Why is my sugar turning brown?

by C. Johnson

Boiling Sugar For Candy Making

Boiling Sugar For Candy Making

I am trying to make lollipops but my sugar is turning brown before reaching 300 degrees.

What am I doing wrong?

Is the sugar supposed to turn brown?

Any help is appreciated.

~ C. Johnson

Comments for Why is my sugar turning brown?

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Dec 12, 2018
Burned candy
by: Bob

Mine always gets a little brown, but last night I didn't have my burner as high yuck it smoked and burned. First fail with my candy. Had to be fire was to low and too long.

Dec 02, 2012
Herbal Cough Drop Recipe
by: Angie from chocolate-candy-mall.com

Hi Sam,

It sounds like it may be a problem with the herbal cough drop recipe that you're using. There are a few others online that you might want to test - ones with less sugar and perhaps honey or molasses added. I'd try them before I give up entirely. :)


Dec 01, 2012
by: Sam

I've tried this THREE times now and every time almost seems to get worse! The recipe I used is for herbal cough drops. You use 1 cup of strong herbal tea per cup of sugar, NO stirring once it boils. First batch, followed recipe, burnt a bit. Second batch, followed recipe, foamed over and burnt a bit. Third batch, heated slower, stirred, burnt horribly and never reached 300.
I'm so frustrated with this.

Why does this suck so bad!?

Dec 16, 2010
Thank you
by: Mama__B

Hooray for Google. It lead me to this page, which explains why I've been burning my sugar. Sucks that I had to learn the hard way, but thanks again.

May 31, 2009
Its getting too hot to quickly, turn the heat down
by: Anonymous

youre burning it. If you turn it down to start with you wont burn it. The sugar turns brown because the heat is burning the sugar before it gets to the right temperature.

Feb 17, 2008
Too Hot, Too Soon?
by: Angie

Hi C,

I'm going to have to make a guess here since you haven't given much detail on what your recipe is calling for, etc.

I assume you are making hard candy by heating a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, and water. I think the trouble may be that you are heating it too quickly.

Try heating the mixture slowly until all the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring until it is. Once the sugar is dissolved, then you can quit stirring and let it come to the boil and rise in temperature until it reaches the desired 300 degrees F.

For anyone else interested in making hard candy, here's a simple recipe to follow:

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup water

Combine over low/medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Allow to boil without stirring and watch your candy thermometer.

When temperature reaches 260 degrees F., carefully add 1/4 tsp. of desired coloring (more or less if you like). You don't have to stir as it will spread from the boiling action.

Continue boiling until temperature just reaches 300 degrees F. Remove from heat immediately. When boiling stops, carefully add 1 tsp. of desired flavoring and stir through.

Pour mixture into prepared hard candy molds or on to a prepared cookie sheet. By prepared, I mean lightly oiled with vegetable oil.

If you are using the cookie sheet method to just have irregular shapes, oil your hands, too, and take a pair of scissors to the candy as soon as you can bear to touch it. Cut it in pieces while it is still hot and pliable.

I like to sprinkle powdered sugar over the finished candy to keep it from sticking together.

You can store this in an airtight container for a good while. To make lovely gifts you can get yourself some baby food jars and clean them well. Fill them with your homemade candy and place a ribbon around the top or a sticker or label to personalize it.

Have fun!

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