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Homemade gumdrops are a fun and tasty science experiment you can easily make at home. Give this colorful candy making a try!

Close up of Homemade Gumdrops on a baking sheet.

Gumdrops are something I recommend every home cook make at least once. Not only are they fun and cute, it’s actually really good practice in the science of cooking. Lots of different chemical reactions are happening in this recipe and it is a fun experience to watch the process as it moves along. Sure, you can’t eat the candies for a few days, but it’s a great kitchen experiment. Kids will love watching the process as well as eating the results. I do love some good, clean kitchen fun!

What kind of flavoring should I use?

This candy can easily be customized using various flavored clear extracts. We enjoy traditional citrus flavored gumdrops using orange extract or lemon extract, but you can also get creative and use any other flavored extract as well. We have found that vanilla extract is a bit to subtle of  a flavoring and is not recommended. It is important that the extract is clear so that it does not taint the color of the candy.

What kind of food coloring should I use?

You can use any kind of liquid food coloring in this recipe. Gels and powdered food coloring work in this recipe, but we have found that it is much easier to use liquid food coloring for this particular recipe. In the photos and video we used McCormick Neon Liquid Food Coloring.

What kind of candy mold should I use?

Gum drops are best made using silicone candy molds. DO NOT use plastic molds as the will melt and deform. You can use a square silicone mold and then cut each square into 4 pieces so that the candies would be bite sized, but there are lots of other options. Everything from squares and circles to cartoon, bugs, and robots. In the video and photos we’ve used the squares as well as a heart shaped mold and a fluted round mold. You can even find lego shaped molds!

THERMOMETER PRO TIP: We recommend the use of a good thermometer in this recipe for an accurate texture. Our favorite thermometer is the ThermapenMK4 which is what can be seen measuring the temperature of the candy in the video below.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious Christmas treats:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Close up of Homemade Gumdrops on a baking sheet.
Homemade gum drops are a fun and tasty science experiment you can easily make at home. Give this colorful candy making a try!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Sitting Time 12 hours
Total Time 45 minutes
  • 6 envelopes unflavored gelatin 4 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp flavored extract lemon, orange, peppermint, etc
  • 12 drops liquid food coloring
  • 1 cup sugar for coating

Special Equipment

  • In a large pot (yes, a large stew pot, you'll need it!), stir together the gelatin and cold water. Let sit 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, let the additional water come to a boil in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Pour the boiling water over the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir in the sugar. 
  • Place the pot over a burner at medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer until the mixture reaches 240-255 degrees F, about 25 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping sides to avoid burning any sugar. The mixture will get quite thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the flavor extract of your choice. Next, add food coloring, or divide the mixture among bowls and add food coloring for multiple colors. 
  • Pour gelatin into silicone molds. Let sit at room temperature, 12 hours. 
  • Remove candy from molds. If you need to cut the candies, run your knife under hot water before each cut to avoid sticking. Roll in extra sugar to coat.
  • Place on a wax paper lined tray. Cover with a tea towel and let sit at room temperature for 48 hours to crystalize.
  • Want sour candies? Instead of rolling the candies in plain sugar, add a tablespoon or two of citric acid to the sugar mixture.
  • Stays good for up to 4 weeks. 


Calories: 2117kcal | Carbohydrates: 399g | Protein: 145g | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 27mg | Sugar: 399g | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Course: Dessert
Keyword: gum drops
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Linda VanMeter
November 27, 2018 11:37 pm

Rachel, I make a nougat candy (Like Brachs used to make, and you bought in bulk) and they have gumdrops in them. I use gummy bears cut in half. But these homemade gummies would be perfect. To make the nougat you just melt together 500 g.. of mini marshmallows and 450 g. of white chocolate chips. in the microwave. Stir stir stir, then add in the gummies and stir some more. I don’t think I would roll the gummies in the sugar though because of a crunchy texture. Then just pour into a parchment lined 13 X 9 pan and… Read more »

June 1, 2019 11:12 am

Rachel, why did my gummies turn out hard and grainy?? I’m so sad… Would 2tsp of sy lecithin have caused this?

Edna Waugaman
November 27, 2018 5:33 am

I have a receipt for a gumdrop cake that was my mothers but I haven’t been able to get small gumdrops for it I will try this . Thank You!

February 6, 2018 6:05 pm

5 stars
After the gumdrop mixture is heated, would it be thin enough to suck into a syringe and inject into a biological specimen?

Chris Glassbrook
December 7, 2017 1:44 pm

5 stars
Can I use candy oils instead of extracts?

November 4, 2017 9:06 am

What is the best way to store these? I want to make some for Christmas, ahead of time? But do they keep for several weeks?

June 17, 2017 11:52 pm

Isn’t 4 cups of sugar too sweet?

Candace Rakow
February 15, 2017 10:52 am

Can you substitute fruit juice for water and use less sugar

December 13, 2016 4:27 pm

Can this recipe be cut in half?

December 16, 2016 10:07 am

Ok! Thank you for getting back to me. I’m making a batch right now ❤

December 1, 2016 1:41 am

What is the quantity of gelatine in one sachet as I have 50gms packet.

December 2, 2015 2:07 am

What a fun idea! I wonder if this is similar to making gummies…my youngest son went through a science phase where he was making them nonstop for him and his friends. I know I was buying him the unflavored gelatin but I never watched him to see what he was doing. I'll have to try this for myself!

December 9, 2014 1:06 am

what can I use instead of the silicone molds?

December 9, 2014 1:11 am
Reply to  Anonymous

The silicone pans make a HUGE difference in your ability to get the candy easily out of the mold. However, you could always use a shallow pan and simply cut it into pieces. I'd recommend glass.

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