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Homemade Cinnamon Hard Candy (Cinnamon Rock Candy)


This old-fashioned recipe for hot Cinnamon Hard Candy is part of our holiday tradition. It’s sweet and spicy and fun to share with others made from an old fashioned recipe with just cinnamon oil, sugar, syrup and food coloring!

Pieces of red cinnamon hard candy on a table next to a pinecone.
Cinnamon Hard Candy is the sweet and spicy gift you can make at home!

Growing up there were a few things I could always count on my mom to make during the holidays. One of these things is her Homemade Cinnamon Candy. 

Aside from working with boiling hot molten sugar lava, the recipe is pretty easy to make. I’m not sure if that makes you nervous, but I’m not a big risk-taker in the kitchen.

So I had my mom make it for me so I could take photos. Because if you’re braver than me in the kitchen I don’t want you to miss out on this brilliant hot cinnamon candy recipe!

You will see images with the candy-colored red and somewhere it is left as is. My mom and I can’t agree on the best way to make it so this is a combination of both ways.

Why This Recipe Works

Making hard candy requires using a candy thermometer to get the right consistency. But other than being patient and careful, this recipe really doesn’t require any special skills.

The friends and family we’ve shared this with over the years are all big fans. And one batch makes a lot!

Related post: Candy Coated Cherry Jello Popcorn

You can keep some for your family and bag some up for dropping off with neighbors too. It’s a perfect holiday treat.

The basic hard candy recipe can be used to make all kinds of flavor. The red food coloring and spicy cinnamon oil (this is why cinnamon oil is spicy!) makes this a fun treat to make each winter.


Ingredients to make cinnamon hard candy.
What you need to make cinnamon candy at home.

Just 4 ingredients (5, if you include red food coloring) is all you need to make this classic treat.

Since I use light corn syrup in my favorite Caramel Corn recipe, I usually have some in the cupboard.

And most of us have white sugar and water around.

The only thing you need to plan ahead for is cinnamon oil. I usually pick mine up on Amazon. But they also have it at the local craft store in the candy aisle.

Cinnamon oil is sold in a 1 dram sized bottle. We only used one bottle, but if you like your cinnamon light-your-tongue-on-fire hot, you may want to use some of the other bottle as well.

A note about cinnamon oil: IT’S STRONG! It can burn your eyes and nose if you inhale it too deeply. It’s also supposed to be bad for dogs. If you’re worried, do a little research before you start.

How to make hard candy

Woman stirring a saucepan on the stovetop.

1. Mix together sugar, water and corn syrup

Add the white sugar, water, and corn syrup to a saucepan and mix them together.

Child in a bat mask standing back from the stove where there is a saucepan of sugar with a candy thermometer in it.

2. Heat to 300 degrees

Turn the heat to medium and add a candy thermometer. The sugar needs to get up to 300 degrees.

This is called the Hard Crack stage if your thermometer has markings on it for things like sterilising jars, making jam, deep frying, and of course making candy!

Mix it often as it’s cooking so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Overhead photo of sugar boiling in a saucepan on the stove with a candy thermometer.

It will take a while for the sugar to get to the right temperature. I think it took us about an hour. 

Again, this is why this is a tradition that my mom makes for me. I prefer the ease of dump cake recipes.

And can we talk for a moment about how freaking clean my mom’s stove top is? Gosh, I wish I got her cleaning gene.

Sheet ban greased with oil on the countertop.

3. Prepare a baking sheet

In the meantime, grease a baking sheet and set it aside. 

This will help keep the hard candy recipe from sticking to the pan. Duh.

Adding cinnamon oil to boiling sugar.

4. Add the cinnamon oil

Once the sugar reaches the hard crack stage or 300 degrees, remove the pan from heat and add your cinnamon oil. 


The cinnamon is potent. It will choke you. It will make your eyes water. 

But it will taste SO good. 

Stir to ensure it is mixed well throughout the sugar. Make sure that all the doors and windows are open. No joke.

5. Add coloring if using

If you are using red food coloring, this is when you would add that as well. Make sure to mix it well. My mom used a “few drops” when she made the red batch.

Start with a few drops and add more to get the desired red color that you would like.

Woman pouring homemade hard candy onto a baking sheet.

6. Pour onto pan to harden

Carefully pour the candy onto the prepared sheet pan and let harden. 

I would say it was really hard after a full hour. 

We didn’t put it in the fridge or anything like that. Just left it out on the counter.

A knife and a sheet of hard candy that has started to be cracked on a plain white background.

7. Break up the candy

The fun part is cracking the Christmas candy into smaller, bite-sized pieces. This is what the whole sheet of candy looks like once it’s cooled. And again this is without red food coloring.

A cookie sheet with homemade cinnamon candy on it

Here’s what the candy looks like with red food coloring. And, of course, this isn’t the full batch, I just wanted to show the color.

Using a table knife, whack the cinnamon candy. Not too hard because pieces go flying all over the place. And it is really sharp. Much like glass shards.  Use caution.

Also, can’t you tell that some people call this glass candy? It totally looks like it.

Close up of pieces of red cinnamon candy on a cookie sheet topped with waxed paper.

I think the golden color (no food coloring) is really pretty. 

But the red really does read more like cinnamon candy don’t you think? Or you could really freak people out and make it green. 

Then they would think they were going to be eating something lime or peppermint flavored. And then BAM! Cinnamon. Their taste buds won’t know what to do!

Pieces of red glass candy on a table.

How to store the candy

Store the candy in an air-tight container and it will last for at least a month.

The pieces may stick together but you can just break them apart.

The pieces can be really sharp so take care when giving this to children.

I just know you will love this! I’m sucking on some right now as a matter of fact. Thank you, mom, for helping me with this post. You’re the best!

Candy cane martinis on a table with text next to it.

A few more easy recipes you might also enjoy!

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Close up of homemade red candy

Cinnamon Hard Candy

With just a few ingredients, this easy Cinnamon Hard Candy recipe is a fun way to make for Christmas each year. It's sweet and spicy and a fun edible gift idea for friends and family.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Hardening: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Calories: 130kcal
Servings: 36 servings


  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bottle cinnamon oil found at your local craft store
  • Red food coloring start with a few drops and add more as needed to get the desired color


  • Mix water, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring often, until the candy thermometer temperature reaches 300 degrees.
  • While waiting for the candy to boil, butter a cookie sheet and set it aside so it’s ready when the candy reaches the correct temperature.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add cinnamon oil and stir well (DO NOT SNIFF FUMES! HAVE DOORS AND WINDOWS OPEN!)
  • If using food coloring, add it now and stir well.
  • Pour on to a buttered cookie sheet.
  • Let it sit until hardened and dry. (About an hour)
  • Use the end of a butter knife to break the hard cinnamon candy into pieces.
  • Store in an air-tight container.


It is suggested that you don’t make this in high humidity. Sorry, Florida.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Sodium: 9mg | Sugar: 33g
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  1. Can I use mason jars and vacuum seal this hard candy? If so how long will it last if vacuum sealed?

  2. Hi Sharon, A Friendly note…
    Thanks for posting a recipe for a favorite candy. I am glad to see your Mom stepped up & was the patient & careful maker here. That being said, SOMEWHERE in this posting your Mom should be given co-author status, & at the very least, mention her by first name. Also, if new processing photos are made, please show your Mom without her head cropped out of the photos. You will love seeing your Mom’s face for your future nostalgia.

    1. She’s a great mom. If you knew my mom you would know that she would kill me if I included her face. I totally understand what you are saying. I sneak photos of her when I can. :).

  3. The hard candy recipe should include 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar. This aids in the thickening process.

5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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