Old-Fashioned Divinity Recipe

4.56 from 9 votes

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Light as air, divinity is a sweet and creamy Southern candy, a popular holiday treat. This old-fashioned divinity candy recipe is easy to follow with time-tested tips and tricks for your success!

A pile of divinity with pecan halves on top on a red plate.


 

Ever since my mother-in-law taught me how to make divinity 10+ years ago, it has become my favorite holiday treat!

Every year, I whip up a batch and share the treat with her.

It brings fun memories of us making them together with her hand-held electric mixer, almost burning the motor as the mixer started to heat-up and smell of burn.

What is divinity?

Divinity is a classic southern Christmas treat made of egg whites, sugar and corn syrup.

It has melt-in-your-mouth soft and fluffy texture, sweet and creamy taste. The name says it all. It’s divine!

Nothing brings holiday cheer quite like old-fashioned divinity. 

2-tiered serving platter of colored divinity on top and classic pecan divinity on the bottom.

Key Ingredient Notes:

  • Sugar – You’ll need granulated sugar for this recipe. It’s one of the main components of the recipe, and there’s no substitution for it.
  • Corn syrup is another key ingredient for proper set. Sometimes, you can substitute honey or maple syrup for cornstarch.
  • Egg whites – Be sure to keep the egg whites away for any form of fat/grease/yolk. Or you won’t be able to beat into a nice meringue.
  • Vanilla – In vintage recipe, you might see it’s advised to use clear imitation vanilla to keep its bright and white color. But I’m a passionate advocate for pure vanilla extract. In my experience, it doesn’t affect the color as much!
  • Pecans are classic add-in in divinity candy. But walnuts are also a popular option.
Divinity ingredients.

How to make divinity candy recipe:

1. Make sugar syrup

  • In a heavy-bottomed medium (2qt) saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup and cook the mixture on low heat, stirring continuously until sugar is dissolved.
  • Once the sugar is fully dissolved, turn the heat up to medium high and continue to cook the mixture without stirring until it reaches 250°F on candy thermometer.
  • As the syrup approaches 240°F, start whipping the egg whites.
Side by side images of hot sugar syrup in a saucepan with thermometer at 250F and whipping egg whites.

2. Make the divinity

  • In a large mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until hard peaks form.
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly and continuously pour the hot syrup mixture in to the egg whites.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Increase the mixer to high speed and continue to beat the mixture until it loses its gloss and holds its shape, about 15 minutes. Check the consistency after 15 minutes. If the mixture is stilly runny and shiny, beat for another 5 minutes and check again.
Side by side images of adding hot syrup into whipped egg whites in a stand mixer.

Tip

Divinity is ready for shaping once the mixture is thick and no longer glossy, it slowly falls into a ribbon and holds its shape too.

Side by side images of not ready divinity batter and ready batter.

3. Shape and set the candies

  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spray 2 spoons with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Using the buttered spoons, drop a spoonful of divinity mixture onto the prepared sheet.
  • Let the candies set at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
Side by side images of shaping divinity with 2 spoons.

Tip

As soon as divinity batter is ready, work quickly to shape the divinity candies right away.

Divinity Tips for Success:

  • Wait for a dry day to make divinity, because sugar attracts water from humidity. And it takes longer for the mixture to reach proper consistency and candies take longer to set. If it’s a humid day or raining , you better put it off for another day.
  • stand mixer and a thermometer are your best friends in making these sweet confections. Because it takes a long time to beat the mixture, hand-held mixers are just not powerful enough and you may burn the motor of your mixer. A thermometer is a must in divinity-making affair. If the syrup isn’t cooked to hard ball stage, your divinity won’t set, and that’d be sad.
  • Be patient. It does take a fair amount of whipping to get that perfectly matte batter, even with a stand mixer.
Side by side images of classic pecan divinity and red and green divinity.

Why stand mixer is necessary for making divinity?

Your grandma probably made this candy by hand, but there’s just no way I can whip this batter by hand for 15+ minutes!

It’s also super easy (…and much safer) to beat the egg whites in a stand mixer while pouring hot sugar mixture, unless you have a helper.

Even if you have someone there to help you, it’s 100 times easier to have the mixer do all the mixing and your job is to watch the process, because otherwise it’s quite a workout!

Divinity Variations:

You can make lots of variations by mixing in different adds-ons.

  • You can chop up the pecans and mix it into the batter.
  • You can use walnuts, or even black walnuts, too.
  • Mini chocolate chips or mint chocolates are also a great additions.
  • Maraschino divinity is another classic!
  • And last but not least, colored divinity! Play around with food coloring to add a fun holiday twist. Smear red and green strips inside a piping bag and then add the divinity mixture. Then pipe the divinity and swirl into whatever shape your heart desires.
Side by side images of making colored divinity with a piping bag.

Storing Tips:

Once the divinity candies are set, place them in an airtight container with parchment paper in between layers and store a cool, dry place for up to 1 week.

FAQs:

What is divinity made of?

Divinity is made of egg whites, sugar and corn syrup. Optional add-ons are pecans/walnuts and vanilla or other extracts for flavoring.

What is the difference between divinity and meringue?

Although both made of similar ingredients, divinity and meringue have very different textures.
Divinity is fudge or nougat-type of candy made with hot sugar syrup that’s cooked till 250°F.
Meringue, on other hand, is crispy and sweet cookies, and is made of whipped egg whites with sugar, or sugar syrup that’s cooked till 240°F.

Why stand mixer is necessary for making divinity?

Your grandma probably made this candy by hand, but there’s just no way I can whip this batter by hand for 15+ minutes!
It’s also super easy (…and much safer) to beat the egg whites in a stand mixer while pouring hot sugar mixture, unless you have a helper.
Even if you have someone there to help you, it’s 100 times easier to have the mixer do all the mixing and your job is to watch the process, because otherwise it’s quite a workout!

A pile of divinity with pecan halves on top on a red plate.
4.56 from 9 votes

Old-Fashioned Divinity

Light as air, divinity is a sweet and creamy Southern candy, a popular holiday treat. This old-fashioned divinity candy recipe is easy to follow with time-tested tips and tricks for your success!
Prep: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 25 candies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (120ml) light corn syrup
  • ½ cup (120ml) water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pecan halves

Instructions 

To make the syrup:

  • In a heavy-bottomed medium (2qt) saucepan, mix together sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook the mixture on low heat, stirring continuously until sugar is dissolved.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up to medium high and continue to cook the mixture without stirring until it reaches 250°F on thermometer.

To make divinity batter:

  • As the syrup approaches 240°F, start whipping the egg whites.
  • In a large mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until hard peaks form.
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly and continuously pour the hot syrup mixture in to the egg whites.
  • Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Increase the speed to high and continue to beat the mixture until it loses its gloss and holds its shape, about 15 minutes. Check the consistency after 15 minutes. If the mixture is stilly runny and shiny, beat for another 5 minutes and check again.

To shape and set:

  • Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper and spray 2 spoons with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Using the buttered spoons, drop a spoonful of divinity mixture onto the prepared sheet.
  • Push a pecan half on top of each divinity. Alternatively, you may chop the pecans into smaller pieces and stir them into the divinity batter.
  • Let the divinity set at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: Feel free to chop up pecans and stir it into the batter. You may also add walnuts, pecans, pistachios, chocolate chips, etc.
To make colored divinity, prepare a piping bag with large round tip and draw a few alternating lines with red and green gel food coloring inside the piping bag. Then transfer the divinity mixture into prepared piping bag and pipe out 2-inch swirls on prepared sheet.
To store: Once the divinity candies are set, place them in an airtight container with parchment paper in between layers and store at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can also freeze them in airtight container for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 83kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 5mg, Sugar: 21g, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

This recipe was originally published on December 18th, 2013.

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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88 Comments

  1. Thank you for your wonderful variations of divinity candies! Also for making it simple, without all the blah, blah, blah!

  2. I tried three times, varying time to whip whites, lowering hard boil temp, nothing worked as they set up too quickly each time and weren’t smoothe. Tasted great, moist inside but set up on outside too quickly, advice accepted!

    1. Hi, Kathy! I’m not sure what you mean by “not smooth”. I don’t think divinity is supposed be smooth. If you look at my divinity photos, they have kind of
      “spiky” texture. But they’re smooth on the tongue. My only advise is to shorten the beating time slightly if you don’t want to set too quickly.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. The flavor and texture are amazing. I didn’t have to stir nearly as much as stated in recipe but I knew what texture to look for. I will definitely be making these again.

  4. I tried it for the last two years with someones recipe, Now I will try yours. It looks much more understandable.