Sherbet Lemon
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Sherbet Lemon (History, Marketing & Pictures)

Sherbet Lemons are a variation of a lemon drop candy that is slightly sour and has a fizzy center. Lemon candies were more popular back when candies were used to deliver medicine. This was one of the flavorings that could cover up a lot of different bad-tasting ingredients that were meant to make you feel better. Lemon drops were one of the original confectionery items that were used for medicinal products, and it took some years for these sweets to be sold just to be enjoyed as candy.

Sherbet Lemons have experienced some more recent fame because they were mentioned in the Harry Potter series, which caused many Americans to wonder what they were. While not exactly the same as a lemon drop, this was a frame of reference for American candy lovers trying to figure out what they might be missing out on. Sherbet Lemons can be purchased through online sellers these days, which gives those who were wondering what Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore were talking about a chance to find out what this candy is like.

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Sherbet Lemon


The lemon drop is a very classic and basic candy that has been around for a very long time. This candy might be a bit sweet with a tangy sourness to it, and it is often a hard candy that might have a hard or soft center. This kind of candy is made by boiling sugar, water, and cream of tartar until it reaches the hard crack stage. The most famous instance of this candy in the US is Lemonhead Candy, but this was a sweet that arrived in the 60s, much after the early years when the lemon drop was common for medicinal use.

As the mix cools off, the lemon flavor is added to the candy mixture. The candy is cut into ropes and rolled in sugar, which creates the final product. In the case of classic Sherbet Lemons, the center of the candy is slightly fizzy, which makes them a favorite of those who love sour candies with this kind of feature. Lots of sour candies now have this kind of fizzy center, but when Sherbet Lemons were first made, this was the only candy that offered this unique note.

Sherbet flavoring is actually originally from Persia. This was usually a flavoring that was confined to drinks in Persia when it was first invented. When Sherbet Powder was first invented in the 19th century, it was used to flavor malts and other soda shop recipes. This was a bit before soda was uniformly fizzy, so this additive made every item it was added to a bit fizzy. This Sherbet Powder product is what is contained inside Sherbet Lemons.

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There are variations of this classic candy sold in the UK that might be flavored, like strawberry, lime, blackcurrant, and other fruits. The Sherbet Lemon is still the favorite of the varieties that are offered, and the sharp and lemony taste of these candies is really unique when compared to other candies in the same family that hail from other countries. The fizzy center is probably the primary difference between this sweet and others in the same family, and if you love sour candies, these will be the things that make you love this candy.

The foundational candy that probably gave rise to the Lemon Drop and the Sherbet Lemon was the Salem Gibraltar. This candy was first sold in 1806, and it was one of the first efforts to make candy for the sake of taste and not for medicinal use. Lozenges were considered a brand-new technology at this point, and it might be that doctors and companies making lozenges had not yet realized that this kind of candy could disguise the taste of medicinal powders and substances.

Candies like the Sherbet Lemon came into their own when children could finally afford to buy handfuls of sweets from the local candy store. Penny candies were very common by the 20s and 30s and only increased in popularity in the 40s. When the sugar rationing of WWII was over, lots of new candies hit the market, and kids were thrilled to enjoy them in vast quantities. The dangers of sugar for health were not known at the time, and many brands even claimed that their sugary products were great for health.

Many candy bar products were originally sold as complete meals. This seems insane to modern candy lovers, but the gap in knowledge about the health effects of sugar was not to be disclosed until the late 70s. Since candies had originally been used to deliver medicine, many people just viewed candies as a fairly healthy product that was safe to eat in large quantities.

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While you might have to order your Sherbet Lemons from the UK to enjoy them in the US, this is a fairly simple process these days. You can enjoy this classic sweet if you know where to track it down. This is a really unique candy type if you have never had any food items with Sherbet Powder in them, either. You might even find that Sherbet Lemons are your new favorite sweet that will replace all the other lemony and sour candies that are your current favorites.


From the Universal Yums entry for Bassetts Sherbet Lemons:

  • Sugar
  • Glucose Syrup
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Tricalcium Phosphate
  • Natural Flavors
  • Turmeric (Color)

Some of the vendors that sell these treats state that there might be milk included in certain recipes. This is a general overview of the recipe, but there are various brands that make this kind of product, and they do all offer some slight variations in their recipe. The shape of the lozenges can be somewhat different between brands as well. Some of the Sherbet Lemons are more round in shape, while others are more oval. Some brands also make their lozenges thicker as well. This usually means that there is more fizzy powder at the center of the treat.


Serving Size:1 sweet (6.4g)% Daily Value*
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Calories 25
Total Fat0g0%
Saturated Fat0g0%
Total Carbohydrates6.1g2%
Protein 0g
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Since there are various companies that make this treat, there are many flavor variations that you might be able to enjoy when you are shopping through Sherbet Lemons products. Some of the varieties of this candy might not remind you a lot of the original lemon varieties, so you might want to order one of each if you are going to be looking for variations of this treat.

It is worth it to give the lemon version a fair trial before you assume that it will be too tart for your taste. This is a candy that is a lot different from other lemony candies that are sold in US markets. You might love the Sherbet Lemon flavor when compared to the kinds of lemon flavoring that are used in products in the US.

  • Pear Drops
  • Blackcurrant
  • Rhubarb & Custard
  • Strawberry
  • Lime
  • Raspberry
  • Orange
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There are so many more combinations of flavors that various brands offer, but this shows you just how many kinds of different flavor options are out there to try if you want to try something besides the traditional lemon. Diehard fans are always going to tell you that the lemon is the best option of all, but maybe you are not a lemon fan, and you want to try this kind of candy.

What is the Center of a Sherbet Lemon Like?

Many people say that the center of this candy reminds them of Pop Rocks without the crackling sensation. This is probably only an approximation for most people, however. There is something softer and more subtle about the fizzy center of this candy that is more like if Pixy Stix were fizzy.

For those who like Lemonhead candy, this is probably a good approximation for the outside of the candy with the previous two candies combined in the center. You can see why it might be hard to explain this candy to someone who has never tried it. The best solution is always to just order some and try them, so you know what they are like. These are candies that somewhat defy explanation which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Sherbet Lemons in Popular Culture

The most famous pop culture reference for this candy is the aforementioned mention of the sweet in Harry Potter. Albus Dumbledore told Harry that he had a fondness for this sweet, and they were briefly described in the books. This sparked a lot of interest in the candy in the US, which has led to sales on sites like Amazon.

There have also been various mentions of the treats in older movies when these candies would have been more common and familiar to small children and adults alike. This candy might not have been named specifically, but they are likely the candies that are handed out to characters in various black and white movies.


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A recipe to make this treat at home:

How the candy is made:

A taste test:

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