Everything You Need to Know About Candy Corn

Candy corn, at its most basic level, is sweet confectionary made from sugar, corn syrup, and flavorings like butter and vanilla bean extract.

But it’s also more than that. For example, did you know that candy corn was invented in the 1880s by a pair of women named-wait for it-Wilbur and Eliza Curtiss? Or that prior to 1880, candy corn hadn’t really been invented yet? Read on to learn all about this delicious autumn treat. And then check out this easy recipe for making your own batch!

Candies in the baskets
Candies in the baskets

What Is Candy Corn?

Candy corn is a type of confectionery usually made from a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla flavoring, and colorings that are shaped into small pieces. The term was first used in the 1880s. There are many different theories about the origin of this product’s name.

It may have come from corn and Korn, an old German word for grain; or corny, meaning corny like humor or corny like apples; or it might refer to candy made with corn syrup called confectioner’s corn. Whatever the root of its name, it is generally accepted that Ohioans can take credit for inventing the confection we know today as candy corn.

As one story goes, John Christensen is said to have invented the treat in Cincinnati in 1866. When he originally created them they were known as Johnnie Cake, named after him and his wife’s favorite food. Over time, however, they became more commonly known by their other name: candy corn.

As one story goes, John Christensen is said to have invented the treat in Cincinnati in 1866. When he originally created them they were known as Johnnie Cake, named after him and his wife’s favorite food. Over time, however, they became more commonly known by their other name: candy corn!

The History of Candy Corn


Candy corn is a classic Halloween candy that has been around since the 1880s. It is believed to have been invented by a Philadelphia-based confectioner who ran out of peppermint flavoring and had to use what was on hand–cane sugar, vanilla extract, and corn syrup. The mixture was then shaped into small crescents of white, yellow, and orange.

Candy corn quickly became popular among children for its three colors, but it wasn’t until 1952 that candy corn was first introduced in stores nationwide.

It’s unclear how people feel about this orange-yellow-white sweet these days; some think it tastes like old-fashioned hard taffy while others think it tastes like wax paper or styrofoam. Some even say that it tastes gross.

In recent years, there have been several debates about whether or not the ingredients are vegan-friendly. According to Snopes, the answer is yes because there isn’t animal gelatin in them (but many brands do contain honey).

However, if you are looking for vegan-friendly candy corn options, you can find carob-coated versions as well as other alternatives such as gingerbread men and pumpkin spice-flavored varieties.

How Is Candy Corn Made?

Candy corn is made from sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. The candy is shaped in a way that resembles the kernels of an ear of corn. Some people argue that the name candy corn was derived from combining cane sugar with cornstarch. When it comes to flavor, there are many different types of flavors for candy corn, including butterscotch, chocolate, and cinnamon.

The color of the candy also varies depending on the type of flavor you choose. Typically, chocolate or cinnamon-flavored candy will be brown while butterscotch-flavored candy will be yellowish-orange in color with some light brown highlights. Cinnamon-colored candy corn is usually seen as more difficult to find than other colors because they often have a less appealing taste and color.

What Is It Used For?: In America, October is when kids come home after trick-or-treating on Halloween night and gather around the television set to watch scary movies.

One traditional dish served during this time is popcorn balls, which can be combined with pieces of candy corn as an alternative snack if children have too much popcorn. Candy corn can also be eaten by itself without being dipped in anything else such as caramel or chocolate sauce.

Fun Facts About Candy Corn


Candy corn originated in the 1880s when a man named John C. Young was trying to come up with a new candy that didn’t melt in warm weather. One day, he noticed his daughter mixing sugar and molasses together for a cake, and he realized that this would make a good base for his recipe. He created the first batch of candy corn on October 30th, 1882—hence the name candy corn.

These days, most people use vanilla flavoring instead of molasses as their base because it is easier and cheaper to produce. The candy is made by melting sugar, corn syrup, water, and marshmallow creme (or butter) over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 300°F.

Next comes flavorings such as vanilla extract or peppermint oil; food coloring; and boiling water. Finally, kernels of hard-boiled eggs are mixed into the gooey mass before they are poured onto wax paper or buttered baking sheets in desired shapes or molded into molds. The whole process takes less than an hour from start to finish!

It’s common knowledge that there are eight pieces of candy corn per pound – but did you know there are 16 pieces per bag? That’s why some companies sell bags containing five pounds each!

Recipe for Homemade Candy Corn

  1. 3 cups white sugar
  2. 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. food coloring, if desired

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it up to a boil, stirring constantly. Let it cook for three minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in your food coloring of choice (if using).

The candy will be very hot so make sure you are wearing an oven mitt or something similar. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 pan and let it cool completely before breaking it apart by hand or cutting with a knife. Once it is broken apart, give each piece a quick roll in some more sprinkles.

These candies taste great when they’re fresh but can also be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They’re best enjoyed at room temperature rather than fridge cold. When you’re ready to eat them, store them out of direct sunlight to avoid any discoloration.


Candy corn is a surprisingly easy treat to make. All you need is sugar, corn syrup, butter or margarine, food coloring, and vanilla extract. Feel free to experiment with flavorings like cinnamon, peppermint extract, or ground cloves for different variations on the classic recipe.

The only thing you really have to worry about is making sure your candy thermometer is in good shape so it gives accurate readings. Be sure not to overheat your mixture once the cooking process begins as this can cause crystallization and a sticky mess!

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