How to Freeze Dry Candy at Home: A Complete Guide

how to freeze dry candy

Freeze drying candy is a fun and unique way to preserve your favorite sweets while giving them a delightful crunchy texture. Here’s a detailed guide on how to freeze dry candy, including both methods using a freeze dryer and an alternative method using dry ice.

Equipment Needed for Freeze Drying Candy

To successfully freeze dry candy at home, you’ll need the right equipment. The most essential piece is a freeze dryer. This machine uses a powerful vacuum to extract moisture from food items, including candy, by sublimation. This process of how to freeze dry candy ensures that the candy retains its flavor and becomes crunchy. Investing in a home freeze dryer can be expensive, but it’s the most efficient method if you plan to freeze dry regularly.

In addition to a freeze dryer in the process of how to freeze dry candy, a vacuum sealer is crucial for proper storage. This device creates an airtight seal around the candy, preventing moisture from compromising the quality of the freeze-dried product. Look for a vacuum sealer with adjustable sealing settings to maintain the candy’s integrity.

Airtight containers are also necessary to store the freeze-dried candy. Using vacuum-sealed bags or jars helps keep the candy crisp and fresh. For those without a freeze dryer, dry ice can be used as an alternative method. While not as efficient, it’s a more affordable option that still delivers good results.

Step-By-Step Guide On How To Freeze Dry Candy

Using a Freeze Dryer:

  1. Preparation: Begin by selecting and unwrapping your favorite candies. Cut larger candies into bite-sized pieces if necessary. This step ensures even drying and better results.
  2. Loading: Place the candy pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread them out evenly to avoid clumping and ensure proper airflow.
  3. Settings: Set your freeze dryer to the appropriate settings for candy. Typically, this involves setting the initial freeze temperature, drying mode, and drying temperature. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.
  4. Process: Start the freeze dryer and let it run for 20 to 40 hours, depending on the type of candy and the machine used. Check the candy periodically to ensure it is completely dry.
  5. Storage: Once dry, store the candy in airtight containers to maintain its crispness and flavor. Proper storage extends the shelf life and keeps the candy fresh.

how to freeze dry candy

Using Dry Ice:

  1. Preparation: Cut the candy into smaller pieces and place them in a freezer-safe bag. This ensures that the candy freezes evenly.
  2. Freezing: Put the bagged candy in the freezer until completely solid. This step helps to speed up the drying process.
  3. Dry Ice Setup: Place the frozen candy on a parchment-lined baking tray. Add dry ice to a cooler, then place the tray with candy inside the cooler without sealing it completely. The dry ice will help remove moisture from the candy.
  4. Drying: Keep the candy in the cooler with dry ice for 24 to 48 hours. Ensure the cooler is ventilated to allow the sublimation process to occur.
  5. Storage: Store the freeze-dried candy in airtight containers to keep it fresh and crunchy.

Choosing the Right Candy for Freeze Drying

Not all types of candy are suitable for freeze drying. Some candies are better suited for this preservation method than others. Hard candies, gummy candies, chocolates, and fruit-flavored candies generally freeze dry well. These candies retain their shape and texture when freeze dried, making them ideal for this process.

On the other hand, candies with high moisture content or fillings are best avoided. They may not dry properly and can become sticky or clumpy. Additionally, candies with delicate textures, such as marshmallows or cream-filled chocolates, may not retain their original characteristics after freeze drying. Sticking to candies with a lower moisture content ensures optimal results.

Proper Storage and Preservation of Freeze-Dried Treats

Now that you know about how to freeze dry candy, let’s check its preservation process. Proper storage is essential to maintain the quality and longevity of freeze-dried candy. Store freeze-dried candy in airtight vacuum bags, mylar bags, or jars with an air absorber to prevent moisture from entering. These containers should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Exposure to heat and moisture can cause the candy to reabsorb moisture and lose its crispness.

how to freeze dry candy

Consuming freeze-dried candy within one to two years of the production date is advisable. Proper labeling with the date of freeze-drying and the type of candy helps keep track of the freshness and variety of your freeze-dried candy collection.

Effects of Freeze Drying on Flavors and Textures

One fascinating aspect of freeze drying candy is how it transforms both the flavor and texture of the sweets. Freeze drying works by removing moisture through sublimation, turning water from a solid directly into vapor. This process leaves the candy dry and crisp, while retaining most of its original flavor.

When you freeze dry candy, you’ll notice a significant change in its texture. The candies become light and crunchy, offering a unique eating experience compared to their original form. For instance, Skittles, which are normally chewy, turn into airy, crunchy morsels that dissolve quickly on the tongue. This change in texture enhances the way flavors are perceived, often making them more intense and enjoyable.

Texture Changes:

  • Crunchiness: Candies that were once chewy or sticky, like gummy bears or taffy, become crisp and crunchy. This new texture makes them easier to eat and often more appealing.
  • Expansion: Some candies, such as marshmallows and Jolly Ranchers, puff up and expand during the freeze drying process. This gives them a unique, porous structure that is both visually interesting and fun to eat.
  • Snap and Crackle: Freeze dried candies often have a satisfying snap or crackle when bitten into. This is a result of the air pockets formed within the candy during the drying process.

Flavor Enhancements:

  • Concentration: The removal of moisture can concentrate the flavors, making freeze dried candies taste more intense. The absence of water allows the pure essence of the candy to shine through, providing a richer flavor experience.
  • Sweetness: Without moisture, the sugar in the candy crystallizes differently, often leading to a sweeter taste. This is particularly noticeable in fruit-flavored candies and chocolates with high sugar content.
  • Preservation of Original Flavors: Unlike other drying methods that can alter the taste, freeze drying preserves the original flavors effectively. This means you can enjoy the true taste of your favorite candies, albeit with a different texture.

The visual appearance of freeze dried candy also changes. Colors might become more muted, and the candies can develop a crackled surface. Despite these changes, the candies remain appealing and fun to eat, often looking like a lighter, airier version of their original form.

how to freeze dry candy

The transformation that candies undergo during freeze drying is remarkable. It not only makes them last longer but also enhances their flavor and texture, offering a new and enjoyable way to savor your favorite sweets.

Unique Ideas for Homemade Freeze Dried Candy

Knowing how to freeze dry candy at home opens up a world of culinary creativity. The unique textures and intensified flavors make for an exciting treat, and there are countless combinations you can experiment with to satisfy your sweet tooth. Here are some innovative ideas for making your own freeze dried candy at home:

Flavor Combinations and Mixes:

  1. Fruit and Candy Mix: Combine freeze dried fruits like strawberries or bananas with candies such as Skittles or gummy bears. The natural sweetness of the fruit complements the sugary candy, creating a balanced and flavorful mix.
  2. Chocolate Coated Treats: While pure chocolate doesn’t freeze dry well, chocolate-coated candies like chocolate-covered raisins or chocolate bars with caramel centers can be delightful. The caramel and other fillings freeze dry perfectly, providing a crunchy texture.
  3. Candy Mash-Ups: Mix various types of candy before freeze drying. For instance, blend pieces of taffy, marshmallows, and gummy candies together. This mixture creates a diverse range of textures and flavors in every bite.

Themed Candy Packs:

  1. Holiday Treats: Prepare themed candy packs for holidays. Use red and green candies for Christmas or pastel-colored candies for Easter. This makes for festive and unique holiday gifts or treats.
  2. Birthday Party Favors: Customize freeze dried candy packs for birthday parties. Include the birthday person’s favorite candies, and consider adding a variety of textures like crunchy Skittles, puffy marshmallows, and chewy gummies.
  3. Seasonal Flavors: Create candy mixes that reflect the seasons. For example, use pumpkin spice flavored candies for fall or tropical fruit candies for summer.

Creative Uses:

  1. Dessert Toppings: Use freeze dried candies as toppings for desserts. Sprinkle them over ice cream, yogurt, or cakes to add a crunchy texture and burst of flavor.
  2. Snack Mixes: Combine freeze dried candy with nuts, dried fruits, and pretzels to create a sweet and savory snack mix. This makes for a great on-the-go snack.
  3. Gifts and Souvenirs: Package freeze dried candy in decorative jars or bags as gifts or souvenirs. They make for a thoughtful and unique present that showcases your creativity.

Tips for Success:

  1. Experiment with Sizes: Cut candies into different sizes before freeze drying to see how it affects the texture and flavor. Smaller pieces may dry faster and become crunchier.
  2. Label and Date: Always label and date your freeze dried candy. This helps you keep track of the variety and ensures you consume them while they’re still fresh.
  3. Storage: Store your freeze dried candy in airtight containers to maintain their crunchiness. Use vacuum-sealed bags for long-term storage.


Q1. How long does it take to freeze dry candy? 

The freeze drying process can take anywhere from 20 to 40 hours, depending on the type of candy and the equipment used. Some candies may dry faster, while others might take longer.

Q2. Can you freeze dry candy without a machine? 

Yes, you can use dry ice as an alternative method to freeze dry candy. While it may not be as efficient as a freeze dryer, it can still yield good results.

Q3. What types of candy are best for freeze drying? 

Hard candies, gummy candies, and fruit-flavored candies are generally the best for freeze drying. Candies with low moisture content dry well and retain their flavors and textures.

Wrapping Up

Knowing how to freeze dry candy allows you to create a variety of delicious and unique treats at home. By following the steps outlined above and experimenting with different candies and combinations, you can enjoy your favorite sweets in a new and exciting way. Proper storage ensures that your freeze dried candy remains fresh and crunchy for a long time.

Whether you’re making them for personal enjoyment, as gifts, or for special occasions, freeze dried candies are a fun and creative way to enjoy sweets. Happy freeze drying!

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