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Corn syrup vs. golden syrup

Lyle’s Golden SyrupCorn syrup is a syrupy sweetener that is made through the production of cornstarch. In fact, when it was first introduced to the public over 100 years ago, it was often sold as a health food because it originally came from corn. The sweetener is primarily glucose and has a very mild flavor. It inhibits crystallization and, as a result, is very useful in the production of candies, jams and frostings because it greatly reduces the likelihood of ending up with a grainy product.

Golden syrup has a similar color to corn syrup – light gold – but is an entirely different product. Also called “light treacle,” golden syrup is an inverted sugar syrup, made from sugar cane juice that has been concentrated and is about 25% sweeter than sugar. It has a slightly toasty edge to its sweetness that gives it a unique flavor in the world of sweeteners. This is quite unlike corn syrup, which has a flavor so mild as to easily blend in with just about anything, leaving only sweetness behind. Golden syrup can also help to inhibit crystallization of sugar when used in cooking and baking.

Some confusion arises between the two products because corn syrup is not readily available in all markets, particularly in international ones, and golden syrup is almost exclusively found in specialty store in the US. The flavors are different, but the two products can be used interchangeably in cooking and baking because they have much the same properties.

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21 Comments
  • Uli
    September 5, 2008

    Hi πŸ™‚

    Just wanted to add that I usually use liquid glucose are a subsititute for corn syrup and find it works really well. Its available in good foodstores throughout UK and Ireland and also in pharmacies. in UK, Ireland and Sweden. πŸ™‚ Not sure why I felt like I needed t6o add that but then sometimes my fingers run away with me.

  • Lisa
    September 5, 2008

    I’ve never heard of this but want to give it a try. I bet they have it at Whole Foods. Thanks for sharing a new find.

  • Cyndi
    September 5, 2008

    This is really interesting. I happened to have a jar of this and wasn’t quite sure how else to use it up as I only have 1 or 2 recipes that called for it. I have a recipe for homemade caramels that calls for liquid glucose and because I wasn’t sure where to purchase that as I have never seen it in any stores in the US, so now I am thinking maybe I can try it with the Lyles…although I would hate to ruin all of that good butter if it didn’t work right!!!

  • Heather
    September 6, 2008

    What an interesting post! I didn’t know any of this but I do put this on plain vanilla ice cream all the time. Ummmmm.

  • Ed
    September 7, 2008

    Hi all! As a professional donut maker and baker, I recommend a product β€œcorn syrup” by the name of liquidose. This particular corn syrup is concentrated and is ideal for quality glazes, icings with the goal to achieve that nice glossy look found on pastry products. Thanks! Ed

  • irmata
    September 9, 2008

    Being a transplant to North America from “across the pond”, I am wholeheartedly a member of Team Golden Syrup πŸ˜€ I have no idea how to work with corn syrup and find it… noxious. Even maple syrup confuses me – the sweetness is all wrong tasting. On the other hand, everyone I’ve tried to introduce to golden syrup here thinks it’s disgusting! Guess it’s a palate thing.

    For a real treat, pour golden syrup on your bacon – MMMMMMMMMMMMM

  • Anonymous
    October 9, 2008

    What is Golden Corn syrup – is it the same as dark corn syrup
    i can not find light or dark only Golden ( it is NOT Lyles Golden Syrup that I have ) see this link

    http://www.canadianfavourites.com/BeeHive_Golden_Corn_Syrup_p/beehive001.htm

  • lieben
    March 4, 2009

    Interessante Informationen.

  • Oliver
    January 1, 2010

    Native to the western US, I’ve only ever seen Golden Syrup in specifically British food shops. My family love it, but it’s so hard to get a hold of. On the other hand, I can snag a variety of corn syrups at any local, chain, or convenience grocers. I’m glad to know they’re interchangeable in consistency (if certainly not flavor), as it means I can actually make some of these recipes. Thank you!

  • Tina
    June 1, 2010

    I use golden syrup. I like it over ice cream, and I have baked with it. I have substituted it for corn syrup in the standard pecan pie recipe and it’s delicious – imparts a better flavor and texture. Also, I tried an English recipe with oatmeal and golden syrup that was yummy – can’t recall the name now – but we crumbled the concoction over vanilla ice cream (even though it could be eaten as was) to add texture and additional flavor. It was like a crisp topping (as in apple crisp). Now I’m looking for a cookie recipe with it.

  • Greg
    December 9, 2010

    @Tina, for a cookie recipe with golden syrup try ANZAC biscuits; they’re delicious Australian/New Zealand biscuits with golden syrup and rolled oats.

  • jim
    May 21, 2011

    if you can’t get ahold of golden syrup you can replace it in a recipe with either honey or corn syrup or a combination of the two.
    I have also experimented with adding a combination of light corn syrup and treacle(molasses) as a replacement for golden syrup when it is not available

    Beehive is a company I have seen in Canada.

  • jacqui
    October 16, 2011

    thanks for all the info…i have found it impossible to find corn syrup where I live but can get Golden syrup very easily. I’ll try it in cupcakes and let you know how I make out

  • shantal naicker
    October 10, 2012

    I can’t find corn syrup at any shop. I am trying 2 make fondant will golden syrup work the same as corn syrup 2 make fondant.

  • MaggieG
    November 13, 2012

    Hey Jim, can’t use honey as a substitute for golden syrup. Honey has a very particular flavor (golden syrup is just sweet). Also when baked in cookies, for example, honey makes them brittle, whereas golden syrup will not. This can be vitally important in some recipes.

  • Marla
    December 10, 2012

    Useful information. I recently picked up a cake cookbook that was obviously tailored to British ingredients, and one of the ingredients listed in a delicious Whoppers cake I am going to be making this week calls for golden syrup AND malted milk powder. Having used neither of these, I was wondering if I could substitute corn syrup, and am glad to find out that I can. Finding the malted milk powder was challenging enough as it is!

  • troy
    February 25, 2014

    @Tina – that UK dessert you tried with oatmeal is called a flapjack. Super simple recipe: golden syrup, brown sugar, quick oates and butter…

  • Liz
    October 7, 2014

    I’ve just found a recipe that calls for glucose syrup and golden syrup and can find neither in stores here in southern New Hampshire. What are these syrups and does anyone know where they can be found near me?

    Thank you,

  • shaak
    September 29, 2015

    Hi everyone!I would like to know if i should substitute golden corn syrup OR maple syrap for golden syrup as I cannot find golden syrup at any stores….thank you.

  • \Moe
    January 20, 2017

    I love Golden Syrup, have had it since childhood. I have substituted it when making butter tarts in place of corn syrup which i ran out of. I’m Canadian and have access to both syrups, as well as Maple Syrup. You will think I’m crazy, but I like Golden Syrup on a buttered saltine in place of cookies. Try it!, just don’t tell your dentist.

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