Rows of colorful Candy Club sour belts
Candy Fun Facts

How is Sour Candy Made?


Whether you love it or hate it, the mouth-puckering taste of sour candy is hugely popular. Young and old, from far and wide, a large portion of candy lovers flock to the delicious sting of super sour flavors. Whether you enjoy the mild tartness of lemon drops or like to get full-on nuclear with the most extreme sour candies, there’s no doubt this classic candy type is full of variety.

But how is sour candy made, and what exactly gives it that sour taste? If you’ve ever pondered those questions, get ready to find some answers. Scroll down for your ultimate guide to how sour candy is made!

The Most Common Types of Sour Candy

Some of us may think of hard candies made to be sucked on and savored, but there’s a whole world of sour candy out there waiting to shower your taste buds with mouth-puckering flavor.

Still, the most common types of sour candies fall into one of three general categories:

  • Sour gummies
  • Sour hard candy
  • Sour jellies
Candy Club Lemonade Rings in a flower field

How is Sour Candy Made?

Most sour candy is made from fruit-based mixtures that are heated and then cooled to precise temperatures and timeframes. These heating and cooling processes determine what happens to the molecular structure of the fruit and sugars, yielding the desired hardness or softness. Gummies and jellies, of course, also often contain gelatin to give them their signature chewy texture.

So what about the sour flavor?

Many sour candies incorporate naturally sour ingredients into the main body of the candy. Others contain mostly sweet ingredients but are dusted with acid-infused granulated sugar to make them taste tart (think Sour Patch Kids).

The key to all sour candy, however, is one or a combination of specific organic acids that amp up the tartness. More on that below!

What Causes the Sour Flavor?

Now that we’ve answered “how is sour candy made,” learn what it’s made from. While most sour candies are based on naturally tart fruit flavors – e.g., lemon, lime, raspberry, strawberry, or green apple – the super sour taste we know and love comes from a few organic acids. Each has its own unique flavor profile and level of tartness.

Scroll down to learn more about each of these sour acids.

Citric Acid

Sour Lemon slices on a teal background

One of the most common ingredients in sour candy is citric acid. As you can probably guess from the name, it occurs naturally in citrus fruits like lemons and grapefruits, and can also be found in smaller amounts in berries and some vegetables.

Citric acid is an antioxidant essential for energy production and even the prevention of kidney stones. It also causes the blast of tartness that makes sour candy so great!

Malic Acid

This super sour organic acid is responsible for the extreme flavor of candies like Warheads. It can be found in Granny Smith apples, apricots, cherries, and tomatoes, as well as in the human body.

Ascorbic Acid

Also known as Vitamin C, this organic acid is famously found in citrus fruits. Beyond being a popular remedy used to fight sickness, it’s also responsible for much of the sour deliciousness of many of your favorite candies!

Unfortunately, this may not be enough evidence to convince your doctor to prescribe you sour candy next time you have a cold…

Fumaric Acid

Small amounts of fumaric acid occur naturally in apples, beans, carrots, and tomatoes. Some say this is the strongest and most sour-tasting acid because its low dissolvability makes it super long-lasting. Yes, please!

Tartaric Acid

More astringent than the other sour organic acids, tartaric acid is also used to make cream of tartar and baking powder. It can be found in grapes and wine, bananas, and tamarinds.

Other Ingredients Commonly Found in Sour Candy

Sour Candy Fun Facts

  • Scientists don’t fully understand how sour taste buds work. We’ll gladly volunteer to be the guinea pigs for those experiments…
  • Did you know that sour candy can be used to treat blocked salivary glands? That’s a prescription you can actually get from your doctor.
  • The inventor of the super-sour Warhead traces his influence back to a Japanese lemon candy that was so sour, some people would immediately spit it out and throw it away.
Candy Club sour candies: Sour Gummy Octopus, Blue Razz Sour Belts, and Lemonade Straws

Indulge with a Candy Club Sour Candy Box

Can’t get enough of that sour candy goodness? That’s why every month, we put together a mouth-watering sour candy box for our candy-loving subscribers to enjoy. Check out our recent Mostly Sour candy boxes and order one for a friend, loved one, or yourself today!