We Finally Know How Tootsie Rolls Are Made

Those of us who enjoy the occasional Tootsie Roll have likely wondered at some point how this chewy, dense, taffy-esque candy is made. Fortunately, the jig is up, and we no longer need to wonder what exactly goes into the Tootsie Roll candy, as the company has shared its story.

According to the Tootsie Rolls ingredients list, these candies are made with sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, condensed skim milk, cocoa, whey, and soy lectin, as well as both natural flavors and artificial flavors. These ingredients are all melted together into a sticky goo, along with a generous amount of the previous day's batch, so every Tootsie Roll can say it includes part of the original 1908 candy.

The Tootsie goo is then allowed to cool — thickening and solidifying enough to be formed into 13-pound Tootsie logs. The Tootsie logs are gradually thinned to the proper diameter, then cut into bite-sized pieces we know and love as Tootsie Rolls. The classic flavor is vaguely chocolatey, but these candies get their bite and chew from the vast amount of corn syrup that is shipped in every day via train.

Tootsie Rolls have a more complicated flavor than we thought

Although it's easy to say Tootsie Rolls are a chocolate candy, that couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, their ingredients list includes cocoa powder, but it's creamy, melty cocoa butter -– not included in the Tootsie Roll recipe -– that makes a candy really chocolate. Rather, in place of cocoa butter, Tootsie Rolls use palm oil, a cheaper and more readily available source of fat.

To be clear, Tootsie Rolls still take on some flavor from the cocoa powder, but the candy's signature taste also includes notes of caramel and fruit. Interestingly, the caramelly taste (as well as the candy's chewy texture) comes from the 22,000 pounds of corn syrup the Tootsie Roll company receives each day. As for the fruity notes, these particular flavors seem to fall under the general categories of natural and artificial flavors, so it's impossible to know for sure what fruits are used in the original recipe. As such, homemade recipes tend to include ingredients like orange extract to give the candy a citrusy undertone.

Of course, not every Tootsie Roll gives off chocolate orange energy. The company also produces a vanilla-flavored Tootsie Roll without any cocoa, as well as fruit-forward Tootsie Rolls in the flavors blue raspberry, cherry, lemon, lime, green apple, grape, and orange. These flavors' ingredients include malic acid to enhance both fruity and tangy notes and artificial dyes like Red 40.