Difference Between Light and Dark Corn Syrup (With Table)

Food is the ultimate source of happiness and contentment for human beings. Who could imagine not experimenting with their taste buds nowadays? Experimenting with food takes a lot of effort and patience. There are tons and tons of cuisines, dishes, food supplements etc. One such food supplement, more precisely a syrup, is Corn Syrup. The syrup is prepared from Corn starch, otherwise known as maize.

Light Corn Syrup vs Dark Corn Syrup

The difference between Light and Dark Corn Syrup is that Light Corn syrup has no colour and has a mild and sweet taste, whereas, Dark Corn syrup is deep brown in colour and has a sweet and toasty flavour to it. So, the dark corn syrup adds a hint of colour to the food in which it is used, while the light corn syrup brings the true colour of the food.

Light corn syrup, as the name suggests, has light or no colour to it. It is prepared from corn starch and is used in bakery items, confections and also, savoury dishes. The syrup has a mild and sweet taste. A hint of vanilla flavour can be found in the light syrup. It has no added sugar, except for vanilla and salt. The syrup is added to food items to give an enhancement of texture and a hint of flavour.

On the other hand, dark corn syrup has a deep brown colour. It is also prepared from corn starch and is used in a variety of food dishes, just like light syrup. The syrup has more of a toasty taste along with sweetness. Refiner’s sugar is added to it. It provides a hint of caramel flavour and a brownish colour to the food items.

Comparison Table Between Light and Dark Corn Syrup

Parameters of ComparisonLight Corn SyrupDark Corn Syrup
Raw MaterialLight corn syrup is prepared from corn starch. Dark corn syrup is also prepared from corn starch.
ColourIt is light or colourless. It is deep brown in colour.
TasteIt has a light and sweet taste. It has a sweet and intense taste.
FlavourIt has a hint of vanilla flavour. It has a hint of caramel flavour.
IngredientsOnly salt and vanilla flavour are added to it. This corn syrup has molasses, salt, caramel flavour and colour and sodium benzoate added to it.
SugarIt has no added sugar. It has refiner’s sugar added to it.
UsageIt is mainly used in candles and sweets. It is used in cakes and cookies.

What is Light Corn Syrup?

Corn syrup is very popularly used, mainly in American baked dishes, confections etc. The syrup contains maltose and saccharides according to their grade. Light corn syrup adds a soft texture, volume and a hint of vanilla flavour to the food dishes. Made from corn starch, the syrup is also known as Glucose syrup.

Light corn syrup is clear and colourless. Based on its name, it is known to have a mild sweetness to its taste. It has a high level of fructose content. Along with corn starch, vanilla flavour and salt are used in the preparation of this corn syrup. This results in a hint of vanilla flavour in the light corn syrup.

The syrup being colourless does not add any colour to the food dishes. Rather, it improves the texture and adds a delicate vanilla flavour to it. Light corn syrup is best for preparing candles and sweets. As the syrup has no added sugar, it has a very mild sweetness in its taste.

Although there is a resemblance of preparation of light corn syrup with the preparation of the dark corn syrup, still the former stands out due to its unique taste and flavour.

What is Dark Corn Syrup?

The bakery and confectionery food items have evolved a lot over time in terms of their appearance, flavour and colour. They are now available almost in every possible colour and flavour. Dark corn syrup is used for improving the texture and adding an intense flavour and colour to them.

Just like the light corn syrup, the dark corn syrup is also prepared from corn starch. It has a high level of molasses content in it. In addition to this, refiner’s sugar and salt are also added to it. All of these ingredients together provide a strong and intense caramel flavour and sweetness to the syrup. From the molasses, the syrup gets its deep brown colour.

The hint of colour in this syrup gives a nice toasty flavour and colour to the baked goods. Because of its intense flavour, dark syrup is mainly used in the preparation of cakes and cookies, unlike light corn syrup. The caramel flavour of this syrup makes it best for those who love caramel flavoured food items.

Dark corn syrup, known for its intense taste and flavour, may not be liked by everyone. Some people do not prefer a strong flavour in their food. Despite that, this syrup used widely and is very popular.

Main Differences Between Light and Dark Corn Syrup

  1. Light and Dark corn syrup both are prepared from corn starch but have a difference in other ingredients.
  2. Light syrup is colourless, while dark syrup has a deep brown colour.
  3. The dark syrup has a sweeter and more intense taste as compared to a light syrup.
  4. The light syrup has a vanilla flavour, while the dark syrup has a caramel flavour.
  5. Light syrup is used for making sweets and candles, whereas dark syrup is used for making cookies and cakes.


Corn syrup is a very popular food additive used worldwide. It is prepared in different grades as well as types. Two types of corn syrup are light corn syrup and dark corn syrup. Both these syrups use the same raw material for their preparation but differ in their taste, flavour and colour.

Light corn syrup is colourless and has delicate vanilla and sweet flavour to it. In contrast, dark corn syrup is deep brown and has intense caramel and sweet flavour to it. These syrups are used in various types of food dishes keeping their differences in mind. Both of them are highly popular and preferred in various types of foods.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1983.tb10764.x
  2. https://www.cerealsgrains.org/publications/cc/backissues/1990/Documents/67_502.pdf
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