Homemade Lemon Drops




About: Hi, I'm Jen! In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, and cake decorator. I also can't stop taking photographs! I have a genuine love and appreciation for all things creative and handmade.

I couldn't stop smiling after I made these! In fact, I am smiling right now while I am eating one!

It took me right back to my childhood. My dad always had a bag of lemon drops in his car and I loved going on random and pointless car rides just so I could savor the tart and sour little drops of sunshine!

Don't be intimidated by this recipe just because it calls for a candy thermometer. If you have a bit of patience lemon drops are easy!


Step 1: Recipe

Since I had never made lemon drop candy before I wanted to use an existing recipe instead of trying to come up with my own. I found this one that looked easy enough to follow. I used a half recipe from what the blog did and I formed them differently. So here is the recipe with my take on shaping them.

Lemon Drop Candy - (From chocswirl.wordpress.com - Adapted from Field Guide to Candy by Anita Chu)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 c. water
1 t. citric acid
1/4 t. lemon extract
yellow food coloring
powdered sugar for rolling - 1-2 T.

Coat a plastic scraper and kitchen scissors with butter and have a silpat ready. If you don't have a silpat a marble slab was recommended in the original recipe.

Preheat oven to warm.

Step 2: Boil Sugar

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat combine sugar, cream of tartar and water. Stir just until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue boiling mixture until it reaches 300 degrees F (or hard ball stage).

Step 3: Cool Sugar

Pour hot mixture immediately onto silpat. Sprinkle citric acid, lemon extract and coloring onto the sugar mixture.

Using a buttered scraper (of some kind) mix ingredients until combined.

The mixture will initially stick all over the scraper but will eventually come together into one cohesive glob of sugar!

Step 4: Shape Sugar

While the mixture is still hot pull or cut pieces off (with buttered kitchen scissors) and roll them in your hands to form a sphere or egg shape. Be careful not to burn your hands. The mixture should feel hot but not hot enough to burn your skin. If it is, wait for it to cool some.

Since the mixture is hot the lemon drops will ultimately be flattened on one side. Or at least mine were!

Roll the formed lemon drops in powdered sugar to coat. This way they will not all stick to each other!

Tip - If you find that the sugar is hardening too quickly to shape the pieces put them in the preheated oven (on warm) to reheat the sugar. You will be able to shape them again once they soften a bit.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!



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    56 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Lemon is my favorite flavor! I want to make some now.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    --You can use parchment paper instead of Silpat (same thing).
    --If you can't eat sugar, then you can use xylitol or manitol, a natural safe sugar substitute and heat safe.
    --If you can't consume suger, you can use corstarch or arrow root starch instead of powdered sugar for the last step, then just dust them off, so they don't stick.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    xylitol and mannitol are sugar alcohols. There is no alcohol (ETOH), the chemical composition has structures that resemble both sugar and alcohol. They are not fermented by your gut's natural flora (good bacteria), therefore they have a scant enough amount of calories to be called 0 calorie and sugar free! I like to dust them with citric acid instead of sugar. It's a nice sour sensation first thing.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    If you use parchment instead of a silpat I would highly recommend taping down the edges to a cutting board or other heat proof surface. It will be extremely hard to mix in coloring and flavors otherwise.


    2 years ago

    These came out great! I did roll some into a lemon shape but kind of liked the pillow shape from just cutting bits off the "log" of cooling candy with scissors directly into a bowl of powered sugar. Will definitely make them again!!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    For other flavors,

    Just substitute powdered unsweetened Kool-aid for the lemon juice
    and fruit fresh for the Citric Acid. Drop the food coloring.

    Have made Black Cherry, Grape, and Watermelon. All turned out great..


    5 years ago on Introduction

    finally got these made. couldn't find the yellow food coloring so I made them pink. to help keep the roundish shape, I put about a cup of powdered sugar in a dredging dish. after shaping each piece I tossed them in the dish. once all cut and shaped I shook the dish covering them all. then let them sit so the sugar would be a cushion. they're AWESOME!


    5 years ago

    I just wanted to say thank you soooo much for the advice on my first post. It helped me alot!!:)


    5 years ago

    My syrup caramelized before it reached 300 degrees
    How can I prevent that next time

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I've never had this happen. I'm sorry. My guess would be that the heat was too high. Next time try the burner on medium and let the temp come up slowly.


    6 years ago

    Im making 7 jars for freinds+ upcoming camping trips!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    has anyone tried this using Loran or Lorain(not sure of spelling :/) oils? we use them to make the hard candy you pour onto a cookie sheet then break apart when it hardens. the flavor is intense. just curious since i won't have time to try these any time soon. but I WILL! cuz lemon drops are sooo tasty.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    What can I use instead of lemon extract? Lemon juice??
    And for the cutting board thing.. Is wax paper okay? Thanks :)