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50 Festive Recipes Using Leftover Candy Canes

Recipes using candy canes are the perfect way to use up the leftover Christmas candy even after the festive season ends. From sweet desserts with candy canes to delicious drinks that taste like the festive season.

These leftover candy cane recipes will inspire plenty of fun in the kitchen and peppermint flavoured treats the whole family will love!

Recipes using candy canes - leftover candy canes

What To Do With Leftover Candy Canes?

If your household is anything like ours, you always end up with a load of extra candy canes leftover after Christmas.

Neither of my kids enjoys eating candy canes on their own.

Which is kind of crazy considering both of them bring home a hefty supply every December with Christmas cards from their friends!

In fact, we made our own really cool novelty candy cane cards using their photos instead of a Christmas card for their classmate gifts a couple of years ago, and they turned out great!

So instead of letting those candy canes go to waste, why not get creative with one of these recipes using candy canes instead?

But first, let’s cover a few candy cane essentials!

How Long Do Candy Canes Last?

As candy canes are made from pure sugar, they can last for 1 to 2 years, if stored correctly.

Individually wrapped candy canes will last longer than unwrapped candy canes unless stored in an airtight container.

In hot temperatures, they can be stored in the refrigerator to prolong their life. Find more candy cane storage tips.

How To Crush Candy Canes

There are 2 easy ways to crush candy canes:

  1. Using a food processor
  2. Using a rolling pin or mallet

If using a food processor, simply add your candy canes into the processor and process until they reach the designed consistency.

Be careful not to over-process your candy canes if you want larger chunks for baking and desserts.

Or, the method I prefer, add a couple of candy canes to a zip lock bag, place on a chopping board and smash with a rolling pin or mallet until you have crushed the pieces small enough.

The best part about this method is that there is usually no mess or extra washing up.

Recipes using candy canes

How To Melt Candy Canes

Melting candy canes is similar to melting chocolate and you can use either the stovetop or the microwave.

However take care, because the process is quick and you don’t want to burn your candy canes!

Using the stovetop, bring a saucepan of water to boil (half-filled).

Place a heatproof bowl over the boiling water and add broken candy cane pieces. Stir the candy cane pieces until they begin to melt. Remove before they are completely melted, stirring the remaining pieces.

Alternatively, use a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat in 15-second increments, allowing the last pieces to melt by stirring.

Overheating will result in burnt candy that can’t be salvaged so take care not to overheat them.

For more holiday leftover ideas, make sure you check out these leftover ham recipes and ideas for using leftover turkey too!

Recipes Using Candy Canes That Keep The Festivities Going

If you’re wondering what to do with all those leftover candy canes, these dessert recipes and candy cane drinks are the perfect ways to bring sweet peppermint flavours into your cooking after Christmas (or before) for festive treats everyone can enjoy!

Make sure you also check out my reader favourite – simple rum ball recipe and if you want a fun festive treat that looks great when entertaining, try these white chocolate Christmas trees too!

Candy Cane Desserts & Sweet Treat Recipes

These recipes with candy canes are the perfect way to use up leftovers after Christmas or to create a festive treat to share during celebrations. Many of these also make perfect gifts to give as well.


These delicious drink recipes are a fun way to use leftover candy canes, with beverage recipes for adults only plus plenty of sweet minty drink recipes for the whole family.

After this collection of leftover candy cane recipes and beverages, you may end up rushing to the stores for some post-Christmas sale candy canes just so you can try them all! It’s tempting, right?

Don’t forget to plan your Christmas breakfast with these make-ahead recipe ideas.

Try some of these recipes for your New Years Eve celebrations, along with these simple appetisers for entertaining!

I hope you love these candy cane desserts!

Want more festive leftover ideas?