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Invert Sugar Syrup

Finally I decided to make Invert Sugar Syrup. Wait! But what is Invert Sugar?


A lot of recipes such Homemade Marshmallows, Candies, Caramels, Peppermint Patties use corn syrup. I wanted to try and use something that is not so heavily processed. But yielding the same results. I’ve heard of invert sugar but I thought it was too complicated to make so I never looked it up. Not until recently.

I was surprised to find out that Invert Sugar Syrup is actually super simple to make. It’s derived from table sugar (sucrose). And to make it you only need 3 ingredients (table sugar, water, acid) and a candy thermometer.


Invert Sugar is a popular sweetener among pastry chefs. It can inhibit or slow down crystallization in candies, toffee, ice cream fudge, icing, ganache, fondant, etc. It is also hygroscopic and can help with keeping baked goods fresher for longer. Also, invert sugar is easier to use to sweeten cold drinks rather than table sugar. And it’s simple enough to make at home using table sugar (sucrose), water and acid (cream of tartar, citric acid or lemon juice).


I had the same question when I first read the recipe. So here is a simple explanation. Basically, table sugar is disaccharide. It’s made of 2 sugar molecules called glucose and fructose. These 2 bond together. And to break up the bond between them a hydrolysis is used (a chemical reaction where water is used). Addition of acid helps to split sucrose (table sugar) into glucose and fructose.


  • Candy Thermometer – to measure correct temperature of syrup
  • Pastry Brush – use to brush down the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals


  • Table Sugar
  • Water
  • Acid – you can use cream of tartar or citric acid. Lemon juice can also be used but I haven’t tried it.

Cream of Tartar is a powder and Citric Acid is granulated.

Into a non-reactive pan (I used 3qt/3liter stainless steel pan) add water, cream of tartar or citric acid and granulated sugar.

Stir well to combine. Heat the mixture on low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. You can check wooded spoon for traces of crystals or rub the mixture between your fingers. If you feel grainy texture cook for a little longer to dissolve all of the sugar. To dissolve this amount of sugar can take 10 minutes or so at low heat.

Once all of the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium and stop stirring. Bring mixture to boil.

At this stage there will most likely be sugar crystals on the sides of the pot. You need to wash these down with a pastry brush dipped in water. Or alternatively cover the pan with a lid for 2 minutes and let the steam and condensation to wash them down.

Attach a candy thermometer onto the pan and continue cooking syrup. Again if you notice any sugar crystals on the sides brush it with the pastry brush dipped in water. It’s important to dissolved any sugar crystals. If left behind will later it will cause a chain reaction and crystallization will occur.

Cook sugar syrup till it reaches a Soft Ball Stage (236-240F). It took about 60 minutes to make the invert sugar syrup from start to finish.

Remove pan with syrup from the heat. And cover pan with a lid and let cool to room temperature.


This recipe makes about 4 cups of invert sugar syrup. I pour the cooled syrup into 2-pint jars. Then I placed a food wrap to seal the top. And I closed the jar with a lid. Store the invert sugar in the refrigerator. It keeps for at least six months. The syrup will thicken in the fridge. It will harden in the fridge, so you must microwave it to make it pourable.


Invert syrup thickens as it cools and even more once refrigerated. As a matter of fact don’t be surprised to find it solid hard when you take it out of the fridge. When I first took it out of the fridge I could barely make a dent in it with a spoon. Solution? You can either let it sit at room temperature until it softens or I actually microwaved it in 10 second intervals until it was somewhat pourable.


Yes. Invert Sugar and Corn Syrup are very similar. They are both sweet and very smooth. Both also work as crystallization inhibitors. And they can help prevent or slow down crystallization in candies, toffee, ice cream fudge etc. I’ve used it to make Thick Caramel and Homemade Marshmallows with no issues. You can also use it in cakes and cookies to prolong their shelf life.

Even though Invert Sugar and Corn Syrup are very similar there is a considerable difference in sweetness. Invert Sugar is sweeter than Corn Syrup. So small adjustments have to be made to the recipe or your finished product can be overly sweet.




Pouring cooled invert sugar into a pot.
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5 from 1 vote

Invert Sugar Syrup

Makes little about 4 cups of syrup
Serving size 1/4 cup, depending on a recipe
Course Cake, Dessert, Drinks, Frosting, Ice Cream
Cuisine American, French
Keyword invert sugar, inverted sugar syrup, sugar syrup
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling 3 hours
Servings 16
Author Hani Bacova


Invert Sugar Syrup (imperial)

  • 4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar or citric acid

Invert Sugar Syrup (metric)

  • 1 kg granulated sugar
  • 480 ml water
  • 1 gram cream of tartar or citric acid


Invert Sugar Syrup

  • Into a non-reactive pan pour water (2cup/480ml), add granulated sugar (4cups+6tbsp/1kg) and cream of tartar or citric acid (1/4tsp/1gram). Stir well.
  • Heat the mixture on low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. You can check if sugar is dissolved by rubbing the mixture between your fingers. Or stir with a wooden spoon and check for any sugar crystals on the spoon. If they are still sugar crystals, continue cooking until dissolved.
  • Once sugar is dissolved, STOP STIRRING and increase the heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a boil. On the sides of the pan, you'll notice some of the sugar crystals stuck to the sides. This is normal. Brush the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water. Don't dip the brush in the syrup. Alternatively, you can cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes and let the condensation wash away any residual sugar crystals on the sides.
  • While boiling, attach a candy thermometer and cook until the thermometer reaches Soft Ball Stage (236F/114C). Once it reaches this temperature, remove the pan from the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let cool completely.


  • Invert Syrup thickens as it cools. Pour it into a glass jar or other container that you can seal well. I used 2 pint canning jars. Then cover the top with a food wrap and close with a lid. Store in the fridge. It keeps at least 6 months.


  • HOW TO USE INVERT SUGAR SYRUP? The syrup becomes firm in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before using. I’ve been microwaving it in 10-second intervals until pourable.
  • HOW TO MEASURE INVERT SYRUP? – 1/4 cup of inverted syrup is approximately  85 grams. I use a digital scale it.
  • WHAT DOES INVERT SUGAR TASTE LIKE? – Invert sugar is sweet , it has a very smooth texture and it’s sweeter than corn syrup.
  • CAN INVERT SUGAR BE USED IN PLACE OF CORN SYRUP? –Yes. Invert Sugar and Corn Syrup are very similar. They are both sweet and very smooth. Both also work as crystallization inhibitors. Invert Sugar and Corn Syrup help prevent or slow down crystallization in candies, toffee, ice cream fudge, etc. I’ve used it to make Thick Caramel and Homemade Marshmallows with no issues. However, there is a considerable difference in sweetness. Invert Sugar is sweeter than Corn Syrup. So minor adjustments have to be made, or final product will be too sweet.

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  1. First of all, thank you for posting this! I have so many recipes that have called for this and I’ve always just subbed corn syrup as I didn’t want to buy a big amount from my suppliers. I never looked up a recipe for it because I had no idea you could actually make it. I figured, like corn syrup, it was just something you had to purchase. I’m excited to try this out the next time I run into a recipe that calls for it!

  2. Hello 👋🏻
    I’ve been making icecream at home lately without a churner, so needed a lot of condensed milk.

    Now condensed milk needs a lot of milk so that was getting expensive for me, so I decided to try one with corn syrup.

    Now I didn’t wanna buy it cos that eliminates the purpose of making icecream at home, that is, all homemade, so I decided to diy it.

    Well, this afternoon I tried a recipe-
    1 cup sugar,3/4cup water and 1/4tsp citric acid.

    After it cooled off, I chugged the syrup in freezer to see weather it’ll freeeze up. Sadly, it did. Rock hard frozen. Now I’m glad I did this before mixing it with some cream for icecream but I request you to help me here pls.

    I was very happy that I syrup got ready in like 10mins 🤣 but was suspicious of it having a dark oil like . Well I guess I ended up cooking the sugar too much maybe? On high heat thinking it’ll be ready quicker 😅

    Am I right? Would love your input here. I’ll try your recipe maybe tonight after dividing it by 4. Also my syrup was tangy and now I know y too. Ur using a 1/4tsp citric for 4 cups sugar while I used it for 1 😂😂 oh my

    1. HI Lily,
      how did the ice cream turn out? Yes, it’s 1/4 teaspoon. When invert sugar syrup cools it becomes very thick.
      I store it in the fridge. Before using I gently re-heat it in the microwave just until pourable (5-second intervals)

      1. Hi

        At room temperature in a sealed jar. It’s fine for a week or so and then starts to crystalise.

        Kind regards

  3. Thanks for posting the recipe; it is nice to know I can make this.

    You can buy plastic lids for canning jars at the hardware store, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon

  4. I just made this yesterday and I don’t think it’s crystallized? I see a lot of people saying theirs did next day. I used it for a macaron ganache filling, going to test out today! So excited!! Thank you for this well-written, easy to follow recipe!

    1. Hi Maira,
      I’m glad it worked for you. Thanks for stopping by.
      When I make it, I keep it well covered in the fridge, usually I have very little issues with crystallization

  5. Although i did not use your recipe but chanced upon reading your article as i search on storage of inverted sugar. Please allow me to add that this worked with lemon juice which i used. Great article by the way xo

  6. Is this more like a glucose? Most inverted sugars I’ve used like trimoline or nevuline are much more grainier. I’ve had to use in some recipes both glucose and trimoline.? Just curious. About the science behind it. Thank you

    1. Hi Jacquie,

      Yes, it’s silky smooth.

      I’m surprised your trimoline (inverted sugar, invert sugar syrup) was grainy. I wonder if it was crystallized?

      Glucose syrup is very similar to trimoline and is often suggested as substitute.

      Trimoline also has some emulsifying properties and Glucose syrup has thickening properties.

      Glucose syrup and corn syrup are not always a good substitute for invert sugar. Mostly yes, but it depends on the recipe.

  7. Hi Hani – I made some invert sugar yesterday – however I think I added a little bit too much citric acid – the mixture is quite solid. I can microwave it – do you think it will be still usable?

    1. Hi Stefanie,
      did you refrigerate? It becomes very thick once it’s refrigerated. I just microwave it in 5 second intervals until it’s more pliable, usually 2 5 second intervals are enough or 3-5 sec. Then it should be easier to spoon or pour it out.Keep me posted how it goes. I just love how smooth it. 🙂

      1. Question for using it to keep moisture in baked goods. Do you substitute it for all of the sugar in a recipe, or just replace a portion of the sugar with invert? I’ve read that it’s sweeter, and if you’re replacing all the sugar you would use 80% of the weight of the original. But I’m mostly just trying to keep my Christmas cookies from turning to sad rocks in the time it takes to get mailed places. I’ve been looking for how much sugar to replace with invert sugar and it’s rather difficult to figure out. If you have any ideas or resources for that I would greatly appreciate it.

      2. Hi Candice,
        You don’t want to replace all of the sugar with invert sugar syrup. What kind of cookies are you making?
        To start with I would replace about 2-4% of the total amount of sugar used in your recipe with invert sugar.
        I my recipe for cut out cookies I use about 1 tablespoon (recipe has 200 grams granulated sugar).

  8. Hi Hani, You mention that the Invert syrup is sweeter than corn syrup and adjustment have to be made in recipes. Do you have a ball park figure/conversion rate? Example my caramel recipe calls for 2 cups corn syrup how much would you suggest using inver instead? Thanks!

    1. Hi Robert,
      I usually work with smaller volumes so I usually omit a 1 to 3 tablespoons. With 2 cups I’d say use 15% less and rest add water or other liquid you are using.

  9. Hani – Can or should you use Invert in Royal Icing? Just curious about applications for this. I make chocolates, so I know I can use it there, but will it work in RI? Thanks! LisaMarie

      1. Hello Hani

        I made the invert but scaled it down to a quarter if the recipe. The next day 80% of the jar had totally crystallised with only a couple of teaspoons still liquid! What have I done wrong? Tried three times now, sugar supplies running low locally!! Could it be because I am trying to make a smaller quantity that it is not cooking for long enough?

      2. Hi Kaye,
        I haven’t tried it with the scaled down recipe. When cleaning the sides, do you remember, do you dip the brush into the syrup? I just tested 2 batches:
        first one I dipped the brush in the syrup and 2nd one I just use the lid method, to wash down the sides. Latter one is still clear no crystallization, 3 weeks later. First one crystallized few days later.
        I store in the fridge.

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