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This licorice recipe is easy and tastes so much better than any black licorice you buy from a store! This Homemade Salty Black Licorice uses involves brown rice syrup for sweetness and molasses for color – no black food coloring because, who needs it!? It’s a lovely black without it. A perfect treat, party favor or edible gift idea.

Salty Black Licorice wrapped individually

In the summer of my eleventh year, I went to spend a week with my best friend Mary. To my dismay, her family had moved to another town and limited our time together to holiday breaks and summer vacations.

During the week, we had our fill of mischief (almost): getting into several arguments over important things like lyrics to Linda Ronstadt songs, running from her terrifying geese (maybe that was just me), and swimming in the creek behind her house which we called ‘sliming’. The creek wasn’t exactly pristine.

But what I really remember about that visit was the jar of black jelly beans that she’d saved for me, picked out carefully from among the flavors that she liked. This was an especially thoughtful gesture as sugar of all sorts was contraband in her house.

She’d saved them for me because she thought they tasted terrible, but no matter.

Black licorice is one of those divisive flavors, like cilantro and gin. People seem to love it or hate it.

I’m solidly in the love it camp.


I hadn’t thought much about making my own until I saw this post from Christina of Dessert for Two (recipe here). It looked so easy and delicious, I had to give it a try. It fits both of those adjectives, and now I can’t imagine buying the store bought version. I think I’ll even save a piece or two for Mary – you never know.

This makes a soft, chewy licorice. If you prefer a firmer texture, heat the mixture longer, until it reaches between 260 – 265 °F  (like the original recipe from Saveur Magazine). In this version, I made a few changes: swapped in heavy cream for the condensed milk, brown rice syrup for the dark corn syrup, and omitted the black food dye. I also added in kosher salt and finished the little bites with flaky Maldon salt because the only thing better than black licorice is salty black licorice.

Homemade Salty Black Licorice

4.60 from 10 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Calories: 40
Servings: 36 licorice bites
Special Equipment: You’ll need a candy thermometer, a loaf pan, and some parchment paper. This recipe makes a soft, chewy licorice. If you want firmer texture, allow the mixture to come to between 260 – 265 °F


  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon anise extract
  • flaky sea salt for finishing such as Maldon


  • Line an 9 x by 5 x by 3-inch bread loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing parchment to line sides as well as the bottom.
  • Cut out 36 parchment wrappers, about 3½ inches wide and 2 inches long.
  • Sift the whole wheat flour into a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a narrow, heavy saucepan bring the first 6 ingredients heavy cream through salt) to boil and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, for 20-25 minutes, until the mixture reaches 255°F. (Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature)
  • When the licorice reaches 255°F, remove from heat, stir in whole wheat flour and anise extract. Continue stirring until smooth.
  • Carefully pour licorice over parchment in pan.
  • When the licorice is nearly cool, sprinkle with Maldon or other flaky salt.
  • Cover and refrigerate until cooled completely. Then transfer, with parchment, onto a cutting board.
  • With a lightly oiled, sharp knife cut licorice lengthwise into 6, ½-inch strips. Then cut crosswise into 6, 1 ½-inch strips.
  • Place one strip of licorice on the edge of a parchment wrapper and roll up. Twist ends to seal. Repeat with remaining strips. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.


Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 21mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Mark Vinci says:

    Hello and thank you for this recipe!!
    One small tweak.. the printed directions failed to mention using the butter to grease the pan in any of the steps.
    Thanks again!!
    Mark Vinci

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Mark! My pleasure. Because of the parchment paper, you don’t need to grease the pan.

  2. Mike McIlrath says:

    Is the anise extract a powder or liquid. If it is powder, do you know the conversion quantity if using liquid?

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi there, Mike. I used a liquid extract.

  3. Eva says:

    The recipe looks really interesting and I would love to try it. I plan on making liquorice wands and would need to use a mould for it. Is it possible to reheat, if I do not have enough ‘mould space’?
    Many thanks in advance. 🙂

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi there, Eva. I haven’t tried to reheat this mixture, so I’m not sure. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.