What Is Candy Corn?

What is candy corn made of? Wax? Corn? Some sort of mysterious substance mined from autumnal mountains? Let’s dive into some answers.

You can’t deny that corn is really having a moment right now. You also can’t deny that candy corn season is right around the corner (side note: why are you trying to deny so many things?). And while candy corn may not have the juice, or the butter, or the big lump (it’s only got the knobs), it’s still iconic, delicious, and a bit ambiguous composition-wise. 

What is candy corn?

Candy corn was invented by a dude named George Renninger back in the 1880s. About 20 years later, candy corn (it was called Chicken Feed at the time) was first mass-produced by the Goelitz Confectionery Company, which eventually became Jelly Belly Candy Co. How do I know so much about the no-longer-existing Goelitz Company? Because I grew up 20 minutes from what is now known as the Jelly Belly factory and because there isn’t much else to do in that area. But that doesn’t answer your question, does it? 

What is candy corn made of? According to Better Homes & Gardens, candy corn is made of sugar along with fondant, vanilla flavor, food coloring, marshmallow creme, and (drum roll) corn syrup! So yes, technically, candy corn has a corn product in it. Confectioners melt all those ingredients (besides the coloring) into a slurry, then add coloring, and shape the goo into candy corn kernels using cornstarch-dusted wooden molds. Each color is added separately, starting with the yellow. Then, the candymakers let the kernels cool in the trays, fusing the three layers together. The candy corns are then polished with edible wax and glaze to make them all purty and shiny. Now you know not only what candy corn is made out of, but also how candy corn is made. Aren’t you going to be a hit at all the Halloween parties?

Is candy corn vegan?

Candy corn is not typically vegan. The most popular brand of candy corn, Brachs, contains gelatin and is thus unfortunately not plant-based. Also, the glaze on the outside is typically insect-derived (spoooooky bugs!), which is also not vegan.So, now that you know what candy corn is made of you can carry on pretending they’re your teeth. Happy candy corn season, which, as we’ve noted before, is every season!


About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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