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How to Make Homemade Taffy

Homemade taffy is a fun activity for a rainy or snowy day. It was a highlight one year when we got adventurous and gave it a go. We aren’t big taffy eaters, but it was fun to pull and pretty tasty. Below is our great attempt at how to make homemade taffy!

Homemade Taffy Recipe Directions

A note: If you wanted to try to substitute corn syrup in the taffy, you could try sugar dissolved in hot water, or maybe honey or molasses in place of corn syrup. But since we didn’t try to substitute sugar, search around for equivalent substitutions for the corn syrup in taffy.

Butter large jelly roll pans before starting.  Whisk up the cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

Butter Taffy Pan
Boiling Syrup for Taffy

Heat and stir over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil for 3 minutes. The candy mixture will foam and rise quite high in the pan. Watch carefully and stir down if it rises too close to the edge of the pan.

Remove the lid and clip a candy thermometer to the side. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any crystallizing sugar.

Turn the heat down to medium-high and allow it to boil undisturbed until the temperature reaches about 242°-246° (high altitude) or 252°-254° (sea level). This is a very critical part of making soft taffy and not hard candy.

It is important to keep the heat to medium-high heat, as it only takes seconds for the temperature of the candy to shoot up. Have lollipop sticks ready in case you accidentally boil the taffy syrup too long.

You can test without a thermometer by skimming off a small bit of the candy syrup and dripping it onto a piece of parchment paper. Wait a few seconds and peel it off. Work with the drop for a few seconds, pulling and twisting it. If correct, the candy will stiffen a little but will be very pliable. If it becomes brittle and breaks, the candy has been over-boiled. Using a thermometer usually brings good results if you aren’t confident.

Once the candy reaches the right temperature, remove it from the heat. If making two flavors/colors pour one half of the taffy syrup into another pan and flavor/color separately. Quickly stir in 1/4-1 tsp. flavoring (depends on the flavor concentration), and coloring if desired. Pour each pan out onto the two prepared pans. Let cool until easy to handle.

Making Syrup for Old Fashioned Taffy Recipe
Old Fashioned Taffy Pull Pour Taffy

Pull the soft taffy until it is light and shiny in color, and becomes difficult to pull. As soon as it’s ready, be creative! Roll the taffy into long ropes and either twist the two colors together or cut pieces from each color. Make thin twisted ropes and roll the ropes to form taffy-pops.

Homemade Taffy Recipe
Children Pulling Homemade Taffy

The children especially loved making these! The younger children can join in twisting the taffy shapes. You can also snip soft taffy into small pieces, cool them, and wrap them individually.  Enjoy!

Homemade Taffy Recipe
Finished Homemade Taffy

I remember trying a few times, mistakes are yummy. Wrap them and give them as gifts!

Yield: Two Ropes Taffy

Homemade Taffy

Old Fashioned Taffy Pull

Try a good old fashioned taffy pull! This is especially fun to make on a chilly day!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. half & half
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Instructions

Butter large jelly roll pans before starting. Whisk up the cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

Heat and stir over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil for 3 minutes. The candy mixture will foam and rise quite high in the pan. Watch carefully and stir down if it rises too close to the edge of the pan. Remove the lid and clip a candy thermometer to the side.

Remove the lid and clip a candy thermometer to the side. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any crystallizing sugar.

Turn the heat down to medium-high and allow it to boil undisturbed until the temperature reaches about 242°-246° (high altitude) or 252°-254° (sea level). This is a very critical part of making soft taffy and not hard candy.

It is important to keep the heat to medium high heat, as it only takes seconds for the temperature of the candy to shoot up. Have lollipop sticks ready in case you accidentally boil the taffy syrup too long.

You can test without a thermometer by skimming off a small bit of the candy syrup and drip onto a piece of parchment paper. Wait a few seconds and peel it off. Work with the drop for a few seconds, pulling and twisting it. If correct, the candy will stiffen a little, but will be very pliable. If it becomes brittle and breaks, the candy has been over-boiled. Using a thermometer usually brings good results if you aren’t confident.

Once the candy reaches the right temperature, remove from heat. If making two flavors/colors pour one half of the taffy syrup into another pan and flavor/color separately. Quickly stir in 1/4-1 tsp. flavoring (depends on the flavor concentration), and coloring if desired.

Pour each pan out onto the two prepared pans. Let cool until easy to handle.

Pull the soft taffy until it is light and shiny in color, and becomes difficult to pull. As soon as it’s ready, be creative! Roll the taffy into long ropes and either twist the two colors together or cut pieces from each color.

Make thin twisted ropes and roll the ropes to form taffy-pops. The children especially loved making these! The younger children can join in twisting the taffy shapes. You can also snip soft taffy into small pieces, cool and wrap individually.

Notes

Make sure to use quality color paste and candy flavoring. Oil flavorings could ruin the taffy texture.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Joan

    Ingredients call for 3 tablespoons of half and half what is this?

    1. Theresa

      Half and Half is a combination of milk and heavy cream. If you don’t have this (it’s sold just like milk is at the store), you can use 1 1/2 Tbsp. of heavy cream, and 1 1/2 Tbsp. of regular milk. Hope that helps, thanks for visiting! Theresa

  2. Patty Shay

    Hi! 🙋🏻‍♀️
    My Daddy was a preacher and my Momma came up with the greatest ideas for things/crafts, for our youth groups, to do. Taffy pulls were sooo much fun!! I’d like to do this with my grandchildren and great grandchildren now. This brings back so many great memories I sure am going to try it. After all these years my grands and greats already know I’m not perfect so if we goof up it will still be fun. Thank you for the recipe, memories, and ideas, for the future.
    Patty

    1. Theresa

      I’m so glad you’re going to try it. It certainly was fun, and we goof all the time. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for visiting! Hugs, Theresa

  3. Nancy

    I’m now 81. Back during WWII, my uncles were at war. My Aunt got all of her sisters and the kids together in her tiny apartment at Christmas time and they pulled taffy. All I can remember is my mom and aunts pulling the taffy and laughing. What a wonderful memory that is.
    I’m hoping at my Christmas party this December, I can get up enough courage to try it. My family/friends will be here. I have all the equipment you suggest having. I know everyone would enjoy doing it. Thanks for sharing your recipe. And Merry Christmas 2022.

    1. Theresa

      I’m so happy you stopped by! I hope you have a wonderful time making taffy, that sounds like a lot of fun with family! Many blessings, Theresa

  4. Betty Lawson

    I’m 93 and we made taffy a lot when I was young. Our ingredients consisted of sugar, vinegar, salt, water and vanilla. We buttered a platter to pour the hot candy on to cool and for pulling the taffy. It was perfect and beautiful. It went to sugar once and it still was delicious.
    If you are craving sweets and low on other ingredients, this candy, will satisfy you.
    Enjoy.

    1. Theresa

      Hi Betty! Thank you so much for giving feedback, I’m so happy you gave it a try! I bet you have wonderful candy memories. Many blessings, Theresa

  5. Alexander

    I tried a similar recipe recently but it ended up in a sticky mess. Any clue why it would not solidify to a point where it could be picked up without fusing to one’s hand?

    1. Theresa

      Hi Alexander! I’ve seen that humidity could make it sticky, but we’ve never had that issue. Maybe try patting your hands with some cornstarch first, but another thought could be incorrect temperature (not heated long enough?) I’ll keep thinking it through, and post again if I have other thoughts. Let us know if you try it!

  6. Alexander

    It seems it might be an issue with what syrup I used. The recipe I used called for “light corn syrup” but I don’t live in an English-speaking country and mistook “ljus sirap” Swedish for like “light syrup” I am not sure if this is the root of the problem but it might be.
    I found something called glucose syrup and I did some looking around and it seems it is the same as corn syrup.
    Would glucose syrup work in your recipe or could even this syrup I have now which apparently is made out of some sort of combination of sugar from sugarbeets and salt work too?

    There seems to be a big problem of no Swedish sources of taffy recipes and candy overall. I have so far only really “mastered” hard candy and I am trying to make this into a hobby that is not so single-focused. I’ll defo check out any other recipes that would fit me after I manage to master taffy.

  7. Charlie Morrissette

    Hey! I haven’t so called “mastered’ candy and want to make the taffy. I was wondering if there are any specific flavor/color brands that you like. On another note, I keep on burning it. Any tips on that?

  8. Jill Bordeaux

    Hey my names Jill my sister makes this stuff all the time it is gross i had a friend make it before and it was yummy my sister believes that no sugar makes everything better bless her childs heart any way thanks for the recipe please try to make more sugar cuza my sister again bless her poor childs heart.
    Love Yall
    Jill Bordeaux
    P.S. peaches at this time of year in Louisiana are so good. As Paula Dean says “Peaches Yall!”

  9. Rose

    My 13 year old grandson just made this recipe following your instructions exactly. The taffy came out perfect and delicious. He was so proud of himself.

  10. Khloe

    I don’t have much experience with these kinds of sweets. A good friend and I have to make taffy for a school project. I used this recipe because it was well explained and I had most of the ingredients. When it came time to make it, I realized neither of us had half and half. I used milk to try and substitute it, so that was definitely a place for error. When we layed it out flat in the pan, it didn’t at any point become ‘pull-able’. I assume it’s because of the half and half, but is there any other place we may have messed up? Any advice or help would be much appreciated!

  11. Theresa

    Hi Khloe,
    Thanks for visiting and trying the recipe!
    I’m thinking that it’s not the half/half, but could be the timing of how long it boiled. If it wasn’t pullable, it may have needed a bit longer on the boil. OR reduce the liquid by a tablespoon or two…and see if that helps.
    But my first thought was definitely the boil. I hope it works for you, would love to know if you made any adjustments that could help other readers if you’re at a low altitude 🙂

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