Fizzy Sherbet Powder Candy Recipe

Lollypop covered in powder

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Sherbet powder is a sweet powder that fizzes on the tongue. It's also called sherbet soda, kali, or keli. The usual way to eat it is to dip a finger, lollipop, or licorice whip into the powder. If you live in the right part of the world, you can purchase Dip Dab sherbet powder in a store or online. It's also super easy to make yourself, plus it's an educational science project.


  • 6 teaspoons citric acid powder or crystals
  • 3 tablespoons sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • 4 tablespoons (or more, adjust to taste) icing sugar or sweetened powdered drink mix (e.g., Kool-Aid)

Substitutions: There are several possible ingredient substitutions that will produce fizzy carbon dioxide bubbles.

  • You can mix-and-match citric acid, tartaric acid, or malic acid for the acidic ingredient.
  • You can use sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), baking powder, sodium carbonate (washing soda), and/or magnesium carbonate as the basic ingredient.
  • The sugar or flavoring is up to you, but it's worth knowing most flavored drink mixes contain an acidic ingredient, so if you can't find any of the acids, you can simply combine a flavored drink mix that contains one of the acidic ingredients with any of the basic ingredients. 
  • The ratio of the ingredients is not critical. You can adjust the recipe to add more sugar, a sugar substitute, or a different amount of acidic and basic ingredients. Some recipes call for a 1:1 mix of acidic and basic components, for example.

Make Fizzy Sherbet

  1. If your citric acid comes as large crystals rather than as a powder, you may wish to crush it with a spoon.
  2. Mix together these ingredients.
  3. Store sherbet powder in a sealed plastic bag until you're ready to use it. Exposure to moisture starts the reaction between the dry ingredients, so if the powder gets damp before you eat it, it won't fizz.
  4. You can eat it as-is, dip a lollipop or licorice into it, or add the powder to water or lemonade to make it fizz.

How Sherbet Powder Fizzes

The reaction that makes sherbet powder fizz is a variation of the baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction used to make the classic chemical volcano. The fizzy lava in the baking soda volcano forms from the chemical reaction between sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and acetic acid (in vinegar). In fizzy sherbet, sodium bicarbonate reacts with a different weak acid -- citric acid. The reaction between the base and the acid produces carbon dioxide gas bubbles. These bubbles are the "fizz" in sherbet. 

While the baking soda and citric acid react slightly in the powder from the natural humidity in the air, exposure to water in saliva allows the two chemicals to react much more easily, so much more carbon dioxide fizz is released when the powder gets damp.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Fizzy Sherbet Powder Candy Recipe." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 26). Fizzy Sherbet Powder Candy Recipe. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Fizzy Sherbet Powder Candy Recipe." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2023).