Homemade Holiday Lollipops

Homemade Holiday Lollipops from justataste.com

What better gift to give this holiday season than one that can be eaten? Of course the traditional fruitcake has its place among the festivities. And in my opinion, that place happens to be nowhere.

Fruitcake aficionados, please do disagree with me. But while I’m all for efficiency, I’ve never understood the allure of a confection that does double duty as a paperweight-slash-doorstop. That’s why I turn to classic homemade candy as the ultimate edible gift for giving or receiving.

Homemade Holiday Lollipops from justataste.com

These crystal clear lollipops are made with just two ingredients, leaving the door wide open for customization when it comes to the colorful add-ins. I’ve opted for seasonal sprinkles, but you could also decorate them with crushed candy canes, chopped nuts or dried cranberries. And don’t forget to stir in your favorite flavorings, such as cherry or strawberry extract.

Homemade Holiday Lollipops from justataste.com

Are you ready to give the gift of good taste this season? Tie together a bundle of these easy-to-make homemade lollipops, or opt for individually-wrapped Salted CaramelsHot Chocolate Stir Sticks or a tin of Chocolate-Dipped Brown Sugar Shortbread. And if you’re hesitant to enter the world of homemade candy and caramelized sugar, have no fear! You can tune in to my video below for a tutorial on how to turn two ingredients into these festive sweets on a stick.

Craving more? Sign up for the Just a Taste newsletter for a fresh serving of content delivered every week to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for all of the latest updates.

Homemade Holiday Lollipops

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 7 min


2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons flavored extract, such as mint or vanilla (optional; See Kelly's Notes)
Assorted sprinkles or candy
Lollipop sticks

Special equipment: candy thermometer


Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper of Silpat baking mats. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Attach the candy thermometer to the interior of the saucepan.

Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mix to a boil, stirring until the sugar has disolved. Using a small pastry brush dipped in water, wash down the sides of the saucepan to prevent crystals from forming.

Boil the mixture for 5 to 7 minutes until it reaches 310ºF (hard-crack stage) on the candy thermometer. Immediately transfer the saucepan to the bowl of ice water, carefully submerging the sides but ensuring no water seeps into it. Swirl the pan for 10 to 15 seconds to help the mixture cool then remove the saucepan from the bowl of ice water. If you're using an extract, carefully swirl it into the mixture immediately after you remove the saucepan from the ice bath.

Working quickly, pour the syrup onto the baking sheets to form circles that are 2 to 3 inches in diameter. (Space the lollipops 3 to 4 inches apart to guarantee they don't run into each other.) Immediately press in the lollipop sticks and sprinkle the lollipops with your sprinkles or candy, lightly pressing the garnishes into the syrup. Let cool completely until fully hardened then carefully peel the lollipops off the baking sheet.

Kelly's Notes:

Opt for an extract that is clear in color in order to maintain the crystal clear color of the lollipops.

It's much easier to cleanly pour the syrup onto the baking sheet if you use a saucepan with a pour spot.

Work quickly as soon as you remove the syrup from the stove, as it'll harden very quickly. If the syrup gets too hard, re-warm it over medium heat until it softens slightly.

Recipe adapted from MarthaStewart.com.


110 Responses to “Homemade Holiday Lollipops”

  1. #
    Kathy - Panini Happy — December 9, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Hooray – I was looking forward to this post! These pops are just beautiful and I’m thrilled I have everything I need on hand to make them (which means that I will do so). :-) Fabulous job on these, Kelly!

  2. #
    andrew — December 9, 2012 at 3:00 am

    nice, i want to give home made gifts this year…this is a good idea!

  3. #
    Cathy — December 9, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Don’t you use some sort of flavoring like peppermint or something clear??

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 9th, 2012 @ 9:16 am

      Hi Cathy! You can use any flavoring of your choice, such as peppermint or cherry, or just leave them plain. Enjoy!

  4. #
    Cathy — December 9, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Oh and they are beautiful!

  5. #
    Angie @ Big Bear's Wife — December 9, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I have often made chocolate pops like this, but never clear! Very pretty and so simple.

  6. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — December 9, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I loooooooooooooove this!! lovelovelove!!!

  7. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — December 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Absolutely adorable!

  8. #
    Andrea — December 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    So beautiful and perfect for the holidays.

  9. #
    Buckley — December 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Would it be possible to add peppermint, sour apple or even grape as a flavor?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 9th, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

      Yes, definitely! You can add any extract you’d like to flavor the lollipops. Enjoy!

  10. #
    Esi — December 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    These are almost too pretty to eat!

  11. #
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — December 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    omg I LOVE THESE!

  12. #
    Beth — December 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    How much extract do you use? I want to make some for my nephew’s ball game!

  13. #
    Beth — December 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    How much flavoring/extract do you use?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 9th, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

      Hi Beth! You can add 2 teaspoons of extract to the syrup, just make sure you add it once you remove the saucepan from the heat, and also look for a clear extract to retain the crystal clear color of the lollipops. I’ve added this info to the post, too. Thanks!

  14. #
    Katie — December 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Oh my these are too cute! I think anyone who received these homemade gems would fall in love with them!

  15. #
    Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine — December 10, 2012 at 5:22 am

    I am so in love with these! They are so easy – yet so impressive! I have plans for them already!

  16. #
    sarah k @ the pajama chef — December 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

    these look so impressive!

  17. #
    Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake — December 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    These are so pretty and festive!

  18. #
    Tessa — December 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    These look adorable! How long do they keep for?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 10th, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

      Thank you! If you store them in air-tight containers, they’ll keep up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

  19. #
    feastonthecheap — December 10, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Oh, these are absolutely ADORABLE!! So glad you found us so that we now know you and your incredible site!

  20. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — December 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    KELLI. These are seriously so gorgeous. And I don’t eat candy. But I would eat this. Like, A LOT OF IT.

  21. #
    Allison — December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Do you use actual extract (like for baking) or the flavored oil extracts made for candy?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 11th, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

      Hi Allison! You use actual extract, and there’s actually a clear vanilla extract that works really well to provide flavor without changing the color. Enjoy!

  22. #
    Kassie — December 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I made these today they would be fantastic but I can’t get them to harden fully am I doing something wrong?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 12th, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

      Hi Kassie! A few things I can think of if you’re having issues with them hardening: Did the sugar get all the way to 310F? They won’t harden if they don’t reach that hard-crack stage, at which point the sugar will harden within 10 to 15 seconds. And make sure you are storing them in a cool, dry place (not near the stove). Hope this helps!

  23. #
    Kassie — December 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm


  24. #
    Joy — December 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Hi, Just wondering how you got them so perfectly round? Did you use a mold or just pour it in a circle? Thanks

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 12th, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

      Hi Joy! I just poured out the syrup and was very careful to make sure they remained circular. A saucepot with a pour spout works best. Enjoy!

  25. #
    Nicola — December 13, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Hello, I love the idea of these, however we dont have corn syrup in the UK – ill find another recipe but your photos will inspire how my attempts may look, now i just need some pretty sprinkles.

  26. #
    Christina @ I Gotta Create! — December 13, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I have nieces and nephews that would totally love these!! Gorgeous and fun for gift giving!! What a fantastic idea. Pinning immediately!

    <3 Christina at I Gotta Create!
    Wildly Original Link Party is open.

  27. #
    Rita K — December 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    These look wonderful! About how many lollipops does this recipe make?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 14th, 2012 @ 9:55 am

      Thanks, Rita! It totally depends on how big you make them, but I ended up with about 15 (2-inch) lollipops. Enjoy!

  28. #
    Alana — December 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

    It’s much much easier if you buy a hard candy mold to pour the candy in while hot. That way you don’t have to worry about getting them too big or too small and it spiling off the cookie sheet. The molds at my local candy/cookie/cake decorating store are $1.99.

    And also, the flavoring about is equal to 1 dram. I recommend buying the brand LorAnn Oils because they come in 1 dram bottles already so you just dump one in and you can focus on NOT burning your candy!

  29. #
    Alana — December 15, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Oops, I forgot to add, it’s ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to test to make sure your thermometer is accurate!!! Boil water and put your thermometer in. Boiling water will be 212ºF. So if your thermometer doesn’t read that exact number, you must be adjust the temps in your recipe to it. If you don’t, you will burn some of the sugar in your candy and it will leave big black specks in your candy. :)

  30. #
    Emily — December 16, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Could you pour the candy on top of sprinkles on the parchment paper? Do you think they would go inside or just spread out?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 16th, 2012 @ 11:34 am

      Hi Emily! I haven’t tried that method, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re using a mold because otherwise the sugar mixture won’t lay properly over the sprinkles. Enjoy!

  31. #
    irmina — December 18, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Bonitas piruletas, me gustan.
    Un beso.

  32. #
    Allison — December 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Just made these. Not as pretty but tasty! I did a wintergreen flavor (my fave). I poured sprinkles into my mold and then filled them. The sprinkles got on the inside. Not sure if it would work with doing that on parchment though.

  33. #
    Kristina — December 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I dont know why but mine did not come out crystal clear…they are a yellow color. The taste is great and they hardened fine. Why did the turn yellow?


    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 20th, 2012 @ 7:23 am

      Hi Kristina! My first guess is that the syrup rose slightly past the 310ºF mark, at which point it’ll begin to turn amber in color and transform into caramel.

  34. #
    Bree — December 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Oh my goodness those are perfect!

  35. #
    Cass @foodmyfriend — December 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I hate fruitcake. YUCK!! All sloppy old grapes. No thanks! I would absolutely love these as a substitute. They look amazing :)

  36. #
    judy — December 22, 2012 at 3:48 am

    hi..this comment is for Nicola from the UK…if amazon.com is available there you can order corn syrup from them and have it shipped to your house…i hope this helps you…merry christmas

  37. #
    Shannon — December 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    These are awesome and perfect for all the kids that we’ll be exchanging gifts for!

  38. #
    Sierra — December 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Is it okay to use dark corn syrup rather than light?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 23rd, 2012 @ 10:31 am

      Hi Sierra, The lollipops won’t be clear in color if you use dark corn syrup, so I would suggest using the light. Enjoy!

  39. #
    Kristi @ Cherry Jasmine — January 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Oh my gosh – these are ADORABLE! You should sell these – what a cute holiday gift. I love it!

  40. #
    Jasmin — January 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Can you add food coloring for a different holiday?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 9th, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

      Absolutely! Just stir in it once the mixture is off the heat (which is the same time you’d stir in any extracts).

  41. #
    faze3mommy — January 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I have a question to Kelly Senyei,I am out of parchment and do not have a bake mat,Can I grease my sheet pan instead ?? I wanted to make them today but I can wait till I get parchment paper if need be ? And can I use a regular oven/grill thermometer ,this is the kind that sit inside the oven so it can take high temp..Please help ,,thank you.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 13th, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

      I wouldn’t recommend pouring the hot sugar onto a greased surface, as I’m not sure how the sugar syrup would react to whatever you’re using, and it’ll most likely cloud the color.

  42. #
    Erin @ The Great Indoors — January 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I found you from a post on Curbly. Love this idea, and I’ll have to use it next Christmas!


  43. #
    Vaishali Sabnanivaishalisabnani — January 29, 2013 at 6:09 am

    These are adorable n I surely have fallen for these.Well as soon as I melt sugar , it turns yellowish, you could say caramel color…u think after adding the corn syrup the color will change to clear transparent…all tips and suggestions are welcome.wish u had step by step pics.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 29th, 2013 @ 7:44 am

      Hi Vaishali! The sugar is a yellow color because you likely cooked it for too long. It’ll start to caramelize (and turn golden) the longer you cook it. Also, make sure you’re using clear corn syrup.

  44. #
    Vaishali Sabnani — January 29, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Also can I use silicon mat…wondering if some special sugar has to be used?

  45. #
    Elizabeth — February 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Do you have to use an extract? Will it have much of a flavor if you don’t?

  46. #
    mary — February 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I just love these! I came across them the other day and can’t wait to make them next Christmas for Teacher/neighbor/friend treats! So easy and so cute!

  47. #
    Grace — February 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Has any tried using cookies cutters to get different shapes?
    Was wondering if the syrup would stick to the cutter

  48. #
    Colette — February 27, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Eye candy!
    Bet they taste great, too.

    I’m putting these into my Christmas Project for this year.

  49. #
    Adonica Nelson — June 5, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Great idea! I’m going to substitute either pink or blue and white sprinkles and give them to friends to announce the gender of my baby in a few short weeks!

  50. #
    Raquel Dias — June 28, 2013 at 4:03 am


    I followed a similar recipe to this, but made a huge mistake. I started to get suspicious when I kept trying to check if the mix would solidify in cold water, but after 25 minutes it was still too gooey.

    Where things went wrong – I work in grams rather than cups, but accidentally made a conversion of 2 cups of sugar instead of 3 (was making a large batch).

    I made the lollipops anyway with hopes that it would still work out. It didn’t.

    Is there anyway I can get some more sugar into the mix I have, or am I going to have to throw away 100 (almost) perfectly good lollipops??

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 28th, 2013 @ 7:16 am

      Hi Raquel! It’s hard to know given the consistency of the mixture that you ended up with, but I am not certain it’ll work using a different amount of sugar since the reaction won’t be the same.

  51. #
    Jacqueline — October 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I can see my silpat liner being put to good use soon! However, we don’t have light corn syrup here in the UK. Think I will have to experiment with golden syrup, which won’t be as lovely and clear or glucose syrup, which would need thinned down.

  52. #
    Nicky — October 28, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Just to let people in the UK know that Amazon UK now stock Corn Syrup, yay!

  53. #
    Brigitte — November 5, 2013 at 5:20 am

    They look wonderfull. Can i substitute the sirope for glucose or maybe use isomalt?

  54. #
    Patti Kellams — November 6, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I use red or green color and add Cassia Oil for hot cinnamon flavor. I pour out on aluminum foil lined baking pan until 1/4″ thick. After cool/hardened, I break into small pieces/ bite size. We call it Christmas Glass Candy. My great-grandmother made this 60yrs ago when I was little girl. I make it every year but think I will make Lollypops too, this year.

  55. #
    Cindy deRosier — November 11, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your lollipop project! You can see it here:


    If you have other kid-friendly projects, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a fun idea!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — November 11th, 2013 @ 11:12 am

      Thanks so much, Cindy! Will do!

  56. #
    loss — November 18, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Sure, by eating a lot of hamburgers, you’re going to get fat, but
    to eat a lot of broccoli, you’re going to shed weight.
    Saturday and Sunday Dinners: You can use dinners you had from through
    the week. If you miss your session by an hour, it is pretty much not doing the work
    anyway. Slowly phase in healthy meals and take out snacks and meals one
    by one. Avoid taking unhealthy foods, alcohols, drugs and beverages that have
    high sugar levels.

  57. #
    Bridget Shen — November 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Has anyone used any substitutes for corn syrup? Just wondering. Love the idea so much!

  58. #
    Paula – bell’alimento — December 2, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    These are just the cutest #Holiday DIY lollipops! They would be super cute for kids school Holiday parties!

  59. #
    Sarah — December 8, 2013 at 6:35 am

    UK folks, you can buy corn syrup from Waitrose and Ocado.

  60. #
    Holly — December 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I can’t wait to make these for my friends!

  61. #
    rebekah — December 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Cute but so much work. This project took me forever and it was very hard to get them perfectly round and uniform but the kids loved them.

  62. #
    Yvette — December 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Hi there. I doubled this recipe but was unable to get the mixture to the ‘hard crack’ temperature so it didn’t set properly once cooled. I just couldn’t get the mixture above about 250F on my candy thermometer. Would the extra amount have made a difference? If not, any suggestions as to what may have gone wrong? Thanks.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 22nd, 2013 @ 9:53 am

      Hi Yvette! It’d be very difficult to make these lollipops with double the ingredients, as it’ll take much longer for the mixture to reach the right temp. It’ll definitely work if you use the suggested amounts (not doubled) and will hopefully be easier to handle as well. Hope this helps!

  63. #
    Maria — December 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    How do I get them to hold the round shape without a mold?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 24th, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

      Hi Maria – They’ll end up being whatever shape you pour them into. So if you pour them into an even circle, they’ll stay that shape!

  64. #
    Elle — January 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    how many lollipops does one patch make

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 22nd, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

      Hi Elle! It depends on how large you pour each lollipop so I can’t provide an exact yield.

  65. #
    Alissa — February 19, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    How long will the lollipops last?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 20th, 2014 @ 10:16 am

      Hi Alissa – They’ll last the same time as any lollipop, but I’d recommend storing them in a cool, dry place.


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