Jelly beans are a type of confectionery that comes in many different (primarily fruit) flavors. They are small (the size of a red kidney bean or smaller) and generally have a hard candy shell and gummy interior. The confection is primarily made of sugar.


The gummy interior of the jelly bean may trace its origins back hundreds of years to Turkish Delight, while the outside shell is essentially the same as that developed in the late 17th century for Jordan Almond candies. The earliest known appearance of the modern jelly bean was during the American Civil War when William Schrafft of Boston promoted sending the candy to soldiers in the Union Army.[1] It was not until 1930 or so that jelly beans became an Easter candy, presumably from their resemblance to Easter eggs[2]..


The basic ingredients of jelly beans include sugars, gelatin, corn syrup, and starch. Relatively minor amounts of the emulsifying agent lecithin, anti-foaming agents, an edible wax such as beeswax, salt, and confectioner's glaze are also included. The ingredients that give each bean its character are also relatively small in proportion and may vary depending on the flavor.


Most jelly beans are sold as an assortment of about eight more or less standard fruit flavors. Assortments of "spiced" jellybeans and gumdrops are also available, which include a similar number of spice and mint flavors. The colors of jelly beans are also more or less standardized, and a fairly typical scheme is shown in the table to the right.

Standard flavors
Color Standard Spiced
Red Cherry Cinnamon
Orange Orange Ginger
Yellow Lemon Clove
Green Lime Wintergreen
Blue Blueberry
Purple Grape
Black Licorice
White Vanilla Mint
Pink Strawberry

Some premium brands, such as Jelly Belly, are available in dozens of different flavors, including berry, tropical fruit, soft drink, popcorn, and novelty ranges in addition to the familiar fruit and spice flavors. While these are also sold as assortments, individual flavors can be individually purchased from distributors. A version of the "Every Flavor Beans" from the Harry Potter series were made commercially available, and included flavors described as earwax, dirt, pepper, and vomit.

There are other candy products which also have a hard candy shell and a gummy interior, such as Skittles. However, these are not marketed as jelly beans and are not typically referred to as such.


In United States slang in the 1910s and early 1920s a "Jelly bean" or "Jellybean" was a young man who made great efforts to dress very stylishly, presumably to attract women, but had little else to recommend him; similar to the older terms dandy and fop and the slightly later drugstore cowboy. However, the word was also used as a synonym for pimp. The term was memorialized in the song, "Jelly Bean (He's a Curbstone Cutie)", kept popular through the 1940s by Phil Harris. It was written by Jimmie Dupre, Sam Rosen, and Joe Verges and published in New Orleans in 1920 by Universal Music Publishers, Inc.

In the semiconductor industry, a "jelly bean" component is one which is widely available, used generically in many applications, and has no very unusual characteristics - as though it might be grabbed out of a jar in handfuls when needed, like jelly beans. For example, the 741 might be considered a jelly bean operational amplifier.


  1. Miller, Jeanna (2002-03-28). "Spring brings jelly bean fever". University Chronicle (University of St. Cloud, Minnesota). Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  2. "History of Jelly Beans" Retrieved on 2008-03-21.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Jelly bean. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.