What Temp Does Sugar Burn

Sugar is a common ingredient used for many things in the kitchen and grill. Choosing which sugar to use in cooking can be your first choice as each reacts differently to heat. Using sugar that doesn’t burn or you can use at higher temperatures seems the obvious choice. This is especially true when using sugar in your homemade barbecue sauce at high temperatures.

Besides this, making candy is another popular pastime, and sugar is used here to make candy or dessert decorations. With this, you’ll need to heat to a certain temperature for the four sugar stages you’ll go through.

You could ask, is it brown or white sugar that will burn faster? Most often, unrefined brown sugar contains more original substances than white sugar. White sugar melts and burns quicker than brown sugar at different stages because of this.

A contributory factor is the higher moisture content of brown sugar because of the addition of molasses, which slows the sugar’s burning. It usually burns much more slowly than white sugar for brown sugar. In our guide, you can learn more about at what temperature does sugar burn?

sugar to burn

By the end, whether you are making a barbecue sauce, using sugar for candy recipes, or using your arty skills to make many desserts stand out. You’ll know which granulated sugar to use, the sugar concentration and how to make the necessary adjustments, so you don’t see your sugar on a burn course. (Learn How To Get BBQ Sauce To Stick To Chicken)

What Temp Does Brown Sugar Burn At?

While burning sugar is quicker with white sugar than brown sugar, they all fall into the same range.

Sugar begins to burn between 275°F – 350°F Degrees. Many sugars are, but brown sugar and white sugar are the most common.

Brown sugar is manufactured by reintroducing molasses, the sugarcane juice, and boiled down into a syrup and added to refined white sugar or table sugar.

Turbinado sugar sits in the middle and is said to be better used in barbecue sauce than either white or brown. However, creating caramelized sugar isn’t as easy.

Here you can see how each sugar cooks.

  • Baking with white sugar results in dough or bread that is drier and crispier and is used in most cookie recipes.
  • Brown sugar is the opposite since it absorbs and retains moisture. As a result, the food is moister and has a richer flavor. When grilling, brown sugar works best with rubs. Because brown sugar doesn’t burn as fast, it pairs well with BBQ sauces and adheres to meats better.
  • Turbinado sugar is a preferable choice for sugar coating. Sprinkle or coat muffins, cookies, cakes, and other baked items with this topping. The reason for this is that it does not dissolve as well as other sugars in batters.

Does Sugar Burn 275?

Place it in a saucepan with almost no water and heat it to melt the sugar over direct heat.

Here are guidelines to avoid burning sugar.

  1. To begin, keep it on low heat and maintain it throughout. This way, you won’t be surprised by the temperature.
  2. Keep stirring the sugar as it melts. This prevents the sugar from clumping and ensures that it warms evenly.



The same applies to caramelizing sugar: don’t let it get too hot on the direct heat. You want enough heat in your pan for the water to boil away as quickly as possible. You don’t stir the sugar for this method.

Caramelizing sugar starts the same way, although you’ll heat it for longer. Don’t mix but heat until it turns brown in color.

Once the water has boiled away, you can use this chart for help as your remaining sugar begins to caramelize.

Besides the color, you may need to use a candy thermometer to test the temp of the liquid sugar.

This will be vital as once the liquefied sugar turns brown, it doesn’t take long for the caramelized sugar to take on a burnt taste.

1# Clear-Liquid Stage: 315 – 320° F:  100 percent sugar concentration.

All of the water has boiled away at this temperature. The remaining sugar is light amber and liquid.

2# Brown-Liquid Stage:  338° F: 100 percent sugar concentration

Your liquefied sugar turns brown because of caramelization. It breaks down and forms many complex compounds and can be used to decorate desserts and candy coat nuts.

3# Burned Sugar Stage: 350° F: sugar concentration: 100%

Sugar burns at around 350° F and gets a harsh, burned flavor. Besides this, the dark color sugar syrup reaches tells you it is burning.

Grilling or Smoking

Burned sugar, frequently caramelized, has a flavor that some people like.

To avoid the sugar in the BBQ rub from burning. In addition, hot areas and high temperatures (over 300° F) should be avoided for long periods.

Smoking meats rather than grilling works better with rubs as the meat is smoked at a lower temperature.

Keep the temperature between 200° F and 250° F when grilling with a rub. At those temperatures, there should be no burning. (Learn How Long Does Tuna Salad Last In The Fridge)

When making a rub, use brown sugar rather than white sugar. You can also use honey or syrup instead of sugar, hence why molasses is often used in barbecue rubs and sauces on its own.


At What Temperature Does Sugar Caramelize In The Grill?

It doesn’t matter which way sugars reach higher temperatures; they will always caramelize at the same.

Here are the stages: sugar transforms from granules to something that remains malleable or a syrup.

Water boils away from sugar syrup when you set temperatures higher, so the sugar concentration with temperature rises.

The highest temperature reached by sugar syrup shows how thick it will be once cool.

The syrup is in the “soft-ball” stage at 235° F. You can make a soft ball of syrup dropped into cold water.

Most candy recipes direct you to boil your sugar until you reach one of the stages below.

We recommend using your candy thermometer and cold-water test for the best results.

To check the thermometer’s accuracy, place it in boiling water, and it should show 212° F at sea level. (Learn How Long Do Deviled Eggs Last)

You can make adjustments when cooking candy syrup if it varies from this number.

Note: any temperatures given are at sea level, so subtract 1° F from each reported temperature for every 500 feet above sea level where you are.

Thread Stage

  • 230–235 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 80 percent sugar content

More water remains in your syrup at this relatively low temperature.

Any syrup dropped into cold water produces a liquid thread without balling.

Cooking sugar syrup at this point is where you drizzle over ice cream or desserts.

Soft-Ball Stage

  • 235°F to 240 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 85 percent sugar content

When the sugar syrup is dropped in cold water at this temperature, it forms a soft ball you can bend slightly for a few moments when you remove it from the water.

Firm-Ball Stage

  • 245–250 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 87 percent sugar content

When you drop a small amount of syrup in cold water at these candy stages, it forms a solid ball that won’t flatten when removed from the water. It can be squeezed into a flexible ball and flattened by hand.

Caramels are cooked until the firm-ball stage.

Hard-Ball Stage

  • 250–265 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 92 percent sugar content

As syrup falls from a spoon, it will form thick threads. The sugar concentration is relatively high and shows the sugar syrup is becoming dry.

When a small amount is dropped into cold water, it hardens into a hard ball. The ball won’t flatten, yet you can mold it by hand.

Nougat, gummies, and rock candy food cooking are all hard-baked to perfection.

Soft-Crack Stage

  • 270° to 290°F Fahrenheit
  • 95 percent sugar content

Bubbles in the syrup get smaller and closer together as your syrup reaches the soft crack stage. The moisture content will be minimal now, so when you drop this syrup into cold water, it solidifies into flexible threads rather than brittle when taken from the water.

The soft-crack stage is reached when saltwater taffy and butterscotch are cooked.

Hard-Crack Stage

  • 300 to 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 99 percent sugar concentration

The hard-crack stage is the highest temperature any candy recipe will ask. Any higher, and you’ll see the sugar begin burning

There will be hardly any more water left in the syrup when cooking.

When you drop the molten syrup in cold water, it forms stiff, brittle threads that break when bent.

Let the syrup cool in cold water for a few moments before handling it, as it can still burn it to avoid burns!

Hard-crack toffee, candy coating, and lollipops are made this way.

Does Sugar Burn Off In The Oven?

You may ask, does sugar burn off when cooking? Food on the grill can quickly reach the caramelized sugar stage and go past.

Honey or honey-sweetened barbecue sauce is better suited to low- and slow-cooking recipes so that the sauce can caramelize correctly. Cook on high heat and right away.

Because table sugar (sucrose) caramelizes at 320°F, it will taste better at higher temperatures.

Because sugars manufactured from maltose or sucrose can resist heat, use them on the grill instead of in the kitchen. This is owing to the caramel sauce’s sugar content.

What Temp Does Sugar Burn (2)

Scroll to Top