As I promised earlier this week, here’s another use for citric acid, besides making bath fizzies.

Here is a candy recipe that is like DIY Starbursts. Some nice things about this is you can do your own candy (a) with no artificial coloring added, (b) as Christmas (or any type of) gifts, (c) in about 15 minutes.

Lemon candy that is just like Starburst

  • 4 tbsp butter (I used salted)
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid
  • 1-2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

You will also need:

  • 9×5 loaf pan or a small shallow tray
  • foil
  • cooking spray (something nearly flavorless)
  • medium saucepan
  • pastry brush
  • candy thermometer
  • wax paper
  • sharp knife


Line the loaf pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.  You won’t fill the pan.  This recipe is just enough to make a Starburst-size thickness in the bottom of your 9×5 loaf pan.

Melt butter, corn syrup, and sugar in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  When the sugar has dissolved, wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

Cook until candy thermometer registers 245 degrees F.  It cooks up really fast.  By the time I had put my thermometer in the pan, it was already 251 or so.  Oops.  I went ahead with the recipe anyway and it turned out great.

As soon as candy reaches 245, remove pan from heat and stir in lemon extract, citric acid, and food coloring.  Food coloring definitely optional since the candy is naturally a yellow color anyway.  Also, my husband said his opinion is that 1/2 tsp citric acid was not enough…he wanted a more sour or tangier candy.  I liked it the way it was.  Anyway, might want to experiment with that next time.

Stir it all up and pour into your prepared pan.

After it sets (not sure how long I waited, but less than one hour), take the candy out of the pan and cut into pieces with a sharp knife that you have oiled with cooking spray.  The candy is very sticky and you will probably need to rinse the knife and re-oil it after every few cuts.  Wrap the pieces in wax paper.

We’ll definitely be doing this again with other extract flavors!

(Image credit: my own)

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