a whole lot of sugar, and a little bit of patience!
How to Make Rock Candy:
Rock candy is one of the easiest candies to make, but it does take a bit of time. Depending on the temperature and humidity of your climate, it can take anywhere from 5-10 days for the crystals to fully form.
Give the kids a notebook and have them record the changes throughout the course of the week – it’s great fun to watch the crystals form and grow!
Supplies Needed to Make Rock Candy:
- 6” Wooden Skewers or Candy Sticks
- Pint-Sized Wide-Mouth Mason Jars
- Food Coloring
- Granulated Sugar
- Candy Flavoring, optional
- 3-Quart Saucepan
- Warm Water
Note: I recommend using at least a 3 or 4-quart saucepan for this recipe because the mixture will expand while boiling!
First, you will want to prep your candy sticks. Soak the sticks in water and roll them in a coating of sugar to seed the rock candy crystals (give them something to grow from).
Allow the seeded sticks to dry completely. If necessary, quickly dip the sticks in water and give them a second coat of sugar and allow to dry again. The better job you do of seeding the sticks, the larger and quicker your sugar crystals will grow!
To make a batch of rock candy, the typical ratio is 2 cups of sugar for every 1 cup of water, but since the overall goal is to reach a point in which the solution is completely saturated, you may need a bit more sugar. I found that I needed to use about 2.5 cups of sugar per cup of water to create our saturated solution.
While the water is warm, have the kids stir the sugar into the water until they reach a point where they can no longer dissolve any more of it. They should be able to dissolve about 1/2 to 2/3 of the sugar in the recipe, and the rest will be dissolved in the next step.
Have an adult place the saucepan on the stove and bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium high heat. Keep the mixture at a low boil and continue to add sugar one cup at a time until you can no longer dissolve any more of it. You now have a fully saturated solution – yay!
Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 20-30 minutes.
Carefully pour the sugar solution into the glass jars. If you’d like to add food coloring or flavoring to your rock candy, now is the time to do so.
Slowly insert the sugared sticks into the solution. You can use a clothespin as shown to keep your sticks in place. Most jars will allow for 2 sticks to be placed in each, but be sure that the sticks are not touching the sides and/or bottom of the glass or each other! You need to leave room for the new crystals to grow!
Note: Make sure that your sugared sticks are completely dry! If they are too wet when you put them into the hot sugar solution, all of the seed crystals will fall off, and the rock candy crystals will not grow as easily.
Set them up in a warm, sunny location where they won’t be disturbed, and wait…
…and wait…and wait…and wait (still with me?)…and wait some more…
After about a week of watching the crystal growth, you will have yourself a batch of sparkling sugar rock candy! Simply remove the sticks from the jar (you may need to wiggle them around a bit to break free of any other crystals that have grown within the jar) and enjoy!
So pretty, so tasty, and totally worth the wait!
These rock candies would make a fantastic holiday gift to stuff inside of a coffee or tea gift basket! Is it crazy that I have Christmas on the brain in July?
What You’ll Need:
- 12 6-inch Wooden Skewers
- 10 cups Granulated Sugar
- 4 cups Warm Water
- Food Coloring, if desired
- 1 dram Candy Flavoring, if desired
- 6 Quart-Sized Mason Jars
- 12 Clothespins
- Soak sticks briefly in water and roll in sugar to coat. Allow to dry completely.
- Add warm water to a large saucepan. Stir in sugar until no more will dissolve.
- Place the saucepan on the stove, and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Add remaining sugar and any additional sugar as needed until you reach a fully saturated solution and no more sugar will dissolve. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the mason jars and add food coloring and/or candy flavoring as desired.
- Add two sugared sticks to each jar, making sure that the sticks don't touch the jar or each other. Use clothespins to hold the sticks in place as needed.
- Place the jars in a warm and undisturbed location. Wait for 5-10 days until crystals are fully formed. Remove the sticks from the jar and enjoy.
These rock candy sticks are a super fun STEM activity for kids of all ages, and everyone will enjoy the tasty treat that this fun science experiment creates!