Homemade Lemon Drop Candy Recipe
Easy Lemon Drop Candy Recipe – Homemade Sour Hard Candy
If you’re a fan of sour hard candies like Warheads, you’ve gotta try this festive lemon drop candy recipe! These goodies are bursting with intense, lemony flavor that’s so-sour-but-so-good—it’ll make your face pucker with joy.
Seriously, don’t be fooled by the cute heart shapes… Made with freshly-squeezed lemon juice, these homemade sour hard candies have an all-natural, fiercely tart taste. But, with a dose of sweet sugary goodness to complement the sour.
*For the freshest and most flavorful hard candies, I recommend freshly-squeezing your lemon juice. (Instead of bottled lemon juice from the store.)
And, those are the only 2 ingredients you need for this easy lemon drop candy recipe: lemons and sugar! All of the powerful, sour bite of a Warhead candy, but made with simple ingredients and no corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors, or junk.
A fun, cleaner recipe for homemade sour hard candy—and so easy!
Homemade Sour Hard Candy Tips & Tricks
Okay, so this lemon drop hard candy recipe IS super simple, but a few steps in the procedure can be tricky. First, while your lemon juice and sugar mixture boils, stir REGULARLY. You want a thick, syrupy consistency, but you don’t want it to stick to the inside of your pot!
And, be patient—it will take around 20-30 minutes to thicken. Once it’s good and syrupy, add a few droplets of your mixture into a cup of cold water to test it. If it crystallizes and becomes brittle, it’s ready! Finally, the last step in this lemon drop candy recipe is also the trickiest…transferring to your mold.
I recommend using a silicone mold because they’ll be easier to pop out once they harden. And, place your molds on a baking sheet before starting to fill. Also, choose a mold with smaller, candy-sized cavities—you don’t want sour hard candies that are HUGE and cupcake-sized!
Most importantly, you’ve got to work quickly during the transferring, because the syrup will harden as it sits longer. Personally, I use a syringe to transfer my sticky mixture into the molds for more precision and less mess. Then, pop the molds in the fridge and allow your homemade lemon drops to harden!
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try making a different flavor of homemade sour hard candy with a different fruit! But, depending on the fruit, you may want to strain your juice through a fine mesh strainer if it’s fairly pulpy or fibrous.
For this homemade lemon drop candy recipe, you likely don’t need to worry about it. (Unless your lemon juice is very pulpy, of course.) I didn’t strain my juice and it turned out wonderfully!
Sour, Sweet, and Simple
When you’ve had enough of holiday sweets and pumpkin spice, give this sour lemon drop candy recipe a try! A fun 2-ingredient treat to make during the holiday season, or to give as a DIY Christmas gift. But, be warned: these are seriously SOUR hard candies—not for the faint of taste bud!
Lemon Drop Candy Recipe
- 8 lemons, 1 cup freshly-squeezed juice
- 1 cup sugar
- Squeeze lemons until you get 1 cup of fresh juice.
- Combine lemon juice and sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Boil mixture until thick and syrupy—about 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly. Test the syrup by dropping a small bit into cold water—if it crystallizes and becomes brittle, it’s ready!*Taste your mixture as you go—if there's any hint of burnt flavor, it's a good time to stop cooking. (Even if your test droplets aren't totally crystallizing yet—see note below.)
- Spray down a mini muffin tin or silicone mold with cooking spray and add heated mixture to the tin/mold. Fill each mini muffin cup less than halfway full, or fill small silicone molds about ¾ full. (I used a cooking syringe to help transfer my syrup into the silicone molds.)
- Transfer filled molds to the fridge to cool until hardened, ~1-2 hours.
- Pop out and enjoy!
- Yields 30 homemade lemon drop hard candies.
- Making homemade hard candy can be tricky, and your mixture can go from tasty to burnt-tasting quickly.
- Based on what I’ve heard from others who’ve tried this recipe, I recommend tasting your mixture as you go. If there’s any hint of burnt flavor or the flavor starts to become less lemony, that’s a good time to stop cooking! (Even if your test droplets aren’t totally crystallizing yet.)
- Rather than waiting for your mixture to stick to the pan or crystallize in the pan, continue checking the mixture for brittleness by dropping it in cold water – and make sure the water is genuinely cold!
- Check out the video embedded in the post at the 1:20 mark, and you can see what that brittleness looked like for me. In a clear glass cup, you should be able to see the droplets crystallize in the water and that’s the signal that it’s ready.