Valentine Candy Science: Candy Heart Ingredients Experiment

This is a continuation of yesterday’s candy heart investigation. This candy science experiment tests which ingredient in candy hearts reacts with baking soda.

Candy Heart Ingredients Experiment

Valentine Candy Science: Candy Heart Ingredients Experiment

From yesterday’s investigation, we learned that candy hearts react with baking soda and water to produce bubbles. That leads me to today’s experiment. Which ingredient in the candy hearts reacts with baking soda?

By reading the ingredient list, I knew which one was the cause. I thought it would be a fun experiment for kids to determine the answer on their own. I gathered up most of the ingredients listed on the bag. Here is the listed ingredients from the candy hearts we have: sugar, corn syrup, dextrose {another kind of sugar}, gelatin, vegetable gums, citric acid, food coloring. I’ve skipped the gelatin and vegetable gums as I don’t have any on hand. Lemon juice contains citric acid, so we used lemon juice in place of citric acid.


  • containers {we used silicone cupcake liners}
  • baking soda
  • water
  • sugar
  • corn syrup
  • glycerine
  • lemon juice
  • food coloring


  1. Place a teaspoon of each of your candy heart ingredients {sugar, corn syrup, glycerine, lemon juice} into separate containers. Add a drop or two of food coloring to another empty container. {You could test different colors if you wish.}
  2. Add a 1/4 cup of water to each container. {Sometimes things need to be dissolved before they can react.}
  3. Add a 1/4 cup of water to an empty container. {Just to be sure the baking soda won’t react with only water.}
    candy heart ingredients experiment
  4. Make a prediction. What will happen when you add baking soda to the containers?
  5. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of  baking soda to each of the containers.
    candy heart ingredients experiment
  6.  Observe what happens.

You could also add the baking soda to each of the ingredients without adding water and see what happens.

And if your child is like my son, he will continue adding baking soda to each of the containers until there is no more baking soda. Then, he will ask if he can mix everything together. Sure. Why not?

Our Observations

The picture below shows what we observed for each of the candy heart ingredients.

candy heart ingredients experiment

The baking soda only reacted with the lemon juice.  Is this what you expected?

The Science Behind It

Baking soda is a base and lemon juice {citric acid} is an acid. The two ingredients react together much like baking soda and vinegar do producing carbon dioxide, water, and a salt. {The salts produced are different in each reaction.} The bubbles you see are carbon dioxide gas being formed.

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