Basic Fondant

Balls of yellow fondant dipped in chocolate

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 3/4 pound
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
139 Calories
0g Fat
36g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 139
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 36g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This basic fondant recipe is really kitchen alchemy of the best sort—you start with sugar, water, and corn syrup, and end up with a pliable white sugar paste that can be used in a multitude of ways for cakes and other confections. (And in case you're wondering how to make fondant without gelatin, this is it.) That is a traditional, classic fondant in a nutshell.

The fondant that you'll get from this recipe is smooth and soft and can be used to cover cakes, as fondant makes a great decorative base. It can also be used as the basis for fondant and cream candies such as buttercreams. The recipe is broken into steps so you can see how to add color and flavor to it, shape it, or melt it down to create molded candies, depending on what you want to do with it. Yes, making fondant can be a time-consuming practice, but it's well worth the effort.

There are a few different kinds of fondant, which can get a little confusing if you're new to this ingredient, but this recipe is basic and versatile. If you are looking for a faster method, try marshmallow fondant, or if you want to pour fondant over a cake rather than roll it, try this pourable fondant icing recipe, which uses confectioners' sugar instead of granulated sugar.

You'll want to use a deep-frying thermometer, so you'll know the exact right temperature for cooking the syrup.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for basic fondant
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 
  2. Set a large baking sheet on a sturdy counter or tabletop and sprinkle it lightly with water.

  3. Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then cover the pan and allow the sugar syrup to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid, and continue to cook the syrup, without stirring, until it reaches 240 F (115 C).

    Sugar, corn syrup, and water boiling in a saucepan
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Pour the sugar syrup onto the prepared baking sheet. Allow it to sit at room temperature for several minutes. After 2 to 3 minutes, lightly touch the syrup with a fingertip. When it is warm, but not hot, you can work with it.

  5. Dampen a metal spatula or dough scraper with water, and use the scraper to push the syrup into a pile in the middle of the sheet.

    Scraping fondant mixture on a sheet pan
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Using a dampened plastic spatula or wooden spoon, begin to “cream,” or work, the fondant in a figure 8 pattern.

    Fondant being creamed together in a figure-8 pattern to bring it together
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Continually scrape the fondant into the center, draw a figure 8, then scrape it together again. At first, the fondant will be very clear and fluid, but it will gradually become more opaque and creamy. After 5 to 10 minutes, the fondant will become very stiff, crumbly, and hard to manipulate.

    Fondant mixture brought together with a wooden spoon
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Once the fondant reaches this state, moisten your hands and begin kneading it into a ball like bread dough. It will come together and will become softer and smoother. Stop kneading once your fondant is smooth, with no lumps.

    Fondant rolled into a ball
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. At this point, your fondant can be used for melting and pouring. Once the fondant is melted and smooth, pour it into your desired receptacle such as small candy cups and topped with other candies or nuts. Once the poured fondant hardens, it can be served as is, as the paper cups easily peel away. If it is difficult to pour the fondant from the saucepan, pour it into a measuring cup with a spout.

    Pour mixture into cupcake wrapper
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. If you want to make flavored fondant candies, it is best to “ripen” your fondant for at least 12 hours to obtain the best flavor and texture. To ripen the fondant, place it in an airtight plastic container, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the fondant, and seal the lid on tightly. Ripen the fondant at room temperature, or if it is hot, in the refrigerator. After ripening, the fondant can be flavored, rolled, and shaped in whatever manner you wish. If it is stiff, you can always knead it by hand on a surface dusted with confectioners' sugar, until it is easy to manage.

To Add Color to Fondant

  1. To add coloring and flavoring to fondant, dust your workstation with confentioners' sugar, and lightly press your fondant flat. Cut several slits in the fondant, and pour the flavorings (such as extracts, melted and cooled chocolate, or fruit purées) and food coloring in the slits.

    Fondant rolled flat with yellow food coloring sprinkled on top
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Dust your hands with confectioners' sugar and knead the fondant as you did before until the coloring and flavoring are evenly distributed throughout the fondant.

    Fondant rolled and mixed with yellow food coloring
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

To Make Fondant Balls

  1. Pinch off small walnut-sized portions of fondant and roll them between your palms to create a smooth, even ball.

    Fondant shaped into walnut-sized balls
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Fondant balls can be served as is, rolled in chopped nuts, or dipped in chocolate for a quick and tasty candy. Serve fondant candies at room temperature, and store in an airtight container in a cool location.

    Fondant rolled into balls and melted chocolate in a bowl
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

To Melt Fondant

Fondant can also be melted and poured to create soft centers and molded fondant candies. It is best to melt fondant in a double boiler so that it does not overheat. Overheated fondant has a crumbly, unpleasant texture, so be sure to monitor the temperature carefully with a candy thermometer. If you do not use a double boiler, make sure that your saucepan is over very, very low heat, and remove it from the burner as necessary.

  1. Cut premade fondant into small pieces and place them in the top of a double boiler set over gently boiling water. Stir while the fondant melts, and add a teaspoon or two of water to thin the fondant to the desired consistency. If the fondant has not already been colored and flavored, those elements can be added at this stage.

    Melted fondant stirred by a spatula in a saucepan
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Heat until the fondant is melted, but do not let it exceed 140 degrees or it will become too hard. (If you're ready to try melting fondant for making candy, try the chocolate fondant nut clusters.)

    Fondant candies with pecans
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 
  3. Melted fondant can also be used to create fondant-dipped candies. You can dip many different types of fruit (strawberries, grapes, citrus segments, or apple slices) or large nuts—even fondant balls.

    Fruit dipped into fondant
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with a sheet of aluminum foil. Make sure that the items you are dipping are dry (and clean, if using fruit). Using two forks, submerge the fruit, nuts, or fondant balls in the melted fondant and remove it, scraping the bottom against the lip of the pan to remove excess.

  5. Place the dipped candy onto the prepared baking sheet, and repeat for the remaining fondant. Work quickly so that the fondant does not harden too much in the pan. If the fondant does get too stiff, it can be briefly rewarmed over the double boiler to get it back to melting consistency.

How to Store and Freeze Fondant

You can store fondant in the fridge for a short period of time or freeze it for longer term storage. Fondant dries out very easily so coat it with a thin layer of vegetable oil, wrap in plastic, and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for two weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

Fondant can be reheated and melted to reach a pourable state, if desired.