Invert Sugar

by Eddy Van Damme on November 1, 2009

Invert sugar- Invert Syrup- Trimoline

An advantage a professional pastry chef has is that certain key ingredients are readily available. One of these ingredients is invert sugar. Although invert sugar is close in chemical composition to honey, it is not found on most grocery store shelves. The good news is that homemade invert sugar is quickly made by anyone. For countless confectionary or baking applications, a corn syrup substitute or replacement can be invert sugar.

Invert sugar is used extensively in confectionary for preparations such as ganache, jellies, fudge, and taffy and in the preparation of sorbets and ice cream. Its ability for controlling crystallization and creating a smoother mouth feel in these products is the main reason why it is used in the first place. Invert sugar is hygroscopic which leads to a reduction of available water in food preparations, resulting in a longer shelf life of countless products. It lowers the spread of bacteria and basically acts as a preservative. The humectant properties of invert sugar are high and will keep products such as fillings for chocolates and fudge much longer moist and tender. Invert sugar also contributes to the Maillard reaction (caramelizing) and consequently will aid the browning process.

Also utilized in certain baked goods like Madeleine’s and brioche where invert sugar is used to increase tenderness and moistness. For all the above mentioned attributes of invert sugar the one I am most excited about is that invert sugar intensifies aromas, especially in sorbet and certain chocolate ganache applications. With so many desirable attributes in confectionary and baking, the question why use invert sugar, is no longer a mystery.

invert sugar

For many years confectioners and pastry chefs have added glucose and or corn syrup into boiled sugar applications to prevent these syrups from crystallizing. In these syrups, substituting corn syrup with invert sugar is something I have done for some time with parallel results.

In confectionary applications such as ganache, invert sugar can be the sole source of sweetener, but in the case of sorbet, gelato, ice cream or cakes only about 5-10% percent of sugar is replaced with invert sugar.

Getting it all together!

Invert sugar has a long shelf life so make a batch and keep it in your refrigerator in a well sealed container for at least 6 months. This way whenever you need to make a pound cake extra moist or control crystallization in gelato or make truffles extra creamy you are set to go!

 

Invert sugar

Yield: 2 lb 3 oz (1 kilo)

4 Cups + 6 Tablespoon (2 lb 3 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar 1 kg
2 cups (16 fl oz) Water 480 ml
¼ Teaspoon ( ¼ tsp) Cream of tartar or citric acid 1 g
  1. If you have an induction cook top or an electric stove use these options instead of gas. In a non reactive saucepan stir to a boil the sugar, water and cream of tartar (Or citric acid).
  2. Once the mixture boils wash away any sugar crystals stuck to the side of the pan with pastry brush dipped in water. Any additional water added to the pan from this process, has no effect on the final outcome.
  3. On medium heat without stirring boil the mixture to 236°F (114°C). Remove from heat and cover the pan. Let cool at room temperature. Store in a refrigerator. Invert sugar will last at least 6 moths.

230 comments on “Invert Sugar

  1. I have been looking for a long time for a good invert sugar recipe. All of the recipes I have seen before give unclear directions such as “boil for 20 minutes until thickened” Thanks for making this clear!

  2. We keep coming back to this site for fresh and up to date information. From now one we will be replacing corn syrup with invert sugar. J.

  3. Diana Wallace on said:

    I am so excited to try this! I look forward to using in chocolates, and ganaches!

    Thanks, Chef Eddy!

  4. James Bonner on said:

    Thanks for the info chef!!! You’re the best!!!

  5. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thanks Diana. Invert sugar will give you a great result.
    Eddy.

  6. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    You bet!
    Eddy.

  7. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Joup,
    I’m sure you will like the results.
    Eddy Van Damme

  8. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    You bet Mani! Thank you for visiting my site. The invert sugar recipe will work great for you.
    Eddy Van Damme

  9. That’s just amazing … i love sites that give you the why’s of how something acts in baking or cooking, corn syrup is hard to find where i live, the only store that had it stopped selling it, the thought of having a substitute i can make myself (and possibly healthier, given that corn syrup has quite a bad rap) is liberating and many recipes that are in queue become possible. Thank you once again! :)

  10. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Maja,
    Thank you very much for your kind words and for visiting my site. All the best.
    Eddy.

  11. I’m just looking for such an exact recipe for invert sugar. I’m now using 40 DE corn syrup in my cream ganache production. Which ratio should I use for substituting corn syrup with this invert sugar? Thank you very much.

  12. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi,
    Thank you for your question.
    For every 10 oz (300 g) of corn syrup you could substitute 7 oz (210 g) of Invert sugar. But then again you may have good results by using it one to one. (The same amount.) I have discovered that it really depends on each recipe. Certainly using too much invert sugar can make products too sticky. The limit use is 25% of total batch size.
    Invert sugar is just a little less effective in stabilizing very high fat type of ganache mixtures as compared to corn syrup. But not that much. Invert sugar certainly is more effective in extending shelf life if compared to glucose.

    All the best and if you have a minute please let me know if this helped with your reformulation.
    Eddy

  13. Thank you for your interest and explanation … Tomorrow, I’ll try my standard bitter and milk chocolate ganache recipes with your 10/7 ratio. I don’t want to increase the sweetness level of my recipes so much and looking for a satisfactory shelf-life at the same time. I think I will get really good results with your recipe and formula. Thanks again, best regards.

  14. very interesting and informative. I like anything I can make myself at the shop instead of buying it.

  15. Hi and thanks so much for this recipe.
    Would one be able to make invert sugar without water at all?
    My main intention is to make sorbets. Can you give me some more information as to the approach i would take with sorbets, seeing your recipe already has water mixed in with the sugar?

    Thanks
    Fouad

  16. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Fouad,
    Your blog looks great!
    Invert sugar is alway made with water and poses no problem to sorbet. To about 1 kilo or 2lb 3 oz of fruit, about 1 oz of invert sugar is a good range to use. However, many recipes for sorbet also include glucose or corn syrup. (About 3-6 oz on avarage to 1 kilo (2 lb 3 oz) fruit. If you want to get rid of corn syrup in sorbet, than you could replace 50% of the glucose with invert sugar. Invert sugar in sorbet is great since it dramatically reduces crystalization. However, too much invert sugar may make the sorbet too soft or too sweet. So testing is essential. Invert sugar is best added to a cold sorbet mixture. (Not boiled into the sugar syrup for sorbet). Most sorbet mixtures should have a Baume of 17-18. (D 1.1333- 1.1425)

    All the best Fouad and I hope this helped,
    Eddy.

  17. Hi Eddy,

    Thanks for the great info. I am tinkering with a cookie recipe to include invert sugar to replace some of the granulated sugar. Can you give me some pointers on conversions and ratios when using invert sugar in a cookie recipe that originally calls for granulated (and brown) sugar?

    Thanks!

  18. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Jason,

    Replacing part of the granulated sugar with invert sugar can certainly increase the tenderness of cookies, and who does not like a tender and soft cookie? Invert sugar will also keep the cookies longer moist. Jason I would keep the brown sugar in your recipe as is and replace up to 10% of the granulated sugar with invert sugar. Basically, if your recipe contains 20 Oz (600 g) ( or two and a half cups) granulated sugar then I would reduce the granulated sugar by 10% or 2 oz (60 gram) (or one fourth cup). You may also start by replacing only 5 % with invert sugar and see how you like the cookies.
    All the best in your testing! Testing and tinkering is one of my favorite things and I hope you will get the results you are searching for.
    Eddy.

  19. corinne on said:

    Thank you for such an informative website. I am looking forward to making my first batch of your chocolate truffles using invert sugar, and I’ll let you know the outcome.

    Thank you again for providing detailed recipes to help us home cooks who “wannabe” top pastry chefs.

    corinne

  20. corinne on said:

    Is Extra Fine sugar the same as Castor or Superfine sugar?

  21. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Corinne,
    Yes it is.
    Eddy.

  22. Hey Eddy

    Thanks so much for getting back to me! I’ll give it a go and let you know if it works or not.
    Keep up the good work. Your blog looks great too :) It is a great resource to us amateurs.

    Thanks again
    Fouad

  23. Dawn Probst on said:

    Just found your blog, and I think this will be one of my new favorite places. Was wondering if you can halve this recipe with the same results?
    Thank you,
    Dawn

  24. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Dawn,

    if you have a very small saucepan you can make half recipe of invert sugar. If not, it will be very difficult to boil the invert sugar to the correct temperature.
    All the best with this!
    Eddy.

  25. Why is it important to not stir the syrup to boiling?

  26. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Matt,
    Very good question.
    Once sugar boils it should no longer be stirred or large sugar crystals will be formed or the entire batch may turn into crystals.
    All the best and thank you for your question.
    Eddy.

  27. Eddy-
    In regards to using inverted sugar in sorbet. I have a recipe that calls for 2 cups granulated sugar (~200g) and 1/2 cup of corn syrup (~325g). If I am understanding your comment to Fouard then I can replace 50% of the corn syrup with inverted sugar to give the sorbet a better texture and lower freezing point. Or do I only add 1/4 cup inverted sugar and omit the 1/2 cup corn syrup?

  28. Ignore the grams I posted in the above post. I got my conversions wrong.

  29. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Jim,
    If you are wanting to remove corn syrup all together out of your recipe, then I would replace it with half the amount of invert sugar ( In your case a 1/4 cup). If you want to use both corn syrup and invert sugar, you probably should use about 1/4 cup of corn syrup and 1/8 cup of invert sugar. To be honest Jim, depending on the fruit that you are using, water ratio, basically your recipe, further adjustments may have to be made. When a sorbet mixture is made it should be tested for the correct density. If for example 2 people make the same sorbet recipe. One uses ripe sweet strawberries while the other uses barely ripe strawberries. The batch made with the ripe berries will have a higher density reading than the other recipe. Simply because ripe berries contain more sugar and thus creates a more syrupy mixture. Most sorbet mixtures should have a Baume of 17-18. (D 1.1333- 1.1425). at these levels, the sorbet will have the right firmness and smoothness and will have excellent freezer keeping qualities. If you are planning to make sorbet and serve it immediately than freezer keeping issues are not important. All the best, Eddy.

  30. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Jim,
    If you are wanting to remove corn syrup all together out of your recipe, then I would replace it with half the amount of invert sugar ( In your case a 1/4 cup). If you want to use both corn syrup and invert sugar, you probably should use about 1/4 cup of corn syrup and 1/8 cup of invert sugar. To be honest Jim, depending on the fruit that you are using, water ratio, basically your recipe, further adjustments may have to be made. When a sorbet mixture is made it should be tested for the correct density. If for example 2 people make the same sorbet recipe. One uses ripe sweet strawberries while the other uses barely ripe strawberries. The batch made with the ripe berries will have a higher density reading than the other recipe. Simply because ripe berries contain more sugar and thus creates a more syrupy mixture. Most sorbet mixtures should have a Baume of 17-18. (D 1.1333- 1.1425). at these levels, the sorbet will have the right firmness and smoothness and will have excellent freezer keeping qualities. If you are planning to make sorbet and serve it immediately than freezer keeping issues are not important. All the best, Eddy.

  31. Hi Eddy,

    I just found your site today and I am a small time chocolate maker, I make my own caramels, and was shown your site regarding invert sugar in substituting for corn syrup.

    I have a caramel recipe and it calls for 1 c packed br sugar, 1 c white sugar, and 1 1/2 cups corn syrup, what are your suggestions for ratio of sugar and invert sugar?

    thanks for you blog, there are great ideas on here!

    Selene Whalen

  32. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Selene,
    Hi and thank you for your question. Once you remove the corn syrup I would add 3/4 cup extra white sugar and 1/4 cup -1/2 cup of invert sugar. That amount of invert sugar should be enough to prevent crystalisation without causing the caramel be too soft. Please let me know how that worked for you.
    All the best, Eddy

  33. Marguerite on said:

    Thank you, Eddy, for the recipe and the explanations for making and using invert sugar! My son is allergic to corn (especially corn syrup) and I’ve wondered how to make some desserts like pecan pie, caramels etc. Our family has additional allergies/food sensitivities; it’s really difficult to eat out or buy prepared foods. Thanks for your help in cooking properly.

    Marguerite

  34. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Marguerite,
    Thank you for your kind comments. I will continue to post recipes without corn syrup. Make certain you take a look at my corn syrup free pecan pie.
    All the best, Eddy.
    http://www.eddyvandammeusa.com/2009/10/pecan-pie-corn-syrup-free/

  35. I have followed your instructions but my finale product seems to thick -it doesn’t pour – did I loose to much water or what could of happened – and could I warm up just enough to add some water ? Thanks. Mike

  36. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Mike,
    Sorry it’s giving you trouble. Are you able to scoop it? Invert sugar should have a thick consistency, somewhat like glucose kept in a refrigerator. Boiling it too long would indeed evaporate too much water giving you a thicker syrup. If you are using the invert sugar into a boiled application (ganache, sorbet…) then I would not worry about the thickness. If you are using it for Madeleines-poundcake, you could like you suggested, stir a touch of water into the required amount and use immediately. Hope this helps Mike and thank you for your question.
    Eddy.

  37. Hi Chef Eddy,

    Thanks for this great recipe. I thought more about the importance of a lid. Since the mixture has been heated above the boiling point of water, I assume that what little water remains in the mixture will continue to evaporate until the temperature drops below 212F/100C. I think that keeping a lid on during the cooling process allows it to retain that moisture.

    One another note – I find that whenever we educate clients about this replacement, they are so eager to try products that use it. The results always speak for themselves – especially in your delicious Belgian Truffles recipe. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

    Kathryn

  38. Sarah Wilson on said:

    Thank you for such a wonderful article! It’s nice to know I can throw my corn syrup in the garbage without worrying about where to purchase invert sugar. I was wondering, how much does the addition of invert sugar extend the shelf life of a product? I know that will most likely differ product to product, but do you know any examples? Thank you!

  39. Larry Friederich on said:

    Thanks for the information. I love to use any replacement that leads to a healthier product and better flavor. No more corn syrup in the house now!

  40. Arthur Yazdandoost on said:

    Thank you for being proactive in your suggestion to replace the corn syrup which has become so pervasive in our lives. I have been looking through all the postings. I am a bit confused about the amount of invert sugar in various recipes. I have seen mention of 25%, 10% and whether or not it should be used one-for-one for corn syrup. I appreciate if you can summarize this point.

    Keep Up … You are Doing Good,
    arthur

  41. Tiffany Ramsey on said:

    hey, chef eddy! This really is a great recipe, I can’t seem to find any cons about inverted sugar..and we all know how gross corn syrup is for us! I am for sure going to start replacing my recipes with corn syrup for invert sugar. Thank you!

  42. Xandria S on said:

    Thanks for the recipe and such a great article about inverted sugar…Its a healthier product than the high fructose corn syrup and the glucose and now I know of a replacement since corn syrup is being cut out of alot of products. But no more corn syrup for me and their werent really any cons and that’s good . I really liked that the inverted sugar still can give your product a moistness and tenderness that we all want. Thank you Chef Eddy

  43. Korey Tenette on said:

    Look forward to using some inverted sugar to replace some of the regular sugar. It also will add to the shelf life right? Always intersted in new techniques and ingredients. And also alot more healthier than corn syrup…..Thanks for that bit of info.

  44. Zachary Wood on said:

    Hey Chef Eddy

    I read the article about inverted sugar and found it to be helpful not only to the chefs and bakers but to the everyday Joe’s as well. This article could not have come at a more perfect time since I have stared working at a gluten-free bakery. Thank you, Chef Eddy she will be most grateful to hear that not only can we produce gluten-free baked goods but also replace the corn syrup with inverted sugar and still maintain a moist and tender product. I feel that this type of article needs to be posted in the baking aisles at grocery stores to inform people that baking doesn’t always have to be such a health risk. The biggest piece of information I find in this article about inverted sugar is that by using this sugar in a product we can extend the shelf life of that product. Which as a baker, we are always looking for anyway to extend life of products we make.
    Thank you, Chef Eddy

  45. Dmitry on said:

    Dear Eddy,
    I’m a pastry chef. Could you tell me if you have got any recipes with a trimoline? For example to cakes, sweets etc…
    Thank you!

  46. Darienne on said:

    I make seasonal decorated hard tac lollipops for our local libraries to sell for some additional revenue. Normally I use 3/4 cup light corn syrup to 3 cups of sugar. What amount of invert sugar would be correct for the above amount of corn syrup? Leaving out corn syrup might please some of the parents.

  47. Darienne on said:

    Could I please follow-up Question #1, with questions #2,3 & 4?

    I would also like to know about using invert sugar in other foods:

    If I now use a couple of tablespoons of corn syrup in place of a couple of tablespoons of sugar when making ice cream, could I substitute invert sugar instead and how much in comparison with the corn syrup?

    Same question about using invert sugar instead of corn syrup in marshmallows? toffee? other confections? Thanks so much for any answers. Darienne

  48. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Darienne,

    I apologize for getting back to you late.
    Replacing part of the sugar in ice cream with invert sugar will work very well to enhance the smoothness of ice cream and preventing crystals when the ice cream is stored. If you would replace all the sugar with invert sugar, you would end up with ice cream which will not harden properly. The recommended amount is replacing sugar with invert sugar is 5 % to 10% of the total amount of sugar.
    Corn syrup and or glucose is oftentimes used in caramels and such to prevent the sugar syrup from crystallizing during the cooking process. Invert sugar does the same thing. However, I do not recommend you use the same amount of invert sugar as you would use corn syrup. Invert sugar is sweet (Sugar is measured at 100%, invert sugar at 130%-140%) and products made high amounts of it, will attract moisture. Using a small amount of invert sugar will do the trick perfectly in preventing toffee or caramels, lolly pops and such from crystallizing during the boiling process. Making these items with invert sugar will give you a clearer, crisper flavor than if they were prepared with corn syrup. For example, compare jams made with sugar and corn syrup. Results are clearly different. In the above discussed items, replacing 10% of the sugar with invert sugar will give good results. If you have recipes with large amounts of glucose, I do not recommend that you simply replace it with invert sugar. I would try to find recipes with low amounts or start to experiment.
    Darienne, Thank you for your question and I hope this helped.
    Eddy.

  49. I am not a novice to candy making, however, making this invert sugar recipe 3 times now I have not had one successful batch. During the cooling process it begins to crystallize like a pond freezing in the winter. A sheet of glass across the top. I have tried it in 3 different pots, different utensils and even with a towel between the lid and the pot during the cooling in case this was caused by condensation. However, to no avail, it is frustrating me.

    I have made 2 batches with the weights and one by measure. Every time the same result. Looks good at first then about 2 hours into the cooling, crystallizes.

    Any tips would be very welcome as I would like to save money instead of buying the invert sugar at the store. Thanks.

  50. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Kyle,
    You must be very frustrated with invert sugar at this point, so let’s see what may be the problem here. I certainly recommend using a small saucepan, one which will have your pan with the syrup rather full. This way it will be easier to have a correct temperature reading. Cooking the syrup too high will make the syrup form crystals during cooling.
    Using electric or induction cook tops, on high setting is always very good to prevent crystals from forming during and after the cooking process. Gas preferred by many is not good for sugar cooking as a whole. If you are using gas, then a small saucepan may be a problem since so much heat goes on the sides of the pan, creating very uneven heating conditions. Double the recipe in such case.
    Make certain that your thermometer is accurate, cooking it too long will create crystals. I doubt it has anything to do with the cream of tartar.
    After cooking, cover the pan with plastic food wrap.
    Not often, but I have had students make this recipe with results you described, It usually is a temperature issue. Out of curiosity I have used the crystallized “invert sugar mess” but I must say, when I used it for Italian Meringue making, I posed no issues. I would assume ( But have not tested) if I used it for let’s say a ganache, it would be fine too.
    Kyle, If you have again a problem with invert sugar, would you please let me know? I want to help you get this right.
    All the best, Eddy.

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