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3-Ingredient Sour Patch Kids Recipe

This 3-Ingredient Sour Patch Kids Recipe tastes JUST like the original, and is shockingly easy to make! Try them for your own version of homemade chewy sour candy. They’re a healthy and fun sweet treat.

How to Make Sour Patch Kids

  1. Using a fork scrape out the insides of your citrus. Press to flatten and small and sharp cutter to cut out shapes of choice.
  2. Add cut out citrus to a medium pot on the stove with a few cups of water. Bring both to a boil. Once citrus is boiling, let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Repeat this process two more times.
  3. Add peels back to the pot with 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil again, stir, and let cook 20-30 minutes. Carefully drain the liquid off. Place candied peels on a wire rack and let dry for a few minutes.
  4. Mix remaining 1 cup sugar with citric acid in a medium bowl. Toss candied peel in this mixture to coat. Place back on the wire rack to dry fully.

table of sliced lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit

Are citrus peels safe to eat?

Yes, citrus peels are completely edible and delicious! The trick of making them less bitter is a process of boiling + draining (in fresh water each time) to coax out those more pungent notes. I like to use organic citrus when possible.

Thicker peels (like those of a large grapefruit) may take a bit longer to cook than very thin peels (like Meyer lemons). For this reason, I recommend looking for citrus for this recipe that is all a relatively similar size. Sumo mandarin oranges are my favorite (if you can find them) as their peels are a medium thickness and the fruit inside will come out very easily! There is not need to worry about scraping every bit of the pith and fruit out of these peels though, some will boil away during the cooking process.

white bowl filled with sugar and homemade sour patch kids

What is citric acid? Where can I buy it?

Citric acid is an organic compound that exists in a variety of fruits and vegetables, most notably in the citrus family. Industrial citric acid production first began in 1890, where the juice was treated with calcium hydroxide to form calcium citrate, which was set aside and converted back to the acid using diluted sulfuric acid. It is totally safe to consume in small quantities and often used in the production of “sour/sweet” candies. You definitely would want to avoid mistaking your citric acid for sugar! Consuming a large amount is not recommended. 

Citric acid can be purchased at a variety of stores including Target and Sprouts Market. You can of course also find it online at Amazon!

I hope you enjoy this recipe for sour patch kids! Let me know in the comments what you think of it. If you’re looking for more simple homemade candy recipes, try one of these:

And if you’d like another use for citrus peels, make these Sorbet Orange Wedges next!

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black try with chewy homemade sour patch kids candy on top

3-Ingredient Sour Patch Kids Recipe


  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This 3-Ingredient Sour Patch Kids Recipe tastes JUST like the original, and is shockingly easy to make! Try them for your own version of homemade chewy sour candy. They’re a healthy and fun sweet treat.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 pieces organic citrus fruit (I used 2 grapefruit, 2 lemons, and 2 oranges or tangerines)
  • 3 cups sugar, divided (organic cane sugar if possible)
  • 1.5 TBS citric acid*

Instructions

  1. Slice citrus in half. Using a fork, scrape out the insides of the fruit and reserve for another use (like juicing). Be careful not to puncture the citrus peel itself. Using a small knife, cut a slit into the side of each peel and press to flatten (like the shape you would see on an atlas). Use a small and sharp cutter to cut out shapes of choice. If you do not have a small cutter, cut citrus into small rectangular strips.
  2. Add cut out citrus to a medium pot on the stove with a few cups of water. Bring both to a boil over high heat (covering the pot can speed up this process). Once citrus is boiling (with heavy bubbles), let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain liquid away. Repeat this process two more times (so you will have three boilings total). Each time you boil, you are helping soften the peels and removing some of their more bitter notes).
  3. After the third round, add peels back to the pot with 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil again, stir, and let cook 20-30 minutes, until mixture is very bubbly and fragrant. Carefully drain the liquid off, as the molten sugar can burn you! Place candied peels on a wire rack and let dry for a few minutes, until not hot to the touch.
  4. Mix remaining 1 cup sugar with citric acid in a medium bowl. Toss candied peel in this mixture to coat. Place back on the wire rack to dry fully. Sour Patch Kids will keep for about a month in a sealed container. Feel free to reserve sugar coating and re-roll just before eating!

Notes

*Citric acid can be purchased in the bulk section of some grocery stores (like Sprouts), in some superstores (like Target) or online.

This recipe is inspired by Rebecca Turshen’s sour candied citrus from City House Nashville.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/30 of recipe
  • Calories: 16 calories
  • Sugar: 3.6 grams
  • Sodium: 0 milligrams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 0 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 4.2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.3 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Keywords: candy, sour, sweet, sour patch, lemon, citrus, lime, grapefruit, orange, gummy

Pin this recipe for Sour Patch Kids

These 3-Ingredient Sour Patch Kids taste JUST like the original, and are shockingly easy to make! Try them for your own version of homemade chewy sour candy. They're a healthy and fun sweet treat.

Portrait of Emily, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments! Meet me here.

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Comments

  1. Tim says

    I can’t believe how easy this is to make! I’ve always wanted a use for citrus peels and this is such a fun example.

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