Homemade Jelly Beans – You Pick the Flavor

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Once I conquered homemade Lucky Charms (a task that was so arduous I will never repeat it), I needed another challenge. I set my sights on homemade jelly beans. While homemade jelly beans are time-consuming to make, I learned that the process isn’t that difficult. I would make homemade jelly beans again and I would encourage you to try preparing them, too.

Seriously, you can do this.

When you create homemade jelly beans, you get the joy of choosing the flavor and color you’d like – any drink you fancy can be turned into a jelly bean flavor. Use juice to flavor jelly beans for a kid’s party, but don’t forget the adults. Grownup flavors made using your favorite cocktails allow you to get really creative. The homemade jelly beans shown above are margarita jelly beans. Serve the margarita jelly beans straight up or use them to top margarita cupcakes. Jello shots are so 2011; homemade jelly beans are where it’s at!

How Do Homemade Jelly Beans Compare to Store-Bought Jelly Beans?

These homemade jelly beans are close to store-bought jelly beans, but not quite the same.

The outside: The outer coating in store-bought jelly beans is harder, smoother, thicker, and has a shinier coating than the homemade jelly beans. The coating on the homemade jelly beans turned out a little bit gritty. The next time that I make them, I might try using super fine sugar for the coating to see if that makes a difference in the grittiness.

The inside: The homemade jelly beans have a much gummier inside than the store-bought jelly beans. I would say that they are truer to the name “jelly” bean.

The flavor: You can flavor your jelly beans however you like. I liked the taste of my margarita jelly beans better than any store-bought jelly bean.

How to Make Homemade Jelly Beans

Jelly beans in a jar full of liquid to create a firm outer coating.

Jelly beans ready to be coated

I learned how to make homemade jelly beans from Mason Howard. Mason’s recipe is below with my notes, tips, and modifications. One major change that I made was the method for coating and drying the beans.

What You’ll Need To Make Homemade Jelly Beans

There are two tools that are absolutely required to make homemade jelly beans:

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Homemade Jelly Beans

When you create homemade jelly beans, you get the joy of choosing the flavor and color you'd like - any drink you fancy can be turned into a jelly bean flavor!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Resting Time 6 hours
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 150 jelly beans
Calories 12kcal
Author Stefani


  • 6 jelly bean molds (available on Amazon)
  • Candy thermometer



  • 1 cup water divided
  • 2 cups granulated sugar divided
  • 1/4 ounce gelatin
  • 1/2 cup pulp-free juice or your favorite cocktail Note: If you use a mild juice flavor, you may want to mix it with lemon juice to make it more tangy. I used an actual margarita for mine. If you use a margarita or other cocktail, you’ll probably have some leftover to drink. Oh no! ;)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • food coloring use any color you like


  • In a large saucepan on medium heat, combine 3/4 cup water, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and gelatin.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring regularly to ensure that no clumps of gelatin form.
  • As soon as the temperature reaches 230 F, take the pot off the burner - the syrup should still be quite liquidy. This should not take more than 25 minutes. If your syrup gets any hotter than 230 F, it will make your jelly beans too hard.
  • Set the pot in a bowl of ice to stop the temperature from rising. If you don’t have a bowl bigger than your pot, just fill your sink with ice water and put the pot in there.
  • Quickly stir in the juice (or booze) and salt.
  • Spray the jelly bean molds with non-stick spray and pour the syrup into the molds. I found that it was better to overfill the molds than to underfill them. The beans that I underfilled a little bit were harder to remove from the molds.
  • Let the jelly beans sit for four to six hours, or until the gelatin has hardened. It will still be gummy and sticky.
  • Pop the jelly beans out of the molds and transfer them to parchment paper. This part is a little bit tricky. I used a small spoon to dig them out. The great thing is that the beans are very forgiving. Don’t worry too much about mangling them when you remove them, as they hold their shapes surprisingly well.
  • Lightly dust the beans with cornstarch to help them dry. Let them sit for another few hours.
  • To make the outer shell, mix 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar, and whatever food coloring you like.
  • Pour the mixture into a jar along with the jelly beans.
  • Seal the jar tightly. Tilt the jar at an angle (like a slide) and turn it in your hand (as you would a doorknob), preserving the angle. The goal is to make a mock version of a tumbler (a tool used for coating candy – that at $700 is cost-prohibitive for the average home baker) that allows the sugar to gradually build up and evenly coat the jelly beans. This step is extremely important. If the candy is not well-coated, it will not have a hard outer shell. Tumble for 10-15 minutes. This, my friends, is the workout portion of your candy making experience.
  • Fish the coated beans out of the liquid and place them on fresh parchment to dry and harden overnight.
  • Once the top side is hard, flip each bean and allow the other side to dry.
  • Admire and eat!


Calories: 12kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 5mg | Sugar: 3g | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Click here to leave a comment and rating!

Facebook Shout Out

I posted the in-progress photo above of my jelly beans to Facebook and asked everyone to guess what I was making. My favorite guess was from Mallory Evans-Coyne who guessed “cellular mitosis”. That cracked me up. However, two people guessed it right! Congrats to Jenigario M and Kim Campbell! Be sure to join the Cupcake Project Facebook community for future fun previews!

Astute observers will note that this photo was taken in a pot. In the original recipe, the jelly beans were tumbled in a pot. I tried that method and found that the pot was way too heavy to tumble for 15 minutes – the jar was so much easier.

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  1. Lisa L Govesays:

    i want to use water and add my OWN flavors! LorAnn oils are soo yummy.

    can I omit the juice? and I don’t drink booze (yuck!!)

  2. Lavender Bluesays:

    I tried to make jellybeans yesterday. I used this recipe:

    The recipe says I can use pectin as a substitute for gelatin. I used pectin. I used 1 tablespoon of powder pectin because the recipe calls for 1/2 ounce of gelatin or pectin. 1 tablespoon is equal to 1/2 ounce.

    I don’t have jellybean molds. The recipe said I can drop spoonfuls of syrup on the cookie sheet if I don’t have jellybean molds. I covered a cookie sheet tray with parchment paper and I poured the syrup into the tray. My plan was to refrigerate it overnight. After refrigerating it overnight- my plan is to cut the jelly candy into squares or small pieces.

    I put the tray with the syrup overnight in the refrigerator. The next day when I checked- it is not firm enough. It is too watery and the consistency is like jam. The consistency is not like jellybeans. It is not firm enough for me to cut into squares or small pieces.

    What did I do wrong?
    Should I use more pectin?

  3. Carosays:

    Q1: couldn’t a person make the drops without molds or not?

    q2: Is there max limit for be bite sized? I am certain everyone seen 5lb gummy bear what is biggest jelly bean anyone seen or is home made better?

    Give it bitter taste you could add vitamin C to your candy. there are interesting instructions by instructibles…not that I went greater go…I still trying make oil flavor not sure what alcohol to use. Vodka would be good but whenever I use people get mad at you not like I drink I use for things. Its not for bodily experimentation…when I was younger maybe.

  4. Halal Gelatinsays:

    Thanks for the awareness, your blog is very helpful for understanding the measures of gelatin.
    we are offering a wide range of halal Gelatin, for more information please visit us at http://www.halalgelatin.org

  5. barbgsays:

    Wow I am glad you made this and shared. I think I will go the easiest way possible for me. I’m going to use sprayed cookie sheets and pour the filling on there no little cute molds. I’ll just slice me out a bunch of squares and eat those instead. I don’t need the harder shell at all. Sl lazy jelly bean squares.

  6. SusanLengyelsays:

    Can candy flavorings be used like cinnamon or anise?

  7. mariah hitchenssays:

    i never knew!!jelly beans!!! im totlly going to make some just need to find a mold

  8. Alyssasays:

    Amazing! I love jelly beans! I was just curious if there is any corn starch and gelatin substitutes? Measurements would be appreciated! Thanks, they look delicious!

  9. Melissa French, The More With Less Momsays:

    Would love to try this for National Jelly Bean Day on April 22!

  10. niteshsays:

    please send me

  11. Dinasays:

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It actually used to be a entertainment account it.

    Look complex to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we
    be in contact?

  12. hobbiessays:

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    and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
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  13. Denesesays:

    I was recommended this web site by way of my cousin. I’m not positive whether or
    not this put up is written by him as nobody else recognize such distinctive approximately my trouble.

    You’re incredible! Thanks!

  14. Jose Csays:

    I was so happy to find this recipe. It made a great homemade Christmas present for the jelly bean lover in the family. One added suggestion: instead of plastic molds, you can use cornstarch like the mass-producers do. Fill a cake pan with about 1/4-1/2 inch of cornstarch, then “stamp” the molds into it. Pour in the jelly as in a regular mold (or use a large food syringe), and let them rest. When they set, you can quickly scoop them all out into a pasta strainer and tap out all the cornstarch to reuse for the next batch.

  15. Zeesays:

    Do you have any recommendations on perhaps a vegan alternative to the gelatin?

  16. Anonymoussays:

    Dont you have to heat the coating mixture??

  17. Sticky Doughsays:

    sounds fun!

  18. makeup365/24/7says:

    I was wondering about just making the first part, and making them in mini cupcake molds and calling them Jellies! like those jelly fruits. Hmmm.

  19. Igloosays:

    Intriguing! I’d never have thought to make my own jelly beans – and never heard of anyone else doing it either!

  20. Susansays:

    I never in a million years would have considered making my own jelly beans. It just never dawned on me! I just pinned this and am hoping to try it soon. Hmm…this may not be a very good diet week….

    Budget Earth – Ultra Yummy Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

  21. bigFATcooksays:

    Wow, these beans look wonderful! :)
    Greets from bfc!

  22. MyFudo™says:

    Gotta have that mold! These are so cute…I’d love these in various colors.

  23. -- Caitlin (the busy college student)says:

    Homemade jelly-bean shots! I LOVE it! We usually make jello shots for Halloween, but I totally want to make these, instead.

    Do you know if I could just use the Jello that we’ve already got? I guess I’m not sure what the differences are between jello and plain gelatin, other than the flavors. Any thoughts would be awesome! Thanks for the great recipe!

  24. Lisa @ Sweet 2 Eat Bakingsays:

    Wow, first you conquered homemade lucky charms and now homemade jelly beans. Is there anything you can’t do?! Oh, and the way you describe these, they sound better than shop bought. I like the hard coating but I prefer jelly beans to be more jelly inside since I’m forever scraping them out my teeth after, hehe.

    Sweet 2 Eat Baking

  25. Mrs Hudson:bake-street.comsays:

    Homemade Jelly beans?? I love it!!!! I couldn´t believe till I have seen it! But…where can I get this mold?


  26. Melissa @ Best Friends For Frostingsays:

    YOU are bold as all heck! You put so many DIY desserts on the map. My jaw opened when you did the cupcake inside of the egg shell. I was pretty surprised when you accomplished Lcuky Charm Marshmallows. But now… Jelly Beans? You’re the first! WOW!!!!

  27. Kitchen Riffssays:

    Homemade Jelly Beans? How cool! And jelly bean molds? Who knew? Really, it’s one of those things I never thought of before. Great post – truly fun. I seriously doubt if I’ll ever get around to making these – Jelly Bellies work for those maybe 2 times a year when I want jelly beans – but your idea of cocktail-flavored beans is intriguing. Anyway, super post – thanks.

  28. Mokoosh - Alberta, Canadasays:

    I wonder if you could tumble them in one of those rock tumbler things?

  29. cupsbykimsays:

    Stef these are so cool! I have a Jelly Bean mold!! I totally want to try making these now! Thanks for doing this, and for the shout out!! Hmmm, now what flavor should I make?!

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