Glucose Syrup vs Corn Syrup for Baking

Whether you’re making caramel, icing, or another treat, you may find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place – or should I say between glucose and corn syrup? While both are excellent choices, it can be hard to determine which one to use in your recipe.

Glucose syrup and corn syrup can be used interchangeably. They are both naturally derived added sweeteners commonly used to combat crystallization. However, they’re also helpful in adding sweetness and volume when needed.

Hey, there! I’m Michelle, and I’ve been on a super fun baking journey for the past ten years. I’ve enjoyed everything from making cakes to cookies, chocolate candies to brownies. I’ve played around with several ingredients, and I’m here to share my thoughts on glucose vs. corn syrup.

Ready for the debate? Let’s learn!

What are Glucose and Corn Syrup?

Glucose and corn syrup are essentially one and the same, seeing as they are both naturally derived sweeteners. They’re used in a number of baking recipes, from jams to icings, fondant to loaves of bread.

The only significant difference is the components used to create the syrup.

  • Glucose syrup can be made using many fruits and vegetables, including grapes and plantains. However, most marketed glucose syrups are created using corn, wheat, or both.
  • Corn syrup is made solely from corn – more specifically, corn starch that is broken down into glucose molecules.

If you didn’t catch the similarity, reread “corn syrup” again. Note that it says corn starch that is broken down into glucose. That said, some glucose syrup sold in the grocery store is simply corn syrup, as they can be the same thing.

However, glucose syrup is not always corn syrup. If the glucose syrup is made with different ingredients, such as corn and wheat or corn and other fruits, it cannot be referred to as “corn syrup.”

The easiest way to know what you’re purchasing is to check the ingredient list. 

What is Glucose and Corn Syrup Used For?

Now that we know what glucose syrup and corn syrup are, we can discuss what these ingredients are used for in baking. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Flavor Enhancer

Glucose and corn syrup both fall under the category of naturally derived sweeteners. That said, adding them to your baked goods will provide a decent amount of sweetness. In fact, it’s said that corn syrup is actually a pinch sweeter than its glucose counterpart.

2. Add Volume

Glucose and corn syrup are thick substances that will add volume to certain treats like bread and cookies. So, if you’re looking to bulk up your product, you might consider using one of these syrups rather than your go-to sugar.

3. Prevent Crystallization

Glucose syrup and corn syrup are known as inverted sugars. Essentially, this means that the fructose and glucose molecules are not linked, which is the case for regular sugars that connect and reconnect during use.

Since these sugars are not linked and won’t reconnect, there is less chance of crystallization. The result? A smoother, velvety consistency, is essential for recipes like fondant, icing, and ice cream.

Can You Use Corn Syrup and Glucose Syrup Interchangeably?

If you run off the store and can only find corn syrup – but your recipe calls for glucose syrup – don’t panic! You can use corn syrup and glucose syrup interchangeably.

However, it is essential to note that corn syrup may be slightly sweeter than glucose syrup. So, if the recipe calls for other sugary components, you may lessen them by a teaspoon or two. This will help reduce the risk of an overwhelmingly sweet result.

3 Substitutes for Glucose and Corn Syrup

If you can’t find either of these syrups in the store – or you want to avoid them altogether – there are some top-notch substitutes that will get the job done. Here are the top three to consider.

1. Honey

Honey has long been an option for natural sweetening, and it’s far healthier than glucose and corn syrup. If you’re looking to up the health factor without compromising flavor or sweetness, consider using honey in a 1:1 ratio.

Just keep in mind that honey has a relatively distinct flavor that may alter the final taste of your treat. If you’re someone who can’t stand the flavor of honey, then this isn’t the swap for you.

2. Agave Nectar

Agave nectar – or simply agave – isn’t just a crucial component of your favorite margarita; it can also be used in place of glucose and corn syrups in a 1:1 ratio.

One of the most significant benefits of using agave nectar is that it’s 100% vegan-friendly. So, if you’re looking for a great swap that won’t interfere with your beliefs or diet, this may be the substitute for you.

3. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice may have plenty of nutritional benefits, but don’t confuse it with brown rice syrup, which isn’t exactly “healthy.”

The good news is that brown rice syrup contains fewer calories and zero fructose, which may appeal to some bakers. It can be swapped in a 1:1 ratio and tastes mighty delicious, whether used for baking a treat or making candies.

How to Make Your Own Glucose/Corn Syrup

Would you like to swap store-bought glucose and corn syrup with the homemade version? It’s actually a breeze to make, and you only need four ingredients to get it done: sugar, water, salt, and cream of tartar (or lemon juice).

To make homemade glucose or corn syrup, do the following:

Step 1: Add ingredients to a saucepan. Add ¾ cup of water, two cups of sugar, a teaspoon of cream of tartar or lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.

Step 2: Turn on heat to medium heat and stir. Continue to stir until all of the sugar has dissolved.

Step 3: Turn the heat to low and simmer. Let the mixture simmer for approximately five minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burns or clumps.

Step 4: Place in a jar and use when needed! Keep the jar at room temperature, away from sunlight. Use the homemade syrup within two months.


The truth of the matter is that glucose and corn syrup are essentially the same thing, and either can be used for baking. If you’re still not satisfied and are hungry for more info, check out these frequently asked questions.

Can I substitute light corn syrup with glucose?

You can successfully swap glucose for light corn syrup in your recipe using a 1:1 ratio.

What is the difference between corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup?

Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are both derived from corn starch. However, they are not the same product. Corn syrup contains only glucose, while high fructose corn syrup contains high levels of fructose and glucose.

Glucose and Corn Syrups Are One and The Same

When it comes to the glucose vs. corn syrup for baking debate, the truth is that you can use either or. They are relatively the same, although glucose syrup can be made using other ingredients beyond corn. Corn syrup is a tad sweeter, so be careful not to overdo it.

Do you prefer to use glucose syrup or corn syrup? Or do you use a different ingredient altogether? Comment below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Martha kirabo

    Hello Michelle,
    Thank you for telling me about corn and glucose syrup.
    I’m working on developing a recipe for my commercial bread and this info had been helpful.will definitely keep it in .mind.
    Thank you.

    • Michelle

      Hi Martha,
      You’re welcome! I’m so glad I could help.

  • Connie

    LIsten, I just wanted to thank you for the clarity, and valuable information on the similarities and differences of the two products. In addition, I just got a recipe for homemade stuff!. Have a great day, and keep the information coming.

    One last thing, and it is not a complaint, but a suggestion. I would love to have this information in a printable format, and I keep notebooks of valuable information I need to keep close. That would be terrific.

    • Michelle

      Hi Connie,
      You’re very welcome! I’m glad I could help.

      Thank you for your suggestion – we will look into it!