Fill your Easter Baskets with Homemade Sour Gummy Bunnies

Sour candies aren’t at the top of my list of must have items in my own Easter Basket (yes, I still get an Easter basket,) but they are on my husband’s list. He loves all things sour: pickles, vinegar, capers, lemons and limes, and of course sour gummy candies. The more it makes him pucker, the better. His favorite Easter candy is Sour Bunnies, so this year, I thought I’d make him a homemade version of his beloved tart treat. 
Being he enjoys snacking on my homemade gumdrops, I thought I’d start with that recipe and transform the candies from sweet to sour. 
What makes a candy sour?  Citric Acid. It is packaged in powdered form and has been extracted from fruits and vegetables including oranges, lemons, limes, tomatoes, and grapefruits. The powder can be mixed with sugar and used to coat the outside of a gumdrop. The more you add, the more potent the pucker power.
Food grade citric acid is available on-line, and in candy/cake decorating, health food and grocery stores.

The best thing about making your own sour gumdrops is that you can mold them into hundreds of different shapes using silicone molds. For Easter, I used a Wilton bunny mold, but there are so many other molds to choose from including:  rubber duckies, Easter eggsdaisiesmallard ducksbutterfliesdinosaursshoes and pursescatsrhinospolar bearspanda bearstigersguitars,  and even mustaches. They also make the molds in character shapes like Mickey MouseHello KittyPac Man, and Darth Vader. Click on any of the links above if you’d like to purchase any of these molds from (I get a commission for all sales – thanks!)

As is customary around here, I added faces to the plain gumdrop bunnies, as I felt they lacked character. I can’t help myself. Everything is just cuter with a smile. 

Homemade Sour Gumdrop Easter Bunnies (makes 24 bunnies)

Just a note before you begin: I used a gas stove and All Clad pans which conduct heat really well. It took my sugar much less time to boil to temperature than called for in the original recipe. So, be sure to watch your thermometer, instead of using time as your guide.
about 1 teaspoon butter
3/4 cup water
1 (1.75 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin (original not low or no sugar pectin)*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4-1/2 teaspoon flavored oil or extract (I used apple)
1-5 drops food coloring (I used neon pink)
1/2 cup colored sanding sugar (I used light pink)
1-3 teaspoons citric acid powder

*you can buy packages or jars of pectin in the canning section of your grocery store

Optional Decorations:

corn syrup (to use as glue)
candy eyes
pink candy confetti sprinkles (nose)
chocolate or black jimmies (mouth)

silicone molds, I used 1 Wilton Silicone Bunny Mold with 24 cavities
1 1/2  or 2 quart saucepan, preferably a good quality stainless steel pan
2 or 3 quart saucepan
candy thermometer
glass bowl with spout or a glass mixing bowl
optional, thin tip paint brush to add decorations (food only brush)
Butter the sides of a 1-1/2 or 2 quart saucepan. Set aside.

In another 2 or 3 quart saucepan combine water, pectin, and baking soda. Mixture will be foamy. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the buttered saucepan pour corn syrup into the bottom. Sprinkle sugar in the center of the pan. Turn heat on medium-high and allow it to cook for one minute. Then stir gently to dissolve sugar. Be careful not to splash the sugar crystals onto the side of your saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. This took me just a few minutes, but it can take up to 10 minutes. Clip your candy thermometer onto the side of your pot. Cook, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 260 degrees Fahrenheit. You will continue to cook your sugar (ultimately you’ll want it to reach 280 degrees which is the soft crack stage,) but at this point, you need to set your pan of pectin mixture back on the stove and heat it over high heat until it comes to a boil.

Once your pot of boiling corn syrup/sugar reaches 280 degrees remove it from the heat or turn off your gas. Slowly and VERY CAREFULLY drizzle in the hot pectin, stirring slowly yet constantly. You DO NOT want to splash any of this hot boiling sugar on your hands. Once all the pectin has been poured into the saucepan, return it to medium-high heat and cook it  for one more minute, then remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl, with a spout, preferably. This stops it from continuing to cook.

Immediately add food coloring, if using, and flavoring. Start by adding 1-2 drops of color and 1/4 teaspoon of flavoring. Add more coloring, if desired. To check if you like the flavor of your gumdrops, fill a glass with ice water, take a small spoonful of your hot gumdrop mixture and set the spoon in the ice water. Leave it in the water at least 30 seconds. Remove it and touch it to make sure it is cool. Return to water, if too hot. Taste it. Adjust your flavoring accordingly. I found 1/4 teaspoon of the apple oil to be the perfect amount. 

NOTE: If using this bunny mold or any other soft flexible silicone mold just follow the steps below. If you are using a stiff silicone ice cube tray, I would suggest brushing a very light coating of vegetable oil into the mold.

Carefully pour the hot mixture into the silicone bunny mold, filling each cavity about 2/3rd’s full. Allow the candy to cool at room temperature for up to 8 hours. If you are in a hurry, like I was, cool for an hour then freeze for an hour. 

To remove the gumdrops from the silicone mold, press on the backside while peeling the candy out of the mold. 

Pour colored sanding sugar into a dish or bowl. Stir in 1-3 teaspoons of citric acid. Taste the sugar as you add the citric acid, and add more to your liking. I used 1 1/2 teaspoons for one batch of bunnies and 2 1/2 teaspoons for another. I preferred the less sour, but my husband loved the intense sour flavor of the other.
Drop your gummy bunnies into the sugar and toss to coat. 

Allow your Sour Gumdrop Bunnies to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before packaging. You can decorate them now, if you’d like.

Use corn syrup as glue and add candy eyes, pink confetti nose, and black or chocolate jimmies for mouths.

Your Sour Gumdrop Bunnies will keep for several weeks if stored in an airtight container.

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– Beth
Items used to make this project are available for sale on (commission earned for sales)

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  1. says

    there you go again! thanks for the super original, super sweet idea. aidyn and i will be heading back to the kitchen for this one for sure!

  2. says

    My husband is a gummy monster. I am amazed at how much gummy candy he consumes. These are adorable. Will try this recipe for sure. Thanks!.

  3. Anonymous says

    These are adorable. You have done it once again. I would love to be able to run thru your mind. I bet it would make Disneyland look like a kiddy park. Again, thank you for your talent and time. Trish Butler

  4. karenb says

    Thanks for sharing these!!! Do you grease the molds before filling them? You mentioned in the Gumdrop Post that you used oil to grease the molds and wanted to try butter the next time. You did not mention anything about greasing the molds for the Gummy Bunnies. Please let me know-I want to make these tomorrow. I have a huge collection of silicone ice cube trays in various shapes that I'm dying to use!! FYI Ikea always has some really cute ones.

    • says

      Hi Karen, I'm so glad you asked that question. I meant to mention it, but forgot. The bunny mold are very flexible and soft so I did not have to grease them at all and they came out so easily. The star shaped ice cube trays were much more stiff so I did use the oil. I tried making the stars once without oiling the mold and had a hard time removing them. I was able to get them out with some help, but had to pull them quite intensely. Happily they looked fine once removed.

      So, bottom line. Check your mold. If it feels really flexible, skip the oil. If it's stiff, use the oil. I think they taste better without the oil.

    • says

      I love sour, thank you! I was wondering if citric acid is the same as the powdered True Lemon (unsweetened). Also, is Knox gelatin the same as the Sure gel? I happen to have them on hand but not sure if they are adequate substitutes. Any help is appreciated!

    • says

      Hi Marne, I have never tried powdered True Lemon and don't know what it tastes like, but if you like the flavor of it, mix it with some sugar and see if it tastes like the outside of a sour candy.

      Knox gelatin is not the same as Sure gel. You can find other gummy or gumdrop recipe on-line that us the gelatin instead of the sure gel. Just make that recipe and coat it in the sour sugar.

  5. says

    Dear Beth,

    You're such a talent!
    I've always wanted to make gum jellies, known in France as "Pâte de fruits", but so far I havent't.
    Now looking at your pictures I can see perfection about your work of art.
    Congrats, Beth. You deserve all the compliments!
    Helena, (São Paulo, BRAZIL)

    • says

      Thank you, Helena.

      Oh, I love Pâte de fruits. I leaned to make them from Swiss chef, Ewald Notter. We used fresh fruit purees and they were heavenly. I need to dig that recipe out and make them again soon.

  6. says

    You just saved me so much time trying to remember where I saw the recipe for sour gummies!!! I wanted to make some for Easter and I should have known you were the one with the recipe! THANKS – I LOVE sour gummies!

  7. Judy says

    Hi Beth!
    I absolutely love your website! I saw the sour gummy bunny recipe and couldn't wait to try it! My kids love gummies, and my husband loves sour candy! It was a perfect idea. However, once I made the gummies ( i followed the directions very carefully) my gummies weren't solid….when I took them out of the mold, they were very sticky and soft…some didn't even hold their shape. I let them sit a while longer, and they are still soft. (i made them yesterday) Can you give me any suggestions, or ideas of why mine didn't turn out? I wanted to make them for easter, but did this trial run first. Any help you can give me would be great.

    Thank you!

    Judy Collins

    • says

      I'm glad you gave the sour bunny recipe a try. If your gummies didn't solidify, it was because they didn't get cooked to a high enough temperature. It is possible that your thermometer isn't calibrated just right. It could be off by several degrees which can really impact candy making. You can check your thermometer by bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil. Clip the thermometer to the side of the pan and check the temperature. It should read 212 degrees. If it's off, then you will have to adjust up or down according to it's reading.

      I'm going to guess your thermometer is off by about 4-5 degrees. You could just cook your next batch of gummy mixture to about 285 and it should fix the problem.

      As a test, before you pour the hot mixture into your mold, fill a glass with ice water, pour in a spoonful of the mixture and allow it to cool for a minute. Remove it from the glass. It should feel like a gumdrop at this point. If it is too soft, heat it longer, then try again. This way you wont ruin a whole batch.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions,

  8. says

    I love this! Have you ever had the citric acid/sugar mix melt on the candies? Mine keep doing that…after I coat them it's like the sugar begins to liquefy and eventually runs off the candy altogether. Any ideas??

  9. says

    Could the problem Jessica I was having with the sugar "melting" have anything to do with humidity?
    These look fantastic! I am going to make some for our Christmas treat selection!

  10. says

    I just made these and they turned out soo cute! They're very tasty too. I thought I had eyes at home but
    I don't so no cute faces for mine. I did package some up and put them in Easter Eggs and sent
    them to friends.

    • says

      I'm so happy to hear they turned out great for you. I really love homemade gumdrops and may need to make some more before Easter.

  11. says

    Hi Jessica, I am having a problem. After I pour my mixture into a glass pitcher and mix the coloring/flavor in. The mixture quickly starts to cool down and clump up before I can finish filling the molds

    • says

      I had that happen once, when I got a phone call, and didn't work quickly enough. The candy will begin to set fairly quickly, so you have to work reasonably fast. If it does being to set before you get all the molds filled, you can heat it back up just until it is liquid again. If you heat it too much you will end up with hard gumdrops, so just heat it so it can easily be poured into the mold. You may end up with candy stuck to the sides of the pan and you can scrape that off onto a silicone mat and just eat it once it's cooled.

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