Cooking Sugar

Cooking sugar on stovetop

Caramel, marshmallow, syrup, and toffee are all products that rely on cooked sugar. Sugar can be cooked to different stages depending on the product you are making and using a candy thermometer is the most accurate way to determine the temperature of the cooking sugar.

Stages of Cooked Sugar

THREAD 230 110
SOFT BALL 240 116
FIRM BALL 245 118
HARD BALL 250 - 260 121 - 127
SOFT CRACK 265 - 270 129 - 132
CRACK 275 - 280 135 - 138
HARD CRACK 290 - 310 143 - 155
CARAMEL 320 160


Graininess is a common problem when making sugar based candies, this happens when the cooking sugar crystallizes. Certain precautions can be taken to help keep the sugar from crystallizing.

  • Stir the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and starts to boil. Stop stirring as soon as the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush that has been dipped in water to help dissolve any sugar crystals along the side of the pan.
  • Add a little corn syrup or glucose into the boiling syrup to help fight against any crystallization.

If adding flavoring into the cooked sugar, it is best to add it in while the sugar is cooling off because most flavorings are not heat stable. Example: extracts and alcohols

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