What is glucose syrup used for in baking?

Glucose syrup, also known as confectioner’s glucose, is a popular ingredient used in commercial and home baking. It is a thick, syrupy sweetener that helps retain moisture, enhance texture, and prevent crystallization in baked goods. Some of the common uses of glucose syrup in baking include:

Moisture retention

Glucose syrup has hygroscopic properties, meaning it attracts and retains moisture. This helps baked goods stay fresher and softer for longer. The humectant properties of glucose syrup make it an ideal ingredient for soft cookies, cakes, muffins, and breads. It gives a chewy texture to cookies, soft crumb to cakes and moisture retention to loaf breads.

Texture enhancement

In addition to moisture retention, glucose syrup also enhances the overall texture of baked goods. It adds viscosity and body to batters and doughs. This results in baked goods that are denser and chewier with a smooth mouthfeel. The thick, smooth consistency of glucose syrup makes it useful for improving the texture of brownies, fruit cakes, sweet bread doughs, etc.


Glucose syrup has about 30-50% sweetness compared to regular granulated sugar. So it adds sweetness to baked goods along with humectant and textural properties. Since it is less sweet than sugar, it is often used in combination with sugars like sucrose to balance sweetness and texture.

Preventing crystallization

Regular table sugar has a tendency to crystallize in baked goods, especially in products with high sugar content and low moisture like boiled sweets. Glucose syrup inhibits sucrose crystallization due to its amorphous structure. This makes it perfect for recipes like fudge, caramel, maple syrup candies, nougat, etc.

Types of Glucose Syrups Used in Baking

There are several types of glucose syrups that are commonly used in baking:

Glucose syrup

This is the most basic type of glucose syrup with a dextrose equivalent (DE) value of 20-38. It provides sweetness, moisture retention and texture enhancement.

Corn syrup

Corn syrup is glucose syrup derived from corn starch. It has a slightly lower DE value of 24-36. Corn syrup gives a well-rounded sweetness and texture to baked goods.

Invert sugar syrup

Invert sugar syrup is produced by spliting sucrose into fructose and glucose molecules. It has a DE value of 60-90. The “invert” term comes from the inversion of sucrose. Invert sugar syrup is extremely hygroscopic and prevents crystallization.

High maltose glucose syrup

As the name suggests, this syrup contains higher levels of maltose molecules. It has a DE value of 42-55. High maltose syrup provides mild sweetness, moisture and crystallization control.


Maltodextrin is a glucose syrup solid produced by partial hydrolysis of starch. It has a very high DE value of 90-100. Maltodextrin assists in providing bulk and texture in baked goods.

How Glucose Syrup Works in Baked Goods

Glucose syrup exhibits its moisture retaining, texture enhancing and anti-crystallization properties in baked goods through the following mechanisms:

Interfering with sucrose crystallization

The glucose molecules present in glucose syrup interfere with the orientation of sucrose molecules needed to form crystals. This prevents grainy crystallization in high sugar baked goods.

Absorbing moisture

Glucose syrup readily absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and surrounding ingredients. This moisture is retained and evenly dispersed in the baked product.

Forming hydrophilic films

The glucose polymers present in glucose syrup form a hydrophilic film that slows down moisture loss during baking. This water holding film keeps products softer for longer.

Increasing viscosity

The long glucose chains thicken up batter and dough viscosity leading to enhanced moisture retention and texture.

Providing bulk

Some glucose syrups like maltodextrin contribute bulk and volume to baked items without excessive sweetness.

Browning reactions

Glucose participates in Maillard browning reactions more readily than sucrose. This leads to enhanced color and flavor development.

Benefits of Using Glucose Syrup in Baking

Here are some of the notable benefits and advantages of using glucose syrup as an ingredient in baked products:

Moisture retention

Keeps baked goods like cakes, cookies, breads, muffins soft and moist for days after baking. Extends shelf life.

Prevents staling

Inhibits retrogradation and crystallization responsible for staling in items like bread and cakes.

Controls sweetness

Allows adjusting sweetness by combining with sugars. Ideal for recipes where excessive sweetness is not desired.

Enhances texture

Improves mouthfeel and structure of baked goods. Provides chewiness to cookies, dense and tight crumb to cakes and bread.

Provides smooth texture

Prevents graininess and crystallization even in high sugar recipes like fudge and caramel.

Easy incorporation

Glucose syrup readily blends into batter and dough with minimal lumps. Does not clump like granulated sugar.

Enhances flavor

Participates in Maillard and caramelization reactions improving flavor in baked items.

Increases shelf life

Moisture retention and anti-staling properties allow baked goods to stay soft and palatable for longer.

Potential Drawbacks of Using Glucose Syrup

While glucose syrup has several advantages, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:

Less sweetness

Glucose syrup is not as sweet as sucrose. So excessive amounts can result in baked goods lacking in sweet flavor.

Texture changes

Overuse of glucose syrup may result in gummy or sticky texture. Balance is needed to achieve ideal moisture and texture.

Lack of browning

Some light colored syrups like corn syrup can inhibit browning and result in pale baked goods.

Flavor masking

If used in very high quantities, the flavor of glucose syrup may overpower other ingredients. Delicate flavors like vanilla can get masked.

High glycemic index

Glucose syrup has a very high GI since it is 100% glucose chains. Consuming too much can spike blood sugar levels.

Storage requirements

Once opened, glucose syrup has to be stored in air tight containers and refrigerated to prevent mold growth.

Ideal Usage Levels of Glucose Syrup

Glucose syrup is used in varying quantities based on the recipe and desired outcomes. Some typical usage levels are:


5-15% of total sugar weight


10-25% of total sugar weight


2-5% flour weight


50-100% of total sugar weight


25-50% of total sugar weight


50-75% of total sugar weight

These usage levels provide adequate moisture, texture enhancement and crystallization prevention without becoming overly sweet or gummy.

Substitutes for Glucose Syrup in Baking

Some alternatives that can be used in place of glucose syrup are:


Provides similar humectant properties and flavor. Reduce liquids slightly to account for honey’s moisture.

Maple syrup

Imparts moisture, flavor and texture. Use about 25% less than glucose syrup quantity.

Corn syrup

Very close alternative with similar DE value. Substitute 1:1 by weight in recipes.

Brown rice syrup

Made from brown rice starch. Provides moisture and crystallization control.

Fruit purees

Applesauce, banana puree, etc. help retain moisture in baked goods when used in moderation.


Adds moisture, flavor and prevents crystallization due to high sucrose content.

Jams & marmalades

Exhibit humectant properties and add flavor when used sparingly in recipes.

Common Uses of Glucose Syrup in Baked Goods

Some of the most popular uses of glucose syrup in commercial and home baking are:


Keeps cakes like sponges and genoise deliciously moist and soft textured. Prevents drying and crystallization.


Retains chewy texture in cookies. Especially useful in soft baked cookies. Inhibits hardening and crystallization.


Maintains moist, dense crumb in bread loaves and buns. Delays staling in bread products.


Adds stability, glossy sheen and chewiness to meringue cookies. Prevents beads of moisture forming on surface.


Essential ingredient along with gelatin to achieve soft, pillowy texture. Controls sucrose crystallization.


Crucial ingredient giving fudge a smooth, non-grainy and crystalline texture. Lets fudge set up perfectly.


Produces super glossy caramel with velvety smooth mouthfeel. Essential for preventing sugary texture.


Used in candy making for perfectly soft and chewy nougat, fondant, toffee, pralines, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is glucose syrup the same as corn syrup?

Corn syrup is one type of glucose syrup made from corn starch. There are other starch sources like wheat or tapioca that produce different types of glucose syrup.

What’s the difference between light and dark glucose syrup?

Light glucose syrups are made using sulfur dioxide bleaching. Dark syrups skip this process and are darker in color with stronger flavor.

Is glucose syrup healthier than sugar?

Not really, glucose syrup has a very high glycemic index. It may be slightly less processed than table sugar but still provides empty calories and spikes blood sugar.

Does glucose syrup brown faster than granulated sugar when baking?

Yes, glucose syrup promotes faster Maillard browning reactions and caramelization compared to regular sucrose.

Can glucose syrup be substituted with corn syrup in a recipe?

Yes, since corn syrup is a common type of glucose syrup. Just ensure you match the same consistency and DE value.


Glucose syrup is an extremely useful ingredient in baking for retaining moisture, improving texture and preventing crystallization in high sugar recipes. It helps achieve the ideal soft, chewy and moist texture in cookies, cakes, confections and more. When used correctly, glucose syrup enhances the flavor, mouthfeel, shelf life and quality of baked goods. Moderation is needed to prevent excessive sweetness or gummy textures. With a wide range of applications in commercial and home baking, glucose syrup continues to be a staple sweetener and humectant for bakers around the world.

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