How To Melt Sugar And How To Use Melted Sugar

How to melt or caramelize sugar refers to the same process of turning powdery white sugar into a sweetly flavored brown syrup. The process of melting sugar often transforms it into caramel.

This looks like an easy process but if you are not careful, what should be a sweet brown syrup will become a black and bitter liquid. To have the best results, you need to learn how to melt sugar perfectly for your caramel sauce and sugar candies.

Besides the sugar, you need heat to melt sugar and you must get it right with heat. Another thing to take into consideration when melting sugar is to consider the type of sugar you want to melt. Continue reading to learn more.

Factors to consider before you melt sugar

Composition of sugar

The composition of sugar affects how it melts. It determines its melting point, ability to quickly caramelize, and its sweetness.

The composition of sugar encompasses its constituent elements (carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen), the type of sugar (glucose, sucrose, or fructose), and the size and shape of the sugar crystals.

Glucose and fructose are simple sugars while sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose.

These variations affect the way the different types of sugar will melt and the final product. Understanding the composition of the type of sugar helps you to know how to melt sugar perfectly to achieve the best result.

The type of sugar and its melting point

Different types of sugar have different melting points. Sucrose, which is found in cane or beet sugar has a melting point of 320°F (160°C), fructose has a melting point of 230°F (110°C), and maltose has a melting point of 356°F (180°C).

How to melt sugar

how to melt sugar - millenora
  • You need the right pot to melt sugar. The best choice for melting sugar is a heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot because it spreads heat evenly and prevents the sugar from burning
  • Also, make sure the pot or pan is dry, so it does not add extra moisture
  • Afterward, measure the sugar. Melting sugar can be tricky and it tends to burn easily. To do a perfect job, melt just two cups of sugar at a time
  • Measure water half the amount of sugar by weight and pour it into the pan with the sugar
  • Melt the sugar on medium-low heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon. Stirring helps to crush lumps of sugar and keep it from burning as you scrape the bottom of the pot
  • Keep stirring until it boils and leaves you with a smooth liquid
  • Leave the syrup to continue boiling if you want the sugar to form caramel. Do not stir with the spoon or it will form lumps. Instead, swirl the pan
  • Take the pan off the heat when you have a golden-brown caramel

How to fix sugar that crystallized during melting

Melting sugar can be tricky. Your pot of boiling sugar can become a pot of sugar crystals in no time. This can mess up your plan to make tasty candies or a dip for fruits. However, you do not have to throw it away. There is a way to fix those crystals.

To begin with, you should know why the sugar formed crystals. Sugar may form crystals while melting because you overcrowded the pot or pan with sugar. This is why it is advised that you do not melt more than two cups at a time.

It could also be because there is little water in the sugar. Ensure that the water you use is half the amount of sugar you are melting. Other reasons could be low heat or stirring the solution too quickly.

For whichever reason your sugar crystallized, add more warm water to the crystals and reheat gently. This process might take more time than you expect. So, you need to be patient and keep a close eye on your pot.

How to use melted sugar

Caramel candy

caramel candies - millenora

Caramelization and melting sugar are two similar processes but caramelization takes longer because it is an extension of melting. Add lemon juice to the caramel and when you have the right consistency, pour it into a mold and leave it to set.

You can make caramel candies for your kids, serve it as dessert when hosting friends, or serve it at a garden party.  

Caramel sauce

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Another way to use melted sugar is to make caramel sauce and use it as a dip for fruits like strawberries, as a topping for flan, or ice-cream syrup.


Melted sugar makes a great sweetener for coffee, tea, and cocktails. You can make a large batch and store it in a jar. You can use it as a substitute for granulated sugar.

Glaze for doughnuts

sugar glaze for doughnuts - millenora

Melted sugar with corn syrup makes a sweet glaze for doughnuts, especially when drizzled while the doughnuts are fresh from the oven. It is a good alternative to take your doughnuts up a notch.

Sugar glass

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Add corn syrup to the melted sugar and bake it for a few hours to make sugar glass. Sugar glass is often used as a decoration of baked items like a gingerbread house or a cake.

Spun sugar

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Spun sugar is another decorative way to use melted sugar. To make spun sugar, you must melt it to the hard ball stage. At this stage, it is easy to make decorations with the syrup.

Sugar syrup

sugar syrup - millenora

Sugar syrup is a perfect drizzle for cakes, fudge, or cheesecakes. Bakers love to serve sugar syrup over a tart or bitter confections to balance out the taste. You can also use sugar syrup as a sweetener for beverages like coffee and tea.

Melted sugar can be used for so many things. While you experiment, remember to use it in moderation and not consume it because sugar can be healthy.

Overconsumption of sugar can cause dental carries, raise blood sugar levels, and cause illnesses such as obesity and diabetes.


Can you caramelize brown sugar?

Yes, you can caramelize brown sugar just like white sugar. Brown sugar syrup can be used as a dip for fruits like strawberries

Why does sugar turn brown as you melt it?

Sugar browns as it melts because the molecules decompose into different compounds. This reaction is known as the Maillard reaction.

Is there any difference between caramelizing and melting sugar?

Yes, there is a difference between caramelizing and melting sugar. The process of melting sugar transforms it from a solid to a liquid. Caramelization continues after melting to turn it into the rich brown syrup with caramel flavors.

Must melted sugar harden?

If left out, melted sugar will harden. As the syrup cools, the water will evaporate, and crystals will begin to form. To keep melted sugar from crystallizing, add glucose syrup or cream of tartar.


Melting sugar is an easy process but you need to be mindful of what you are doing to avoid ending up with something you cannot do anything with.

Remember that all types of sugar are not the same. The type of sugar you’re trying to melt determines how much heat you will need.

To get the temperature right, you will need a device that can read the temperature of the melting sugar. Keep sucrose and glucose to around 320°F (160°C), fructose to 230°F (110°C) and maltose will melt at 356°F (180°C).

If you love melting stuff for desserts, I think you would like to know this hack for thinning melted chocolate.

Thanks for reading.