Holiday cookie baking definitely dominates at my house. But there’s something to be said for the joy of being presented with a plate or parcel of tasty homemade candy at wintertime celebrations and get-togethers.
It’s easy enough to grab a package of your standard miniature store-bought bars, wrapped in snowflake-bedecked foil, or dyed red and green for a limited time only. But these Christmastime convenience foods can’t hold a balsam-scented candle to the real deal.
And so, I present the following roundup – Foodal’s favorite holiday candy recipes that you can make at home.
You’ll find something to satisfy every taste, and these range in difficulty from a quick mix and shape to more complicated multi-step masterpieces.
So strap on those ruffled red and white aprons and roll up your ugly Christmas sweater sleeves. It’s time to whip up some sweet holiday goodies!
Here’s a quick overview of the handpicked selections we have in store:
25 of the Best Holiday Candy Recipes
- Blueberry Cookie Dough Truffles
- Candied Ginger
- Chewy-Gooey Caramels
- Chili Pepper Bark
- Chocolate and Marshmallow-Covered Caramels
- Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Pops
- Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
- Chocolate Crunchies with Cranberries and Pecans
- Coconut Dream Truffles
- Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
- Date and Coconut Cacao Bliss Balls
- Date Truffles
- Deluxe Homemade Dark Chocolate Truffles
- Easy Chocolate Candy Bark
- Homemade Toffee
- Jelly Squares
- Marzipan Hazelnut Chocolates
- Peppermint Bark
- Peppermint Marshmallows
- Pumpkin Pie White Chocolate Truffles
- Sweet and Sour Candied Citrus Peel
- Vegan Cashew Cream Caramels
- Vegan Chocolate Pecan Toffee
- Whiskey Truffles
- White Chocolate Coconut Delights
1. Blueberry Cookie Dough Truffles
With a blueberries-and-cream flavor that’s wildly delicious, these gluten-free cookie dough truffles are made with almond flour and dried fruit, enrobed in sweet white chocolate.
Craving a holiday-themed red-and-white treat instead? You can sub in dried cranberries or chopped dried cherries for the blueberries.
2. Candied Ginger
Chewy, sweet, and a little spicy, these old-fashioned candies double as a tummy tamer after a big meal – or on a jittery morning when one’s stomach is in need of settling before a visit to see Santa.
Candied ginger makes a fantastically flavorful ingredient in quick breads and muffins as well. Just chop a handful and stir it into your batter!
3. Chewy-Gooey Caramels
At least a few readers out there are nodding knowingly and thinking to themselves, “Uh huh… this one’s the kicker!”
Homemade caramel can be difficult to pull off, to say the least. But with our detailed directions, you’ll be fine!
Kendall includes instructions for adding the flavorings of your choosing, mixing things up a bit in terms of texture, and she even explains how to stop the process early to make a delicious sauce that’s perfect for topping holiday pies, ice cream, or warm-from-the-oven caramel apple scones.
4. Chili Pepper Bark
Like a warm mug of Mexican-style hot chocolate, this homemade bark is packed with red-hot chili pepper flakes and ground cayenne that will warm you up from the inside out after a long snowball battle out in the cold.
Dark chocolate is blended with extra cocoa powder, the aforementioned chilies, paprika, and a dash of cinnamon for a tasty treat topped with dried cherries and flaky salt.
5. Chocolate and Marshmallow-Covered Caramels
This incredible recipe is perfect for “almost homemade” mavens and from-scratch aficionados alike, since you have the option to make your own marshmallows and caramels first to prepare these sweet and chewy treats, or you can minimize the work required and start with a boost from store-bought versions.
Either way, the results are sure to be delicious.
6. Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Pops
The kids are going to love jumping in to help construct these!
And you’ll have fun too, decorating the marshmallows with your favorite combination of sprinkles, cookie crumbs, and tiny candies before allowing the coating to harden.
7. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Do these truly qualify as candy? Well, I can vouch for this classification personally, having seen it firsthand.
Displayed like fine jewelry in a case beside the caramels and truffles at the local shopping mall, don’t even get me started on how much the chocolate-covered strawberries cost when you buy them there!
If juicy and flavorful strawberries are in stock at your local grocery store, snag a few pints and make these with your favorite high-quality chocolate. They’re quick to prepare, and super impressive.
8. Chocolate Crunchies with Cranberries and Pecans
Crisp rice cereal is the crunchy star of these candy-coated delights, studded liberally with toasted pecans and dried cranberries.
You can even sneak in a healthy boost of added fiber if you like, by opting for the brown rice version of your favorite cereal, and keep your eyes peeled for unsweetened dried fruit to reduce the sugar content just a touch.
9. Coconut Dream Truffles
With no cooking required and just six ingredients, you’ll love these nutty and sweet truffles.
Raw almonds, coconut and coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, and a touch of salt are pulsed in the food processor, shaped into balls after chilling in the fridge to firm up the mix, and rolled in shredded coconut.
10. Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Nutella fans will rejoice when they sink their teeth into these homemade treats! Milky, nutty ganache truffles are rolled in toasted chopped hazelnuts for the perfect bite.
You can even make these completely from scratch with our recipe for homemade hazelnut spread, if you like.
Learn how to make these truffles at home with our step-by-step instructions.
11. Date and Coconut Cacao Bliss Balls
Seemingly naughty noshing that’s packed with healthy nutrients? Sounds like pure bliss, if you ask me.
And these bliss balls deliver as promised, made with chewy dates, nutty almonds and cashews, chia seeds, raw cacao powder, and coconut.
12. Date Truffles
Maybe coconut’s not your favorite? Go your own way with your choice of date-based truffles flavored with peppermint and rolled in cocoa powder, or omit the mint and cover them in finely chopped roasted pistachios.
Make a batch of each type, and everybody’s happy!
13. Deluxe Homemade Dark Chocolate Truffles
What makes these truffles “deluxe”? You could keep things simple… but there’s really no reason to limit your creativity here!
Coat them in whatever you like, from cocoa powder and chopped toasted nuts to cinnamon and sugar or crushed peppermint candy.
Get out those candy boxes and paper wrappers, make a big batch of the truffle base, and start cranking out a few of each flavor for homemade sampler boxes that your loved ones will adore finding under the tree.
14. Easy Chocolate Candy Bark
Maybe the chili-spiced version described above wasn’t quite to your taste. And that’s alright! Here’s another option for you to try.
This crunchy bark is ready for Christmas, bedecked in crushed red and green M&Ms, and drizzled with stripes and squiggles of melted white chocolate. You can even dress it up with thin strips of homemade candied citrus peel – keep reading to learn more about that.
15. Homemade Toffee
Crunchy, buttery homemade toffee is one of the stars of the homemade candy world, and it’s easy to make at home with our expert tips.
Whether you’re snacking on it as is, using it as an ingredient in other recipes, or covering it in chocolate and nuts for gift-giving, you’re going to want to bookmark this recipe and bring it out again each year at candymaking time.
16. Jelly Squares
So, chocolate isn’t your thing? That’s forgivable… I guess. More for everyone else!
Fortunately, you still have options. Like these delightful jewel-toned jelly candies, made with real fruit juice.
They’re gelatin-based, with just a little bit of added sugar. Bonus points if you make these with fresh, homemade juices. Even fruit and veggie blends can be used to make delightful treats.
You could just stick with the traditional classics like cherry and grape. But if unexpected flavors are your thing, this is the perfect recipe for you. Maybe beet and fennel candy will become a new holiday tradition!
17. Marzipan Hazelnut Chocolates
Sweet marzipan coated with chocolate, with a surprise within – a whole hazelnut is hidden inside each one.
This recipe is so easy to follow. Plus, you’ll get the rundown on the history of marzipan and understanding variations in quality, determined by the ratio of almond paste to sugar, in our expert guide.
For something a little different, try stuffing a homemade candied cherry inside each one instead.
18. Peppermint Bark
For those who just can’t get enough peppermint, this is a must-make.
Mint-flavored dark chocolate ganache is sandwiched between layers of white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy. Cut the bark neatly into triangles and pack them into cellophane confectionary bags tied with a bow for gift-giving.
19. Peppermint Marshmallows
Making homemade marshmallows is one of those things that it still seems like few people have tried. But once you give it a go, despite all their sticky messiness, you’ll fall in love with the pillowy softness and unbeatable flavor of these made-from-scratch treats.
20. Pumpkin Pie White Chocolate Truffles
There’s no hard and fast rule that says pumpkin spice season has to stop at the end of autumn. And these pumpkin pie truffles are a welcome delight at any time, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.
The fudgy truffle filling is made with sweetened condensed milk and pumpkin puree. And don’t forget to roll them in graham cracker crumbs for the perfect finishing touch!
21. Sweet and Sour Candied Citrus Peel
Have you ever made candied citrus peel before? Start saving those rinds, because now’s the time!
This special homemade confection requires a bit of time and effort to pull together, but it’s a wonderful way to use up those fruit peels – and winter is citrus season, after all.
Whatever your pleasure, orange and lemon, lime and grapefruit, or any other type of citrus fruit that strikes your fancy can be candied. All you need to do is reserve the peels.
Go sweet with granulated sugar or take the sour route with citric acid powder for something a little different. You could even give these fruity sugar-soaked strips a dip in dark chocolate.
They’re perfect for gifting and enjoying as is or using in other recipes for homemade candy or baked goods.
22. Vegan Cashew Cream Caramels
It may be abundantly obvious by now that various other delectable recipes that appear in this roundup also happen to be vegan. But we thought it best to point this out clearly for this recipe as well as the next one on our list, because vegan versions of certain types of candy can be tough to find!
There’s no dairy whatsoever here. And you’re going to love making your own vegan caramel candies at home with sweet and rich cashew cream.
23. Vegan Chocolate Pecan Toffee
Can you say indulgent? The dairy won’t be missed – not even for a second – when you make this terrific toffee.
Coat it in chocolate and sprinkle toasted chopped pecans on top or keep things simple and enjoy it as is.
24. Whiskey Truffles
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve always been a whiskey girl.
But where I might be ragged on the edges (at times!), these truffles are smooth and sweet.
Skip the bottom-shelf options when you make these, and stick with the nice stuff that’s delicious and delightfully sippable.
If you’ve got a whiskey connoisseur in your life, make them a batch of these rich, deep, earthy chocolates this year. And save a few for yourself to enjoy.
25. White Chocolate Coconut Delights
Creamy, sweet, and delicious, these truffles look like miniature snowballs. And sure, we know – white chocolate and coconut aren’t everybody’s favorite…
But do you love this special flavor combo?
’Tis the season of giving and all that, but it couldn’t hurt to make a treat that gives you a guaranteed shot at hoarding them all for yourself, right? If there aren’t any other white chocolate coconut lovers in your crew, that is.
No, no, just kidding. Don’t be a Grinch. Sharing is caring – just make two batches!
And speaking of that shot… you can also make these boozy if you like!
So Much Candy, So Little Time…
Quick! What are you waiting for? Your family, friends, and neighbors are eagerly anticipating the arrival of these delicious homemade candies, so don’t let them down.
And if you’re a little short on time, trust us – these make welcome additions to a gathering between holidays or a New Year’s Eve feast as well. You can even carry the fun into Valentine’s Day.
Just don’t blame us when you’re automatically assigned the role of chief candy maker from now on. And with great power comes great responsibility.
Which recipes will you make this year? What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
And if you’re oven’s crying in the corner, don’t neglect her – take a look at these holiday baking favorites next:
- 29 of the Best Christmas Cookies
- 10 Tips to Bake Perfect Cookies Every Time
- 15 of the Very Best Vegan Cookies You Can Make at Home
Photos by Nikki Cervone, Nina-Kristin Isensee, Felicia Lim, Shanna Mallon, Allison Sidhu, Fanny Slater, Raquel Smith, Kendall Vanderslice, and Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 16, 2016. Last updated on December 6, 2022. Last updated on December 18, 2022.
About Allison Sidhu
Allison M. Sidhu is a culinary enthusiast from southeastern Pennsylvania who has returned to Philly after a seven-year sojourn to sunny LA. She loves exploring the local restaurant and bar scene with her best buds. She holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College and an MA in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen whipping up something tasty (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she does the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her keyboard, chilling in the garden, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a dollar dog and crab fries at the Phillies game.