Golden Syrup Tin

Lyle's Golden Syrup has a distinctive lid design, in which the top of the tin has a lip. This inevitably fills with syrup and makes the whole thing stickier than it needs to be. Is there a reason for this design? My first thought was that it was to "catch" syrup, but after using the stuff a lot recently I'm convinced it does more harm than good.

Also, any tips on cleaning the tin/lip? I found a damp paper towel works ok but it's probably not efficient, I also suspect that something is wrong if I'm needing to clean packaging like this at all.

  • You can get golden syrup in squeezable plastic bottles as well.
    – Divi
    Dec 31, 2013 at 3:03
  • And what is your picture, with all of the string?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Dec 31, 2013 at 14:19
  • 1
    It was the first photo I found on Google images with the lip visible and not clogged with syrup! Dec 31, 2013 at 14:27
  • 4
    That's an old paint can lid design, likely dating back to the 1800's. People would probably complain if the company changed it to anything more modern. Nov 6, 2014 at 14:08
  • 3
    As an ignorant American who can only guess at what a golden syrup might be, this can of strings is especially confusing.
    – Preston
    Nov 20, 2014 at 12:29

6 Answers 6


The secret is not to get the lip of the tin dirty. Specifically, do not pour the Golden Syrup out of the tin. Use a spoon or a knife to get out the amount you need. Even if you need to fill a spoon ten times that is quicker than pouring and then having to clean the lip.

In some parts of the world it is sold in jars. The glass threads of the screw lid present much the same cleaning problem though.

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I suspect you are looking for deep explanations where none exist.

Flat metal work is flexible; by introducing a bend, it becomes stronger. This is the same principal that makes corrugation, and the same reason car parts are all curved. You will note that paint cans have essentially the same design, for the same reason.

The lip around the removable lid is quite likely to be there simply to give it enough strength to allow the lid to be removed and replaced multiple times without distorting the can.

This has nothing to do with the specific product inside.

As to cleaning, a damp paper towel seems ideal. If the lid is well sealed, you could run it under some water to dissolve any caked on syrup, and then dry...


It is much simpler to dispense from cans of Golden Syrup if the tin is inverted, and the bottom pierced with a lever can opener - the sort that makes a triangular hole near the edge of the tin, sometimes known as a can "tapper".

Picture of can "Tapper"

You will need two holes opposite one another, the second one to let air into the can to take up the space of the syrup, which can now be poured much more tidily.

The disadvantage, of course, is that you now have to use cling film or similar to keep the contents covered.

  • 1
    or you need to find a plastic lid that fits snugly on the (bottom) of the can ... when you don't need to worry about the cling flim. My dad used to do this with something when I was really young, but I just can't remember what.
    – Joe
    Nov 6, 2014 at 14:18

The same issue exists with paint cans: the trough in the rim fills up with paint.

Solution there: bang two or three nail holes in the trough so the paint can drain back into the can. The lid will cover the nail holes when replaced.

This should work for syrup too.


I never tip the syrup from the tin but spoon it out using an old tablespoon heated in hot water or over gas flame. The syrup slides off and leaves a clean tin.

  • Certainly use a spoon but I still find it drizzles off the spoon, like honey. Dec 27, 2018 at 21:13

I think the 'clean up' issue is finally being addressed by The Powers That Be as in New Zealand you can now purchase golden syrup in plastic squeezy bottles that you simply tilt upside down and squeeze the syrup out, leaving just the tip to clean and enabling a greater degree of accuracy in measuring the syrup.

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