Homemade Black Licorice Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: DessertForTwo



11 Ratings

  • Makes 20 pieces

Jump to Recipe

Author Notes

Black licorice can be a polarizing issue in the candy store. Some people seek it out exclusively and prefer their entire bag of jelly beans to be black. Others will crinkle their nose at the mention of the word "licorice" and keep their distance. But in my opinion, that just means more for us!

Even if you think you're a card-carrying member of the Licorice Haters Club, I beg you to try homemade licorice. It's soft, chewy, and the anise flavor is much more subtle than it is in the commercial versions. Dare I say that it's delicious enough to make a convert out of you?

The base of black licorice consists of several different forms sugar: granulated sugar, dark corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and molasses. If you prefer a stronger black licorice flavor, use blackstrap molasses. If you're easing into the Licorice Lovers Club, go ahead and use plain baking molasses.

Recipe adapted and scaled down from Saveur magazine. —DessertForTwo

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 4 tablespoonsunsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 cupgranulated sugar
  • 1/4 cupdark corn syrup
  • 1/4 cupsweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoonsmolasses (use blackstrap for the strongest flavor)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoonswhole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoonblack food coloring gel
  • 3/4 tablespoonanise extract (use 1 tablespoon for a stronger flavor)
  1. Line a 9 x by 5 x by 3-inch bread loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving excess to form handles for easy removal.
  2. Grease the parchment paper with extra butter.
  3. Clip a (calibrated) candy thermometer to the side of a heavy 2-quart saucepan, being sure that the gauge is not resting directly on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the butter, sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk, molasses, and salt. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a gentle boil. Stir the mixture frequently to prevent scorching in the corners.
  5. Once the mixture reaches 240° F, remove it from the heat, and immediately stir in the flour and black food gel. Once they're fully incorporated, stir in the anise extract.
  6. Pour the mixture into the buttered loaf pan and let it set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the pan, and either dice it into squares or slice it into ropes and twist.


  • Candy
  • American
  • Anise
  • Molasses
  • Milk/Cream
  • Snack
  • Dessert

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Joe Schramer

  • Lindsay Arakelian Grega

  • Dave Fankhanel

  • strozyk

  • Jeff Russell

Popular on Food52

38 Reviews

Grace H. December 30, 2023

So sorry about that! My pesky elderly mother got to my phone! I’m sure she was joking. The middle finger was me though, fu ck that Finn guy

Finn L. December 30, 2023

Great liquorice I’m sure! Very tasty. Extremely sorry for Grace H’s bad behaviour, not the recipe’s fault!

Grace H. December 30, 2023

Don’t listen to that Finn guy. He is dumb. I did find a use for this though! It’s really soothing for my an us after a long hard pound session at a gay or gy. I put it up, and suddenly I can walk again!

Grace H. December 30, 2023

I don’t like no like very bad liquorice like poo don’t make this is very hard recipe and tastes bad very difficult do not attempt Peace and Love ☮️☯️💖🌈🥦🎶😎✌️🌺❤️💖

Finn L. December 30, 2023

That’s really mean and hurtful Grace, especially since I know that you didn’t even attempt to make the licorice! Make it first before you comment on the recipe! 😾

Grace H. December 30, 2023

Peace and Love ❤️🥦🎶☯️😎✌️❤️🍒🌈

JohnCaryNC December 14, 2023

I just made the recipe...twice. The first time, I got the temp up to 260° and it turned out very hard. The second time I quickly brought it to 240° and it turned out much softer. The second batch was so sticky that I lightly sifted some flour over it so it didn't stick to everything. Definitely double the anise that the recipe calls for. This recipe yields licorice that I would equate to eating a licorice-flavored Tootsie Roll.

JohnCaryNC December 23, 2023

UPDATE: I made another batch that turned out even better. I didn't realize that whole wheat flour was so different from regular white flower (which I originally used). The whole wheat flour gave it more body.

MikkoAlamäki December 9, 2022

What is this? How can you call it liquorice if there is no liquorice in it? It's literally just anise candy with black food coloring

Lazy J. April 3, 2022

I would recommend using the full tablespoon of anise extract. That being said, for me, the rest of the recipe worked really well and set rather quickly. Made it as a surprise for my neighbor's birthday and she loved it!!

SW June 30, 2021

This was a delicious recipe. The first time I made it, I read the reviews and incorporated the feedback. I cooked it to 260 degrees, added 2x food dye, and 1 TBSP anise. Next time I make it, I will add maybe 1 1/2 TBSP anise for a better flavor. Overall, delicious and definitely a crowd favorite.

Joe S. August 19, 2020

240 degrees while appropriate for soft crack in sugar is not enough when using a mixture like this. The butter and molasses force it to remain softer. Try raising the temp by 20 degrees for a firmer candy.
Also, for those complaining about the color or flavor just bump it up. It also helps to add the color and anise absolutely last.

Jg4040 September 27, 2019

Thanks for a great recipe. Do you know how I Can make This into dried pastilles like Swedish Lakerol?

harvey February 10, 2019

Nope. This recipe is a fail. You know that Aussie Licorice that you can buy in the supermarket? This recipe makes NOTHING like that. It yields a brown fudge with a hint of anise flavor. Searching google overwhelms you with this recipe and it is terrible.
I wanted black licorice. I got brown fudge. I used the black gel color in the correct volume. It stayed brown. I removed from heat at 240F EXACTLY. FAIL. Find another recipe. You will be disappointed, I was. What a let down food52.

Anthony D. January 4, 2018

Why would you use aniseed rather than root liquorice to make liquorice?

Joe S. August 19, 2020

anise extract works best

Lindsay A. December 23, 2017

I just realized the thermometer I ordered can not be calibrated. How essential is that for this recipe?

Marion B. January 24, 2015

Love this! Very quick and easy to make. I used 3/4 tsp anise oil and skipped the black coloring; which is fine. It looks like caramel. I used a buttered pizza cutter and wrapped them individually in waxed paper. Will definitely make again and again!

Dave F. December 17, 2014

I was quite bummed by this recipe as I followed it perfectly and I thought the molasses was severely overpowering.

Damian December 10, 2014

To those having trouble cutting it - I had difficulty as well, until I thought to use a pizza cutter. That actually worked really well. My problem was that after I did cut it, I put it in a container and it conglomerated back to one solid blob. Someone mentioned individually wrapping the pieces - I'd definitely recommend that (but hadn't seen it before I made mine).

Carol December 8, 2014

A much better recipe here, without all the toxic stuff (corn syrup, black food coloring, granulated sugar...):
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon powdered licorice root (or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried anise, root (POWDERED ( or to taste)
1 cup flour (enough to make a workable dough)
powdered sugar

Boil the molasses gently for 5 minutes. Be careful it does not burn. Cool. When it is still very warm, add the licorice root powder and the dried anise powder.

Mix in enough flour so the dough is workable. Take a small amount and roll it into a tube ~ 1/2 in diameter. Cut into desired lengths.

Place on cookie sheets and allow to dry. The licorice will harden when cool.

mmmassey April 7, 2016

Corn syrup, colouring, sugar.....TOXIC???????

HandyCandy October 7, 2016

This is much closer to an actual recipe for old-fashioned licorice candy, as the original recipe is for an anise-flavored caramel. However! The flour typically used is NOT whole wheat, unless you want a very, very firm licorice, plus is also cooked in a paste, not added when the mixture goes off the heat (raw flour flavor anyone?)

Delphine B. December 24, 2016

What flour is traditionally used? I was thinking of using arrowroot.

Diane July 31, 2018

Where does the powdered sugar come in?

Cing K. September 7, 2019

ToXIc?????? I'm being sarcastic!
How is coloring toxic?
So what most things have sugar in them in the present day!
Plus, most jello/jelly-like candies have corn syrup!
Even though is not healthy, people still use them sadly.

strozyk December 1, 2014

Has anyone tried this gluten free? I'm wondering about just using sweet rice flour (mochi flour). Does it need a starch?

HandyCandy October 7, 2016

It needs a starch, but corn starch, or tapioca starch, rice flour, or potato starch could be used ...you will need to adjust amounts as their thickening abilities differ. Please do not add raw flours/starches at the end of cooking! It will taste of raw starch.

PurposefulShelly November 8, 2014

MAYBE Anise Is used here due to the following reason:
Small amounts of licorice, such as those found in candies, do not pose a risk. However, licorice is a powerful drug, and serious health problems can result from taking it at medicinal levels for long periods of time. People who have high blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, as well as anyone who is taking digitalis or who has had a stroke or heart attack should limit their licorice intake.
HOWEVER...Saying that above, read this:
The Health Benefits of Licorice
Licorice is especially useful in fighting bronchitis, upper respiratory catarrh, and coughs. It stimulates mucus production and helps to loosen sticky phlegm. It also contains a chemical that has cough-suppressant properties.

Licorice also helps reduce stomach acid and increases mucus secretion in the gastric tract, soothing irritation and inflammation. It can be used to fight heartburn, indigestion, and gastric and duodenal ulcers. It may also shorten the healing time of mouth ulcers.
But then again...Anise Seed is OFTEN used in the Place of LICORICE ROOT EXTRACT:
In the United States, anise seed is a popular substitute flavoring for licorice. Although the anise seed has an unmistakable licorice flavor, it is not related to the European plant whose roots are the source of true licorice.
I got ALL this information here:

I DO have Anise Seed Essential Oil....I was wondering if I could use that instead of the extract? Just use less of it, due to the strength of the Oil....what do you think?

Jeff R. November 1, 2014

No, Jamie, it isn't. If there's no actual licorice root then it's not real licorice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquorice

Homemade Black Licorice Recipe on Food52 (2024)


What are the ingredients in black licorice? ›

Wheat Glucose Syrup, Wheat Flour, Treacle, Molasses, Sugar, Water, Wheat Fiber, Sunflower Oil, Colored with Caramel Color, Licorice Extract (0.5%), Anise Seed Oil, Salt, Mono- and diglycerides, Carnauba Wax.

How is real black licorice made? ›

It's made from an unholy union of licorice extract, sugar, and some manner of binding agent. Beeswax is usually responsible for the characteristic rubbery sheen, and molasses (or a deal with the devil?) is what creates the ebony color.

How do you get the flavor for black licorice? ›

Licorice root provides the pungent sweetness that black licorice likers love and others loathe. You won't find it in red licorice, and some black licorice candies use artificial flavors or anise oil, which has a similar flavor.

What seasoning tastes like black licorice? ›

The licorice taste and aroma found in a broad range of ingredients and seasonings - including fennel, fennel seed, anise seed and star anise - are being used in dishes from appetizers to desserts. Fennel, a celery-like anise-flavored vegetable, is increasingly common in produce markets.

What does licorice do to the body? ›

Licorice with glycyrrhizin may cause serious side effects. Too much glycyrrhizin causes a condition called pseudoaldosteronism, which can cause a person to become overly sensitive to a hormone in the adrenal cortex. This condition can lead to headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure, and even heart attacks.

Does licorice raise blood pressure? ›

Yes. Consumption of licorice (liquorice) can lead to dangerously high blood pressure and dangerously low potassium levels (hypokalemia). Licorice contains glycyrrhizinic acid, which sets off a well-understood chain reaction of biochemical events in the body resulting in high blood pressure.

Why is eating too much black licorice bad for you? ›

Potential Risks of Black Licorice

Too much licorice, or using it for too long, can raise your blood pressure. It can also drop your potassium levels, and that could cause an abnormal heart rhythm.

Why is black licorice so gross? ›

The sense of taste is genetic, so when someone complains that black licorice is too bitter, they're tasting the glycyrrhizin, the compound in licorice root that's chemically similar to saccharin. This may be why they taste the bitterness.

What is the healthiest licorice to eat? ›

Red Licorice vs.

WINNER: Red licorice. Many people assume that black licorice root can alleviate health issues. This hasn't been proven, but eating large quantities of black licorice may be dangerous to people 40 and older because a compound in it has been linked to heart problems, according to the FDA.

Are Twizzlers real licorice? ›

Are the original TWIZZLERS Twists licorice? Yes, the original TWIZZLERS Twists are licorice because they include licorice extract. However, the most popular flavors like strawberry or cherry do not include licorice extract, so they are often referred to as licorice type candy.

What is the name of the liquor that tastes like black licorice? ›

The most commonly known licorice-tasting drinks are Ouzo, Sambuca, Pastis, Pernod and Absinthe. Others include Arak, Anisette/Anis, Raki, Aguardiente and Xtabentun. Read on for details of the anise-flavored booze we tasted, and the menu.

Which herb tastes like licorice? ›

Star anise is in a small, obscure botanical family, Schisandraceae. Then there is regular anise, in the carrot family, along with another licorice-flavored herb, fennel. Then there is the actual licorice, in the legume family. In the daisy family is another licorice-flavored herb, tarragon.

What dried herb smells like black licorice? ›

ANISE HYSSOP (Agastache foeniculum) is also known as licorice mint. A perennial, it may be grown from seeds, small plants or divisions of the creeping root. Anise Hyssop grows up to 3 feet in height and likes rich, moist soil and full sun. The gray-green leaves have toothed edges and whitish undersides.

Does black licorice have any health benefits? ›

The chemicals in licorice are thought to decrease swelling, decrease cough, and increase the chemicals in our body that heal ulcers. Many "licorice" products made in the U.S. actually don't contain licorice. They contain anise oil, which has the smell and taste of "black licorice".

Does all black licorice contain glycyrrhizin? ›

Black Licorice Flavor

Licorice made in the U.S. is usually flavored with other compounds without the root extract, glycyrrhizin, also known as glycyrrhizic acid, the compound that makes licorice sweet and gives it that signature taste.

Is black licorice good for your gut? ›

Its also popularly used as a natural laxative, so it can help with constipation, and as an aid for digestive problems. According to the medical journal, Nutrition and Cancer, substances in licorice may even protect against carcinogen-induced DNA.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Chrissy Homenick

Last Updated:

Views: 5407

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Chrissy Homenick

Birthday: 2001-10-22

Address: 611 Kuhn Oval, Feltonbury, NY 02783-3818

Phone: +96619177651654

Job: Mining Representative

Hobby: amateur radio, Sculling, Knife making, Gardening, Watching movies, Gunsmithing, Video gaming

Introduction: My name is Chrissy Homenick, I am a tender, funny, determined, tender, glorious, fancy, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.