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)


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

Eaten in large amounts, black licorice can lower the body's potassium levels – significantly. Potassium is important for heart health, and if levels plummet, it can lead to problems such as abnormal heart rhythms and congestive heart failure.

What does black licorice do to your digestive system? ›

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.

What is in black licorice that raises blood pressure? ›

It contains glycyrrhizic acid, which can cause swelling and high blood pressure and deplete potassium and other electrolytes that may cause a cardiac arrhythmia or arrest. Glycyrrhizic acid can be found in other foods, such as jelly beans and beverages for flavor. What is a safe amount to consume?

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.

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.

Is black licorice bad for your kidneys? ›

Kidney disease: Consuming large amounts of licorice could make kidney disease worse. Sexual problems: Consuming large amounts of licorice can lower interest in sex. It can also worsen erectile dysfunction (ED) by lowering levels of testosterone.

Who should not eat black licorice? ›

Yes, particularly if you're over 40 and have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure, or both. Eating more than 57g (2 ounces) of black liquorice a day for at least 2 weeks could lead to potentially serious health problems, such as an increase in blood pressure and an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

Is black licorice hard on your liver? ›

There have been no single case reports of liver injury due to licorice and large case series and registries of drug- and dietary supplement induced liver injury, and licorice has not been listed as an implicated agent. Likelihood score: E (unlikely cause of clinically apparent liver injury).

How often should you eat black licorice? ›

The WHO suggests that most healthy adults can safely eat up to 100 mg per day of glycyrrhizic acid, or about 2–2.5 ounces (60–70 grams) of licorice.

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.

Who makes the best black licorice? ›

The Best Licorice Brands Tested & Reviewed
  • Wiley Wallaby Classic Black Licorice. ...
  • Darrell Lea Soft Australian Licorice. ...
  • TWIZZLERS Black Licorice Candy. ...
  • Panda All Natural Soft Licorice. ...
  • Tara's Handcrafted Black Licorice Caramel. ...
  • SweetGourmet Italian Black Licorice Wheels. ...
  • Red Vines Black Licorice Twists.
Mar 2, 2024

What medication can you not eat licorice? ›

ACE inhibitors and diuretics.

If you are taking angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or diuretics for high blood pressure, you should not use licorice products. Licorice could cause these medications to not work as well, or could make side effects worse, including a build up of potassium in the body.

How much licorice is safe per day? ›

In 1994, Walker and Edwards demonstrated that a daily oral intake of 1–10 mg of glycyrrhizin, which corresponds to 1–5 g licorice, has been estimated to be a safe dose for most healthy adults [Walker and Edwards, 1994].

Is Good and Plenty real licorice? ›

Are GOOD & PLENTY Licorice Candy made from real licorice? GOOD & PLENTY candy contains licorice extract, which is a natural flavor obtained from the root of the licorice plant. Is GOOD & PLENTY Licorice Candy gluten free? No.

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.

What are the symptoms of eating too much licorice? ›

Too much glycyrrhizin can therefore lead to problems such as raised blood pressure, fluid retention, muscle weakness and heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmia). The good news is that if liquorice has this effect on you, the changes are not normally permanent.

What happens when you have too much liquorice? ›

Potential side effects. Liquorice extract consumption can reduce blood potassium levels resulting in abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, oedema, lethargy, heart failure and hypokalaemic myopathy manifesting as flaccid paralysis13.

How many pieces of licorice can I eat a day? ›

For consumers who are over 40, the FDA says that eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with heart trouble. In general, the agency recommends, no matter what your age, you should keep servings of black licorice small, and don't eat large amounts in one go.

Is black licorice inflammatory? ›

The side effect may due to the cortical hormone like action. Conclusion: Licorice and its natural compounds have demonstrated anti-inflammatory activities.


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