Your #1 Online Baking Destination!

Perfect Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute

Save Recipe

My Perfect Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute is a candy-like sauce that cooks up to be super thick, full-bodied, and sweet just like real corn syrup.

Hi Bold Bakers!

In true Bold Baking Basics fashion, my Corn Syrup recipe is for an ingredient I never came across when baking in Ireland. Corn syrup is a common baking ingredient in America, but if I saw a recipe using corn syrup back home I knew I couldn’t make that recipe.

So, my recipe is for all of you Bold Bakers that don’t want to use corn syrup, for those who simply cannot find it, and for those who like to make it all from scratch. While this recipe for homemade corn syrup is not an exact recipe for corn syrup, it is the perfect substitute.

What are substitutes for corn syrup?

Making this corn syrup substitute could not be easier. Made of only sugar, water, cream of tartar, and lemon juice, this candy-like sauce cooks up to be super thick, full-bodied, and sweet just like corn syrup.

[ Need more substitution ideas? How about how to Substitute Eggs! ]

There are other corn syrup substitutes out there like rice syrup, golden syrup, and glucose syrup — which are easier to find in Europe. That said, all of these substitutes do not yield the same color and texture as my homemade sub. If you’re looking for a corn-free corn syrup substitute, this is hands down the most effective one.

Is glucose syrup the same as corn syrup?

Yes, corn syrup is in fact a variety of glucose syrup and my substitute is as well. Again, the major difference here is that mine is made with no corn what-so-ever, no artificial ingredients, or stabilizers.

corn syrup substitute, homemade corn syrup substitute, how to make corn syrup substitute, what to use for corn syrup substitute, make corn syrup substitute, corn syrup substitute help, what corn syrup substitute, corn syrup, corn syrup alternatives, no corn syrup, corn syrup replacement, what is corn syrup, baking without corn syrup, recipes without corn syrup, corn syrup solids,

How can I use Corn Syrup?

Use my Corn Syrup Substitute to make Homemade Marshmallows and even Rolled Fondant.

How long does this corn syrup substitute last?

As this substitute has no preservatives it will last for up to 3 months.

While that’s not the same shelf life as store-bought corn syrup, it’s still quite a long time. This means that once you make one batch, you can almost always have this on hand for all of your cooking and baking needs that call for corn syrup.

Get More Bold Baking Basics!

Don’t forget to follow Bigger Bolder Baking on Pinterest!

4.08 from 14 votes
Perfect Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute
Prep Time
5 mins

My Perfect Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute is a candy-like sauce cooks up to be super thick, full-bodied, and sweet just like real corn syrup.

Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: American
Author: Gemma Stafford
  • 2 cups (16oz/450g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6floz/170ml) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (there is no substitute for this)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice*
  • a pinch of salt
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, add the sugar, water, cream of tartar and lemon juice.

  2. Once the sugar dissolves, turn down the heat and let the syrup simmer steadily until it reduces significantly and becomes a thick syrup that drips off your spatula slowly. This will take roughly 15 to 20 minutes. You can test if it's ready by putting a drop on a cold plate and placing it back in the fridge for 10 minutes. If it is really thick once it's cold then it is ready. To be even more exact, you want it to reaches 230°F on a candy thermometer. 

  3. Remove from the heat and put the pot in a bowl of cold water to cool it down quickly. Once the syrup cools down completely use as directed in your recipe. 

  4. You will end up with roughly 1 1/3 cups (14oz/398g) of corn syrup substitute. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 months. 

Watch the Recipe Video!

Recipe Notes

*The lemon juice prevents the sugars from crystallizing once stored. 



2 Images
Submit Your Photos
Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

Have you made a recipe? Share photos on my website or across social media with the hashtag #boldbaker.

And don't miss my NEW Bold Baking recipes and tips. Sign up for my weekly email newsletter.


Write a Comment and Review

  1. Ruth on December 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Hello Gemma!
    Do you happen to have a recipe for dark corn syrup? I am not sure if I just use this recipe (assuming this is light corn syrup substitute) and add an equal amount of molasses. Thank you for all of your great recipes.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 14, 2018 at 3:48 am

      Hi Ruth,
      Yes! 1 cup of light syrup as here plus 1/4 cup of treacle or molasses, that will do it for you.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Jean on December 10, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you for this. I skip making a lot of things because I will not buy corn syrup and maple syrup isn’t always right for the recipe. This will be a very useful recipe. Thanks again.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 11, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      I’m delighted to hear that, this is such a great sub! Enjoy!

  3. Marianne08 on December 8, 2018 at 12:15 am

    Hi Gemma, I’d like to ask for some troubleshooting help. I followed the recipe, and left the mixture to simmer over medium heat. But before it could reach the desired consistency, it turned brown and burned. Is this because my heat was too high? Should I simmer it on low heat instead? I use an induction stove at home. Thank u!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 8, 2018 at 4:24 am

      Hi Marianne,
      Yes, the heat was too high. What will then happen is that you will get a caramel really quickly. If you stand over it, and I suggest you never take your eye off this, then you rescue it as it becomes syrupy, yours went too far.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Marianne08 on December 8, 2018 at 9:48 pm

        Thank you for such a quick reply, Gemma. I tried making it again today, but faced the problem of a browning syrup even though I had my stove turned the lowest setting. My final product is golden like honey, and I was wondering whether I could still use it in recipes, or whether I should throw it out. I have attached a picture for your advice. Thanks so much!

        • Gemma Stafford on December 9, 2018 at 3:57 am

          We got this I think Marianne! you resolved it for you, and for others too!
          Gemma 🙂

      • Marianne08 on December 9, 2018 at 2:30 am

        Gemma, third time’s a charm! I finally got it right. I realised that my stove is exceptionally hot. So I stirred my mixture frequently, did not let it simmer, and knocked it off the heat as soon as it reached the correct consistency. Hopefully this little tidbit will be of help to other bold bakers whose stoves are as hot as mine.

        • Gemma Stafford on December 9, 2018 at 3:29 am

          Hi Marianne,
          Thank you for that. Yes, this type of thing can be tricky, and temperature is the key for all sorts of sugar work. Thank you so much for letting me know, that is a great tip, and it is about keeping a close eye on this, it takes time!
          Gemma 🙂

  4. Devaki Bhadgaonkar on November 19, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Gemma, can we use honey instead of corn syrup?
    Also is liquid maize glucose another name for corn syrup, or is it different?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 20, 2018 at 10:51 am

      Hi there,
      second question first, YES, this is the same thing as corn syrup.
      corn syrup is an invert sugar. Sucrose or regular granulated sugar is changed when heated, converted to fructose and glucose. For lots of recipes, such as caramel,corn vsyrup prevents crystals forming to crack the caramel, it is a useful thing for candy. It makes fondant more workable, gives shine to other things, and is generally useful to have at hand.
      Honey is fructose, a liquid sugar sure, but not quite the same thing. he use of honey, or maple syrup in a recipe will be recipe dependent. It wil lnot work in everything.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. LadyIreland on November 18, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Gemma:
    Thank you for this recipe! I never really knew that corn syrup is just a glorified simple sugar! My pecan pies won’t know what hit them. For your heavy bottomed pans… there a particular brand? I can’t seem to find any.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 20, 2018 at 4:15 am

      Hi Karen,
      Haha! yes. Really what this is is an invert sugar, as is corn syrup/golden syrup/glucose too. When you heat sugar (sucrose) with water it changes to glucose and fructose! The science of baking. This is described as an invert sugar.
      I use GoodCook pans for lots of my baking. Actually these are widely available here in the US, in Walmart even! Here too (
      Thank you for being here with us, happy baking, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Prateek on November 16, 2018 at 6:51 am

    Hi Gemma, what’s the difference between this and the sugar syrup we use for Italian macarons?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 16, 2018 at 10:25 am

      That is made from sugar derived from corn where as this recipe is made with granulates sugar.

      • Prateek on November 17, 2018 at 7:07 am

        I understand that, I’m asking about this particular recipe as compared to the sugar syrup that we use for Italian meringue

        • Gemma Stafford on November 20, 2018 at 2:13 am

          Hi there,
          The sugar syrup you use for Italian meringue is a simple syrup, just sugar and water, taken to soft ball/120C. There is vecomes slightly viscous, feels sticky if you drop in on to a cold plate and touch it with your finger.
          I hope I got there this time,
          Gemma 🙂

  7. BOOTSIE on November 14, 2018 at 6:29 am

    Gemma, I can not thank you enough of your kindness and generosity. All your recipes whether homemade or traditional are greatly appreciated. I am so glad I came across your website, it’s truly a blessing. Double thank you’s.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Wow, thank you so much for the lovely message 🙂 I’m delighted to hear that!

  8. Nicole Lynn Biggs on November 13, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Will have to tell a coworker who has a corn allergy.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 14, 2018 at 12:56 am

      Hi Nicole,
      Yes! and this is useful for so many recipes too.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  9. K. Henderson Art on November 13, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I love all your “substitute” and homemade recipes!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Delighted to hear that you like them 🙂


  10. Jeannette Ludeman on November 13, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Gemma, I was wondering if you can make this with truvia instead of sugar. I am a diabetic and would LOVE a more sugar free way of baking. Thank you Jeannette

    • Gemma Stafford on November 14, 2018 at 2:03 am

      Hi Jeannette,
      I am finding it difficult to get a definitive answer to the question ‘will alcohol sugars caramelize’. This is what matters. Olivia is going to run a test on this. We use Lakanto here at BBB, and this too is based on an alcohol sugar. So, try it! A little experiment for you. You need only a little of the Truvia and water to see if it will form a thick syrup, and go on to be a caramel.
      Do let us know what you discover,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Naugustyniak on November 13, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Hi. I was just wondering if granulated stevia could be used in place of regular sugar in this recipe to make a sugar free glucose or corn syrup replacement?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 14, 2018 at 2:08 am

      Hi there,
      Stevia will not caramelize, and that is what is happening in this thick syrup. If you use stevia combined with an alcohol sugar, such as xylitol or erythritol then it may work for you. Lakanto/Truvia/Swerve are examples of these combined subs, and are great in baking. We have to run an experiment to see if they work. You can also try it! the stevia on its own will not do it,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Bigger bolder baker on November 12, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Gemma, thanks for this lovely recipe,really needed it, since it’s different to find it, would like to know if I can use this recipe to mk buttercream frosting?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2018 at 2:42 am

      Hi there,
      Not so much buttercream, that will be difficult to accomplish with this corn syrup. If you mean an Italian buttercream then certainly, you may use this corn syrup.
      good question, I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Debi on November 12, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I make caramel corn as gifts and will use this recipe instead of the store bought corn syrup. So excited to try it. Who doesn’t love homemade caramel corn?!!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2018 at 2:56 am

      Hi Debi,
      I do! lol. Yes, a perfect snack, hard to stop eating it!
      Good for you, lovely gift,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Franziska Zarl on November 12, 2018 at 6:59 am

    I can’t get cream of tartar in Germany OR corn syrup. Any ideas?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 8:26 pm

      So the cream of tartar stops the corn syrup from crystalizing so it is quite an important ingredient. You can buy it online pretty easily.

      If you leave it out your corn syrup might harden.


  15. Melissa Lyons on November 12, 2018 at 2:53 am

    I made this before and tried it in a pecan pie. It worked wonderfully. The remainder did crystallize though. I’m not sure if the recipe I used back then had lemon juice in it or not, but I’m glad to see that you said that it won’t crystallize with the lemon juice. I’m super excited to try this recipe knowing that it won’t be hard the next day. I make a lot of pecan ;pies through the holidays. Thanks so much and I love your site. I’ve learned/made many things from it. Thanks for your generosity in sharing.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 9:40 am

      Hi i’m delighted to hear that! This is such a handy recipe, great job!

  16. Jigna on November 12, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Can this be used as stabilisers, in ice creams – sorbets- mousses etc
    And also for the honey comb..?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      Hi Jigna,

      Yes it can if you wish. It will make them easier to scoop for sorbets. I have condensed milk in my ice cream so you don’t need it in that.


  17. Vickie Hamby on November 11, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Love your recipes ! Helps me save time and money ! Plus they’re so delicious !

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 7:39 pm

      Aw I’m delighted to hear that Vickie :).


  18. Jill on November 11, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Gemma, I have been baking for decades but you are giving me so much inspiration! Thank you for what you do. 🤗

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Aw thank you so much, what a lovely message!

  19. Bhanu on November 11, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    You are so amazing! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 9:45 am

      Aw, thank you 🙂 i’m so glad you like this recipe!

  20. Carolyn Smith on November 11, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    You don’t know how glad I am to see this recipe, Gemma! I love having choices, and I thank you for all the work you do to facilitate my having choices in what I use for my baking. I love all your recipes- but I am very appreciative of the ones that are wholesome, 🙂 🙂 ;)- that means without chemicals that I don’t know about. Some of the ingredients are’iffy’ that are in so many of the foods that are available to us. Thank you.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 9:54 am

      I’m so glad to hear you like this recipe!

  21. Shirl Olis on November 11, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    I’m going to try this, but I also make really wonderful caramels. Can this substitute told equal taste and texture?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 6:26 pm


      Sorry can you clarify your question? I’m not sure I’m understanding it.


  22. Andria M Speziale-Klose on November 11, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Good in a pinch

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Glad you like it, Andria.


  23. Carla from Cobourg on November 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Gemma, you are absolutely amazing!! Now you’re making corn syrup! What next? I so enjoy getting your emails. Never know what recipe I’ll find. I haven’t spoken to you since summer- when I made the ice cream with my granddaughter. ( I’m in Cobourg Ontario Canada).
    Keep up the great work. Always a pleasure.
    Regards, Carla

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      Hi Carla,

      That is really a lovely message. Thanks so much. I’m really glad you like my recipes.

      P.s some of my favorite people are from Guelph and Toronto. 🙂

  24. Tammy on November 11, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Can you use a sugar substitute? Steveia, Truvia, or Erythritol?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Hi, good question. There is no substitute for sugar in this recipe.

  25. Franziska on November 11, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for thinking of Europe! In Germany, however, I have not yet been able to find cream of tartar. Any advice?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      Hello! You can omit the cream of tartar. I will cause the syrup to crystallize but it will work really well when its fresh. I hope that helps, enjoy!

  26. michelle101 on November 11, 2018 at 10:43 am

    thank you very much I needed this

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Really glad you like it, Micelle 🙂


  27. Sandy Hoffman on November 11, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I have been looking for a recipe for this for years. I am allergic to corn and can’t make or eat anything made with corn syrup. Thank you so much!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      I’m really delighted to hear that Sandy!!!

  28. Ron Del Carlo on November 11, 2018 at 9:51 am

    A terrific website, the best: practical, informative, sophisticated, and clear. And I’m a complainer.

    Emma is the best–wonder if there is a connection.

    Thanks again.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      lol I love to hear that you are a complainer and like my website. I enjoy a good complain myself :).

      Thanks for being apart of the community :).

  29. donzell allen on November 11, 2018 at 9:37 am

    would this work when making pecan pie to substitute for light corn syrup ?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 11, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      Hi Donnell,

      Yes you absolutely can use it for pecan pie. In my pecan pie I actually use maple syrup that you might like.


Write a Comment and Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This