Pinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden Image

Learn how to make rock candy at home with this easy rock candy recipe and tutorial! A delicious and fun science experiment for kids that combines science and sweets! Kids love this yummy activity!

colorful rock candy sticks in an aqua mason jar


This post may contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from these sales at no additional cost to you!

Rock Candy Recipe and Tutorial

Learn how to make your own rock candy! Making rock candy is a clever way to combine an educational STEAM science lesson with a delicious sugary treat at the end. All it takes to make rock candy are a few simple ingredients, some basic kitchen tools, a whole lot of sugar, and a little bit of patience!

This rock candy recipe is one that your whole family will enjoy making together! It’s so much fun and SO cool to watch the sugar crystals grow!

How to Make Rock Candy 

Close up view of purple rock candy with other colors of rock candy in the background

Rock candy is one of the easiest homemade candies to make, but it does take a bit of time. Depending upon the temperature and humidity of your climate, it can take anywhere from 5-10 days for the crystals to fully form.

Create a science notebook and have the kids record the changes in their rock candy crystals throughout the course of the week – it’s great fun to watch the crystals form and grow! Let the rock candy experiment begin!

rock candy supplies laid out on table

Supplies Needed to Make Rock Candy:

Note: I recommend using at least a 3-Quart Saucepan for this recipe since the mixture will expand while boiling!

wooden skewers soaking in a bowl of water next to a plate of sugar

Rock Candy Making Tutorial:

To begin, prep the candy sticks. Soak the sticks in water and roll them in a coating of granulated white sugar to “seed” the rock candy crystals (give them a starting point to grow from). Allow the sugared sticks to dry completely (for at least 30 minutes).

If desired, use a fine-mist spray bottle to lightly mist the sticks with a second light coat of water, then roll them in a second coat of sugar, and allow to dry completely again. The better job you do of seeding the sticks, the larger and more quickly your sugar crystals will grow!

kid mixing sugar water for rock candy science experiment

When making a batch of rock candy, the typical sugar-to-water ratio is 2 cups of granulated white sugar for every 1 cup of water, but since the overall goal is to reach a point in which the sugar solution is completely saturated, you may need more sugar than 2:1 ratio. I found that 3 cups of sugar per cup of water worked the best for creating our saturated solution.

Combine the sugar with warm water. I let my 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.

boiling sugar water for diy rock candy

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 rolling boil and continue to add sugar one cup at a time until you can no longer dissolve any more of it. (If you’re using a candy thermometer, you’ll want the temperature to reach around 250 degrees F.) Congratulations, you now have a fully saturated solution!

Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 20-30 minutes.

glass mason jars with drops of food coloring inside

Carefully pour the sugar solution into the glass jars until it is about 1″ below the top of the jar (always use EXTREME caution when pouring hot liquids!). If you’d like to add a few drops of food coloring or candy flavoring, now is the time to do so. You can use different flavors for each of the different colors or make them all single-color/single-flavor if desired.

We added our favorite colors of food coloring to the jars before adding the sugar syrup, but we opted to forego the different candy flavorings since my kids like the great taste of the natural sugar.

overhead view of clothespin holding a wooden skewer in place atop a mason jar

Slowly insert the sugared wooden sticks into the solution. You can use a clothespin as shown to keep your sticks in place. Most wide mouth 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 rock 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.

rainbow mason jars filled with sugar solution and sticks for homemade rock candy

Allow the sugar solution to cool to room temperature, and then place the jars in a warm, sunny location where they won’t be disturbed. If desired, you may cover the tops of the jars with a coffee filter to keep any dust out.

Now, wait…

three mason jars full of colorful sugar solution and wooden skewers

…and wait…and wait…and wait (still with me?)…and wait some more…

rock candy crystals developing on a stick in a mason jar of yellow sugar solution

After about a week of watching the crystal growth, you will have yourself a batch of sparkling sugar rock candy! It’s completely normal for there to be a thick layer of sugar crystals at the bottom of the jar as well as a thinner layer on top of the liquid.

When the crystals have stopped growing, 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!

rock candy displayed in various colors

YUM! So pretty, SO tasty, and totally worth the wait! These rock candies would make a great gift idea – especially when added to a coffee or tea gift basket!

rainbow of homemade rock candy on purple background

Rock Candy FAQs 

Why Did My Rock Candy Fail?

The top reasons that rock candy fails are because there wasn’t enough sugar in the solution OR there wasn’t enough sugar seeding on the sticks so the crystals didn’t have anything to grow on. Temperature can also effect the size and formation of the candy crystals, so make sure that you are bringing the solution to a full rolling boil during the cooking process. Dont’ forget that this IS science, and even if you follow all of the directions, sometimes experiments fail based upon environment factors like humidity, sunlight, and ambient temperature. It’s always worth it to attempt the experiment again, and hopefully you’ll have better luck next time!

Can I Use a Popsicle Stick or String for Rock Candy?

Wooden skewers, wood sticks, and popsicle sticks are the best options for making rock candy because they are sturdy and take the seeding process well. Cotton string may also be used, however, you will need to weigh down the end of the string which may result in the weight becoming embedded inside the rock candy crystals. Lollipop sticks may also be used, but are not recommended since they are prone to becoming soggy after soaking in the solution for too long.

What’s the Best Way to Clean Jars After Making Rock Candy?

The sugar crystals attach themselves rather solidly to the glass jars, so cleaning them can be kind of a pain if you’re not familiar with the best methods. I’ve found that the easiest way to clean them is to first soak the jars in hot water to dissolve the bulk of the excess sugar crystals. Next, use a butter knife to chip away at any remaining crystals, OR, add a bit more water to the jar (to cover the sugar crystals) and microwave it in 30 second increments until all the remaining sugar has melted and can be poured down the drain.

Five colorful homemade rock candy sticks in a display glass

Can You Add TOO Much Sugar to Rock Candy?

Nope! Don’t worry about adding too much sugar to your sugar solution! If there is extra sugar in the liquid once the solution becomes fully saturated, it will simply settle at the bottom of the pot. Try to avoid pouring too much of the excess sugar into the jars, though, or you may end up with a very thick layer of rock candy crystals at the bottom of the jar!

What’s the Best Way to Store Rock Candy?

Store the rock candy in an air tight container for up to one year.

Can I use Powdered Sugar to make rock candy?

No, powdered sugar will not work well to create rock candy. Regular granulated white sugar works best for making homemade rock candy.

green, yellow, and orange rock candy sticks
colorful rock candy sticks in an aqua mason jar

Homemade Rock Candy

Learn how to make rock candy at home with this easy rock candy recipe and tutorial! A delicious and fun science experiment for kids that combines science and sweets!
4.84 from 12 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Candy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 6 days
Yields: 12 Rock Candy Sticks
Calories: 70kcal

What You’ll Need:

  • 12 6-inch Wooden Skewers
  • 12+ 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.
    wooden skewer being rolled in a plate of sugar
  • Add warm water to a large saucepan. Stir in 8 cups of 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. If you’re using a candy thermometer, you’ll want the temperature to reach around 250 degrees F. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.
    boiling sugar water for diy rock candy
  • Carefully pour the mixture into the mason jars and add food coloring and/or candy flavoring as desired.
    glass mason jars with drops of food coloring inside
  • 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.
    three mason jars full of colorful sugar solution and wooden skewers
  • 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.
    rock candy crystals developing on a stick in a mason jar of yellow sugar solution


Serving: 1stick | Calories: 70kcal
Did You Make This?Mention @HeidiKundin or tag #hihmakersclub on Instagram to show off your awesome work! ♥

Any additional questions? Leave them in the comments for us!

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!

Image of text that says Heidi

Check Out These Other Fun Ideas!

Don’t Forget to Pin This Rock Candy Recipe for Later!

how to make diy rock candy
rock candy recipe and tutorial

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



    1. It doesn’t need to boil for a certain length of time or to a specific temperature like traditional candy-making requires. Simply long enough that the sugar is completely dissolved and you have made a saturated solution.

  1. 5 stars
    This project takes me back to my Girl Scout days about 60 years ago. I can just taste the rock candy from your great photos.

  2. This looks amazing!!
    Just one question: Which colours did you use to make the mint green rock candies?? And do they get bigger the longer you wait?
    Thanks! 🙂

    1. I used regular green food coloring for the mint green candies, but I only used a small amount of it. The sugar crystals continue to grow for about 7-10 days in the jar, but after the sugar in the liquid has all crystallized on to the sticks it will stop growing.

  3. This looks so fun! How much syrup did you get out of the 10 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water? How high did you fill the jars?

  4. Hi!! I love this! We are adding it to our summer bucket list. I know this is an older post, however I was wondering how long the sugar stick needs to dry for? It says make sure it is all the way dry. I was wondering if I should have the sticks dry before I invite the kids over.
    Thank you so much

    1. I would make the sticks up on the morning of your play date. They take about 1-2 hours to dry (but I generally leave mine to dry overnight), so making them up just a couple of hours ahead of time would be fine. 🙂

  5. I saw this on pinterest and thought “Wow! I need to know how to make this!” They were more simpler than I thought.

  6. HI, we are doing this for a science project and our seeding didn’t work…all the sugar disolved right off even after letting the sticks dry for a good 30 minutes. Do you think we need to start ALL over or can we just put new seeded sicks into the same liquid?

    1. Hi Jordan, I have had to start over once before, and I used the same liquid with new seeded sticks, and it worked just fine! Good luck! It can be a little finicky sometimes, but it’s really rewarding once you get the hang of it! 🙂

  7. I’m making these with my science obsessed son for his birthday party. He loves the idea of growing his own candy to give his friends!! My question- how many pops did you get out of the 10cup batch? I’m trying to figure out how much materials we need! Thanks

    1. Hi Jessica! We only got about a dozen of these because each jar that we used (6 in total) only fit 2 sticks at a time inside. The sticks need to have space around them for the crystals to grow, so you don’t want to overload the jars. 🙂

  8. This delicious candy is actually crystallized sugar and you can “grow” it from a sugar-water solution. I agree it’s a fantastic way to disguise a Summer science lesson as a sugary treat!

  9. I will be taking care of grands three days a week this summer. Ages 5 and 7… Will start the rock candy the first day they are here. We can watch it grow over fee weeks….what fun! Thank you…

  10. I love this! I just pinned, stumbled and featured you on my FB page! This post brings back so many wonderful memories for me! Thanks for teaching us how to make them!

  11. Talk about being left hanging! There was no mention of what to do or how to do it regarding the correct way to remove the sticks from the jar!! Do u just pull the sticks out after a week? Can u please finish the directions on the recipe??!!

    1. Yes, you simply lift the stick out of the jar when it has reached the desired size (after about a week). If you find that the sugar has formed a crystallized layer on the top of the liquid, gently move the end of the stick from side to side to break up the top layer, and then it should just come right out.

  12. This is a wonderful tutorial. Do you happen to know how long you can store them? I was planning on making them for my daughters birthday party and was trying to figure out how far in advance I could make them

    1. It will keep practically forever as long as you keep it dry and away from heat! Since it’s just sugar, if you store it in an air-tight container it will last for years!