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   Candy cane syrup Posted by Chica 
January 6, 2010 

Christmas may be over, but some of the remnants of it are probably still lurking around your home. One thing that tends to stick around our house for weeks after Christmas is candy canes. They are so festive and inexpensive that we always buy too many to eat, but then what do you do with them after Christmas? Well, I like to make candy cane syrup out of them!

This is such a simple recipe and the result is a decadent and sweet syrup that’s wonderful for flavoring hot chocolate or drizzling over ice cream.

All you need is 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, and 6 to 8 candy canes.

Start by pouring the sugar and water into a saucepan.

candy cane syrupcandy cane syrup

Give it a good stir and turn the stove on medium heat. Meanwhile, unwrap from 6 to 8 candy canes and break them into pieces.

candy cane syrupcandy cane syrup

Add the candy cane pieces to the pan and continue stirring frequently as the mixture heats up.

candy cane syrupcandy cane syrup

The candy canes will start dissolving, and the syrup will begin to turn a creamy pink color. When all the sugar and candy canes are dissolved, it will turn clear and take on a deep pink color.

candy cane syrupcandy cane syrup

Continue cooking until the syrup comes to a boil. Let it boil for about 2-3 minutes and then turn off the heat and allow the syrup to cool in the pan. When it’s cooled, pour the syrup into a jar with a lid for storage.

candy cane syrup

This syrup makes a lovely gift if you put it in a pretty jar or bottle and decorate it with a ribbon and a candy cane. I find that Mason jars, clear bottles from vanilla extract, or small jars from gourmet green olives make really charming containers for things like this.

candy cane syrup

candy cane syrup

This is a great recipe to make with the kids, who will love unwrapping the candy canes and seeing what you can make from them. And of course if you let them eat the results in hot chocolate or over vanilla ice cream (my personal favorite), they’ll love it even more!

49 comments so far:

  1. Bird Crafts said: (January 7th, 2010 at 11:27 am)

    Chica and Jo,

    What a fab idea!!! I have already saved it…

    I love all your stuff and subscribe via email!! Thanks for all the great stuff you guys post here! V useful :D

  2. Chica said: (January 7th, 2010 at 11:33 am)

    Thanks, Bird Crafts! We’re so pleased to have happy readers like you :)

  3. Virtuxa said: (January 3rd, 2011 at 12:46 pm)

    Omgomgomgomgomg :3
    That look so totaly yummy. i still have some canes and if I have time for it; I will definately try this out. I love things like this. The more sugar, the better xD

  4. CaneMan said: (January 8th, 2011 at 6:23 pm)

    Recipe works great but you should add 2 cups of water rather than 1 cup. If you use 1 cup water to 2 cups sugar it ends up WAY too thick, can’t even pour it.

  5. Chica said: (January 9th, 2011 at 10:35 am)

    Hi CaneMan. Thanks for the feedback! If your syrup ended up too thick, I suspect it’s because you boiled it too long. Sugar changes a lot the longer you boil it (and the higher the temp gets), as I’ve learned with my experiments in making hard candy. Be sure to only let your syrup boil for 2-3 minutes.

  6. Rebecca said: (October 13th, 2011 at 6:25 pm)

    aweeesome :)

  7. Chica said: (October 13th, 2011 at 6:28 pm)

    And very tasty, too! I need to remember this year to buy candy canes as soon as I see them in stores (which ought to be any day now) so I can make some syrup to have throughout the holidays.

  8. Jenah said: (December 3rd, 2011 at 8:33 pm)

    This sounds so good, and my kids will love it. Do you think you could put it on pancakes?

  9. Chica said: (December 4th, 2011 at 10:16 am)

    I think that would be a pretty interesting pancake topping, Jenah! I’m a huge fan of maple myself, so I’m not sure I could veer away, but I do love the syrup on ice cream :)

  10. Vita said: (December 7th, 2011 at 1:43 am)

    Love this! About how long will it keep? And does it need to be stored in the fridge?

  11. Chica said: (December 7th, 2011 at 7:25 am)

    Vita, I’m no food safety expert, so I can’t give you exact specs on storage of this syrup. However, my gut tells me that since it’s just made of sugar and water, it’s just as shelf-stable as a candy cane would be, so it should last for quite a long time without refrigeration.

  12. Dee said: (October 16th, 2012 at 10:00 pm)

    This looks sooo Good : )
    Thanks for Sharing …can’t wait to try this !!!

  13. Melissa said: (October 24th, 2012 at 7:22 pm)

    Wonder how this would taste if you used peppermint sticks instead of candy canes?

  14. Becky said: (November 8th, 2012 at 10:00 pm)

    How much will the recipe make?

  15. Chica said: (November 9th, 2012 at 8:06 am)

    Becky, I don’t remember for sure how much it makes, but judging by the ingredients and the jars I was able to fill, I’d say between 2 and 3 cups.

  16. Susan said: (November 18th, 2012 at 12:13 am)

    I think I will make this and then I will can the syrup in my water bath canner. When the syrup is still hot, put it into sanitized canning jars. Wipe the top of the jar clean, set the lid and finger tighten the ring. Place in the boiling water canning bath. Process for ten minutes. Take out and cool. This should allow an easy year shelf life for the syrup.

  17. Diane said: (November 25th, 2012 at 9:58 am)

    I have never made candy before… I just made my first batch and it is cooling and looks and smells delicious! I am going to use it as thank you gifts for the kids’ activity instructors so I need quite a bit. Can I double or even triple this recipe or is that a no no in candy making? Thanks!

  18. Chica said: (November 25th, 2012 at 12:37 pm)

    Diane, congrats on a successful batch of candy cane syrup! I don’t see why you can’t double or triple this recipe.

  19. Diane said: (November 25th, 2012 at 5:19 pm)

    I’m back… it was not so successful after all. I poured it into a plastic tub until I can get lids for my jars and when I glanced at it an hour later it had crystallized. :( I have read a bit online and adding cream of tartar is mentioned but never an amount. Good idea? Bad idea? Other ideas?

  20. Chica said: (November 26th, 2012 at 7:20 am)

    Diane, I’m sorry you had bad results. Unfortunately, I have no idea what would cause it to crystallize, and no advice to give on use of cream of tarter :(

  21. Diane said: (November 27th, 2012 at 12:21 am)

    Added a few pinches of cream of tartar, reboiled, let it cool, poured it into glass containers and it’s been 12 hours and it still looks beautiful! Woohoo! Now I can do the rest tomorrow and I’ll be set! It is just so pretty!

  22. Chica said: (November 27th, 2012 at 4:29 pm)

    Diane, I’m so glad you rescued your syrup, and thanks for sharing that great tip with us!

  23. Kristelle said: (November 29th, 2012 at 10:59 pm)

    Using an electric stove set on Low/Medium… it started to boil before everything was melted, so I turned it down to Low. Some of the candy canes didn’t melt all the way down even after it turned clear/pink and boiled a few minutes.. still waiting for it to cool to get the results on that.

  24. Frank said: (December 1st, 2012 at 7:08 pm)

    New to making syrup but not new to scrubbing pans. How hard is the clean up? Should a certain type of cookware be used? Thanks

  25. Weezer said: (December 1st, 2012 at 8:28 pm)

    This is cool. This is highly cool. Very kumbaya hippie type material here. I don’t do sugar myself but many people do, and this would be an awesome way to express a gift. I can imagine the peppermint sugar aroma! Thanks for writing this article, whoever you are.

  26. Angie said: (December 2nd, 2012 at 9:06 am)

    I can’t wait to make it. How long can it be stored for?

  27. Chica said: (December 2nd, 2012 at 9:37 am)

    Frank, the easiest way to clean anything related to cooked sugar is to just soak it in water. The syrup will dissolve away, making it a breeze to clean up! As for the cookware to use, anything with a thick, heavy bottom will help keep the heat even and reduce the chance of scorching.

  28. Chica said: (December 2nd, 2012 at 9:39 am)

    Angie, I’m not sure how long this syrup will last — we usually eat it up pretty fast. All of the ingredients going into it are shelf-stable, though, so my guess would be that it would last a very long time :)

  29. chedges9090 said: (December 7th, 2012 at 5:07 am)

    I have small candy canes (100 of them!) how many candy canes do you think I should use? 3 small canes to 1 large ? And, if I had a few too many canes.. how do you think that would change the results?

  30. Chica said: (December 7th, 2012 at 10:01 am)

    chedges9090, the mini candy canes can vary in size, so I can’t really tell you exactly how many it will take. Three or four sounds about right, though. The recipe is pretty forgiving, so I think you’ve got some wiggle room.

  31. Brett said: (December 9th, 2012 at 12:26 pm)

    What about some of the flavored candy canes, like Warheads or the chocolate mint? Think it would work and should we change the sugar or add anything for the sour version?

  32. Chica said: (December 10th, 2012 at 1:11 pm)

    Brett, you can use any flavor of candy canes you like, you’ll just get a different flavor of syrup when you’re done. For me, it was the true peppermint candy cane taste I was looking for, and which is so recognizable when you eat it!

  33. chedges9090 said: (December 18th, 2012 at 11:31 am)

    Chica- So, I must have boiled mine too long. It is too think and not clear. Ideas on how to correct that? or should I toss out and re-try.

  34. Chica said: (December 18th, 2012 at 11:43 am)

    If your cooled syrup is too thick to pour easily, then you definitely boiled it too long. Two or three minutes of boiling is plenty, and it should be about the consistency of pancake syrup.

  35. James said: (December 19th, 2012 at 8:53 am)

    Hi, I tried twice and it came out great both times except the color is not a clear red like in your pics but more a clear reddish brown like dark beer or honey. Any ideas why? Thanks for the idea,

  36. Chica said: (December 19th, 2012 at 8:58 am)

    James, it sounds like maybe your syrup cooked too much and started to caramelize. Or maybe it was some coloring in the candy cane itself. I’m glad it tasted great though!

  37. Lori said: (December 19th, 2012 at 1:21 pm)

    I make something very similar using a cup of sugar, a cup of water and a cup of red hots candies. Really great on vanilla icecream or apple crisp. I never thought to use any other candies…I have to try this.

    Now my wheels are spinning…thik of all the possibilities…rootbeer barrels, butterscotches…this could be addicting!

  38. Chica said: (December 20th, 2012 at 2:47 pm)

    Lori, I like the way your mind works!

  39. Amy said: (August 19th, 2013 at 7:26 pm)

    Thanks for this idea and after scrolling through your comments, I wondered if Susan ever said how the canning process went for it?? I have some leftover syrup from making Red Hot Cinnamon Pickles and remembered seeing your post, thinking I could can the leftover cinnamon syrup. Thanks!

  40. pat zachary said: (November 14th, 2013 at 7:54 pm)

    crystals usually form on the sides of the pan – be sure you dont stir that into the syrup if you only cook it for the time listed you shouldn’t have to worry about crystals.

  41. Breeanna said: (November 21st, 2013 at 12:01 am)

    Does anyone else think that this syrup might be similar to what they put in the Peppermint Mocha Twists that they serve at Starbucks during the holidays?

  42. jean said: (December 18th, 2013 at 3:58 am)

    I’ve been sitting here for over 30 minutes stirring my concoction and have a cloudy, white mixture that boils the minute I stop stirring. Have no idea what I’ve done wrong, but can someone please tell me how long this should actually take?

  43. Chica said: (December 22nd, 2013 at 4:55 pm)

    Jean, I have no idea what could cause the problem you’re having. I only let my syrup boil for 2-3 minutes. You need to be careful not to let the sugar boil too long, or it may reach “hard crack” stage and harden when cool.

  44. Amy said: (February 2nd, 2014 at 1:07 pm)

    How long can it be stored?

  45. Chica said: (February 2nd, 2014 at 4:16 pm)

    Amy, I’m no food safety expert, so I can’t give you exact specs on storage of this syrup. However, my gut tells me that since it’s just made of sugar and water, it’s just as shelf-stable as a candy cane would be, so it should last for quite a long time without refrigeration.

  46. Katie said: (December 15th, 2014 at 11:45 am)

    Hi I just made 1 batch and it didn’t turn clear before it boiled and it’s still a creamy pink color. How come?

  47. Chica said: (December 20th, 2014 at 12:41 pm)

    Hi Katie. I’m guessing your results are based on the type of candy canes you used. Perhaps some have more white coloring in them than others.

  48. Erika said: (May 2nd, 2015 at 11:22 pm)

    does sugar have to be added? Or is the sugar a necessity to keep it syrupy?

  49. Chica said: (May 5th, 2015 at 8:39 pm)

    Erika, the sugar is required in order to make a nice syrup.

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