Saltwater Taffy

Saltwater taffy

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

Prep: 80 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 25 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
112 Calories
1g Fat
27g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 25
Amount per serving
Calories 112
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 47mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 27g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 2mg 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.)

Saltwater taffy is a classic American candy that might bring back lots of fond childhood memories. It's soft and chewy in texture with fun swirls of color and a seemingly endless variety of flavors that you can add into taffy. Although the legend says that saltwater taffy was born in the late 18th century when a candy store got flooded with ocean water, ruining the prepared soft taffy, which was then sold as "saltwater taffy," there is no way of knowing the truth. But take our word for it that this candy is simply marvelous—seawater or not.

Taffy-making may seem like a fun activity to do with your kids, but you will need to exercise caution, and it can be a bit more work than you anticipate. The syrup will get very hot, and the pulling and stretching can become a bit arduous. Pulling taffy is a big job—and a long job, too—so if possible, recruit an adult friend or family member to help. It will make the job faster and even more fun. A candy thermometer is strongly recommended to achieve the best results

Be mindful of the weather when planning to make saltwater taffy. Humidity can cause the candy to absorb moisture and not harden in the way it's supposed to. This recipe calls for the flavoring extract of your preference, such as lemon, vanilla, mint, or chocolate. You can easily change the flavor and color by using different food coloring. Homemade saltwater taffy can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. You can keep it longer, but it will start to lose its soft and chewy texture over time.


  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon flavoring extract

  • 1/4 cup marshmallow cream

  • 3 to 4 drops gel food coloring

Steps to Make It

Make the Candy

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for saltwater taffy
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  2. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

    Rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  3. Combine the water, corn syrup, granulated sugar, and salt in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.

    Combine water, corn syrup, granulated sugar, and salt
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

    Brush sides of pan with wet a pastry brush
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  5. When the sugar syrup comes to a boil, insert a candy thermometer.

    Testing taffy with a candy thermometer
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  6. Cook the syrup, without stirring, until the thermometer reaches 255 F (123 C). This temperature will produce a wonderfully soft and chewy taffy. If you like your taffy stiffer, cook it to 260 F for a medium-firm taffy or 265 F for a very firm taffy.

    Cook syrup
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Once the candy has reached the proper temperature, remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and flavoring, and stir until the butter melts and everything is well mixed.

    Remove pan from heat and add butter and flavoring
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

Fold in Marshmallow Cream and Food Coloring

  1. Pour the candy onto the prepared baking sheet and let it spread out.

    Pour candy out onto the pan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Add the marshmallow cream and food coloring on top.

    Add marshmallow and food coloring
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Let the candy cool until it starts to set around the edges, about 5 to 10 minutes.

    Let candy cool
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Slide a spatula under one edge of the candy and fold it into the center, over the marshmallow cream.

    Lifting candy from pan using a spatula
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  5. Then, fold the other edges of the candy into the middle, making a compact package.

    Folding the taffy using a spatula
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  6. Put on food-safe plastic gloves to protect your hands and spray them with nonstick spray.

    Spraying gloves with nonstick spray
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Gather up the candy and knead it together until the marshmallow cream and coloring are mixed in.

    Green coloring is mixed into the taffy
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Pull the Taffy

  1. Holding the candy in both hands, pull your hands apart, stretching the candy into a rope between them.

    Stretching the taffy into a rope
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Bring your hands back together, twist the candy together, and repeat the pulling process. At first, the taffy will droop and fall, but as you continue to pull the taffy, it will cool down and become firmer and easier to manipulate. Continue to pull the taffy for 20 minutes until it holds its shape well and becomes difficult to pull. You will start to see parallel ridges in the pulled candy toward the end of the process; this is a sign the taffy is ready.

    Twisting the taffy
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Divide the taffy into quarters to make it easier to work with.

    Divide taffy
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Roll all 4 balls of taffy into long thin ropes of about 1/2 inch in diameter.

    Roll taffy into long thin ropes
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  5. Use oiled kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut all ropes into small 1-inch pieces.

    Cut up taffy

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Wrap the taffy in waxed paper to help it keep its shape and prevent it from sticking together. 

    Wrap cut taffy in waxed paper
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Enjoy.

    Saltwater taffy in a bowl, ready to unwrap
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

Striped Taffy

To make striped taffy:

  • Prepare two baking sheets and divide the sugar syrup evenly between them.
  • Add half of the marshmallow cream to each batch and different colors of food coloring on top.
  • Pull each batch individually and roll them into long, thin ropes.
  • Twist the ropes of different colored taffy together, then pull them thin so that the colors blend.
  • Cut and wrap the striped taffy as instructed.