What is Corn Syrup?

Corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn starch in liquid form. It’s a little less sweet than regular table sugar and can be used in many different ways in the kitchen, like making candy, jams and jellies, frostings, and baked goods.

What Is Corn Syrup

What is Corn Syrup?

Corn syrup is a liquid sweetener made from corn starch. It is used to make candy, jams, jellies, frostings, and baked goods like cookies, pies, and cakes, among other things. Corn syrup is made of glucose, which is a simple sugar.

Table sugar, on the other hand, is made of sucrose, which is a disaccharide made of glucose and fructose. Corn syrup is used in candies to make them shiny and keep the sugar from crystallizing (like what often happens with honey). It also gives the finished product moisture and can be used to keep cake batters smooth.

Corn syrup is a thick, sweet syrup made from sugar in corn. Corn syrup comes in two main types: light and dark. Light corn syrup is clear, tastes like vanilla, and has a milder sweetness. On the other hand, dark corn syrup has molasses, which gives it a deeper, richer sweetness and a caramel color.

The most important difference between light corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), found in many processed foods, is that light corn syrup has been refined. When turning regular corn syrup into high-fructose corn syrup, enzymes change most glucose molecules into fructose (naturally occurring sugar in fruits and plant foods). This high-fructose content is much sweeter than corn syrup or sucrose (table sugar), and it has more negative effects on your health when you eat a lot of it.

Corn Syrup vs. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup is not the same as corn syrup. Corn syrup is a common ingredient in baking that you can find in grocery stores. High-fructose corn syrup is a commercial sweetener made by adding enzymes to regular corn syrup to change some glucose into fructose. This makes high-fructose corn syrup about 1.75 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it tastes sweeter than cane sugar and is cheaper than cane sugar, it is often used to make sodas and other packaged and processed foods. On the other hand, high-fructose corn syrup is not sold in stores like corn syrup.

Even though corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup are made from cornstarch, the Food and Drug Administration says that regular corn syrup is almost all glucose. High-fructose corn syrup goes through more steps before being used in mass-produced packaged foods and soft drinks like McDonald’s Coke. “Like corn syrup, HFCS comes from corn, but it goes through a process that turns some of the glucose into fructose, making it much sweeter.” Fructose is often sweeter than glucose.

You can find corn syrup in the baking section of any grocery store. On the other hand, processed foods may list high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient, but you can’t buy it at the grocery store. Both syrups are made from corn, but high-fructose corn syrup has both glucose and fructose, while corn syrup only has glucose. High fructose corn syrup is not always worse than other ways to sweeten things. The real problem is that foods with high fructose corn syrup tend to have a lot of it, and Americans already eat too much sugar.

How is Corn Syrup Made?

The process of making regular corn syrup is pretty easy. Here’s how to make corn syrup, step by step:

1. Combine cornstarch and water:  Mixing cornstarch, which comes from the endosperm of corn kernels, with water, is the first step in making corn syrup.

2. Then, introduce enzymes: Corn syrup is made when an enzyme called amylase breaks down starch into sugars. This process is called hydrolysis. This order of enzymes breaks down the cornstarch first into chains of sugars called oligosaccharides and then, when glucoamylase is added, into glucose molecules. The longer people let this process go on, the sweeter and thicker the syrup that comes out of it is.

3. Mix in added sugars or flavorings: At this point, flavorings will be added to the syrup. Molasses gives dark corn syrup its taste and color. Vanilla or salt are often used to add flavor to light corn syrups.

What are the Uses of Corn Syrup?

Corn syrup is used in a lot of different sweets and desserts. For example, marshmallows are made by putting corn syrup and granulated sugar in a pot, heating it, and then adding gelatin. Most of the time, pecan pie is made by mixing pecans with eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter, then baking the mixture in a pie shell. To make peanut brittle, heat corn syrup, water, and sugar, then add peanuts and melted butter. And you can make the boiled frosting by putting corn syrup, sugar, and water in a double boiler and heating it while whipping it until it gets thick.

Commercial corn syrup makes baked goods and condiments like jams, jellies, and candy. Large-scale manufacturers also use it. By stopping sugar crystals from forming, the syrup ensures that sugar pies, pecan pies (or pecan tassies), chess pies, homemade ice creams, and sorbets have a smooth texture. High-fructose corn syrup is found in many foods, like desserts, soft drinks, fruit juices, yogurts, bread, and cereals. In some cases, the syrup is used as a humectant, a preservative that keeps foods from drying out by keeping water in them.

What Is Corn Syrup

What are the Varieties of Corn syrup?

There are both light and dark kinds of corn syrup. Light corn syrup has no color and tastes sweet and pure. Light corn syrup and molasses are mixed to make dark corn syrup. This gives it a darker color and a more toasty, caramel-like taste. Most of the time, you can use either, depending on your taste. However, light corn syrup is better for things like marshmallows that need to be white or light-colored.

What are the Corn Syrup Substitutes?

There are a few easy-to-find alternatives to corn syrup unless you want to make certain kinds of candy: Many sweeteners don’t have glucose chains that are long enough to stop sucrose molecules from forming as well as corn syrup. Most of the following can be used in place of sugar in the same amount:

1. Agave syrup:  The sap of mature agave succulents is used to make agave syrup or agave nectar. It is thinner than sugar cane syrup and tastes more like mild honey.

2. Cane syrup:  Cane syrup is made by boiling down sugar cane juice into a thick syrup. This thing that comes before cane sugar crystals is often compared to molasses, but it tastes lighter and milder and has no sulfur.

3. Golden syrup: Golden syrup is made of sugar, water, and citric acid. It is also called a “light treacle.” It’s like molasses in that it’s thick and sticky.

4. Glucose syrup: Corn syrup is a type of glucose syrup, but the category also includes syrups made from starches other than corn, such as whole grains, potatoes, or rice. Popular glucose syrup is brown rice syrup, the best substitute for candy recipes.

5. Maple syrup: Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes. Sometimes, it can be used in place of corn syrup, especially in ice creams or pies, where it adds depth and flavors like toffee, caramel, and pure vanilla.

6. Sugar syrup:  Sometimes, you can use sugar or simple syrup instead of corn syrup. Mix the same amounts of granulated sugar and hot water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil until all the solids are gone. Then take it off the heat and let it cool. This makes a simple syrup. Use brown sugar to make something taste like dark corn syrup.

If you don’t have corn syrup, use other liquid sweeteners like honey, maple, or cane syrup instead. This will depend on the recipe. You can also use granulated sugar instead of corn syrup, but since granulated sugar is sweeter, you may need to change the amount you use. Also, if you use granulated sugar instead of corn syrup, you’ll need to add the liquid the recipe calls for. But when making candy, it’s best to follow the directions.


Pure glucose, which corn syrup is made of, is the body’s main fuel source. All kinds of sugar should be eaten in small amounts. But there is no proof that corn syrup is worse for you than regular table sugar. Light corn syrup tastes pure, mild, and sweet, but some brands hint at the vanilla flavor. Dark corn syrup tastes more like molasses because it is more caramelized.

Corn syrup is a common ingredient in marshmallows, snack foods, and stores. It is also used to make the sweets listed above at home. Check the ingredient lists of the foods you buy most often to see if it’s there. Oh, and do you worry about the corn syrup in beer? It is used to wake up the yeast. During the fermentation process, it is thrown away so it doesn’t end up in your beer.