I found a recipe for lollipops. It uses 2:2:1 ratio of sugar:water:vinegar. What exactly is the role of vinegar in it?

The recipe was:

  • 10 spoons of granulated/crystalic sugar
  • 10 spoons of water
  • 4 spoons of vinegar
  • food coloring

Combine ingredients and cook approx 10-12 minutes since water has started to boil. All water has to boil out. You can test if it is boiled enough by making a drop.

2 Answers 2


It is simply to add tartness to add some balance against the sugar. The water from the vinegar will evaporate and leave behind acetic acid. There is an old fashioned type of hard candy known as vinegar candy. Your lollipop is essentially just that candy on a stick.

  • Thanks. :) So I can exlude it and it will have only slightly different taste?
    – user712092
    Aug 6, 2011 at 8:13
  • You can exclude it and you'll have a plain sugar candy; you might want to consider adding some flavoring or they might be rather boring. But they will work fine, yes. Aug 6, 2011 at 21:24
  • 2
    I think it can have another purpose. Sugar syrup will crystallise when cooled down. Acid prevents this. If you don't want vinegar smell, use cream of tartar and change your water ratio to account for the liquid from the vinegar. Or you can do it without the acid at all, but take much care against early crystallisation.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 7, 2011 at 6:51
  • Sugar syrup cooked with acid can undergo partial inversion, which changes texture ... Feb 8, 2018 at 16:51

Actually, I think Mr. Natkin is more correct. The vinegar does help to give the lollipops a more balanced flavor, but more importantly, it prevents the sugar from crystalizing. When I make lollipops, I more often use fresh squeezed lemon juice because I prefer the taste. But sometimes, like with a caramel lollipop, vinegar tastes better to me :)

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