Recipe: Candy Buttons (Candy Dots)

Remember the strips of colored candy dots on paper? You would strip the candy off with your teeth, and end up with just a little bit of paper in your mouth?  If you had siblings, you just might nibble the paper into a small weapon? (I wouldn’t do that, of course, but SOMEONE might).

Well, that started me thinking.  Wouldn’t it be cool to make candy buttons?   Perfect for movie night.

There are a lot of recipes for candy buttons out there in cyber-space, but in the interest of full disclosure, I adapted the recipe by Jill at Sandy Toes and Popsicles.

I was lucky I had this inspiration and recipe when I had willing helpers (my beautiful and talented nieces Miranda and Monica).  If you are lucky, you will find some willing helpers as well.

You don’t need a lot of ingredients. This picture features several food coloring and extract choices, but really I would think four colors would be fine.  You will notice I have parchment paper on this picture.  Do NOT use parchment, the dots will fall right off.  I ultimately used computer paper from a fresh ream of paper.

Recipe: Candy Buttons


  • 2 Tbsp meringue powder (or 2 egg whites)
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (use vanilla, lemon, peppermint, coconut for different flavors)
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar (1 pound = 3.5 cups)
  • decorator bags or sandwich bags (1 for each color)
  • food coloring I used gel, but any kind will do. Four colors is about right)
  • paper cut into 2 3/4" by 10" strips.


  • If you are using egg whites, separate the eggs. Also, if you can find pasteurized eggs, that would be the safest. There is a national brand, Safest Choice Eggs, that are pasteurized in the shell.
  • Perfect. Now you have some egg yolks about lemon curd?
  • Whip together the confectioners' sugar and the egg whites (or meringue powder and water) on low speed for one minute.
  • If you have a stand mixer, this is the time to use it. Your arm will get tired with a hand mixer (although, if you switch hands, you might be able to count it as an exercise).
  • Add the flavoring and about 1/2 of the water. You may wish to add more water later to get this to the right consistency, but start out with a little less then you think you need.
  • Whip mixture for 10 minutes on high speed. If the icing is too thick, think it out with drops of water until it is the consistency of sour cream. A drop should hold it's shape and slowly smooth out to create a smooth button.
  • While the mixer is whipping the icing, cut strips of paper into 2 3/4" by 10" strips.
  • You may want to use a template for candy dots if you wish.
  • If you are using gel paste, you don't need to use much. I used bamboo skewers to get just a dab of the food coloring.
  • Isn't this pretty? Maybe that's why I used bamboo skewers, it just looks so pretty while I am mixing it.
  • This just makes me feel good.
  • Divide the icing into small bowls. One bowl for each color.
  • Pour each color into a decorator bag or sandwich bag and seal.
  • Tip: Put the bag into a glass with the edges folded over the rim to easily fill with icing.
  • Cut a VERY small corner off of each bag.
  • Squeeze a drop of icing at a time onto the paper.
  • You might want to place the strip of paper on top of a template, so you can see where to place each drop evenly.
  • This may seem tedious, but it is actually very satisfying. Very much like popping bubble wrap. Only sweeter.
  • Doesn't this look wonderful? And the candy looks good too!! (Come on. I'm Dear Sweet Aunt Jill. I HAVE to be cheesy).
  • Place the strips on baking sheets in a cool dry place, uncovered, to dry overnight.
  • Once the candy has dried, you can place the strips in a zipper bag or airtight container.
  • You can store the leftover "icing" in the refrigerator in plastic bags.
  • This recipe makes a LOT, and it would sure be a shame to waste any of this....Right?

It is much easier to make these if you have a template underneath the paper.  Here is the template I used.

Candy Button Template


Category: Camp, Candy, Cookin' with the kids, Movie Night
Tags: , , , , , ,

(35) Comments and (40) Replies

  1. Chrissy | July 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Reply

    I love this! My sister and I used to LOVE these. I will have to make them. Have you tried to make candy corn? Way better than the store bought kind!

    • Jill H | July 13, 2011 at 6:21 am | Reply

      Be sure to use different flavorings for each color. I am particularly fond of the lemon. And don’t use parchment paper (I forgot to put that in the blog, but will update it in a minute) the candy comes off too easy. Use non toxic paper (I don’t think they actually sell toxic paper, but just in case) and then print out the dots (I will put a template up on the blog today). Don’t pipe the icing directly on the dots, either turn the paper over so the dots are on the bottom or lay the paper on top of the dots as a template.

    • Jill H | July 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply

      Okay, missed the candy corn bit. NOW I MUST TRY IT!!

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide | July 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Reply

    Wow, that’s quite the project. Turned out great and looks like a fun group activity.

    • Jill H | July 14, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Reply

      Thanks. It was a lot of fun, and brought back a lot of memories of those candy-riddled buttons.

      • Jill H | July 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Reply

        Oops. I meant paper riddled ….. yeesh

  3. Cindy Maechtle | July 15, 2011 at 6:32 am | Reply

    Nice Jill. You are amazing!!!

    • Jill H | July 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply

      You’re just saying that ’cause you want some candy dots…..

  4. jillparkin | July 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Reply

    So glad you had fun making candy buttons! Yours look fantastic!

    • Jill H | July 18, 2011 at 6:25 am | Reply

      Thanks, Jill. You were a great inspiration!! Love your site and will visit often. Thanks again….

  5. Emily | August 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply

    Oh my goodness!!! I used to love love love these when I was little! (though I say that I’m only seventeen. :P) Unfortunately it seems like stores (at leas the ones I go to) either don’t sell them or want to have all of my money (which isn’t all that much). But I do have some questions:
    1. Just how much did you get out of this recipe?
    2. How similar, taste wise, are these to the originals?
    3. And I was going to use parchment before I read the comment up above, so what should I use now?
    4.So you just let them sit out overnight and they dry and harden??
    Hehe, love me the candy buttons! ^^ And the pictures make them look easy and yummy!

    • Emily | August 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Reply

      OH! Though of another question!! ^^
      5. Did you just use lemon? Or are there other flavors that also will work?

      • Jill H | August 15, 2011 at 12:00 am | Reply

        Oh, yes. Use other flavors. Explore the baking aisle and get inspired!!!

    • Jill H | August 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Reply

      Emily, so glad you are going to try this. You will get scads. That is to say hundreds if you want them, out of one recipe! The taste varies. I think the almond flavor is most similar, but I love the lemon. When I make these again, I will use a different extract for each color. Mint was good too, but you can get orange extract, etc.

      Yeah, the parchment didn’t work well, the candies kept sliding off. I ended up using computer paper.

      Yes, let them sit out and they harden.

      Let me know how it works. Enjoy

      • sharon | September 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Reply

        I use adding machine paper, makes perfect strips whatever length I want.

        • jill | September 9, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply

          What a great idea!! I wish I had thought of that….and I KNOW I will use that idea next time….do they still sell adding machines? and the paper? Yikes!!

          Thanks for the tip!!

  6. Asiek | December 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply

    cool idea to use the remaining icing!

  7. Anna | December 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Reply

    This will truly delight my little girl. The colors are so vibrant and merry…Will have to make sure everyhing in the ingredients list is ready and start working. Thanks for sharing. You brought back memories of my sweet childhood…=)

    • jill | December 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Reply

      I agree (re the colors). I think you’ll have fun making these….and eating them too!!

  8. Crystal | December 22, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply

    I have been looking for custom candy button colors to decorate a cake, this is perfect!! Are they sturdy enough once they’ve dried to to handle and press into icing?

    • jill | December 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply

      Yes, once they are dry you will be able to use them to decorate . I will respond by email with a picture of a cake with the candy buttons. I always intended to do this…but….. I’d love to see your cake when you are done. Go to my Facebook page and post if you don’t mind sharing!!! Happy Holidays..

  9. JESSICA | January 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply


    • jill | January 17, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply

      You are so welcome. I love the idea that you are color coordinating for your daughter. I will reply to your email with the template (and also put it in the blog…completely forgot to put it in..thank you. Have fun!!! (Love to see the pics, go to my whatwillwedotoday Facebook page to share!!!)

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  11. Lacey | January 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply

    Have you tried to do other shapes? I was thinking of trying to make maybe butterflies or flowers, something simple, to decorate cupcakes for my daughters birthday. Hoping it works 🙂

    • jill | January 25, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Reply

      It’s funny you asked. Yesterday, I thought I would try to make snowflakes. It worked, but I would suggest using parchment paper so you can easily peel the flower or butterfly off the paper. You will also need to use a template under the parchment. Another thought, you might want to try some glitter or pixie dust (really fine edible glitter).

      Do post pictures and let me know how it goes (go to my What will we do today fan page on Facebook).

      Good luck and have fun!!!

  12. Jamie | January 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply

    My first batch came out great, but I made a 2nd batch and the dots didn’t seem to harden all the way. Well, they were hard/dry but almost turned to powder if squeezed just a little bit. Can’t figure out what was done differently. Any thoughts?

    Also, how much water do you mix with meringue powder and how much is added later? The recipe just says 6tbsp total.


    • jill | January 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply

      Hmmmm. I am traveling now so have no access to my kitchen or kitcheny type things so not sure I will be of much help. As far as the water, I would only add 1/2 of the water to begin with and then add a little more as you need it (you don’t need to use all 6 Tbsp). That way you can control the consistency. For the hearts and butterflies, you will probably want less water so the final dried product will be a little more substantial. I hope this helps!!!

  13. Kate | February 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply

    Can you use kitchen wrap instead of paper? i was going to wrap something flat and solid and drop candy icing on top so i can easily take the candy off later….. i don’t want to be eating the paper, and i thought i can just store them in a jar or something….. will that work? or will everything stick together? and can i make other shapes too? maybe bigger or flatter circles, stars, hearts, or maybe sticks? and thanks for sharing this! 😀

    • jill | February 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Reply

      Hi Kate, glad you are going to try these. Here’s my take on your question. If you use parchment paper or the glassy side of butcher or freezer paper, the buttons will just slide off. I haven’t tried the paper side of freezer paper, but you might have better luck with that as far as the paper sticking to the candy. I have made other shapes and another friend (below comments) also tried making shapes. I didn’t use quite as much date so that the candy held shape a little better. Good luck and have fun!!! If you get some finished, be sure to post pics on the Facebook fan page for what will we do today

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  15. FerrariJam | August 12, 2012 at 3:53 am | Reply

    These candy buttons can also be microwaved for about 45 seconds to make tiny meringues. Delightfully fluffy, flaky and sweet. Btw this recipe was amazing fun for my kids! Thanks for posting it!

    • jill | August 12, 2012 at 4:03 am | Reply

      Oh my!!! what a wonderful tip!!! I am having French Day with our Grand-daughters this week….I think I just might try this out!!! Thank you again…

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  17. Lori | September 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Reply

    How many sheets of dots does this recipe make?

    • jill | September 17, 2012 at 6:36 am | Reply

      Oh boy. I really don’t remember. Actually, my original “batch” was six sheets (each of us made two sheets of three strips each sheet). I had a lot of the candy left over, though, so not sure what would have been a complete batch.

  18. How long do these last after you make them? | September 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply

    I love love love this idea!!! I am doing a cant buffet for my wedding ad this would be super cute! How long do they last in a sealed bag after you make them?

    • jill | September 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply

      Oh, I am so glad you like them. They are certainly a hit around here. I have to admit, they don’t stick around very long at our house. If you make them with meringue powder, I would imagine you could keep them for a few weeks. If you use egg white, you might want to eat them right away. I always get nervous with egg, so I err to the side of caution. Or…you might store them in the refrigerator (if made with egg white). I am a little concerned that they might get soggy though.

      I think I’ve complicated my answer. Make them with meringue powder and you should be fine making them now and keeping them for a few weeks in an airtight container…..


  19. Bree | October 19, 2012 at 12:26 am | Reply

    Just tried this omg amazing got bored after awhile so I just made long lines, though I didn’t use the confectioners sugar so I used 2 cups of normal sugar and 3 table spoon of baking powder :s hope they turn out fine :3 I’m not the best cook, just in time for Halloween treats haha 😀

    • jill | October 19, 2012 at 8:20 am | Reply

      Aren’t they fun? You’re right, you end up with far more icing than you can ever need. Let me know how it worked with regular sugar. Have a great Halloween!! (check out the candy corn recipe, another favorite although more time consuming)

      • Bree | October 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply

        They can out a bit sorta grainy, but they tasted wonderful my brother has eaten most of them I will definitely be making these more often :), I will make sure to check out the candy corn recipe 🙂 thanks for posting this great creation 🙂

        • jill | October 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply

          Awesome! I was thinking, though, that you can make confectioners’ sugar by putting it in a blender with some cornstarch (For every cup of sugar, 1 T of corn starch) and…your welcome.

  20. Rovenette Ang | November 6, 2012 at 1:57 am | Reply

    Hi good day….Can this be used for cake pop??

    • jill | November 6, 2012 at 7:57 am | Reply

      Good morning! Well, you could place the buttons on the outside of the cake pop (using frosting as the “glue”). I don’t know if you could make one big mongo pop from the icing. Interesting idea, though. If you attempt it, let me know how it works. Better yet, post a pic on the What Will We Do Today Facebook page (see upper right for the link). Good luck and have fun!!

  21. Joan Shufelberger | November 6, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply

    I just STUMBLED onto your precious site! Having created all kinds of parties w/ grandchildren over the years (Happy Hatters tea parties, geod hunts, cooking fests), I find your site is carrying on traditions your youngsters will FOREVER remember. And when they’re on their own, they will surprise you with their own “tricks of the trade!” Blessings!

    • jill | November 6, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply

      You sound like you are the best grandma!! I can well imagine that the memories YOU have created are precious to all of you!! Come on by any time. I love to trade ideas!! Have a great day!!

  22. Eileen | December 12, 2012 at 7:27 am | Reply

    Thank you for posting this! My son loves candy buttons, but hasn’t been able to eat them in years since we discovered he is sensitive to artificial colors! So I’ll make these with natural colors. Thanks!

    • jill | December 12, 2012 at 8:34 am | Reply

      I am so glad you found this and are able to use the recipe. I think you’ll have fun making them. Do let us know how you got along with the natural colors (and what you use). I’m sure others would be interested as well!! I hope you all have a delightful Holiday Season and an amazing and healthy New Year!!

  23. Kaya | January 27, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Reply

    I love these candy buttons! I like to use the icing for figures though. Thanks for the recipe.

    • jill | January 28, 2013 at 6:25 am | Reply

      What a great idea. Can’t wait to see what you make. Do share!!

  24. Kathy | March 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Reply

    Just made these for the Grandkids for Easter…lime green, yellow,purple and orange…then having icing left over piped the remaining right onto the cutout sugar cookies I had made…they look awesome…thanks…

    • jill | March 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply

      What fun!! Be sure to take some pis (the grand-kids too) and share them on our Facebook Fan page!!! Especially excited to see your cookies!! Happy Easter.

  25. Nikki @ Tikkido | April 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply

    Excellent! I learned not to use parchment paper the hard way, too, when I made homemade candy buttons for my daughter’s butterfly birthday two years ago. Great minds think alike, right? Even making the same initial mistakes! 😉 Here’s the link to my project:

    • jill | April 21, 2013 at 7:00 am | Reply

      Nikki, love your professional-looking wrapped candy dots! What a great idea. Yep, great minds have hundreds of candies slide all over the kitchen. That’s exactly what I thought…..;-)

  26. Cyndy | June 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Reply

    I remember buying these in the mid 60’s where they were white, blue, pink, lavender, and the stripes were a three feet long. AND YOU GOT THREE SHEETS FOR A PENNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • jill | June 13, 2013 at 7:01 am | Reply

      I know. Those were the good old days!!! And…even at a penny, I still had to share my candy strips with my brothers and sisters…waaaah

  27. sutton | July 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Reply

    thank you so much
    i love candy buttons it will be fun making these

    • jill | July 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Reply

      I hope you enjoy them as much as we have. I especially like the lemon flavor, but the nice thing is that you can use any flavor you like!! Have fun, and have a nice day!

  28. riytwq | August 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply


    • jill | August 5, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Reply

      Thanks. You bet!!

  29. Gena | August 6, 2013 at 8:37 am | Reply

    I did this, I used chocolate molds to make little shapes, they are small, like the size of a candy button. The outside hardened but the middle was still soft. Can you refrigerate or heat to get the middle to harden? Help!

    • jill | August 6, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Reply

      oh boy. I wish I knew the answer. I am thinking refrigerating might add moisture, but I’d be afraid to heat it….Perhaps if you let it set out (did you use eggs or meringue powder)….I am so sorry I’m not more help. You are certainly more clever if you used molds (what a good idea), so I suspect you are light years ahead of me in the creativity department!!

      Please let me know how it turns out. Now I’ll worry all night….

  30. Julie Behar | September 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Reply

    I am in need of orange and dark pink dots for baking cookies. Can you let me know if I can only buy those two colors. Alos, how long does it take to ship??

    Julie Behar
    101 Castleton Street, suite 103
    Pleasesantville, N.Y. 10570

    • jill | September 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Reply

      Yes, you can make only orange and dark pink. In fact, you can make a whole rainbow of colors. Unfortunately, I don’t sell the dots, but if you read through the recipe, you will see that they are pretty easy to make. The good news is that it gives you complete control of the colors you want and the taste you need.

      Good luck!! (and I just LOVE orange and pink together!)

  31. Alyson | March 10, 2014 at 9:58 am | Reply

    I was just curious. Do you add the almond extract to the main batch and then once you separate them into the colors do you then add the other flavors in addition?

  32. Kristina | March 22, 2014 at 10:18 am | Reply

    1 pound of confectioners sugar is not 7 cups. 7 cups is actually 2 pounds. :-/ mine did not harden as well because I followed the seven cups only to find out that it was only supposed to be half of that amount.

    • jill | March 22, 2014 at 11:25 am | Reply

      OHHHH Nooo!! I am so very sorry!! I am going to fix the error but wish there was something I could do for you!! Hopefully, my abject apology (and sincere thanks) will be enough!!! Arghhhhhhhhh.

  33. Kristina | March 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Reply

    That is okay, I have plenty of supplies and will remake them. 😉

  34. Aryliss | June 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Reply

    Question time:
    1) Can I use 100% pure vanilla? Because I dont have lemon or almond extract….
    2) Can I use powdered sugar?
    3) Is there any way that I can peel them off and put them in a jar? But I dont have parchment paper… Would tracing paper work okay?
    4) Can you really heat them up in a microwave for 45 seconds and get little meringues? Because that wuld be cool… have you tried it?
    Thanks ^-^

    • jill | June 27, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Reply

      Oh boy….Now let’s see if I can answer all of these!!

      Yes, you can use 100% pure vanilla. In fact, I love the taste of vanilla so I think that would be great.
      Powdered sugar. Gosh. I don’t know if you can use powdered sugar. I do know that powdered sugar has some corn starch in it, so it might change the consistency of your candy buttons.
      Can you peel them off the paper? you bet. I think they would be fun in a jar. You can use tracing paper, just make sure it is clean (like right from the package)
      I have never heated them in a microwave, but I like the way you are thinking! The next time I make them, I will certainly try the microwave trick!! You will have to let me know how it works, though, since I don’t think I will be making them for a couple of weeks (or … maybe I’ll make them next week, now that you’ve mentioned it!!) Thanks for the questions. You have officially made my brain work tonight! Have a great day and have fun making the candy buttons!!

  35. Amy | June 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Reply

    Do these actually work as little meringues?

    • jill | June 27, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Reply

      Amy, I am not sure if they will work as meringues. If you read the previous comment from, she posits an interesting thought. What would happen if you warmed them in a microwave? So, I guess the build on that would be what would happen if we made them bigger and then warmed them in the microwave!! You both have given my brain a workout. Now, I am going to have to for sure make these. Thanks for the inspiration! Have a great day. Do let me know how it works if you make them as little meringues. Pictures!! Post them on the Whatwillwedotoday Facebook page!!!

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  38. Donna Cirrintano | January 3, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Reply

    I bet this would be great as a cookie frosting
    that you want to be hard. Bet it would be cheaper
    than those tubes.

    • jill | January 3, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Reply

      What a great idea! You’ll have to let us know if it works! Have a great 2015

  39. Amy | May 11, 2015 at 7:56 am | Reply

    This is a fantastic trip down memory lane. I will make these as a cute treat for our Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, which acts as a fundraiser for cancer. I will actually put these onto edible rice paper cut into themed shapes, so the problem of getting that piece of paper in your mouth is a non-issue. I may even experiment with tea flavours through them too, either making a strong brew and using the cooled water, or even adding ground tea leaves into the meringue. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • jill | May 11, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Reply

      Wow!! You have inspired a lot of new thinking. What a wonderful idea to use rice paper. Do let me know how that works out! I know others will be interested as well. And would love to know how the tea flavors work. Actually, I am pretty excited to know more about Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea! I think it sounds perfectly delightful. While I can’t make it to Australia, I would love to see pics, know more. What a great fundraising idea. And to think, I was going to iron today….now you’ve inspired me! (wrinkled shirts are just fine…really) Thanks! and have a great day!

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  41. mel | June 25, 2015 at 9:21 am | Reply

    i tryed this but the dots wont comme off of the paper , should i use parchement paper?

    • jill | June 26, 2015 at 8:47 am | Reply

      Ahh. So you have uncovered the secret of the candy dots! You could use parchment paper, but they will then slide off the paper. If that’s your goal then by all means use parchment! On the other hand, the tradition of candy dots is to scrape them off the paper with your teeth. Crazy, I know, but sort of like popping bubble wrap! Either way, have fun! I’ll bet they are beautiful. I am so glad you made these fun little dots of tasty color! Have a great day!

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