Is Corn Syrup Flammable? Break the Myth

Corn syrup is not flammable. Its ingredients are highly diluted with water, making it non-flammable and unable to catch fire. 

It lacks the necessary volatile components to ignite or sustain combustion. This property makes it safe for use in various culinary and food processing applications.

Let’s explore why it does not catch fire so that you can feel confident in your culinary endeavors with corn syrup.

What Is Actually Corn Syrup?

What Is Corn Syrup

Basically, corn syrup is a sweetener derived from corn starch. It serves as a sugar substitute in the food industry. You will find two main types: 

  1. light and 
  2. dark. 

Light corn syrup is clear, while dark has a caramel hue and robust flavor.

To create corn syrup, corn starch is extracted from corn kernels and mixed with water and enzymes to convert it into glucose. 

This mixture is heated to remove excess water and yields a thick syrup that’s approximately more than 70% glucose.

For light corn syrup, you will need to follow an additional process to convert some glucose into fructose. It will enhance the thickness. 

Dark corn syrup, in contrast, is made by adding molasses or caramel color to the light variety.

You’ll spot corn syrup-sweetening candies, baked goods, and soft drinks. It’s also a handy thickener and a substitute for honey or maple syrup in recipes. 

Why Corn Syrup Is Safe from Fire – Details 

Why Corn Syrup Is Safe from Fire

Corn syrup mainly consists of glucose and fructose, both carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, due to their high oxygen content, don’t readily burn. 

Oxygen is crucial for combustion, and since carbohydrates already have plenty of oxygen, they can’t provide the necessary conditions for a fire.

In contrast, flammable substances like gasoline, propane, or butane have low oxygen content and high vapor pressure. This makes them capable of generating flammable vapors that can ignite when exposed to a spark or flame.

When you are using corn syrup in your recipes or enjoying foods containing it, rest assured that it won’t catch fire. It is a safe and non-flammable ingredient commonly used in various culinary applications.

Properties of Corn Syrup

Corn syrup has certain qualities that matter when using it in food. You may wonder what it contains that cannot catch a fire. 

Physical Properties of Corn Syrup

  • Viscous liquid, typically clear and colorless (light corn syrup).
  • High boiling point and low freezing point, useful for cooking and baking.
  • Hygroscopic nature retains moisture, keeping baked goods moist.

Chemical Properties of Corn Syrup

  • Primarily composed of glucose, an easily metabolized simple sugar.
  • Resistant to crystallization, making it ideal for sweetening candies and confections.
  • Derived from acid-hydrolyzed starch, it breaks down corn starch molecules into sugars.

Flammability of Corn Syrup

  • Not flammable in its liquid state.
  • Can become combustible when exposed to high temperatures and an open flame or spark.
  • It has a relatively high flash point, making it not highly flammable or explosive.
  • Handle and store corn syrup carefully to prevent potential hazards.

The Myth of Corn Syrup Flammability

There’s a common misconception about corn syrup being flammable. Let’s debunk this myth. In reality, corn syrup is not flammable. 

This myth has spread through word-of-mouth and the internet, where misinformation can quickly gain traction. Social media and easy information sharing have contributed to its dissemination.

Yet, scientific evidence consistently disproves the idea that corn syrup is flammable. Its non-volatile nature means it doesn’t produce ignitable vapors, and its high oxygen content inhibits combustion. 

This non-flammability makes it a common ingredient in food production for sweetening and thickening.

Numerous experiments, including pouring corn syrup over a lit candle or attempting to ignite it with a lighter, confirm that it doesn’t catch fire or produce visible flames. 

Corn syrup’s non-flammable nature is well-established in scientific tests.

Corn Syrup in Everyday Life

Corn syrup plays a versatile role in our daily lives. From enhancing the flavors of our favorite treats to its surprising presence in industrial processes. Here are some key uses of corn syrup:

  • Corn syrup is a common sweetener and ingredient in various recipes. It includes baked goods like pies, cookies, and cakes. It is also used to add sweetness, moisture, and texture.
  • Corn syrup is a key component in many types of candies, including caramels, taffy, and fudge. It helps prevent crystallization and creates a smooth texture.
  • In the beverage industry, corn syrup is used to sweeten soft drinks and other beverages.
  • Corn syrup is used in some jams, jellies, and fruit preserves to enhance their shelf life and prevent the crystallization of sugars.
  •  It can be found in condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce
  • Some homemade cough syrups and remedies use corn syrup as a base for its thickening and sweetening properties.
  • Beyond food, corn syrup finds applications in various industrial processes, including the production of paper and textiles.

Health Benefits of Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is primarily known as a sweetener, but it’s important to recognize that it also has some health benefits if you consume it in moderation. Here’s a breakdown of the health benefits of corn syrup:

  • You can get a rapid energy boost from corn syrup due to its high glucose content, which is particularly useful during intense physical activities.
  • You can keep baked goods moist longer by using corn syrup in recipes, ensuring freshness.
  • Corn syrup acts as a preservative in processed foods, maintaining texture and flavor and preserving the nutritional value of other ingredients.
  • You can create soothing homemade cough syrups using corn syrup as a base, which can help with sore throats and coughs.
  • In some medical conditions requiring precise calorie and carbohydrate control, you can use corn syrup to meet dietary needs.
  • Corn syrup reduces ice crystal formation in frozen desserts, leading to smoother and creamier textures.

Is There Any Risk Associated with Corn Syrup?

Well, corn syrup, though, is not flammable, but there are some other risks associated with this. Check the below table:

Excess Sugar IntakeExcessive consumption of corn syrup, like other sweeteners, can also contribute to health issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and dental problems.  
Empty CaloriesCorn syrup provides calories but lacks essential nutrients. Relying on it for a significant portion of your daily calorie intake can result in a lack of vital vitamins and minerals.
Potential AllergiesSome people can have allergies or sensitivities to corn or corn-based products, which could cause adverse reactions when consuming corn syrup. 
Linked to Health IssuesExcessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been associated with various health concerns, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
ObesityHigh consumption of corn syrup is linked to weight gain and obesity, as it can increase calorie intake and fat storage when consumed excessively. 
High Blood PressureExcessive sugar intake, including that from corn syrup, may contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension). 


1. Is it safe to grill with corn syrup?

Yes, it is safe to use corn syrup for grilling. Corn syrup does not catch fire at typical grilling temperatures. It can be used as an ingredient in marinades or glazes to enhance flavor and texture.

2. Can I use corn syrup to cook?

Yes, you can use corn syrup for cooking. Corn syrup is commonly used in cooking and baking to sweeten and add moisture to various recipes. It’s particularly useful in making candies, desserts, and sauces.

3. Can I use corn syrup as fuel?

No, you should not use corn syrup as fuel. Corn syrup is not a suitable fuel source for any purpose. It lacks the necessary properties for combustion and does not produce the energy or heat required for fuel-related applications.

4. Can I use corn syrup to ignite a fire?

No, you should not use corn syrup to ignite a fire. Corn syrup is not a flammable substance and cannot be used as a fire starter. Attempting to use it for this purpose would be ineffective and potentially hazardous.

5. Does corn syrup have a smoke point?

Corn syrup does not have a smoke point because it is not an oil or fat. Smoke points are typically associated with cooking oils and fats, which break down and produce smoke at high temperatures.

6. Can I use corn syrup to put out the fire?

No, you should not use corn syrup to extinguish a fire. Corn syrup is not a fire-extinguishing agent, and attempting to use it to put out a fire would not be effective or safe.


It is evident that corn syrup is a non-flammable substance. Its inherent properties include being non-volatile and having a high oxygen content. 

They prevent it from catching fire at typical temperatures. This clarification underscores the importance of relying on accurate scientific information.

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