Homemade Lemon Rock Candy Recipe

There are some things that are just fun to make, and rock candy is one of those things. Who would have thought that sugar could crystallize into such a beautiful piece of art? Well, we're glad that someone did, and moreover, we're glad that people keep doing it. Recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe for homemade lemon rock candy and says, "The science nerd in me made me want to try this."

"I love experiments and projects of all kinds, and this was something I had to do myself to see if it actually works," Hahn further explains. "I have made several different versions over the years, but the simplicity of fresh lemon flavor makes this one my favorite." Making rock candy is a great activity for parents and kids can do together. You can use the finished product for party favors, drink stirrers, table decorations, and for sweetening tea or coffee. Read on to learn how to make your own rock candy.

Gather the ingredients for homemade lemon flavor rock candy

We only need a few ingredients to pull off making rock candy. To start we'll need water and sugar. Hahn says basic white sugar will do the trick. Then pick up a lemon and some yellow food coloring to create the lemon flavoring and color.

In terms of supplies, you'll need glass jars, wooden skewers, and some clothespins. "There are a few different sizes of clothespins so just make sure the type you have can balance on the top diameter of your jar," Hahn advises. "If you happen to have a glass jar with a narrow opening, this works great. You can pick up the wooden skewers at a craft store or order them online, but we do need wood here — a cake pop stick isn't going to cut it."

Prep the wooden skewers

Our first step is to give our skewers a coating of sugar to be used as a starting point for them to crystallize. To do this, fill one of the jars with water and dip in the stick coating the area that you want the rock candy to grow. Now that it is wet, roll it in some sugar that is spread out on a flat surface. Once they are coated, place them on a flat surface to dry for 15 minutes or more. Hahn says you can even do this step the day before if you want.

Make the sugar solution and add the lemon flavor

Now we'll make the sugar solution that will stick to the skewers and crystalize. Add the water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Start adding the sugar ½ cup at a time and stir to dissolve. Once you have added all of the sugar, add in the lemon juice and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. This will give the rock candy the amazing, fresh lemon flavor.

Color the water and insert the skewers

To get that classic yellow lemon color, add a few drops of yellow food coloring to each jar. Then pour in the sugar solution making sure to leave at least an inch or two empty at the top. Stir to distribute the color and adjust as needed. Hahn says, "The final rock candy color will be lighter than the color of the water, so you may want to go a little darker to maintain your desired end color."

Now insert a sugared skewer into each jar, making sure it doesn't touch the bottom of the jar (we don't want it getting stuck there). Clip the skewer in the clothespin and suspend it on top of the jar so it holds the skewer in place. Place the jars in a location where they won't be disturbed for three days.

Release the rock candy from the jar and serve

After three days or more, poke a knife in the jar to break the hardened liquid. Pour the liquid down the drain and release the skewer that now has been crystallized. Lay it on some parchment paper to dry for a few minutes. The rock candy will be ready to eat or use in some fun way and will last up to a year. That's all there is to partaking in this at-home science experiment!

Homemade Lemon Rock Candy Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
Let your inner scientist come to life with this fun and easy lemon rock candy recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
rock candy skewers
Total time: 73 hours
  • 3 ¼ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • yellow food coloring
  1. Pour ¼ cup of sugar on a flat surface like a cutting board. Dip each skewer into water, then into the sugar to coat the area where you want the rock candy to grow. Let this dry for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Add the water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the remaining sugar ½ cup at a time and stirring to dissolve the sugar. When you have added all of the sugar and it is fully dissolved, add in the lemon juice. Let this steep for 30 minutes to infuse the lemon flavor.
  3. After 30 minutes, add a few drops of yellow food coloring to each jar. Add the sugar solution to each jar, leaving some empty room at the top. Stir to blend the food coloring. Add more food coloring if you want a more vibrant color.
  4. Take the sugared skewers and insert them into each glass but leave about 1 inch of space at the bottom (if the skewer is touching the bottom of the jar, the rock candy will stick and be difficult to remove). Use a clothespin to suspend the skewer into the jar. Let the rock candy sit for 3 days.
  5. After 3 days, stick a knife into each jar to loosen the skewer from the mixture. Pour out the liquid and lay on parchment paper to dry.
  6. Serve as desired.
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