Did you know that gummy bears are almost 100 years old? They were invented in the 1920s in Germany, where they’re called Gummibar or Gummibarchen. The first gummy bears were made by Haribo, and that company’s gold bag and cute little bears are still the most iconic examples of the candy. Today we’re going to show you how to make our haribo gummy bear recipe from home.
Did you know that the green Haribo gummy bear is actually supposed to be strawberry? The red ones are raspberry. The clear ones are pineapple. Weird.
What wildly flavored gummy bears do you dream of? Because with this gummy bear recipe, your choices are almost infinite.
These babies aren’t simply extra-strength gelatin poured into gummy bear molds. These homemade gummy bears have a soft, bouncy texture almost identical to the classic Haribo gummy bears—but with any flavor your imagination can come up with.
Going the extra mile when it comes to ingredients means that these gummies are shelf-stable. Tailored precisely to someone’s favorite drinks or desserts, they make a memorable and thoughtful homemade gift.
How to Make Homemade Gummy Bears
Being the best gummy bear recipe around, it does take some planning, and it probably requires a shopping trip for specialized molds and ingredients; your gummies will also need to chill in the fridge overnight before you can enjoy them. This is the perfect rainy weekend recipe, especially if you want to make a few batches and try out a bunch of different flavors.
What do you need for this recipe?
- A gummy bear mold, of course. Silicon gummy molds are easy to hunt down online or in craft stores, and they’re easier to work with than plastic.
- A dropper. A gummy bear mold may actually come with one, as per the image above; if not, you’ll need a small, food-safe dropper. Trying to fill the molds by pouring or spooning the liquid gets very messy.
- A medium-sized saucepan.
- A fine mesh strainer.
- A basic kitchen scale. (This recipe depends on fairly precise measurements).
There are also a few ingredients you may not be familiar with. Several of these it’s probably easiest to buy online.
Gelatin – You most often see gelatin in its sweetened, flavored form, but for this recipe you will need unflavored gelatin, which is usually sold in packets. Note: gelatin is animal-derived, so it isn’t vegetarian. Gelatin is responsible for most of the gummy bears’ texture, but it needs some support to become really authentic.
Sorbitol – This is a sugar alcohol. Like glucose, it is sweet, but its main contribution to the gummy bears is in keeping their soft texture; it is also key to making shelf-stable gummy bears that won’t quickly lose that texture.
Corn Syrup – (Or another type of glucose syrup, sometimes sold as “confectioner’s glucose”) It isn’t the primary sweetener in this recipe, but gummy bears need glucose for that special bouncy chewiness.
Citric Acid – You don’t think of gummy bears as tart or sour, but almost all fruit-flavored candy includes citric acid. Fruit flavors tend to taste flat and boring without it.
You will also need granulated sugar, a liquid, some form of flavoring, and food coloring.
This basic recipe uses water as the liquid, but other beverages can work as well. It also calls for candy flavoring oils, which can be bought online or in specialty shops and craft stores, and come in a huge range of flavors.
How To Preserve These Bears?
If you’re looking to preserve the homemade gummy bears you should them into an air tight container or zip-top bag. Providing they are fully sealed, you can store them for up to 12 days. The recommendation is to eat them much sooner for best taste.
This recipe is a little complicated, but it’s far from difficult. And once you have the ratio down, those flavors can be anything you want.
The water in the basic recipe can be swapped for your favorite kind of juice. Cranberry gummy bears? Apple cider gummy bears? Energy drink gummy bears? Sure. You can use any kind of fresh juice, too, but make sure to strain it well before mixing it in. Keep the citric acid, even if you’re using juice and not candy flavoring—remember, gummies are very small and very sweet, so the flavor needs to be strong to come through.
The water can also be replaced with your favorite alcohol. A sweet wine, like rosé or Moscato, works wonderfully. But you can also recreate your favorite cocktails in gummy bear form: mint julep and margarita are fabulous. The bourbon or tequila can go right in the mix and it won’t keep them from setting. Light colors will fade with gummies—for a pink rosé gummy bear or a green margarita, you’ll need to use a touch of food coloring.
Alcoholic gummy bears are a perfect union of grown-up elegance and adorable charm.
Homemade gummy bears aren’t something you just throw together; they do take a little bit of planning. But if you’re feeling experimental, this recipe is a winner for cuteness and creativity.