Candy Syrup Stages

It is important to know the candy syrup stages so that you can test your candy until it becomes the right consistency.

You don't have to memorize these rules, but keep a copy close by to refer to as needed when testing candy.

candy syrup stages thermometer

Testing Candy with a Thermometer

The best way to test candy is with a candy thermometer. They are not very expensive and make your job a whole lot easier. Invest in a heavy gauge candy thermometer. You'll be glad you did.

You can get a candy thermometer and a lot of other candy making supplies at Candyland Crafts. I love their selection AND their prices. :)

Temperatures Required For Each Stage

Thread 230 - 234 F.

Soft Ball 234 - 240 F.

Firm Ball 242 - 248 F.

Hard Ball 250 - 268 F.

Soft Crack 270 - 290 F.

Hard Crack 300 - 310 F.

Testing Candy with the Cold Water Method

If you do not have a candy thermometer, I am happy to tell you that you can still indulge in candy making. You can perform the cold water test. It is a little more tricky, but easy enough once you learn how it works. 

Remove candy from the heat. Using a clean spoon, drop a small amount of the hot mixture into a cup of very cold water. 

Examine the syrup and compare it to the chart below to determine which candy syrup stage you are at.

Form and Consistency for each Stage

Thread - Syrup forms a thin thread as it is poured into the water.

Soft Ball
- Syrup will form a ball in the water, but when picked up flattens quite easily when removed from the water.

Firm Ball
- Syrup will form a ball in the water and will hold its shape until it warms up.

Hard Ball
- Syrup will form a ball and hold its shape even when pressed, but remains sticky.

Soft Crack - Syrup will separate into threads that are hard but not brittle.

Hard Crack - Syrup will separate into hard and brittle threads.

Testing candy with this method requires patience. You need to test it every 2-3 minutes until you reach the candy syrup stage called for in your recipe.

Use a clean spoon and fresh water for every test.

Don't get discouraged. Homemade candy is well worth this extra bit of effort.

Go ahead and pick out a candy recipe and give it a try. Like mom always says, "Practice makes perfect."

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