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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. Rich says:

    If you don’t mind the little graininess, I substituted half the flour with unflavored protein powder, to them on long hikes for added nourishment. Also, equal parts 1 1/2(tablespoons each) anise and vanilla, the vanilla gives the anise an extra kick. I heard activated charcoal makes a good blackening but haven’t tried it yet.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thank you for your cooking notes, Rich!

  2. Merja says:

    Have you ever tried to make it Keto?

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I haven’t, Merja. I’m sorry I can’t be more help.

  3. Gen says:

    Hello! My liquorice has turned out a brown colour instead of black – similar to the colour of milk chocolate. Any ideas why? I used pure blackstrap molasses. The mixture came to temperature within 15 min, not sure if makes any difference? I’ve not tasted the liquorice yet as waiting for it to cool, however the wholewheat flour has left ‘bits’ in the mixture. It’s not smooth. Is that expected or should I have used a finer flour?

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi there, Gen! I skipped the black food coloring that makes licorice truly black, so the color you describe is correct. Same goes for the texture of whole wheat flour in the licorice. If you like a smoother texture, you can use whole wheat pastry flour or even all-purpose flour.

  4. Tony says:

    Would you have this recipe in grams? Looking forward to trying this weekend

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Tony! I worked on this for awhile, but ended up concerned that I would steer you wrong. Because I don’t generally work with grams, I’m not confident in the figures I was coming up with with regard to both weight and volume. I recommend consulting a site that you trust for converting each ingredient individually. Truly sorry that I can’t be of more help!

  5. Julia says:

    3 stars
    This recipe made wonderful molasses chews, but I could not taste the licorice. I put in one tablespoon of anise, should I try more next time?

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi there, Julia. I’m sorry that the licorice flavor wasn’t strong enough. Perhaps it’s the brand of anise extract? The potency of extracts varies widely – here is the anise extract that I like best. Hope that helps.

      1. Linda says:

        5 stars
        I found this lovely anise concentrate from France – available on Amazon – it is called Antesite – a really really fine extract. After tasting it I said to myself “I need to make black licorice with this,” and I searched the highest rated licorice recipe which is you. So can’t wait to try.

        1. Marissa Stevens says:

          Hi Linda! I’ll have to check out the extract. Hope you love the licorice!