Homemade Salt Water Taffy - Kitchen Science Experiment: the effect of temperature and torsion on a saccharide. candy making.

Homemade Salt Water Taffy: An Edible Science Experiment

Summer is fast approaching and if you are looking for something fun and educational to do with the kids this summer, here’s a little kitchen science experiment: The Effect of Temperature and Torsion on a Saccharide… in layman’s terms Salt Water Taffy.

Salt Water Taffy pin

The first time I made this recipe was in high school chemistry class the day before winter break. Through the grace of Facebook, I tracked down my Mr. Ulrich and asked if he still had a copy of it. He was more than happy to send it to me.

If you want the actual chemistry experiment, using terms like “reagent” and “moles”, you can print this one. Otherwise, the cooking term translation is below.

A few tips,

  • be careful doubling or tripling this. It is better to make a few smaller batches unless you have plenty of hands to help with the pulling.
  • use lots of margarine on the pan and your hands.
  • have a good candy thermometer like this one or this one.
  • have fun and don’t worry about the results too much.


Salt Water Taffy

Meal type Dessert
Occasion Christmas, Summer
Homemade Salt Water Taffy - Kitchen Science Experiment: the effect of heat and torsion on a saccharide. candy making.


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • food coloring
  • flavoring (canilla, peppermint, coconut, banana, licorice, etc.)


Makes about 15-20 one inch pieces.


Place the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a small saucepan with a candy thermometer attached to the pan (be sure to have it raised off of the bottom of the pan). Mix thoroughly until the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly. Increase the heat and do not stir during the rest of the heating. You may wipe down any crystals that form on the sides of the pan as it heats.
Heat until the thermometer registers 270 degree F. While the mixture heats, liberally grease a small pan (pie pan, cookie sheet for a toaster oven, make one out of aluminum foil) with 1/2 tablespoons margarine.
As soon as the mixture reaches 270 degree F, remove from the heat, and add 1/2 tablespoon of margarine while stirring gently. Pour the mixture into the pan and allow to cool.
When the mixture is cool enough to touch the top, take approximately 1 ml of your favorite flavoring and 3 drops of your desired color and sprinkle them across the mixture. (Estimate the 1 ml - do not try to measure it.). You don't need to blend it yet, it will blend while pulling.
Coat your hands with the remaining margarine. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, begin to pull and fold, pull and fold.
When the mixture takes on a satin sheen, pull off bit-size pieces and devour or wrap in plastic wrap.


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Until next time, happy eating.

19 thoughts on “Homemade Salt Water Taffy: An Edible Science Experiment”

  1. Hello cute lady! We love stopping by your party each week! We would love you to stop by our party that goes until Friday at 7 pm. We pin and tweet everything at our party. Lou Lou Girls

  2. Yummy and how fun is this?!?!? My grandmother LOVES this stuff – perhaps Ill try making some for her to see if I can measure up! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this Audrey

    1. I wouldn’t try it unless you have made candy plenty of times before. Some people can do it by dropping some into a glass of water, but that method never worked for me.

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