Glucose syrup is a liquid sweetener used in a lot of candy making. Unfortunately, it is incredibly thick which makes it difficult to measure. Imagine corn syrup except about three times thicker. When I measure it, a lot tends to get stuck on the spoon (or more often spoons) and then even more gets lost in the bowl I use to measure it. Are there any tricks to measuring thick syrups and other difficult ingredients?

5 Answers 5


Another option is to get one of the plunger type measuring cups. Once you push out the ingredient, you can use a spatula or spoon to scrape the end of the spatula. This works great for honey, molasses, syrup etc.

  • Between this and a silicone spatula, you can save almost all of the liquid for the recipe.
    – Peach
    Dec 24, 2010 at 22:15
  • Cook's Illustrated says you can line the plunger with plastic wrap for an easier release, but this might just make it so that you have to scrape the ingredient off the plastic wrap.
    – KatieK
    Dec 25, 2010 at 1:10
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    I have never seen a need to line the plunger. The tight fit cleans as it goes. If you are good with your measurements, you can pull out and add one ingredient, pull again and add a second. Add a few and then push them all into the bowl at the same time. Its actually kind of fun.
    – Doc Walker
    Dec 25, 2010 at 2:42

Put the bowl on a scale and put the difficult ingredients directly from their packaging into the bowl. That way, you don't have to clean up any measuring utilities and waste no ingredients.

  • 6
    I'd actually contend you should do ALL the ingredients, difficult or not, on a scale. Much more accurate than measuring cups and spoons for most things. That's why most electronic scales have a tare (or zero out) button. Measure one thing. Zero out. Measure the next. Zero out. All in one bowl. Dec 25, 2010 at 0:48
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    Alas. So many recipes only have volumetric measurements.
    – KatieK
    Dec 25, 2010 at 1:08
  • I do all my measurements by weight, but I always use a separate bowl in case I put a little two much in. (Also, because I usually need some ingredients heating on the stove while others are being measured.) Dec 25, 2010 at 6:16
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    @KatieK: That seems to be an American theme. In the UK, most measurements above tablespoons are given by weight in the majority of recipes. But US recipes always seem to be volumetric, which is always a pain as cup measures are not widely used here. I have cup measures for such purposes, most people do not - highly unreliable with sensitive recipes like cakes.
    – Orbling
    Dec 26, 2010 at 4:15
  • Glucose syrup should be 360 grams per cup. With this information in hand, it doesn't matter if the recipes are written in cups, you can still measure it the easiest and most effective way.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Oct 17, 2013 at 17:47

Concerning "difficult" ingredients and measuring volumetric amounts with a scale: You only have to measure volumetrically ONCE!

weighing honey

Once I know that my honey weighs 20 grams per tablespoon (I tared the scale with the wax paper, the measuring spoon and the lid that I used to balance the spoon) I can take that weight and run with it. 1 cup of my honey will weigh 320 grams. 1 teaspoon will weigh 7 grams (my scale doesn't do fractions of a gram). I never again have to dirty a cup or a spoon to measure honey unless I buy a dramatically different product, then I'll double check the weight of that honey with a tablespoon.

King Arthur Flour has a pretty good chart for converting all kinds of ingredients from volumetric measurements to weights Master Weight Chart. It doesn't always completely mesh with my findings, but you're probably less likely to go wrong relying on it than measuring a "difficult ingredient" volumetrically over and over again.

  • While measuring per weight solves the inaccuracy problems in volume measurement, I don't think it is a solution in this case. I still use a spoon to get my honey, molasses and similar thick/sticky ingredients from the jar into the bowl, and they stick to the transferring spoon instead of the measuring spoon then.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:09
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    @rumtscho Why use a spoon or measuring cup at all? Take your bowl of "stuff", put it on the scale. tare, and slowly add your "difficult ingredient". Stop when you reach the correct weight. For shortening or softened butter maybe I'll dirty a butter knife. For honey or corn syrup I just slowly pour.
    – Jolenealaska
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:15
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    I don't pour honey. First, it is too thick if crystalized, and won't come out of the jar at all. Second, if it does flow, it is hard to get a steady flow slow enough to not overpour. Third, when I tilt it back right-side up, it messes the outside of the jar lip. Yes, I know the head-down-storage plastic bottles with never-crystalizing honey, but the quality of the product in them is just too low for me.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:34
  • @rumtscho STILL, the only thing you need to dirty is a butter knife, maybe two. You can then scrape the knife (or knives) back into your jar. No waste, no fuss.
    – Jolenealaska
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:36
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    I never thought of using a butter knife to get my honey out of the jar :) so thanks for the tip. And this indeed works only with a scale measurement, so +1
    – rumtscho
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:45

Spray whatever you are going to measure it into with pan release (Pam) first. Or if you don't have that, rub it with a tiny amount of vegetable oil. You can do this whether it is the bowl for the scale as eckes rightly mentioned, or a measuring cup. Same trick works with molasses and honey.

  • I've used that technique for baking ... but I might be worried about using it for candy making. I don't know if oil causes problems ... I'm guessing not for all candies, based on the discussion of favoring oilds for candy, but it's possible this could be a problem for some recipes.
    – Joe
    Dec 25, 2010 at 3:06
  • Interesting idea for baking, but I agree with Joe. Probably not a good idea for candy making. Anything, especially anything with fat, can mess up a candy recipe. Dec 25, 2010 at 6:17

Besides the methods already mentioned, you can also measure by displacement if you're working with volumetric measurements and one of the other ingredients to be added at the same time is a liquid -- use a measuring cup large (and precise) enough for both measurements, add the liquid first, then add the stickly item until the liquid is pushed up to the measurement necessary for them both together.

Of course, if the sticky item floats, then you'll need to push it down with something. If there's a lot of liquid vs. the sticky item, you can always just use some of the liquid, so you can use a small enough measuing device with precise enough markings.

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