Homemade Holiday Lollipops

Homemade Holiday Lollipops Recipe 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 Recipe 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 Recipe 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.


  1. 1


    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. 3

    Cathy says

    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!

  3. 9

    Buckley says

    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!

  4. 13

    Beth says

    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!

  5. 18

    Tessa says

    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!

  6. 21

    Allison says

    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!

  7. 22

    Kassie says

    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!

  8. 24


    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!

  9. 25


    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.

  10. 27

    Rita K says

    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!

  11. 28

    Alana says

    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!

  12. 29

    Alana says

    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. :)

  13. 30

    Emily says

    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!

  14. 32

    Allison says

    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.

  15. 33

    Kristina says

    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.

  16. 36

    judy says

    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

  17. 38

    Sierra says

    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!

  18. 40

    Jasmin says

    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).

  19. 41

    faze3mommy says

    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.

  20. 43


    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.

  21. 46

    mary says

    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!

  22. 49

    Adonica Nelson says

    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!

  23. 50

    Raquel Dias says


    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.

  24. 51


    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.

  25. 54


    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.

  26. 55


    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!

  27. 56


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  28. 61

    rebekah says

    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.

  29. 62

    Yvette says

    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!

  30. 63

    Maria says

    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!

  31. 64

    Elle says

    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.

  32. 65

    Alissa says

    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.

  33. 66

    Jessica says

    Can you add a small amount of food flooring to change the color

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 20th, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

      Hi Jessica! I’ve never tried adding food coloring, so I can’t say with certainty how it’d impact the results. Let me know if you try it!

  34. 70

    TN Lizzie says

    faze3mommy – Make sure the thermometer you use has “Hard Crack” written on it. If it does not, it was not made for use with boiling candy and may shatter. This could be VERY dangerous, and you’d lose the entire batch of candy. :o(

  35. 71

    tm says

    I’ve made some and love the outcome. Do you think they could withstand being shipped (Possibly overnight even) or would they melt?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 10th, 2014 @ 10:31 pm

      There’s no need to worry about melting, but there’s a chance they may break!

  36. 72

    jay says

    I’m probably the last person should be allowed in the kitchen, but going to give this a go. The only item I don’t have is the candy thermometer. Any tips if having to go without? Thanks

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 10th, 2014 @ 10:30 pm

      Hi Jay – I wouldn’t recommend making these without the candy thermometer, as you really need to know the exact temp of when the sugar hits the hard crack stage.

  37. 73

    Debbie says

    Can anyone tell me how to clean my sauce pot?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 14th, 2014 @ 1:37 am

      Hi Debbie – You can very carefully re-warm the pan on the stove to re-melt any sugar residue.

  38. 74

    Kaitlyn says

    does wax paper also work?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 17th, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

      Hi Kaitlyn – No, you should not use wax paper as the heat could melt the paper and the lollipops may stick.

  39. 75

    Widya says

    I try to make these today but why my thermo just stay in 250 f..

    How long does it take to reach 300 f ?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 12th, 2015 @ 8:32 am

      Hi Widya – It depends on how hot your stovetop burners run.

  40. 76

    Tere says

    So cute. It opens up the idea door for all kinds of creations. I never knew the tip about cold water. Looking forward to do this.

  41. 77

    Karla says

    I’m getting ready to make these. If I sprinkle colored sugar & glitter sugar to the mold followed by your mixture, will it retain the color of of the added or will it look terrible?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 14th, 2015 @ 9:55 am

      Hi Karla – I’ve never tried this recipe using a mold, so I can’t say with certainty if there will be any changes in the final product.

  42. 78

    Holly says

    Question for Kelly.

    I am thinking about making these for my church Easter party. We will have about 30 children! How would you suggest going about that?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 2nd, 2015 @ 10:03 am

      Hi Holly – The lollipops can be made a day in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to scale up the recipe since hot sugar has to be worked with very quickly. I’d definitely recommend doing several smaller batches. Hope that helps!

  43. 79

    Asfia says

    i made these lollipops and the turned out great but they started melting!! i live in a hot humid climate so what should i add or do differently to make sure that doesn’t happen? do i keep them in the fridge? but then i wonder if they’ll start melting as soon as i take them out? what should i do?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 6th, 2015 @ 7:31 am

      Hi Asfia – I’ve never experienced the lollipops melting after they’ve been poured. Did you allow the sugar to get to the exact temp in the directions?

  44. 80

    Lili says

    Why don’t you keep them in the freezer/fridge for a day or two then take them out and use them quickly? If that doesn’t work, try to make them again!


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