Rock Candy

Sunday, December 18, 2022
Rock Candy is a favorite candy to make in our house for Christmas. You can use whatever flavors you enjoy like cinnamon, cherry, grape, anise, and so many more. Rock Candy is sometimes referred to as Sea Glass Candy or Hard Candy.

It's a delicious hard candy recipe and it can be wrapped in decorative bags for a homemade Christmas gift or for stuffing the stockings. It's a Christmas favorite for gift giving. Store Homemade Rock Candy in an air tight container. Other Candies we love to make are Cinnamon Rock Candy, Buttermints, and Chocolate Rum Truffles.

A down shot of red Rock Candy dusted with powdered sugar on a white tray.
Who else loves to make Rock Candy this time of year? It's a Christmas time must make in our house.

I was just going to re-share our favorite Cinnamon Rock Candy recipe, because I added a video to it finally! It only took me a year to make.. I'm pretty sure I had promised you all a video last Christmas, but it is worth the wait.

So, I decided I would just use the pictures, and do a post on general Rock Candy to answer some of the questions I've received over the years. 

This isn't a step by step post like most, but you can always refer to the Cinnamon Rock Candy recipe for photos.

I'm still adding a printable recipe card below the answers. Feel free to scroll down to the bottom if you're just looking for the recipe.

A down shot of red Rock Candy on a white tray dusted with powdered sugar and a hand holding a piece of Rock Candy.
Debbie from Life Currents shared with me her Mom use to make different flavors, and call it Sea Glass Candy. I find it interesting that it goes by different names.

Rock Candy can be made into just about any flavor. You just need to make sure you use Flavored Candy Oils. Candy Oil is way stronger than extracts, and will hold up when added to the hot sugar mixture.

The Cinnamon Candy Oil can usually be found in the pharmacy section at your local pharmacy store. I have also found it and other flavors at craft stores in the candy making section. The almighty Amazon has a large selection of flavors and is probably the easiest way to purchase them.

Wax paper will not work in exchange for the parchment paper lining the pan. Parchment paper is usually rated for a temperature of 400°- 450°. Wax paper will melt when exposed to direct heat. You can use foil in place of parchment paper if you need a substitute, but I prefer the parchment paper.

If you want to see how strong the flavor is you can drop a little bit in ice water, and taste it once cool. You can also use this method to test if the candy is at hard crack stage, the candy will become hard once it cools in the ice water.

I do highly recommend a candy thermometer though for guaranteed results, and ease of use.

Make sure thermometer doesn't touch the bottom of pan or your temperature reading will not be accurate.

The candy doesn't need to be stirred the whole time after adding the food coloring, but do not walk away from the pan. It can boil over if you aren't keeping a close eye on it.

300° is Hard Crack Stage and has to be reached for hard candy. Slightly over is better. Slightly under is not ok if you want hard candy.

Food coloring is completely optional. We don't use a lot of food coloring, but it is fun on occasion.

Cinnamon extract or ground cinnamon isn't recommended. Extracts again aren't as strong as cinnamon oil, and I haven't tried ground cinnamon.

Make sure to use good ventilation when adding the flavoring! Certain flavors like cinnamon can make your eyes water.

I always recommend keeping a cold bowl of water close by, or making sure the sink water is extra cold. I've never ended up with any on my skin, but it is like hot lava, and it's important to cool off any skin that gets the hot candy mixture as quickly as possible.

Please KEEP SMALL KIDS OUT of the kitchen while the sugar is boiling and being poured. This goes back to #11. There is still activities younger kids can help with like measuring the sugar, water, and corn syrup, or dusting with powdered sugar.

I have had several readers comment that they have put a super thick layer of powdered sugar down in a pan, and made indents to fill or lines, so the candy doesn't have to be broken up.

You can use silicone candy trays to make shaped candies or even suckers. Just make sure your candy molds can handle high heat. Also grease them well with butter for easy release. 

Powdered sugar is optional, but keeps the candy from sticking while being stored.

Some people have noted that sometimes the candy oil separates a bit. I haven't run into it, but my Mother In Law had commented she had it happen one year. It could be when you start adding more flavoring, more leches to the top. If you're using powder sugar it will absorb some of that oil. Also making sure to remove from heat, stir in the oil well, and quickly pour into the prepared pan. 

I haven't tried any sugar substitutes to know how they would work, or if they would set! If you do feel free to comment, because there are always people interested in that option.

I have found High Fructose Free Corn Syrup. If you are concerned about HFCS, and that is what I now use. 

It can store for at least a month when stored in a cool dry place. Like a sealed tupperware container or ziplock bag.

If you want smoother edges add the candy to a ziplock bag with lots of powdered sugar, and shake it around to help soften the edges just like rocks. Or use the powdered sugar or molds mentioned above.

A down shot of Rock Candy dusted with powdered sugar on a white tray.

Hopefully this helps share some of my knowledge. I'm far from knowing everything, but love to share the knowledge I do have when it comes to candy making or cooking. 

Other favorite Candy recipes you might like are:

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Yield: 35
Author: Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
Rock Candy
How to make Rock Candy or Sea Glass Candy recipe.
Rock Candy

Rock Candy

Rock Candy is a Christmas time staple, but loved through out the year. It can be made into different flavors, and colors from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch.
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 4 HourTotal time: 4 H & 35 M


  • 1 cup Water
  • 3 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup Corn Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Food Coloring (Optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoon Flavored Candy Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Sifted Powdered Sugar


  1. Butter a 15 inch x 10 inch x 1 inch rimmed metal sheet pan.
  2. Line with parchment paper, and butter the parchment paper, making sure the edges of the parchment paper are well buttered to prevent the candy from seeping underneath. Do not use wax paper as it won't hold up to the high temperature of the candy being poured.
  3. In a large deep sauce pan combine water, sugar, corn syrup, and food coloring. Mix over medium high heat until sugar starts to dissolve.
  4. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan making sure it does not touch the bottom of pan for an accurate temperature.
  5. Continue to boil until sugar mixture reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage) about 20 minutes. Watch closely, if mixture starts to boil too close to the edge of pan remove from heat, and stir until bubbles subside. Then return to medium-high heat. It's better to slightly be over 300°F than under for candy to set properly.
  6. Once mixture reaches 300°F degrees remove from heat and stir in candy oil, working quickly. Keep face away from the mixture as it can be extremely strong depending on flavor, and keep area well ventilated.
  7. Pour immediately into prepared pan. Allow to cool for 4 hours.
  8. After 4 hours dust the top of candy with powdered sugar. Flip candy over onto a large cutting board or cookie sheet, and remove parchment paper.
  9. Return candy to the pan and use the tip of a sharp knife or heavy mallet to break candy into bite size pieces. If using a mallet cover candy with parchment paper while breaking.
  10. Dust with more powdered sugar and store in a airtight container.


Make sure to keep a cold bowl of water near by incase any hot sugar mixture gets on skin. It is extremely hot, and will cause burns. I also recommend keeping children out of the kitchen while making, just to be safe.

Nutrition Facts




0.26 g

Sat. Fat

0.01 g


35.82 g


0 g

Net carbs

35.82 g


35.77 g


0 g


8.2 mg


0 mg

Calories are estimated.

Did you make this recipe?
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Christmas Rock Candy on a white platter shot looking down. Red banner at the top of photo with text Rock Candy Recipe.
Red Rock Candy on a white plate with a white banner between two photos with black text Rock Candy Recipe.


  1. Good morning! How many cups of candy does your Rock Candy recipe yield? Love the idea for office mates!
    Thanks, Bonni

    1. Hi Bonni, I've never measured out finished cups so this is going to be a guesstimate that it's about 5-6 cups of finished candy. Thanks, Serena

  2. My father used to make this, and I have been making this my whole adult life. I found that the silicone mats are perfect for pouring out the candy onto. No butter. No mess. It works great.

  3. Dear Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch...just an FYI. Every Christmas season I prepare a 'candy box' for friends and family with a variety of items. Carmel corn, fudge, peppermint patties...yada yada. One item always included is this cinnamon rock candy. Everyone loves it. I even have someone this year asking for the recipe! Thank you for this!! In the spirit of Ralphie: A+++++


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