Old-Fashioned Hard Candy

Total Time

Prep: 10 min. Cook: 30 min. + cooling


2 pounds

Updated: Jun. 15, 2023
The color of this old-fashioned hard candy is beautiful, and people are surprised by the wonderful watermelon flavor! —Amy Short, Milton, West Virginia


  • 3-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 to 3 drops red food coloring or color of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon watermelon flavoring or flavoring of your choice
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


  1. Butter two 15x10x1-in. pans; set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and food coloring. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300° (hard-crack stage).
  2. Remove from the heat; stir in flavoring. Immediately pour into prepared pans; cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar; break into pieces. Store in airtight containers.

Old-Fashioned Hard Candy Tips

Can you make old-fashioned hard candy without a candy thermometer?

You can make hard candy without a thermometer by testing the mixture in some cold water. If it fully hardens when dropped into the water, you’ll know that you’ve reached hard-crack stage. If you do have a candy thermometer, we recommend that you test it before each use by bringing water to a boil and making sure that it reads 212°F. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test. Here are more candy-making tools you need in your kitchen, as well as some common candy-making mistakes to avoid.

How long will old-fashioned hard candy last for?

Store your old-fashioned hard candy in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks.

What are some other flavors you can make from this old-fashioned hard candy recipe?

You can add any flavor you like to this old-fashioned hard candy recipe—as long as you can find the flavoring. You can even try mixing a few flavors together for delicious combinations like strawberry, lime and peach. Around the holidays, make Christmas hard candy with cinnamon or peppermint oil.

Sarah Tramonte, Taste of Home Associate Culinary Producer
Candy Thermometers
We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.

Nutrition Facts

1 ounce: 146 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 11mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (38g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

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