How to make candied ginger, also called crystallized ginger, that tastes like a sour patch candy for adults. Eat it as is, or add chunks to cookies, frosting, yogurt and ice cream, even gift it. This ginger candy is made with 2 ingredients.
Homemade candied ginger chips made with fresh ginger are unlike any store-bought ginger candy. They are sweet and sour with the crunch of sugar on a gummy candy that bites like sour patch kids. They have too strong a zingy flavor for kids, but for adults, they are perfect.
My recipe does not need a thermometer and is fairly straight forward and takes about an hour. You need to boil the ginger once in clear water, and again in sugar water. But that's it, then you toss the chips in sugar, and you have a fresh, homemade crystalline ginger candy. You can eat the candy as is or chop chunks for cookies, ice cream and endless other options.
Homemade candy is the way to go because you know the ingredients you are using in your candy, and you won't be adding any weird preservatives. Other candies of mine you might consider are my twix cups, my caramel candy bars and my chocolate rice cakes. Enjoy this festive candy with a steamy mug of mulled spiced apple cider.
Why You'll Love This
Sweet & sour candy. This ginger candy is delicious. It is moist and chewy with the texture of sour patch kids candy, yet with a gingery, spicy flavor beneath the sweet crunch of sugar.
Cheaper to make. Crystallized ginger is considered a luxury candy, sold as chews or nuggets, and it's expensive to buy, popular during holiday season. But its easy to make, and costs only the price of ginger and sugar.
Dessert & nutritional. Yes, it's coated in sugar, but crystallized ginger actually has some health benefits thanks to ginger. Chewing on ginger candy eases nausea and motion sickness, and supports digestion.
Ginger root. Fresh ginger root is found loose in produce section. Look for large, clean pieces as they are easier to prepare.
Cane sugar. I use organic cane sugar because it is less process and tastes better but any cane sugar works.
Lemon juice. Just a little keeps the ginger from turning brown.
Vanilla. You can use extract or a vanilla paste for a stronger flavor.
Salt. Flavor enhancer.
See the recipe card at the bottom for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
For more detail, visit the complete and printable recipe at the bottom of this post, but here are general steps.
Preparation: Peel the skin off dry ginger with a spoon, then slice into ⅛-inch slices. It's easier to peel ginger when it is dry.
Step 1: Soften the Ginger. Put the ginger in a pot with water and lemon. Put a cover on the pot, allowing steam to escape, bring it to a boil and simmer 30 minutes to soften and reduce bitter flavor. Add a little more water if it begins to boil away to keep the ginger submerged.
Pro tip: This step is vital to reduce the burning flavor of the ginger in the final candy.
Then, drain the ginger, capture the liquid and reserve it as a ginger juice to use in recipes and to make ginger tea.
Step 2: Sweeten ginger. Boil ginger in fresh water this time with added sugar, vanilla and salt as well. Put the cover on the pot, allow steam to escape, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is basically gone. Spread slices on a parchment-lined pan to cool and dry - about an hour.
Pro tip: If the ginger slices are still wet and warm when you dip them in the sugar coating, the sugar coating will melt.
Step 3: Coat the candied ginger. Toss the drained slices in cane sugar. Shake off excess sugar and return the ginger slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to sit at room temperature until completely cool.
Pro tip: Dipping in cane sugar with large granules, such as organic cane sugar, will be prettier at first but will melt faster over 24 hours. Dipping in granulated sugar with a finer crystal - think Dominos - will be more powdery in appearance but will stay dry and granulated on the candy longer over time.
Do not wash the ginger before you peel it - it is much easier to scrap off the skin when it is dry, and you'll be boiling the ginger so don't worry about bacteria from any dirt.
Cut ginger as thin as you can, even ⅛ inch, for the chewiest texture to your ginger chips. You can use a knife or even a mandolin.
It's important to change the water for the second boiling to be sure the ginger isn't too sour.
The sugar will stick better and not melt if the ginger has a chance to cool and dry up to an hour after the second boiling before they are dipped in sugar.
Store the crystallized ginger in a dry, airtight container in a dark place at room temperature or refrigerated for 2 months.
The first boiling is to soften the ginger and reduce the bitter flavor. The second boiling is to cook in the sugar and bring the texture of the ginger to a more glassy translucent texture. It's possible to skip the first boiling if you don't mind a more sour chip.
No, don't wash it because it's easier to peel ginger with a spoon when it is dry. And since you will be removing the peel and then boiling the ginger, you don't have to worry about germs.
There is a difference in opinion. Some believe they are the same thing, simply ginger turned into a candy. But there are those that believe candied ginger is soaked in sugar and stored in a syrup, while crystallized ginger is coated in sugar and stored dry.
Candied ginger is used as a solo candy, but also chunks can be used in cookies, cakes, frostings, cupcakes, ice cream and it can be gifted. The candy can also be used to improve digestive issues and combat nausea.
More Homemade Candy Recipes
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How to Make Candied Ginger (crystallized ginger)
to soften ginger*
- 1 ½ cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
to sweeten ginger
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
extra sugar to toss**
- ½ cup sugar***
- Peel dry ginger using back of spoon. Get all the peel off. Slice the ginger into coins or slices. Depending on your ginger shape, you'll probably get some odd shapes.
- Put the chopped ginger in a pot, add 2 cups of water, enough to cover the ginger, and bring the pot to a boil, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat, partially cover the pot to allow steam to escape, and let ginger simmer for another 25 minutes.* Pro tip: Add water throughout the simmering if too much ginger becomes exposed.1 ½ cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Drain the ginger into a strainer set over a bowl so you can capture the liquid. Refrigerate the liquid as a ginger juice to use to ease stomach aches, or to make ginger tea with. Return the ginger to the empty pot.
- To the ginger in the pot, now add only 1 cup of fresh water, the sugar, and vanilla.1 ½ cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced, 1 cup cane sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup water
- Bring the pot to a boil, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat, partially cover the pot to allow steam to escape, and let ginger simmer for another 25 minutes or until the liquid is basically gone. Lift the lid and stir off and on, and don't let it burn.
- Drain the ginger slices and spread them on a dish to cool and dry for an hour before coating them with sugar.**
Coat the candied ginger
- Coat the slices in sugar.*** Use a fork and lower each piece into a bowl or sugar, or just dump the lot into the sugar and pick each piece out individually, shake and line on a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to sit at room temperature until completely cool.½ cup sugar***
- Store in a dry, airtight container at room temperature or refrigerated for 2 months.