Learn how to make this easy 2-ingredient Korean Dalgona Candy made popular by Netflix’s Squid Game, at home. You don’t need to have Dalgona candy kit to make them. You can make individual candy or make several candies at one go. Everything you need to know to make this successfully at home. Step-by-step instructions and a video tutorial are included.
In case you haven’t heard already (which I’m sure you have by now), the Dalgona candy is taking the world by storm lately. Remember Dalgona coffee? This was so popular in 2020, still kinda is, and is named after this Dalgona candy. But Dalgona coffee actually has nothing to do with Dalgona candy in terms of ingredients. Dalgona coffee is made with instant coffee that is whipped with sugar until fluffy. It is the similarity in taste to Dalgona candy that lends its name to Dalgona coffee.
What is Dalgona candy?
Dalgona comes from Korean word, Dalgoona, which means sweet. Traditionally, Dalgona candy is made with glucose, but somehow this isn’t the practice anymore and sugar is used instead. The sugar version used to be called Ppopgi, but not many people use the term Ppopgi anymore. It is a favorite childhood candy by many Koreans back in the 70s and 80s. They are sold by street vendor all over Korea. It surely makes its return to this modern day.
Dalgona candy is also known by many names around the world
We call it gulali in Indonesia, sponge candy here in Minnesota and honeycomb in other parts of the U.S., Australia, U.K, sponge toffee in Canada.
How is Dalgona candy made?
Dalgona candy is made with only two ingredients, glucose/sugar and baking soda. The sugar is melted over an open fire and then small pinch of baking soda is added. The color of the liquid sugar will change to lighter caramel color and slightly puffy/spongey. This liquid mixture is quickly pour on the silicone mat and then flatten with a press and a mold is pressed on top of the candy to make symbol indentation. Once the candy cools down, it hardens and crisp up and becomes airy and full of holes (honeycomb) texture inside the candy.
What is the texture and taste of Dalgona candy?
It is crunchy and easily breakable like a glass. It tastes sweet with an amazing caramel/toffee aroma.
What is Dalgona candy challenge?
The street vendors would challenge the kids to carve out the symbol etched in the middle of the Dalgona candy by breaking or eating the outer part of the candy, but without breaking the symbol in the middle. If they succeed, they will get another Dalgona candy for free or some sort of prize. And this old-school childhood game has resurfaced thanks to Netflix’s TV. series, Squid Game. The contestants can win a cash if they can successfully carve out the symbol, unbroken, or risk losing their lives. I have tried carving out the symbols so many times and I have yet to succeed ha..ha..! You will be surprised by how brittle the Dalgona candy is. It’s like a piece of thin glass that can break anytime.
Ingredients to make Dalgona candy
Like I’ve mentioned before, you only need granulated sugar and baking soda. That’s all! If you want something a bit more complex, you can add corn syrup, which actually my family votes that the addition of corn syrup really improves the taste and texture of the candy (recipe included below for both versions)
What you need to make Dalgona candy
You can easily get Dalgona candy kit in Korea, now is also available at Amazon (after the success of the Squid Game series). But, the good news is you can also make Dalgona candy without any kit. I just use household items such as:
1. Stainless steel ladle or saucepan or skillet
You can actually cook this on a saucepan or skillet too. But for individual candy, most people will use metal stainless steel ladle to transfer heat to melt the sugar since the amount is so tiny. I use a ladle about 50 ml in volume capacity, and can comfortably melt about 1 1/2 Tbsp (20-25 grams) of sugar
Chopstick is used to stir the sugar while melting it. I’ve tried with a spoon and it sticks to the spoon quite badly so, I use chopstick instead. It works out great
3. Rubber spatula
It’s not mandatory, but I find it helpful to help me scraping down the liquid sugar onto the mat so not much is wasted
4. Silicone mat/parchment paper
You will pour the hot melted sugar on top of this silicone mat. The cooled down Dalgona will not stick to the silicone mat and you can slowly peel the candy off the mat without breaking it. You can also use parchment paper, wax paper
5. Something heat-proof to flatten the candy
Once the melted sugar is pour on the silicone mat, you will need a press to flatten the liquid sugar into a round shape before it hardens. The korean uses hotteok press and of course I don’t have one. I use the bottom of a spoon rest. You can also use a metal or a glass cup, bottom of a pan or pot, which is heatproof, to flatten without the sugar sticking to it
6. Cookie cutter
Once it flattens you have to quickly stamp on a cookie cutter onto the middle of the Dalgona to make indentation. It won’t cut through the Dalgona because it’s still hot and “gooey”
You can use your phone and get the timer ready. I wait for 15-20 seconds before pressing the liquid candy with a press and I use timer to be exact and it works beautifully
Can I make Dalgona candy with baking powder?
Although baking powder is also a leavener like baking soda, but you cannot substitute baking soda with baking powder to make this Dalgona candy.
What types of sugar to use for Dalgona candy?
You can use granulated sugar, caster sugar, brown sugar
Can I use erythritol to make Dalgona candy?
I’ve tried and it didn’t work. The erythritol will melt but it won’t caramelize into brown color no matter how long I heat it. I haven’t tried with other types of sweetener though.
How to make Dalgona candy at home?
1. Pour 20 grams or 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar into the ladle. Turn on the stove. I position the knob at between medium and low. Put the ladle on top of the fire and watch the sugar starting to melt starting from the edge
2. Start to gently stir with a chopstick
3. The sugar will continue to melt and darken in color. Keep stirring. If it gets dark too quickly, you want to move your ladle up a bit so it’s a bit farther from the heat source and move down if you think it needs more heat. This is how you control the heat by moving up and down. If you still see bits of sugar, keep stirring until all sugar melts completely
4. Once the sugar has melted completely, move the ladle away from the fire and add the tiny pinch of baking soda. I put the baking soda in 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, so you can see how much you actually need. Only a very tiny amount. I couldn’t even tell you the weight because it’s so tiny. So hopefully with this visual, you can estimate how much baking soda to put for every 25 grams or 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar
and you will see the color turns into lighter caramel color and keep stirring for about 5 seconds. After adding baking soda, don’t stir for too long or the sugar gets too dark and turn bitter
5. Pour this liquid onto the mat/parchment paper and quickly switch to spatula to help you scrape off the rest of the liquid sugar onto the mat/parchment
6. Once you are done pouring, start the timer for 15-20 seconds. You may need to experiment a bit with the time, but it should be between 15-20 seconds, at least that’s what I discovered. I used 20 seconds
7. Then use the press to gently press down, not too hard, but enough to flatten. You will get the hang of it, don’t worry. Remove the press and it shouldn’t stick to the press and quickly but gently press down the cookie cutter in the middle, to make indentation. Don’t press so hard that the cookie cutter cut through the candy though
8. There you have it…Dalgona candy
How to make Dalgona candy in bigger batch
You can actually make 3-4 large size candy at one go. You want to make sure you work fast though, as the liquid candy harden pretty fast. For this bigger batch version, I actually tried out the recipe by adding corn syrup and we actually liked it better than just using sugar and baking soda. Adding corn syrup to make Dalgona candy actually makes it tastes better IMHO.
1. Put sugar, water, corn syrup in a pan and stir. Turn on the stove to medium-low. Don’t stir anymore and let the sugar melts on its own.
2. You will see large bubbles boiling rapidly at first, keep cooking, but don’t stir.
3. Eventually the bubbles will get smaller and the boiling slows down a bit and sugar starts to change color to light yellowish color and the sugar thickens slightly. If you have a thermometer, it will be around 300 F. If not, no worries. Turn off the stove and add baking soda and keep stirring vigorously for about 10-15 seconds
4. Pour this over the mat, you can get about 3-4. You may not be able to get a perfect round, but don’t sweat it. Wait for about 10 seconds and then press the liquid candy to flatten slightly on all of them and then quickly stamp on the cookie cutter on each one
Dalgona candies that are made with the addition of corn syrup actually have lighter color and the texture is better. “They don’t taste as bitter” was what my kids said.
Important tips to make Dalgona candy successfully at home
1. All the stuff you need within your reach
Prepare the sugar, baking soda and all the tools you need within your reach as things happen pretty quickly
2. Control the heat
You want to melt the sugar over low-medium heat. You can move the ladle up and down from the fire to control the heat
3. You need just a small pinch of baking soda
I have no idea when they say “small pinch” is literally like REALLY small! like…tiny pinch! If you add too much, the baking soda will make the liquid sugar puff up really big, which is not suitable for making this Dalgona candy
4. Once you stir the baking soda in, move the ladle away from the fire and then stir for about 5 seconds. Don’t stir too much or the sugar may turn darker and bitter
5. Don’t press the liquid sugar immediately
Once I pour, I start the timer for 20 seconds, and then gently press to flatten, not too hard that it’s too thin. You will get the hang of it after few rounds
6. Prepare one pot of hot water near you
Once you are done with the ladle and spatula, immediately submerge them in the hot water. The sticky sugar will loosen almost instantly
How to wash the ladle after making Dalgona candy?
Like I’ve mentioned above, prepare a pot of hot water near you. This is very helpful especially you make more than one Dalgona candy. When you submerge the ladle into the hot water, the sticky sugar will loosen almost instantly
1. The sugar crystallizes
I had this problem for the first two times I made and found out that the heat wasn’t enough. So you want to move a bit closer to the heat or up the heat a bit and keep stirring and move the ladle farther if it starts to darken too quickly
2. My Dalgona candy tastes bitter
You may have burnt the sugar a bit OR you have stirred too long after adding the baking soda. The baking soda will turn the sugar too dark if you stir for too long
3. The candy sticks to my press
You want to wait for 15-20 seconds after pouring the liquid sugar on the mat or parchment paper to prevent sticking. If you press immediately, it will stick. I suggest using timer to be exact and consistent each time. Alternatively you can oil the bottom of the press and dip in sugar. I don’t feel that it’s necessary
4. The liquid sugar puffs up so big
You have used to much baking soda. You really need a tiny pinch, so tiny, that I couldn’t even tell you the weight of it. You can look at the photo for visual of how much I use
How to store Dalgona candy
Gently transfer the Dalgona candies into an air-tight container. These are made with sugar and won’t go bad easily. You can keep them in air-tight container at room temperature for weeks.
Did you make this Dalgona candy recipe?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
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How To Make Korean Dalgona Sponge Candy from Squid Game (Ppopgi)
Option 1: (without corn syrup) - single serving
- 20 gr granulated sugar
- Tiny pinch of baking soda
Option 2: (with corn syrup) - suitable for bigger batch
- 100 gr granulated sugar
- 30 gr water
- 60 gr corn syrup see notes, you can sub with honey
- ¼ tsp baking soda
Options 1: Get everything you need within your reach
- Line a baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper/wax paper. Scoop a super tiny pinch of baking soda. Get a stainless-steel ladle, one chopstick, cookie cutter, a press, rubber spatula, your phone/timer, within your reach
- If you plan to make more than one, get a pot of hot water on the stove ready too so you can soak the ladle in the pot immediately after you are done. The sticky sugar will come off easily
Start melting the sugar:
- Pour 20 grams or 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar into the ladle. Turn on the stove. I position the knob at between medium and low. Put the ladle on top of the fire and watch the sugar starting to melt starting from the edge. Start to gently stir with a chopstick
- The sugar will continue to melt and darken in color. Keep stirring. If it gets dark too quickly, you want to move your ladle up a bit so it's a bit farther from the heat source and move down if you think it needs more heat. This is how you control the heat by moving up and down. If you still see bits of sugar, keep stirring until all sugar melts completely
Adding baking soda:
- Once the sugar has melted completely, move the ladle away from the fire and add the tiny pinch of baking soda and you will see the color turns into lighter caramel color and keep stirring for about 5 seconds and then pour this liquid onto the mat/parchment paper and quickly switch to spatula to help you scrape off the rest of the liquid sugar onto the mat/parchment. After adding baking soda, don't stir for too long or the sugar gets too dark and turn bitter
- Once you are done pouring, start the timer for 15-20 seconds. You may need to experiment a bit with the time, but it should be between 15-20 seconds, at least that's what I discovered. I used 20 seconds
- Then use the press to gently press down, not too hard, but enough to flatten. You will get the hang of it, don't worry. Remove the press and it shouldn't stick to the press and quickly but gently press down the cookie cutter in the middle, to make indentation. Don't press so hard that the cookie cutter cut through the candy though. Phew...you just made one 😉
Submerge ladle and spatula in hot water:
- Immediately submerge the ladle and spatula in hot water you prepare. The sugar will come off easily. Dry the ladle and spatula and get ready for the next one following the same steps above
- Once they have cooled down completely, gently remove the Dalgona candy from the mat/parchment. If using mat, you can gently peel them off the mat
Option 2: cooking with saucepan or non-stick pan
- Line a baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper/wax paper. Get the baking soda ready. Prepare cookie cutters, a press, rubber spatula, your phone/timer, within your reach
- Put sugar, water, corn syrup in a pan and stir. Turn on the stove to medium-low. Don't stir anymore and let the sugar melts on its own. You will see large bubbles boiling rapidly at first, keep cooking, but don't stir. Eventually the bubbles will get smaller and the boiling slows down a bit and sugar starts to change color to light yellowish color and the sugar thickens slightly. If you have a thermometer, it will be around 300 F. If not, no worries. Turn off the stove and add baking soda and keep stirring vigorously for about 10-15 seconds
- Pour this over the mat, you can get about 3-4. You may not be able to get a perfect round, but don't sweat it. Wait for about 10 seconds and then press the liquid candy to flatten slightly on all of them and then quickly stamp on the cookie cutter on each one
- Soak the pot and spatula in hot water and the sticky candy will come off easily
- Once they have cooled down completely, gently remove the Dalgona candy from the mat/parchment. If using mat, you can gently peel them off the mat
I tried a couple of other dalgona candy recipes and they didn’t work for me at all. (I’m using a pot on the stove instead of a ladle.) The secret to getting it to work for me was your addition of water! When I didn’t use it, my sugar would just clump and burn. Your recipe worked flawlessly for me! I haven’t tried adding honey yet, but I might because my husband doesn’t seem to like the taste of the original dalgona candy. (To me it tastes just like the inside of a Cadbury Crunchie bar, so I absolutely love it!) We’re doing Squid Game costumes for a Halloween party this year and I’ll be bringing my candy along to share. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Mary, I’m so glad it worked out for you. My kids don’t like the original dalgona candy without honey/corn syrup too 🙂 What a fun idea to do Squid Game costume for Halloween. I think there will be lots of Squid Game Halloween costumes out there this year 🙂 Have fun !!