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What Are Licorice Laces?

Rebecca Harkin
Rebecca Harkin

Laces of licorice are thin strands of licorice candy that look like shoe laces. Licorice laces are prepared by boiling an extract of licorice root while mixing in different flavorings along with artificial colors to match the flavoring. The most common form of this lace candy is black, tasting of the standard licorice flavor, or red, which is usually strawberry flavored. This candy, however, also comes in just about any flavor imaginable. Many consumers of licorice laces enjoy combining several flavors by braiding laces of different flavors together.

Licorice laces are usually about 30 inches (76 cm) long with a diameter of about 1/8 of an inch (0.3 cm). The name "licorice lace" comes from the similarity of this candy to a shoelace string. Most laces are sold in packages of about 10 or 13 laces per package.

Thin strands of black licorice candy.
Thin strands of black licorice candy.

The flavoring and sweetness of most laces of licorice comes from licorice extract, sugar, and molasses. This candy’s substance comes from flour, oil, and often some form of wax. Once the ingredients have been combined in the correct ratio and the optimal consistency has been reached, the licorice substance is forced through an extruder to form the laces. The extruder is similar to a pasta machine, with the licorice dough forced through tiny holes to produce long strings or laces of licorice candy.

Extract from licorice root is used to make candy licorice laces.
Extract from licorice root is used to make candy licorice laces.

The most common types of licorice laces are black and red. This type of candy, however, can also come in a variety of other flavors. The alternative flavors for this type of candy are typical fruity, such as raspberry, cherry, and grape. Flavorings for the laces of licorice are matched with an appropriate color that suggests the flavor of the lace. For example, blue raspberry laces are bright blue colored, cherry laces are red colored, and grape laces are purple colored.

Many people who love licorice laces enjoy mixing the different flavors to make unique tastes. This is usually done by braiding the different flavored laces of licorice together before eating them. Many candy stores offer a package of licorice laces that contains all the different flavors available. This allows consumers to taste different and new flavors before they buy a package of just one flavor.

Laces of licorice don’t have to be just eaten; they are also good decorations for food. Their flexibility and availability in a variety of colors has made laces of licorice a popular accent used by bakers on their sweet creations. Licorice laces can be used as whiskers on a bunny- or cat-shaped cake, as tails on a mouse-shaped cookie, or as the garland on a Christmas tree–shaped cookie.

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Discussion Comments


I grew up eating licorice laces, in the original flavor and other flavors like strawberry. Unfortunately, the type of lace candy that was made when I was a child is no longer around. There are various licorice lace candies sold at candy stores and online but they don't taste like the ones I had as a child. Moreover it's difficult to find good quality licorice lace candies that are also fresh. I've been disappointed quite a few times due to lace candies that are not fresh.


@turquoise-- The ingredients used to make soft licorice candies are mostly the same. It's just the shapes and sizes that vary.

Licorice sticks are soft stick candies made with licorice. Sometimes stick candy and twist candy are used interchangeably. But stick candies may be round or flat instead of having a twist shape. Twist licorice candies have a twisted appearance. Sometimes the twists can be peeled into laces and sometimes they can't. It depends on the manufacturer and how the candy was made. Licorice laces may also be sold ready made in lace form so that you don't have to peel them.

You may want to try the different types to find out which you like best. I personally like the laces because they are more fun to eat. I also think that I eat less of the candy that way.


What are the differences between licorice sticks, licorice twists and licorice laces? They seem like they're the same thing, so why the different names?

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    • Thin strands of black licorice candy.
      By: Orlando Bellini
      Thin strands of black licorice candy.
    • Extract from licorice root is used to make candy licorice laces.
      By: Hayati Kayhan
      Extract from licorice root is used to make candy licorice laces.