Jolly Rancher is a brand of American candy that comes in a range of colors and sweet, fruity flavors. They’re useful for melting into all sorts of tasty creations, but are Jolly Ranchers suitable for the microwave? We bought a few bags from the store and tested them out.
Can Jolly Rancher candies be microwaved?
Jolly Ranchers are suitable for microwaving into a liquid that can then be re-molded into new shapes. To produce one tablespoon of liquid candy, heat five candies on high for one minute. If needed continue heating in 15-second bursts until you get the right consistency.
Do we recommend melting Jolly Ranchers?
We were excited to get creative with Jolly Ranchers, but the reality didn’t meet the expectation. Working with these candies was much harder than working with candy melts, chocolate, or even Nutella. Once the hard candies formed a liquid, we had a mere 15-20 seconds before it started to solidify and became unworkable.
The leftovers in the bowl or jug are a nightmare to clean off. In the end, we just used a new container each time and filled up the dishwasher with dirty dishes.
We were able to make a nice-looking butterfly using a mold and also hand-crafted a Rancher rose. But our overall experience using Jolly Rancher hard candy was messy and a little frustrating. We certainly don’t recommend this for kids.
How to microwave Jolly Ranchers
Follow these instructions to turn your candy into a liquid, ideal for molds, coating apples, and much more. Please use extreme caution when heating sugary confectionery as it can cause extreme burns.
- Evenly space out eight Jolly Ranchers in a microwave-safe dish. You may want to heat one color at a time.
- Position the dish in the center of the microwave and heat on high for 80 seconds. Check the candies and if they aren’t a liquid, continue heating for 15 seconds at a time until runny.
- Use a dishcloth or oven mitt to remove the container but take extreme care.
Tips for microwaving Jolly Ranchers
- A Pyrex jug is an excellent vessel as it doesn’t get as hot as some other dishes, and it has a handle for easy pouring.
- If the melted candy begins to harden before you’ve finished, a 15-second burst of heat in the microwave will liquefy it again.
- When heating Jolly Ranchers in batches, use a different vessel or allow it to cool before reusing. Otherwise, it can become uncomfortably hot and difficult to handle.
- You can melt more (or less) candies depending on what you’re wanting to do. Check out the heating guide below for approximate cooking times.
Jolly Rancher heating guide
|Number of Jolly Ranchers
|Amount of Liquid
|⅓ fl oz (10ml)
|⅔ fl oz (20ml)
|1⅓ fl oz (40ml)
5 Best uses for melted Jolly Ranchers
1. Get creative with molds
Jolly Ranchers may look colorful and taste great, but they reach their full potential when molded into something more creative. You could make Halloween or Festive season sweet treats. Themed molds like jewels would work great for a kid's birthday party.
Dust off your favorite mold from the cupboard or buy a new one then get busy! Always use high-quality molds that are suitable for high heat food. Some cheaper plastic molds won’t stand up to the heat of your candy.
Once the candy is melted, work quickly as it’ll harden very quickly.
2. Create easy-to-hold DIY lollipops
Food with a stick is always more fun, so why not turn your everyday Jolly Ranchers into homemade lollypops? You’ll need a lollipop mold and some candy sticks. Visit your local cake making store or a big retailer like Walmart to stock up on supplies. Alternatively, search online for the required equipment.
Follow our heating instructions, then pour the melted candy into the molds with the sticks positioned in the center of each one. You may also want to carefully poke in some edible flowers.
3. Thirst-quenching sweet drinks
Melted Jolly Ranchers work especially well in hot drinks as they’re easy to stir in. Hot mint tea with a sweet watermelon or grape taste won’t be to everyone’s liking. But others love the combination. You should melt 12 hard candies to get half a cup of liquid.
You can add a few Jolly Rancher candies to a small empty jar or bottle, then fill the rest with vodka or gin. Leave overnight and you’ll have colorful-looking alcohol with added flavor. The alcohol breaks up the candy so there’s no need to melt them for this recipe.
4. Design Rancher roses
As you can see, these hard candies are a versatile ingredient in the kitchen! Another suggestion is to make roses, perfect for topping cakes and desserts or for a thoughtful gift.
Equipment: latex gloves, a bowl.
The microwave isn’t needed for this project. Instead, place about 6 red Ranchers in a bowl of hot water and allow them to sit for 2 minutes.
Next, remove the packaging from the first candy and use your fingers to flatten it out. Shape it into a petal and then roll it up. It should look like the center of a rose. Continue flattening out more candies and wrapping them around the first to create a whole rose.
Finally, melt some green candies and fashion them into leaves to go around the rosebud.
5. Make mouth-watering candy apples
Coating apples with melted fruity candies makes a snack that’s a tasty mix of healthy and no-so-healthy. You’ll need to use a whole pack of Jolly Ranchers to get the job done – unless you only want one candy apple.
To make a whole batch, stick popsicle sticks or sturdy craft sticks into your apples then dip them into the liquid candy. Once sufficiently coated, hold it above the pot for around 30 seconds until the coating hardens a little.
Once the dripping stops, place the apple on parchment paper or a plate and allow it to harden for 5 minutes before eating.
We tried making enough candy for one apple and the results were awful. Take a look at the image below. When melting small amounts of the candies, it turns hard before you can pour it on the apple. Try to avoid our mistake!
- To make candy apples, it’s better to use the stovetop as the liquid will stay melted.
- We found the microwaved candy turned hard too quickly and the resulting candy apply wasn’t great.
- Use a deep dish to make it easier to coat your fruit. If there isn’t much liquid left, you can pour it over the apple rather than dipping.
- If you don’t enjoy apples, you may want to try dipping grapes instead.
Frequently asked questions
Are hard candy or jellies best for microwaving?
We tested melting Jolly Rancher hard candies and jellies and found that hard candies produced a smoother, better liquid for molding. Jellies became difficult to work with within seconds of heating.
What is a Jolly Rancher?
Jolly Ranchers are a type of sweet confectionery that comes individually wrapped. They come in flavors like watermelon, green apple, cherry, grape, and blue raspberry. Although the most popular variety is hard candy, the brand also makes gummies, jelly beans, Twizzlers, and gum.
Can I microwave other types of candy?
We tried heating Jolly Rancher gummies and chews and found they were not suitable for the microwave. After melting, the texture quickly turns hard and unworkable. For other confectionery brands, we suggest reaching out to the manufacturer to check that it’s safe to melt their products.
How can I stop Jolly Ranchers from sticking to the bowl?
To prevent melted candy from sticking to the bowl, you’re best to use glass as it is easy to wash afterward. To remove the hardened candy, you’re best to use boiling water to wash or add it to the dishwasher.
How do I melt Jolly Ranchers in the oven?
Add candy to an oven-proof glass dish and place in an oven preheated to 350°F (177°C). In 10-12 minutes, the candy should have melted into a liquid. Don’t stir the confectionery during heating as it will create unwanted air bubbles.
Some foods aren’t ideal for microwaving, like Eggos or Pop Tarts; but Jolly Rancher candies don’t lose any quality from this heating method. They can also be reduced to a liquid quicker than oven or stovetop methods.
If you need melted candy for a quick and easy job, then the microwave is fine. Keep in mind that the candy hardens much quicker than chocolate so work fast.
Take care when heating sugar as it sticks to the skin and can seriously burn. We don’t recommend this as a food project for young children.