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What Is Inverted Sugar?

With so many different types of sugars and sweeteners, pinning down what exactly makes invert sugar one of the very best can be tricky. A higher viscosity, bolder sweetness, and easy accessibility are just some of the few benefits that hold invert sugar on one of the highest pedestals in the name of sweeteners.

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What Is Invert Sugar?

Invert sugar

Invert sugar is table sugar (also known as sucrose) that has been split by breaking the molecular bonds of sucrose into glucose and fructose. It is also known as inverted sugar, invert sugar syrup, or trimoline. The result is a thick-as-honey, clear liquid that has all of the great attributes that most sweeteners have, plus additional features.

What Are the Benefits of Invert Sugar?

Invert sugar is just as useful as other sugars and sweeteners. In fact, invert sugar has additional benefits that outweigh the competition:

  1. Sweeter compared to other sugar substitutes, requiring less sugar to be used
  2. Retains moisture, resulting in chewier and softer cookies and brownies
  3. Lengthens the shelf life of baked goods, keeping your desserts and sweetbreads around longer instead of drying out
  4. Slows down or is able to fully resist crystallization, which is perfect for smooth-as-silk ice cream, sorbet, icing, fondant, and ganache

What Is Invert Sugar Used For?

Brownie made with invert sugar

Invert sugar can be used for desserts, candies, and beverages as a substitute for standard sugar, high fructose sugar, and simple syrup.

Invert Sugar in Desserts:

Invert sugar makes desserts softer and chewier by retaining moisture more easily than other sugars. This also lengthens the shelf life and keeps the desserts from drying out too quickly.

  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Ice cream
  • Sorbet
  • Sweetbreads
  • Icing
  • Fondant
  • Ganache

Invert Sugar in Candies:

Invert sugar is used as the sweetener in candies because it can slow down and often fully resist crystallization. Invert sugar also maintains a long shelf life for candies and truffle fillings.

  • Fudge
  • Toffee
  • Marshmallows
  • Caramels
  • Taffy

Invert Sugar in Beverages:

Monin Flavoring Syrup in craft drink

Beverages benefit from the use of invert sugar because it fully dissolves in both hot and cold beverages. Invert sugar is also noticeably sweeter than other sweeteners, making it a more economical option because less sugar is needed to achieve the desired taste.

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Cocktails
  • Mocktails
  • Lattes
  • Frappuccinos
  • Iced coffees
  • Mochas

Invert Sugar vs Sugar

The difference between sugar and invert sugar is their monosaccharide bonding. Granulated sugar is also known as sucrose, a disaccharide that is composed of two monosaccharides bonded together: glucose and fructose. Because the monosaccharides in granulated sugar are still bonded together, granulated sugar is in a solid state.

Inverted sugar is also sucrose. However, the glucose and fructose in inverted sugar are split in their cooking process with citric acid and water, resulting in a liquid state.

Invert Sugar vs High Fructose Corn Syrup

The difference between high fructose corn syrup and invert sugar is their glucose to fructose ratio. While invert sugar has a 1:1 ratio, high fructose corn syrup goes through enzymatic processing, resulting in higher fructose percentages and lower glucose percentages. Otherwise, the end products’ viscosity (a fluid's thickness) and taste are quite similar.

Invert Sugar vs Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, where the sugar has been fully dissolved into the water, creating a low viscosity and subtly sweet syrup. Inverted sugar is a 2:1 ratio of sugar and water, along with the addition of citric acid. It’s cooked in a temperature-controlled environment to manipulate the sugar molecules to split, resulting in higher viscosity and substantially sweeter syrup than simple syrup.

How To Make Invert Sugar

Invert sugar is simple to make, requiring only a few very affordable ingredients and very basic skills. It'll also stay fresh for months, but since it's such a versatile ingredient, you probably won't have to worry about using all of it before it goes bad.

Making invert sugar

Invert Sugar Ingredients

Make sure you have all of the below kitchen tools and ingredients before you start the recipe!

Tools

  • Heavy-bottomed pot
  • Rubber spatula
  • Pastry brush
  • Small bowl of water
  • Candy thermometer
  • Glass jar with a secure-fitting lid

Ingredients

  • 4 cups table sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. citric acid

Invert Sugar Recipe

  1. Into a clean pot, add table sugar, water, and citric acid. Stir until it comes together.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. This will take awhile at medium heat, so be patient. Do not stir for the rest of the recipe or the sugars will crystalize, resulting in hard, gritty sugar.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While simmering, brush away any sugar crystals that have formed on the edges of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water.
  5. Your sugar is done cooking when it has reached the soft ball stage: 234-236 degrees Fahrenheit or 112-114 degrees Celsius. Visually, you can tell if the sugar has reached the soft ball stage if you drop a bit of the sugar into cold water and it curls into a soft ball.
  6. Once it has reached the proper temperature, take the pot off the heat.
  7. Let the sugar cool to room temperature, then pour the sugar into a glass jar. It should thicken to corn syrup or honey consistency when cooled.

How Do You Store Invert Sugar?

Invert sugar can be stored in the refrigerator once the sugar has cooled to room temperature and is poured into a glass jar with a lid. Inverted sugar can last up to six months. If your invert sugar is too hard to use when you pull it out of the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature or heat in the microwave and stir between 10-second intervals.

What Is the Use of Citric Acid in Invert Sugar?

Citric acid in invert sugar causes the reaction of the sucrose bonds to split into glucose and fructose. The use of citric acid is what keeps invert sugar in its liquid form.

Can I Use Something Different Than Citric Acid for Invert Sugar?

Yes, you can substitute citric acid for fresh lemon juice or cream of tartar when making inverted sugar.


Invert sugar has all of the great sugar qualities that everyone loves, plus added benefits that will step up your pastry display case on the whole. Whether you're buying it already made or taking the initiative to make your own, inverted sugar is here to build your recipe repertoire.

Posted in: Bars & Breweries | Bakeries | By Val Goodrich
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