Oil Test

This experiment was invented by Loralee Leavitt. Please do not copy, sell, post, publish, or distribute all or any part of this material without the author's permission. Instead, feel free to link to this website, and to contact me with questions.

If you thought your candy was all sugar, think again.  Many chewy candies also contain oil. 

Waxy oil spots on a melted, cooled Starburst

To see the oil for yourself, try this:

What you need:

  • Starburst
  • Microwave
  • Microwaveable plate
What to do:
  1. Unwrap the Starburst and place it on the plate.
  2. Microwave the Starburst until it turns liquid and bubbly, about one minute (depending on your microwave).  Watch to make sure you don't heat the candy too long and burn it.  Caution--HOT!
  3. As the Starburst cools, look for shiny spots on top.  This is the melted oil. 
  4. When it's completely cool, the oil will harden into whitish spots (like wax). Scrape them off and rub them between your fingers to feel the oil.
What's happening:
Starburst candy contains almost 10% hydrogenated palm kernel oil.  When you microwave it, the oil melts and separates from the sugar.

From the book Candy Experiments by Loralee Leavitt


  1. I never knew that candy sometimes contains oil.

  2. Candy experiments have led me to discover all sorts of interesting things about sweets I always took for granted. Many kinds of candy contain oil, such as Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls, and even Skittles.

    1. i was wondering if i could use this idea for an science fair

  3. Yes, you may use the idea as long as you cite my website. Thank you for asking, and let me know how it goes!


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