Make Your Own Golden Syrup for the Best Pecan Pie of Your Life

Corn syrup is nasty. I think it’s okay in small amounts – say, to chew on a little homemade caramel – but it’s too shallow to be a separate sweetener. So I avoid it when I can.

Unfortunately, my love of nut pie is not consistent with my aversion to corn syrup. The nut tarts and molasses custard really need some kind of sugar syrup for the filling – even my mom, who desperately dislikes HFCS, keeps a bottle of Karo in the closet for this purpose – but honey, maple syrup, and molasses change the taste too much … Introduce golden syrup, invert cane sugar syrup . It has a subtle caramel flavor and more sodium than corn syrup and imparts a pleasant complexity and balance. You never go back to corn syrup if you make pecan pie with it.

Here in Canada Pants, the land of the free and home of the powerful corn lobby, real golden syrup is hard to find. Tate & Lyle’s is the most popular brand in the UK and can be purchased online at a reasonable price. If you want OG and don’t mind spending $ 10-12 shipping to your door, go for it, but you can also make golden syrup at home mostly for free. All you need is white sugar, water, and lemon.

Notes: As written, this makes about 2 cups of syrup; double if you need more. Plus, it’s definitely a mise-en-scène recipe. Once the caramel starts to cook, it goes quickly , so all ingredients must be measured out and ready to go. Choose an easy-to-pour container for boiling water that you want to add gradually.


(for base caramel)

50 g (¼ cup) white sugar

15 grams (1 tablespoon) water

(for syrup)

200 grams (1 cup) white sugar

150 g (glass) boiling water

1 lemon wedge or 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, drain


Bring water to a boil in a kettle. While pouring the syrup, keep it as close to the boiling point as possible.

Place the main caramel ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and let the caramel cook until golden brown. It will turn from golden brown to smoking in the blink of an eye, so keep the fire low and watch it like a hawk. Mine took too long to prepare and started to smoke, but everything worked out fine – until it darkens, everything is fine.

Measure out boiling water and make something easy to pour out of it. Add the rest of the sugar to the saucepan, then gradually pour in the boiling water. It will bubble violently, so relax. Also, don’t worry if your caramel grasps a little; it’s just sugar and water, so over time it will all dissolve.

Add lemon wedge or juice and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the lemon wedge and strain the syrup into a clean storage container; cool overnight before use.

It is stored for a year in the closet, or even longer in the refrigerator. Use in any recipe that calls for corn syrup – if you’re looking for a pecan pie recipe, this one is great.

EDIT (7/12/2017): Karo is not high fructose corn syrup! I apologize for hinting at this. Thanks to bjhinton for the fix .


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