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Corn Syrup vs. Liquid Glucose: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 17, 2023
Corn syrup is a sweet, thick liquid made from cornstarch, often used in baking and candy making, while liquid glucose is a syrup made from starches like wheat and corn, used as a sweetener and thickener.

Key Differences

Corn syrup is a sweet syrup derived from cornstarch, primarily composed of glucose, and used in various culinary applications, especially in candy making and baking. Liquid glucose, also known as glucose syrup, is a syrup made from the hydrolysis of starches, such as corn, wheat, or potatoes, and contains varying amounts of glucose, maltose, and other sugars. Both are used as sweeteners and texturizers in food production, but they have different compositions and properties.
In terms of sweetness, corn syrup is less sweet than table sugar and is often used to provide sweetness without overpowering the flavor of the dish. Liquid glucose, while also not as sweet as sugar, is used to control sugar crystallization in confections, contributing to a smooth texture. Both corn syrup and liquid glucose are effective in preventing crystallization in candies and frozen desserts.
Corn syrup can add volume, enhance texture, and extend the shelf life of foods, making it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Liquid glucose is similarly used to improve texture and stability in foods like ice creams, sorbets, and baked goods. Both are hygroscopic, meaning they attract and hold water, which is beneficial in preventing foods from drying out.
In the production process, corn syrup is made by breaking down cornstarch into glucose through enzymatic processes. Liquid glucose, on the other hand, is produced by hydrolyzing various starch sources, leading to a mixture of different sugars, primarily glucose. The source of the starch and the specifics of the production process can affect the flavor and properties of both corn syrup and liquid glucose.
Nutritionally, both corn syrup and liquid glucose are high in calories and carbohydrates, with minimal nutritional value beyond this. They should be used in moderation, particularly for individuals watching their sugar intake. While they serve similar purposes in cooking and baking, their slight differences can affect the outcome of a recipe.

Comparison Chart


Derived from cornstarch
Made from various starches (e.g., corn, wheat)

Sugar Composition

Primarily glucose
Mixture of glucose, maltose, and other sugars

Sweetness Level

Less sweet than sugar
Varies, generally less sweet than sugar

Main Use

Sweetening, texture, preventing crystallization
Texture, stability, controlling crystallization

Nutritional Value

High in calories and carbohydrates
Similar, high in calories and carbohydrates

Corn Syrup and Liquid Glucose Definitions

Corn Syrup

Available in light and dark varieties for different uses.
Dark corn syrup adds a rich flavor to sauces and glazes.

Liquid Glucose

It can be made from corn, wheat, or potato starch.
The liquid glucose in this recipe comes from wheat starch.

Corn Syrup

A viscous sweetener made from cornstarch.
I used corn syrup in the pecan pie to give it a smooth texture.

Liquid Glucose

Used to control sugar crystallization in desserts.
Adding liquid glucose prevents the sugar from crystallizing in the sorbet.

Corn Syrup

Less sweet than regular sugar and honey.
Corn syrup is a good alternative when a less sweet flavor is desired.

Liquid Glucose

A syrup derived from starch hydrolysis.
Liquid glucose is essential for the smooth texture of this ice cream.

Corn Syrup

Often used in candy making to prevent crystallization.
The corn syrup helps keep the homemade candy soft and chewy.

Liquid Glucose

Useful in extending the shelf life of baked goods.
Liquid glucose in bread helps it stay fresh longer.

Corn Syrup

Adds moisture and shelf life to baked goods.
Corn syrup in the cookie recipe keeps them moist for longer.

Liquid Glucose

Provides stability and smoothness in confections.
We use liquid glucose in our chocolate truffles for a silky texture.


What are the uses of liquid glucose in cooking?

Liquid glucose is used to control crystallization, improve texture, and add sweetness in desserts.

Is corn syrup healthier than sugar?

Corn syrup is similar to sugar in terms of health, high in calories and carbohydrates.

What is corn syrup made from?

Corn syrup is made from cornstarch.

How is liquid glucose different from corn syrup?

Liquid glucose can be made from various starches and contains a mix of sugars, unlike corn syrup which is primarily glucose.

Does corn syrup have a flavor?

Corn syrup has a mild, sweet flavor, less pronounced than sugar.

Can I substitute corn syrup for liquid glucose?

Yes, they can often be substituted for each other, but there may be slight texture and sweetness differences.

What is the shelf life of liquid glucose?

Liquid glucose, if stored properly, has a long shelf life, similar to corn syrup.

Does corn syrup contain gluten?

Most corn syrup is gluten-free, but it's best to check the label for assurance.

Are there health risks associated with consuming liquid glucose?

Like any high-sugar product, excessive consumption of liquid glucose can contribute to health issues like obesity and diabetes.

Can corn syrup be used in place of sugar?

Yes, corn syrup can replace sugar in many recipes, particularly in candies and syrups.

Is corn syrup vegan?

Yes, corn syrup is typically vegan as it's derived from corn.

What's the difference in texture between corn syrup and liquid glucose?

Both are thick and sticky, but the exact texture can vary slightly based on their sugar composition.

Can I make corn syrup at home?

Making corn syrup at home is challenging due to the required processing of cornstarch.

Is liquid glucose suitable for candy making?

Yes, liquid glucose is commonly used in candy making to control sugar crystallization and improve texture.

Can liquid glucose be used in diabetic-friendly recipes?

Liquid glucose is high in sugar and should be used cautiously in diabetic diets.

What is the main function of liquid glucose in ice cream?

Liquid glucose helps prevent crystallization, resulting in a smoother texture in ice cream.

Is there a natural alternative to corn syrup?

Natural alternatives include honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar, though they have different flavors.

Can corn syrup spoil?

Corn syrup can spoil if contaminated, but it generally has a long shelf life when stored properly.

Does liquid glucose affect the color of food?

Liquid glucose is usually clear or slightly golden, so it has minimal impact on the color of food.

Is corn syrup the same as high-fructose corn syrup?

No, high-fructose corn syrup has been processed to increase its fructose content, unlike regular corn syrup.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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