So I'm able to make my gummy bear recipe just fine. Its just a simple mix of the following:

1/2 Cup water
1/4 Corn Syrup
1 6oz package of Jell-O Brand gelatin
2 packages of gelatin (Out of the four pack boxes)

I'm assuming you know how to make this recipe into bears at this point as this question isn't about the recipe more so the coating. However this recipe is from the ever so popular gummy bear video on YouTube found here


So the bears are made, chilled, came out great. No issues. Except they're definitely not AS clear as the YouTube video, but again not really the point. Taste fine, and are firm.

So, I add a PURE sugar coating, let them sit out for a day, and harden up. They're good to go. Its a solid dry sugar coating similar to sour patch kids, or those little orange or cherry slices you get at the gas station.

However I wanted to create some type of sour coating similar to sour patch kids. I tried buying this product here:


Its Ball Jar brand Citric Acid. I added this to a 1:3 ratio of citric acid to sugar, and then coated my gummy bears. After letting sit out for a day to dry up and harden, i come back to the gummy bears looking wet, sticky, and not easily handled.

I'm wondering if anyone has any advice to solve this problem. Its my first time posting here, so hopefully someone can help. :P

  • Citric acid is extremely water soluble: 147.76 g/100mL (20 °C): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citric_acid It has probably pulled moisture out of your gelatin and gotten itself damp. AFAIK there is no cure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) might be a better choice as it's water solubility runs only around 40g/100ml Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 23:47

4 Answers 4


I've never eaten soft sour candies. Is the sugared coating sour too or just the body of the candy?

The reason your candies became sticky is citric acid is generally sold in the anhydrous form. Citric acid exists in anhydrous and monohydrate forms. In the anhydrous form, it's plain citric acid with no water molecule attached. Monohydrate form has a single water molecule attached to the single citric acid molecule.

The anhyrdous form of citric acid is hygroscopic - which means it attracts and absorbs water from surrounding air. I don't know if there's anything that can be done at this point since anything you tried to dry them (like heating them) would only melt the Gummi bears. And they'd only rehydrate afterward in anything you did that succeeded in driving off the water. It's the nature of citric acid. I use citric acid and keep mine in a glass jar with a tight lid and a few packs of silica gel to absorb moisture and it still tends to clump.

Why not remelt the batch treated with citric acid and make slightly sour ones but coated only with sugar.

  • So how do sour patch kids achieve their sour without becoming all wet inside the package? Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 1:52
  • 1
    It's possible they use citric acid monohydrate as that wouldn’t attract water. I honestly have no idea if consumers can buy citric acid in that form. Every time I bought citric acid, it was the anhydrous form.
    – Jude
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 3:23
  • Interesting. I just read more about citric acid and learned a lot. Thanks. Citric acid monohydrate is easy enough to buy on Amazon but the only one I could find costs about twice as much as the anhydrous. Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 3:58
  • 1
    @Jude If they can't buy it, they can probably make it by adding the right number of moles of water to their anhydrous citric acid, shaking madly, then allowing a few days for things to move to equilibrium. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 23:51
  • 1
    Wikipedia says the anhydrous form is from crystallizing from hot water and the monohydrate form from cold water. Maybe if the anhydrous form was thoroughly dissolved in cold water and then the water left to evaporate...? Or maybe these are the final steps in the commercial synthesizing of citric acid and my idea wouldn't work? I suppose one could try experiment to see..
    – Jude
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 5:21

I’m having the same problem. My gummy worms are turning gel-like within two hours of me coating them with a sugar/citric acid mix. Fumaric acid seems to be the way to go because it’s the least water-soluble and it’s non-hygroscopic. Citric, Malic, and Tartaric are all hygroscopic. Corn Starch prevents them from gelling as bad (when coated w/ citric) but it messes up the feel of them on the outside. I’m ordering a bottle of Fumaric acid today. I’ll let you know how it turns out.enter image description here

Ok it works!!! Gotta use very little sugar if you’re sealing them up for later. If you’re leaving them out then the sugar won’t bother them as much although a non-sugar sweetener will get you completely past this problem. Use one cup of Fumaric acid, and a tablespoon or two of sugar (can go double or triple this with an artificial sweetener). The Fumaric acid doesn’t have an instant sour kick like citric acid so the fact that it’s the primary part of the coating doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds with sourness lol.

  • 1
    Please do come back and report once you have an actual answer - for now, it’s just a guess and may be removed as non-answer. As for all new users, we recommend the tour and the help center as a good introduction to how the site and the Stack Exchange network works. We’ll be happy to help you get started. Welcome and nice photo!
    – Stephie
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 20:58
  • Ok it worked. 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Fumaric acid, a half teaspoon of citric acid. Good sour taste, no melting/gelling/weeping etc. Can add more citric acid but you will run into slight melting problems at a traspoo Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 17:05
  • good! Could you please edit this into your actual answer? Remember - comments are temporary by design here. Thanks!
    – Stephie
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 17:13
  • Where did you get food safe Fumaric acid? Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 19:26

After coating in citric acid/sugar mixture, spread your gummies out on parchment in a single layer and not touching. Allow them to air dry for 12-24 hours, flipping once or twice. This step allows the moisture to desiccate and will result in a firm, semi crunchy, crystallized coating.


For some reason, I always thought alum was used, but guess I was wrong. A few looks around gave different answers, but it seems that different acids are used in cases, citric acids mixed with sugar being one option. Others include malic tartaric acids (food grade only). Malic may be a more stable unless you really want the more lemon like test or citric. Malic is considered a bit more of a sour apple taste.


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