What Is Inverted Sugar?

As you survey your sugar and sweetener options, you may wonder why everyone, from bakers and bartenders to chefs and confectioners, loves invert sugar. A higher viscosity, bolder sweetness, and moisture-retaining qualities are just a few benefits that set invert sugar on its pedestal. Read on to learn how invert sugar is made, how to use it, and address any concerns you may have about this sweetening solution.

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What Is Invert Sugar?

Invert sugar

Invert sugar is table sugar (also known as sucrose) broken into the molecular bonds of glucose and fructose. The result is a thick-as-honey, clear liquid that boasts all the benefits of conventional sweeteners, plus additional features. Invert sugar is also known as inverted sugar, invert sugar syrup, and trimoline.

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 its competition:

  1. Inverted sugar is sweeter than other sugar substitutes, so you can use less of it to achieve the same result.
  2. It retains moisture, yielding chewier and softer cookies and brownies.
  3. Keeps your desserts and sweet breads from drying out, lengthening their shelf life. If you're shipping your baked goods, prepare them with invert sugar.
  4. Slows down or prevents crystallization, which is perfect for smooth-as-silk frozen desserts like ice cream as well as types of frosting like 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 keeps the desserts from drying out and lengthens their shelf life. Consider using invert sugar in the following desserts:

  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Ice cream
  • Sorbet
  • Sweet breads
  • 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. Confectioners should consider using invert sugar in the following candies, especially if they're planning to package their chocolate for shipment:

  • 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. From coffee drinks and cocktails to beer and wine, invert sugar is a great choice for all the following beverages:

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.

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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 these kitchen tools and ingredients before you start the recipe!


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


  • 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.

Invert Sugar Syrup FAQs

Have more questions about invert sugar? We've provided answers to the most frequently asked questions chefs have when they cook with inverted sugar below:

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.

Invert Sugar Definition

Invert sugar is a super sweet, edible mixture of two simple sugars (glucose and fructose). It is made by heating sucrose with water to break it into glucose and fructose. Invert sugar has a syrupy consistency that resists crystallization and promotes moisture retention. It is the preferred form of sugar by many bakers, confectioners, and sauce makers.

What Is the Use of Citric Acid in Invert Sugar?

Citric acid keeps inverted sugar in its liquid form. It stimulates the reaction that splits the sucrose bonds into glucose and fructose.

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.

What Is Medium Invert Sugar?

Since splitting sucrose into glucose and fructose produces invert sugar, some manufacturers make a partially inverted sugar known as medium invert sugar. Medium invert sugar is when some of the original sugar is unchanged. It contains 50 percent table sugar and 50 percent invert.

If you’re replacing regular sugar with medium invert syrup, you will only need to use 20 percent of the called for amount. Since you can use less of it to achieve the same sweetness level, medium invert sugar is a healthier and more economical choice than regular sugar.

Is Invert Sugar Bad for You?

Invert sugar has a similar nutritional value to other added sugars. Researchers link added sugars to negative health outcomes. So, while invert sugar isn’t worse for you than any other added sugar, it also isn’t any better. To follow a healthy diet, only use inverted sugar and other added sugars in moderation. Sugar that is inverted enzymatically rather than through chemicals or acids does not produce any polymerized byproducts and is a healthier alternative to conventional acid-hydrolyzed invert.

Is Invert Sugar Vegan?

As a form of refined sugar, each manufacturer's processing and filtration methods determine if their invert sugar is vegan. To guarantee that an invert sugar is vegan, contact its manufacturer.

Is Invert Sugar as Bad for You as High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High fructose corn syrup has more fructose to glucose than invert sugar, making it a less healthy choice. Glucose stimulates the hormone that makes you feel full and encourages you to stop eating when you’ve consumed enough calories, whereas fructose stimulates the appetite and encourages you to overeat.

Other Names for Invert Sugar

The other names for invert sugar are:

  1. Inverted sugar
  2. Invert syrup
  3. Trimoline

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Invert sugar has all the great sugar qualities that everyone loves, plus added benefits that will step up your pastry display case on the whole. Whether you buy it pre-made or make your own, inverted sugar is here to build your recipe repertoire.

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