Make Your Own Corn Syrup

Ever find yourself in the middle of your holiday baking, sure that you have enough corn syrup and find out that low and behold you are either out or do not have quite enough for your recipe?  Me Too! Recently I was making a batch of Smore Bars and needed only 1/4 cup of corn syrup, but I was out! So I just made my own to get me through, and it worked perfectly.

Let me try to answer a few questions you may have about corn syrup;
Q: Can anything be substituted for the store bought corn syrup?
A: Yes! depending on what you are using it for and if it calls for dark or light corn syrup you have a few options. Honey is an option that should work in most recipes and you can make your own corn syrup to get you through.

Q: Is the homemade corn syrup the exact same as the store bought? 
A: Not the exact same. We are only trying to create a substitute version. Store bought corn syrup is stabilized to avoid the sugar crystallizing. Homemade corn syrup can get some of the sugar to crystalize after it cools down. It will work in most recipes but if you are a serious candy maker you may want to stick with store bought for those hard candies or specialty recipes. But your average person can use the homemade in most of your baking/cooking.

Q: What do I do if my corn syrup does crystallize?
A: Usually gently reheating it and adding just a little bit of hot water to it will be enough to liquify those sugar crystals

 I have TWO recipes for you today. I use them both. The first is my "in a pinch, middle of a recipe" rescue, and the second one is my "make my own large batch" plan ahead recipe. 

Super Fast Corn Syrup

Perfect for when you are in the middle of your recipe and come up short. This will keep you from running to the store and is great for treats, frostings,etc. I've got  ingredients for both light and dark corn syrup included.
Super Fast Corn Syrup:
  • 1 cup sugar (white sugar for light corn syrup, brown sugar for dark corn syrup)
  • 1/4 cup nearly boiling hot water.

  • Stir together till sugar is dissolved. 
  • Let cool before using.

Jan's tip: If your sugar is not quite dissolving, heat the mixture in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.  That should heat it enough to turn it into syrup.

Big Batch Homemade Corn Syrup
Makes approx. 1 qt.
This version add's a bit more authentic corn taste to the syrup. No worries, it does not come out tasting like corn on the cob, just a touch of the corn sweetness that is in commercial corn syrup.  I first came across it at Brave Tart and have adapted it just a little.  


  • 3-4 ears of corn or leftover corn cobs or 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 5 1/4 cups water (reduce this to 2 1/2 cups if leaving the corn out)
  • 36 oz. of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • Slice or snap corn on the cob into smaller chunks. (I snapped mine into thirds. I cut part way through the cob till I hit the center and then just snapped at the precut line).

  • Bring medium sized sauce pan with the water and corn to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and let simmer 30 min. or until water is reduced by half.
  • Pull out your corn cobs from the pan, or using a large strainer spoon(you know the ones with the holes in it!)
  • strain out all of your corn from the pan.
  • Add sugar, salt and vanilla to the pan, stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Using a candy thermometer  cook to soft ball stage (235 °) stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.
  • Store in refrigerator (it will keep for a  long time!, not sure how long though)
  • When ready to use, if you have a few sugar crystals, microwave it with just a little bit of water to gently melt those sugar crystals before using.  

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