How do you make glucose syrup at home?

Glucose syrup is a thick, sweet syrup made from the hydrolysis of starch. It has a variety of culinary uses and is commonly used in commercial food production. Glucose syrup can be purchased at many grocery stores, but it’s also possible to make your own glucose syrup at home using common kitchen ingredients.

Making your own glucose syrup allows you to control the ingredients and customize the syrup to your liking. It’s a fun weekend project for the kitchen chemist. With just a few simple steps, you can whip up a batch of homemade glucose syrup to use in your baking and candy making adventures.

What is Glucose Syrup?

Glucose syrup is made up of glucose, maltose, maltotriose and other saccharides. The syrup has a sweet taste, clear color, and thick, viscous texture. It is around 20% as sweet as sugar but absorbs moisture well which makes it useful to keep foods moist and prevent crystallization.

Some key facts about glucose syrup:

– Made by breaking down the starches in vegetables like corn, potatoes, wheat or rice into glucose molecules
– Also called corn syrup, starch syrup or confectioner’s glucose depending on the source
– Has a glycemic index of 100 so it rapidly spikes blood sugar levels
– Used in commercial food production to enhance flavor, color, texture, moisture and shelf life
– Common in processed foods like bread, crackers, ice cream, canned fruits, jams, sweets
– Not recommended for people monitoring sugar intake or with diabetes

Benefits of Making Your Own

There are a few advantages to making your own glucose syrup rather than buying it:

– You can control the ingredients. Store-bought glucose syrup may contain preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. When you make it at home, you can choose all natural ingredients.

– Customize the flavor. You can infuse your homemade glucose syrup with vanilla, cinnamon, citrus zests or other flavors. This allows you to craft a custom syrup for your specific baking needs.

– It’s economical. Purchasing glucose syrup from the store can get pricey, especially for large quantities. Homemade allows you to make just what you need for your recipe.

– Fun weekend project. Turn your kitchen into a sweet science lab and learn the chemistry behind turning starch into sugar.

– Edible science lesson. Making your own glucose syrup is an educational opportunity to learn about hydrolysis reactions. And you get a useful product out of it!


The ingredients needed to make glucose syrup are:

– Starch source – This will provide the starch that gets converted into glucose. You can use corn starch, potato starch, rice starch or tapioca starch.

– Water – The starch will be boiled in water to extract and liquefy the starch.

– Acid – A small amount of acid is needed to catalyze the hydrolysis reaction. You can use cream of tartar, lemon juice or vinegar.

– Sweetener (optional) – White sugar is sometimes added to enhance the sweetness.

– Flavorings (optional) – Vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices can provide flavor nuance.

– Food coloring (optional) – A few drops of natural food coloring can tint the syrup.

That’s it for required ingredients. No fancy chemicals needed! Most of these ingredients should already be stocked in your pantry.

Equipment Needed

You don’t need any special equipment to whip up homemade glucose syrup. Here’s what you’ll need:

– Pot – A medium to large pot with high sides to cook the starch mixture. Stainless steel or enameled cast iron work best.

– Whisk – For mixing ingredients smoothly into the starch slurry.

– Measuring cups & spoons – For accurately measuring out the ingredient amounts.

– Food thermometer – To monitor the temperature throughout cooking.

– Cheesecloth – To strain out the solid particles after cooking.

– Funnel & glass jars – For transferring the finished syrup into storage containers. Mason jars work wonderfully.

Standard kitchen equipment like pots, pans, and utensils are sufficient for this project. You don’t need any expensive or specialized tools.

Step By Step Instructions

Here is a step-by-step overview of how to make glucose syrup:

1. Mix the starch and water – Whisk together the starch (cornstarch or potato starch) with cold water in a pot. Go slowly to prevent clumping.

2. Cook the slurry – Heat the starch slurry over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened to a glue-like paste. This gelatinizes the starch.

3. Add acid – Stir in a small amount of acid like cream of tartar or lemon juice to catalyze the hydrolysis reaction.

4. Continue cooking – Cook the mixture for 15-30 minutes more, until it reaches 221°F (105°C).

5. Add sweetener & flavors – Remove from heat and stir in any additional sugar or flavorings.

6. Strain – Pour the hot syrup through a cheesecloth to remove any undissolved starch or particles.

7. Cool and store – Allow to cool fully before transferring to sanitized glass jars for storage. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Follow this simple process for fresh, homemade glucose syrup every time. The full recipe details are explained in the next sections.

Detailed Recipe

Now let’s go through each step of the glucose syrup recipe more in depth:


– 1 cup corn starch or potato starch
– 3 cups water
– 1 teaspoon cream of tartar or 2 teaspoons lemon juice
– 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring (optional)


1. Whisk together the starch and 1 cup of cold water in a medium pot until smooth. Ensure no starch clumps remain.

2. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2 cups water. The mixture will be thin and milky.

3. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the slurry thickens to a glue-like consistency. This will take about 5-10 minutes.

4. Once thickened, stir in the cream of tartar or lemon juice. This acid helps catalyze the breakdown of starch into glucose.

5. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot. Continue cooking for 15-30 minutes more, until the mixture reaches 105°C (221°F). The syrup will turn clear and thick.

6. Remove from heat once it reaches the target temp. Immediately stir in any sugar or flavorings.

7. Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth. Pour the hot syrup through to filter out any undissolved particles.

8. Allow the glucose syrup to cool fully before bottling. Funnel into sanitized jars and refrigerate.

And that’s it! Follow this easy glucose syrup recipe for sweet homemade results. The yield is around 1 1/2 cups.

Tips for Making Perfect Glucose Syrup

Here are some tips to help your homemade glucose syrup turn out flawlessly:

– Use very cold water when mixing the initial starch slurry. This prevents clumping.

– Whisk vigorously when adding liquids to fully dissolve any starch clumps.

– Cook over medium heat to avoid scorching on the bottom of the pot.

– Stir frequently while cooking, especially once thickened. This prevents sticking and scalding.

– Use a thick bottomed pot to allow even heating and prevent scorching.

– Monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer for best results.

– Strain while hot through cheesecloth for maximum extraction and a smooth syrup.

– Let cool fully before bottling to prevent condensation and mold growth.

– Use clean, sanitized jars and lids for storage. Refrigerate after opening.

Follow these tips and tricks for smooth, successful homemade glucose syrup every time.

How Does Glucose Syrup Form?

Now that we’ve covered how to make glucose syrup, let’s look briefly at the science behind the process.

Glucose syrup formation relies on a chemical reaction called hydrolysis. Here’s an overview:

– Starch molecules are very long chains of glucose molecules bonded together.

– When starch is boiled in water, the starch absorbs water and swells up, becoming more accessible.

– The acid helps catalyze hydrolysis, which is the breaking of chemical bonds using water.

– The glycosidic bonds between glucose molecules in starch break apart, releasing individual glucose molecules.

– Given enough heat and time, the starch gets completely broken down into glucose and maltose molecules dissolved in water.

– The result is a thick, sweet glucose syrup, which can be filtered and bottled.

While home glucose syrup production relies on heat and acid to drive this reaction, commercial operations often use enzymes to speed up the process. But the underlying chemistry remains the same.

Uses for Glucose Syrup

Glucose syrup has many culinary, beverage and baking applications. Here are some of the most common uses:

– Candies – Used to control crystallization of sugars and help produce smooth, glossy candies.

– Ice cream – Contributes to a smoother, more scoopable texture by limiting ice crystal formation.

– Jams & fruit spreads – Helps bind water to produce thick, spreadable fruit preserves.

– Cakes & frostings – Keeps cakes tender and moist. Makes glossy frostings that won’t crystallize.

– Beverages – Used in smoothies, coffee drinks and cocktails to add body and texture.

– Bread – Helps bread stay moist and delays starch retrogradation, or staling.

– Sauces & glazes – Improves mouthfeel and enhances flavor. Also helps sauces cling to foods.

– Energy bars & gels – Provides carbohydrate fuel that is quickly absorbed.

As you can see, glucose syrup has wide applicability as an ingredient in foods, baked goods and beverages. Get creative with using your homemade syrup!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between glucose syrup and corn syrup?

Corn syrup is one form of glucose syrup made specifically from corn starch. Glucose syrup can also be made from potatoes, rice and other starches. Both contain glucose and other simple sugars. Corn syrup tends to have a distinct corn flavor, while glucose syrup is more neutral tasting.

Is homemade glucose syrup unhealthy?

In moderation, homemade glucose syrup is no less healthy than refined white sugar. It is all glucose molecules, so it will spike blood sugar. But in the modest amounts called for in recipes, it likely won’t have significant health impacts for most people. Those with diabetes should exercise caution.

Can I substitute glucose syrup for sugar in recipes?

Yes, you can substitute an equal amount of glucose syrup for granulated sugar in recipes. However, the sweetness and moisture levels may be slightly different. Expect a softer, moister texture in baked goods. You may want to reduce any additional liquids in the recipe to account for the moisture in the syrup.

How long does homemade glucose syrup last?

Properly stored glucose syrup will last 1-2 months in the refrigerator. Keep the syrup in clean, sterile jars and refrigerate after opening. Look for any mold development and discard if you see any. For longer shelf life, glucose syrup can also be canned using proper canning techniques.

What does glucose syrup taste like?

Glucose syrup has a mild, sweet flavor. It’s not as intensely sweet as white sugar. It also has a thick, somewhat sticky mouthfeel. The taste is relatively neutral compared to dark corn syrup. Any additions like vanilla or citrus can flavor it.


Creating your own glucose syrup at home is a fun and rewarding kitchen science project. With just a few basic ingredients and minimal equipment, you can easily whip up small batch syrup perfect for your baking endeavors. Use your homemade glucose syrup to make candies, ice cream, baked goods, jams, and any other recipes calling for corn syrup. Plus, you’ll get an appreciation for the science behind turning starches into sugars.

Leave a Comment