This Is How Candy Canes Are Made—and How to Make Your Own Candy Canes at Home

I'd love nothing more than to learn how to make candy canes. The process is mesmerizing!

Listen—we are obsessed with everything Christmas. From making gingerbread houses with our family and friends to decorating no-bake Christmas wreaths with our little ones, we’re ready to create all the treats!

But the magnificent recipe that I’m on the hunt for is…candy canes. That’s right, folks. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make candy canes. And you know what? I think this is the year I finally do it. Won’t you join?

This Is How Candy Canes Are Made

If you’re anything like me, you’re addicted to learning how your favorite foods are made. Videos of professionals making Christmas candy have started to float around TikTok and I can’t get enough.

For example, @hammondscandies has multiple candy cane-makin’ TikToks that are blowing my mind.

@hammondscandies The Christmas content is back! #christmastok #candycanes #itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas ♬ Holly Jolly Christmas – Michael Bublé

Basically, you’ll watch candymakers take giant blankets of candy “batter” and placing it onto mixing machines. These machines have several massive arms that rotate in opposite directions to help mix and soften the candy. It’s amazing just to watch all the greens, reds and whites mix together into one single element. So tasty!

Then, once the candy is stretched and thoroughly combined, workers roll it into thin tubes and cut into equal parts. Each piece is curved at the top like the classic candy canes we’ve come to know and love. I could watch this all day!

@hammondscandies Candy puller vibes! #candypuller #candymaking #hammondscandies ♬ Pennies From Heaven – Remastered – Louis Prima

How to Make Candy Canes at Home

While we don’t have the means to mass-produce candy canes professionally, this recipe for Homemade Candy Canes is easy enough.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint or spearmint extract
  • 6 drops red or green food coloring

Directions

Step 1: Make your sugar syrup

Start by greasing two baking sheets with butter and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup, water and cream of tartar to a boil. Cook the mixture without stirring until a candy thermometer reads 280°F. This is the soft crack stage.

If you’re new to candy-making, this guide explains how to use a candy thermometer.

Step 2: Pour your mixture

Remove from the heat and stir in your extract and food coloring. Then, you’ll want to immediately pour the mixture onto your prepared baking sheets in 8-inch strips. Let it stand until it’s just cool enough to handle, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 3: Roll your candy canes

You’ll have to work quickly here! Start by rolling each strip into a 10-inch log. Then, cut each strip into two 5-inch halves. Curve the top of each to form a handle (like a classic candy cane shape). Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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Melany Love
Having always wanted a career in writing, Melany couldn't have found a better place than Taste of Home to begin. When she's not scribbling in her notebook or working at her computer, she can be found experimenting with new recipes or relaxing with a book and her cats.