How To Freeze Dry Jelly Beans

jelly beans freeze dry description with question

Freeze Dried Candy

Did you know that Jelly Beans were the first candies in space? They were given to Sally Ride and her fellow crewmates on the 1983 Challenger voyage by President Reagan. But in contrast, Jelly Beans are one of the toughest to freeze dry, if not impossible. Let’s see what this candy is all about and why it’s a challenge to freeze dry.

What’s a Jelly Bean?

Aside from being President Reagan’s favorite, this candy attracts so many kids and adults for several reasons. One is that they come in several variations of color that they’re fun to collect in jars or bags. Another is that each color has different flavors, which started from 8 to now more than 100 different flavors.

When Was It Made?

It’s anyone’s guess when and where the candy first came to life. However, some speculate that it was inspired by two things. One is the Turkish Delight, a sweet offering made of jelly covered in powdered sugar or cornstarch. As for the hard shell, the idea came from Jordan Almonds, which are nuts coated with sugar syrup.

What Are They Made Of?

Jelly Beans are made primarily from three simple ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, and cornstarch. These three created a perfect canvas for anyone to play with flavors and colors. Apparently, it’s a success because kids go wild over them, and grownups love them too (even if they deny it).

Why Are They Hard To Freeze Dry?

Ever tried to freeze-dry Jelly Beans, and you end up with a hard-shelled candy with a soft inside? I feel you. So many have been attempting freeze-drying them but end up with a fail.

They tried almost everything. One freeze-dry enthusiast cut them in half but still didn’t get the same success as with gummy bears. Some even extended the freeze-drying time.

That’s because of two reasons:

High Sugar Content

You can say that the jelly center can be part of the reason because jellies have high sugar content. Sugar binds to free water molecules, preventing them from vaporizing. This is why high-sugar fruits, jams, and jellies don’t freeze-dry well. Even if you leave the freeze drier on forever, you’ll still end up with a soft inside.

Tough Covering

Another is the hard outer covering. Ever tried freeze-drying cranberries and blueberries, but you didn’t get great results? It’s either you cut them in half, buzz them in the food processor, or poke holes in them to make it work. It’s the same with Jelly Beans. These candies are made to last for months in a jelly state. This means moisture will stay inside the candy for a long time because the shell prevents water from escaping.

Wait if cutting or poking holes on fruits work, why won’t it work on Jelly Beans? That’s because of the high sugar content. You see where we’re going here?

Is It A Good Idea To Freeze-Dry Jelly Beans?

I would probably pass on freeze-drying this one. It’s been made to last longer than your typical candy, so it would be a challenge to preserve this even more.

Still, that won’t make me try experimenting with my freeze drier and see if I can be successful in this. We’ll let you know whatever the outcome would be, either through here or through my YouTube channel. Stay tuned!


If there’s any candy you’ll have fun freeze drying, Skittles take the top tier of freeze-dried favorites. These little balls of sugary goodness puff up to interesting shapes, making them fun to eat. Some even prefer the freeze-dried version over the original because it’s lighter, cruncher, and have a deeper flavor.

Salt Water Taffy

This is such a fun candy to freeze dry for several reasons. One is that they expand like crazy! You have to cut them in half or quarters to give them room to grow. Another is that they have a different array of colors that make it satisfying to look at in a jar of a treat bag. And once you got them freeze dried, gone is the teeth-pulling, filling-removing sticky chewiness. What you get is a crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth burst of flavor like cotton candy.

Gummy Bears

Now you may be wondering why you can freeze dry Gummy Bears but not Jelly Beans. They don’t have that tough outer cover, and they don’t have that high sugary content. So when you freeze-dry these babies, you get a satisfying transformation that’s fun to watch on timelapse. The flavors intensify, and they become lightweight, and crunchy. Flavors also become sweeter and richer.

Fun Facts About Jelly Beans

  • There are two “holidays” that celebrate the candy in the US. One is the National Jelly Bean Day on April 22. The other is Jump For Jelly Beans Day on July 31.
  • Ronald Reagan chewed on them like crazy to help him stop his smoking addiction.
  • The hard shell and soft inside are results of a process called panning.
  • Approximately 16 billion Jelly Beans are made each year just for Easter.

Have you tried freeze drying Jelly Beans? If you had, share with us your experience. Whether it’s a success story or a fail story, we don’t mind. We’re here to learn how to freeze dry! Sharing valuable experiences can help improve our techniques and help everyone devise a solution to food scarcity.

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