5 Candies to Freeze Dry

Give your family a ‘sweet treat’ this summer! Freeze-dried candy is always a customer favorite and is by far one of the tastiest things your freeze dryer is capable of. Below is a list of some ideas to get you started!

Nerds Gummy Clusters

Nerds Gummy Clusters

Different candies can be fun to experiment with in your freeze dryer. Some small, chewy candies will expand to nearly triple their size. Along with this massive size change, they’ll also change textures! The candy goes from a chewy treat to a crunchy, lighter one! A near complete transformation. These candy snacks are also packed full of flavor once freeze dried. A helpful tip to keep candy from sticking to the tray is to use silicone mats or parchment paper. Then break them apart and enjoy!

Saltwater Taffy

Freeze-dried Saltwater Taffy

Saltwater taffy is the perfect summertime treat, a fun food to freeze dry, and a customer favorite. These candies don’t only taste good, but also look very pretty and have a nice presentation. Saltwater taffy puffs up in the freeze dryer and becomes even sweeter. We suggest you cut taffy in half (or fourths) for bite-size snacking. Make sure to leave plenty of room for taffy to expand.

Jolly Ranchers

Freeze-dried Jolly Ranchers

Jolly Ranchers are a tasty treat to freeze dry. These hard candies will puff up and become something entirely new. They become slightly crunchy and airy and much easier to chew than a regular Jolly Rancher. If you leave them whole, make sure to leave plenty of space for them to expand. Many customers cut them in half using All-Purpose Utility Shears.

Milk Duds

Freeze-dried Milk Duds

These candies may not be the first ones you think of when you think of freeze-dried desserts! However, these treats may just be the most exciting. These small, chocolate covered caramels end up going through a complete transformation in your machine. Customers love these puffed up, crunchy candies!

Gummy Bears

Freeze-dried Gummy Bears

Gummy bears are by far one of the customer favorites to try. These small candies grow nearly double their size and become light weight and crunchy. They also become sweeter and have a richer flavor, a definite must-have for a hot summer day.

Tell us which candies have you tried freeze drying in your Harvest Right freeze dryer.


The skittles have been a big hit with the grandkids but my personal favorite is cheesecake bites. I just get a cheesecake from the grocery store (with a mix of different kinds), freeze it, cut it up into bite sizes, then freeze dry. Crunchy and delicious.

I’m learning my self but on custom settings I have it as o degrees freeze temp 1 hrs freeze time 140 145 degrees for easier candies like anything caramel fruit roll ups marshmallows skittles milk duds air heads taffy and any where from 2 to 4 hours there usually done I always set it at 12 hrs because u can always end it sooner if there done but check them at the 2 to 4 hrs mark an let them run longer if needed but usually not I do warm tray for about 10 to 15 min an always make sure to cut candy accordingly cuz most will puff an mast will stick to each other so space and cut accordingly the way u check ur candy is by turning off ur pump make sure there’s no water in the drain line than open valve take a couple candies out close door close valve and turn on pump an will start back up for harder candies like warheads jolly ranchers carmal apple lollipops the harder candies I set temp to 145 to 150 and allow to cook for 6+ hours checking them usually every two hours and heat trays 20 to 30 min to allow candy to soften all before it gets pulled I do set the fast mode on as well the Lil button next to heat temp in custom settings an always press to turn on candy mode when loading trays iam having trouble though with needs gummy clusters and gummy bears if anyone would like to share I’d much appreciate it thank you I’m new to this as well take care

Do u freeze dry your gummy’s or do u use the freeze dry mode I’m having a hard time with gummy items and red hits and help would be appreciated

You may have to test different varieties of the gummy’s not all work. for Red hots, look up “hot start”

Only skittles and peeps, so far. The skittles are a hit with my no-sugar relatives (for which they hate me) Peeps are just for decoration. They look so cute peeking out of the jar!

I use werthers chewy caramel, cut them in half and put it at 145 degrees and warm the trays for 15 min and run for an hour Anda half turn out great

I just pop the trays in the freezer after drying is done to get the chocolate to set back up. 15 minutes later, pull them out of the freezer and bag up the candy as usual.

Jr Mints – try freezing them first, then cracking the top to have it start it’s expansion.

Jr Mints are a huge hit at our house. I squeezed them slightly first, just a little to pop the inside…not very much and that allowed it to expand more. So very good! I also bought the tiny round ones…about the size of skittles. And those were amazing! We also did charleston chews and they were delicious.

How long do you freeze them for? When I run the candy mode it turns them off about 10 hours in then I did the 3 hour drying time (on gummy cherries) and they didn’t work. Do I set my drying time so in total with freeze from start to finish it ends up being 24 hours? I need guidance :/

I bought tootsie rolls based on your post but they just turned into bricks. How did you process them? Time and temp? Did they get airy and crunchy? Help. Please s as nd thank you

If you haven’t tried air heads yet I would highly suggest it. I think air heads turn out the best so far. I love them as they are but put into the freeze dryer and they are the closest thing to heaven on this side of the planet.

I bought air heads based on your post but they did not turn out well. Epic fail. How did you get yours to be “the closest thing to heaven on this side of the planet”? My grandkids keep asking me to dry airheads and I would love to surprise them for Christmas. Help!

Try doing candy mode on 150 with a 15 minute prewarm for the airheads. We let it run for 6 hours. We cut ours into 4ths so they became puffy little nuggets of fun.

Just try a different brand of gummy bears, some brands are too dense and don’t do a thing. We have had a lot of luck with the Huer brand. Hope this helps 🙂

I don’t use the candy mode. I have more success just regular mode. Use Black Forest gummies. Otherwise, slit the other brands a bit.

Tootsie rolls don’t put up, gummy bears will depending on the brand and ingredients. Stay away from candy that has cornstarch or modified corn starch in the first 5 ingredients. I have tried a half dozen varieties and I find that any Albanese®️ brand gummies work well. In my XL, here are setting I use with gummies.

Worms, 150°, 12 hrs
Bears, 145°, 12 hrs
Lifesavers Gummies 150°, 12 hrs

Non-Gummy Items
Starburst: keep the wrapper on and oven warm at 170° until soft. Transfer to warm trays (150°) to dry. The triple in size. Remove wrapper AFTER drying for 3+ hrs.

Gummies take 12 hrs at 150° with NO PREWARMING. They double or triple in size, but don’t stick together much. If they puff more than you like, simply lower the temperature but keep the dry time at 12 hrs. If you prewarm the trays, the gummies will puff so much that you can’t remove the trays.

What would be the reason my jolly ranchers don’t react at all while other things do just as shown…I’m only 2 batches in fyi…any tips?

Sometimes Jolly Ranchers need a little higher temp. Because warm air rises the top tray gets a little warmer than the bottom tray (about 10 degrees). So, if you didn’t put them on the top tray you might try that next time.

We didn’t have any luck with the jolly ranchers until we did the candy mode update. Then they worked beautifully!! Heated the trays up ahead of time and set the temp at 140

My jolly ranchers puff up huge. Are you using the new candy mode ? Have to heat trays to 145 degrees for 7 minites and dry for 2 hrs

We love doing rhubarb, after it’s stewed we put it in straight or mix with strawberry yogurt into small silicone molds and freeze then pop them out onto the trays and into the machine. They are wonderful snacks and you can have all sorts of fun with the molds you use.

I soak my rhubarb in a strong strawberry jello liquid while simmering – as you don’t want them to fall apart, then strain them then freeze dry and I’ve gone through several harvests of my rhubarb. Adult family members LOVE it. It’s a little sweet a little sour healthy snack! I’ve even used sugar free jello for my diabetic family and it’s definitely a hit!

I’ve done nerd clusters with great success but leave lots and lots of room, they swell huge! I’ve also done Junior Mints and love those.

Most candy batches take about 24 hours to complete. In warmer conditions it could be a little longer and in cooler conditions it could be shorter.

With the new candy mode software update, I can get just about any type of candy done in under four hours. It’s a significant amount of time saved. I’m so happy that Harvest Right listens to consumers and their needs, and they actually act on it!

When did the update come out? I have been having issues with any candies. I am wondering if we aren’t up-to-date on software.

have you freeze dried octopus gummies before? I’m doing 6 hours but they just expand a lil and crunch on the outside but gummy on the inside

I’ve had great success with Milk Duds, Werther’s caramel chews, and caramel M & M’s. They are all sooooo good!!

Try the wet there soft chews but take them out after 20-25 min into the cycle. It makes a crunchy outer shell on the outside with the Chet cookie like texture on the inside. They are ABSOLUTELY DIVINe! Have to eat them fresh though bc they will deflate.

can you please help? What temp are you setting and how long of a freeze time? I getting no where with these. I use candy mode for all my others and they turn out great in like two hrs. My chocolates and caramels just turn to mush. I would appreciate any help.
Thank you.

Should I have condensation on the outside of my rubber gasket and door? This is my first batch and I can’t find any information regarding water dripping from the gasket. Thanks

Make sure you wipe the condensation off before you pull your trays. If water gets in the tray, your batch will be ruined.

Use the high temperature candy mode setting. I increase the temp to 150, but it works at 135 degrees and up. Increase your dry time to at least 3 hours and they should work. Best of luck!

There is a huge difference in the brand of gummy used for us. We have used three brands and they all swell to different sizes and consistencies. Nassau(source) wild cherry swells to twice that of Albanese and even more than that with Haribo. Which is best for biggest swell for you all? density and original ingredients obviously have an impact. Thoughts? We do medicated “puffs”
Has anyone here mixed sub straights?

I have freeze dried caramel apple suckers and bit of honey, individual caramels, and peach rings, and they turned out great!

Ok so I’ll try to get an answer here as head office isn’t helping.
What temperature should the freezing and dehydrating should be at when doing gummy bears.
As well how long does the batch take to be done.

Every brand of gummy bears reacts different to freeze drying. If you have the newest model of freeze dryer then I would recommend 135 or a little higher.

Hot Tamales and Mike and Ike candies do not change (same with jelly beans), they stay the same – even when you cut them up before freeze drying. They don’t puff or change like Skittles, Werthers, gummy bears, etc. do. I think because there’s too much corn starch and wax. The filling is like jelly in those hard shells.

Do I just keep adding dry time of my candy is not turning out like my nerd clusters 1 try did not change at all?

Crank heat up settings to 145f fr dry temp and space 4 -5 apart. Give room for 2-3x expansion. Once trays are loaded go into manual test mode (top left corner) and manually heat up your trays to 100-120 before starting cycle. After few minutes of preheat start cycle as normal however u are going to skip the freezing modes and go right to the dry mode which is right after “vacuum freezing” generally set machine for 2 hr dry time but they finish in 1.39 at most!!!!

How do you skip the freezing mode. I have a 2022 model and have tried to find the skip freezing mode and can’t find it.

go to custom. see the setting. there are up and down arrow. change freeze temp 0 and time to 0. if you are doing candies, set temp to 145F or 150F (harvest right recommended), candy mode on. I use normal instead of fast, I usually get a good result using normal. extra drying time I usually set it to 3 hours instead of 2 hrs (skittles), just to make sure. for Jolly Ranchers, cut in 1/2, extra drying time = 3hrs.

I did peach, red licorice nibs, black licorice. I did reg candy mode, 135 and 3 hrs. All licorice was a bust. No change no crunch.
I also add jolly ranchers, gummy bears, skittles , Milky Way. These dried good.
Some bears blew up big some no change.

We have tried countless times to make Jolly Ranchers, Gummy Worms and Gummy Bears but ours remain small and still very chewy. (We ran all batches for 24 hours.) We’ve purchased other freeze dried Jolly Ranchers, Gummy Bears and Worms online and they are huge and soft. Can anyone else us understand what we may be doing wrong or could try?

We had lots of failures and mixes successes until someone suggested always doing candy at 145. Now we see more success than failure! And failure is mostly when experimenting with new stuff on just the extra dry time (we’ve done lots of Skittles, gummies, nerd clusters, milk duds, marshmallows on extra dry at 145 with great success). Good luck!

I’m so thankful to have come across this great tip thank you so much for sharing! I can not wait to try increasing the temps for our candy. And trying the extra dry time hack. After so many failed batches I was feeling discouraged. I’ve been coming back to this blog discussion over and over looking for any helpful info. Again thank you

I used Black Forest organic gummies. They expanded to at least four times original size,so leave a lot of room. I wasn’t aware of using a higher temp for candy, so don’t know if that would make a difference.

I used albanese and a generic from the dollar store. Both rose, but the generic was more dense. They weren’t as fluffy as the albanese gummy bears.
My freeze dryer is 4 or 5 years old. I just freeze dry it without changing anything settings.

Jolly rancher – cut in thirds.
Gummy bears – use parchment paper & Black Forest gummy bears.
Gummy worms sometimes need extra dry time. Like 4 hours

Jolly Ranchers and Gummy Bears, I recommend you to freeze dry them separately for their drying time are different. JR, 0 freezing time, 145F candy mode, normal. extra drying time =3hrs. Same as Trolli worms. However, I am still trying to figure Haribo Gummy Bears out. it is a little tricky

Jennifer, ours take about 8-10 hours. We set it on candy mode with the temp at 150. How are you running it in 2 hours? Please help!! Thanks for any input.

no, all candies are different. once i figure out which candies can be done in 2 hours, i place them in the same batch, same as 3hrs drying time candies.
So, skittles are the easiest, only 145F for 2 hours drying time. Other candies are 3 hrs up.

Do you warm the trays before hand? Also, have you found any success with gummy bears? If so, what temp, duration, etc are you using?

The easiest way to do most canies fast is the test mode. Load the candy, shut the drain, and go to test screen. Turn on heat and vacuum. When the heat hits 135-140 shut it off and continue to vacuum til you get to the size w
You want. Leave vacuum on and turn freeze on to under 100. I do Carmel m&ms and Charlestown chew rollers but keep the temp at about 125 so all the chocolate doesn’t melt off and cool them to about 60. You can do a batch of skittles in maybe 30 minutes like this.

Never mind. I figured it out. I found how to turn the temperature up and had a good batch of assorted candy. Some turned out, some didn’t. I froze them before I read that you didn’t need to. Now I’ve got it loaded with taffy, charleston chews, bit-o-honey, gummy bears and more. 2 stores have not had jolly ranchers. Can’t wait to give them a try.

Does anyone know the secret for Warheads? I have got them to work like twice about a year ago and now for some reason they arent.

Great question! I cannot get them to work either… I put them on a tray with the jolly ranchers… JR’s worked perfect… Warheads… nothin! Anyone have good settings to make them work?

Just did a few batches of ice cream sandwiches, skittles, milk duds, blue gummy sharks, gummy worms, gummy bears, and jolly ranchers. All were pretty good except for the sharks, gummy bears and jolly ranchers. Any ideas on why some candies work and why some don’t? I’m guessing they need to be freeze dried longer since they don’t puff up as much and are still hard/gummy. Thought about doing the same type candies for every cycle, but we’ll see as I’m still experimenting!

Do you mind sharing the details how to freeze dried ice cream sandwiches? Freeze time and temp? Extra drying time? candy mode on or off? normal or fast? Thanks in advance

We have used the salted caramels that we purchased at Sam’s Club we cut them into pieces because they expand yummy yummy.

they are delicious! I cut them in quarters and puff so big! However, you need to put them in air tight containers immediately after they cool down or they will go sticky and flat…. like melted caramel snowman LOL

You have to get the down load from Harvest Rigjt. Call them or email them and they will send you the link. You can not use a link from another customer

How long should I put in Jolly Ranchers? On what temperature?

How long should I put in Starburst? On what temperature?

How long should I put in salt water taffy? on what temperature?

Hoe long should I put in skittles? On what temperature?

I posted a couple of replies on JR above. For starburts, i have tried mini and they dont change much but they turn crunchy. salty water taffy is very easy. cut each in 1/4, must be 1/4 or they will take too long to dry to the core. JR and salt water taffy are same, 0 freeze time, 145F candy mode on normal, extra drying time 3.5 hrs. warm tray 5 min.

Yes but they get really big and can make a mess I am going to cut them in half and try them that way because we had a huge mess to clean up

We have tried lemon heads several times with no success.
Would someone mind giving us the temp and times you had them turn out successfully?

i have tried. they dont change much, just more crunchier than what they originally are. I also want to know how other sellers make them so popped open

I just did lemon heads, 0 freeze 145* 2 1/2 -3 hrs dry, warmed trays 20 min and they turned out great. I’ve decided like candies need to be in FD, and not mixed types, JR, lemonheads, did great together.

Wonder if anyone can help. When I put candy in, it puffs up whilst drying but once I turn vacuum off and drain the valve they deflate. Am I doing something wrong?

I know it’s common sense. Wait till the cycle stops. Open the valve. If you’re turning the vacuum off before hand you’re deflating your candies.

Any advice for junior mints in candy mode? I have tried 3 hours, 2 hours and 1 hour but they just come out a melted mess?

My gummy bears and worms are coming out still partly chewy. I heat tray for only 1 minute because that was factory…. Also only dry for 2 hours. How to I make this crispy and airy I do have them in the candy setting at 150° drying.

I have done much searching the net and cannot find anything about FD or not FD nerds. Regular nerds, not the nerd clusters. Can anyone enlighten me?

How is everyone getting such great results in just a few hours? My shortest drying time with gummies and nerd clusters is 8 hours. That’s at 150 on high heat candy mode.

No, do not use o2 absorbers, it’ll cause the candy to become rock hard. Just get rid of all the air you can and put in a moisture absorber if you have them.

I use small oxygen absorbers in my candy and none have gotten rock hard. Maybe it’s because they are smaller they don’t cause that issue.

Do not put 02 absorbers in jars with candy, it will cause it to be rock hard. Just vacuum out the air and put in a moisture absorber.

Nerd clusters should be done in 5 hours, some things take more time, some less. No freezing needed, should be in candy mode if you have it.

I have been scrolling and watching videos for hours. Would anyone be so kind as to share your process for peach gummy rings? I just need specific settings and length of time. I have thrown out so many batches and it’s the number one candy my daughter has requested

I put my machine on candy mode and turned off the freezer, but it still froze the candy. Does heating the try first make it not freeze?

Another candy we’ve had a lot of success with are the Lucky Charms Marshmallows in Candy Mode. 0F Initial, 0h Extra Freeze, Normal, 145F, 2-3h Dry Time, Candy Mode On, Skip the Tray Warming.
The marshmallows are fun to look at (they only puff up a bit which I like), have a nice crunch to them, and work great in hot cocoa!
I’ve also added mini marshmallows to the same batch (as the bottom tray in our medium dryer) and they’ve worked well together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *