[Sugar Facts] Is sugar flammable: Can sugar catch fire?

Is there anyone not fond of sugar or sweet things? – Sugar is one of the commonest ingredients which we all use day to day in our life.  Life without sugar is bitter.

We all know about sugar, its taste, uses, and drawbacks. Most people are aware of their health, but it is important to know about some hazards and basic chemistry related to sugars. So, I’m going to share my experience with you today.

When I was cooking in my kitchen the day before yesterday, my sister mistakenly blew powder sugar on the stove, and suddenly something happened. She questioned me, Is sugar flammable?

Yes, sugar is flammable if it is kept under certain conditions. Crystal sugar is technically not flammable. However, powdered sugar is more volatile and even more explosive in some cases than table or regular sugar.

Let’s jump into the details.

Is sugar flammable

Chemical construction of sugar and its types:

It is basically a soluble carbohydrate, and the chemical formula is C6H12O6. There are different categories of sugar. These types are made to serve different purposes. The most common and frequently used sugar types are as follows:

  • Table sugar
  • Regular sugar
  • Granulated sugar

Is Sugar Flammable and combustible dust?

To be exact, sugar in crystal form in normal room conditions is not flammable. But, in dust for and conjunction with 350-degree Fahrenheit, it can combust. Because when you grind sugar or make something powder, the size of the sugar’s particle becomes smaller, and the surface area becomes larger. 

Powdered sugar gets oxidized more readily and so produced heat in an exothermic reaction. And that allowed more and more fine particles to react and eventually boom.

Note: The smaller the particles, the larger the surface area to volume. Table sugar is not dangerous as it does not usually cause a fire. Still, you should be careful while using powdered sugar.

There are easy and simple tricks that you can try at home to check whether the sugar is explosive or not and the equipment you need.  


  • Powdered sugar
  • Candle
  • Plastic bottles
  • Lighter or fire from anywhere


  • Heat sugar for 30 seconds
  • Grind sugar using a blender properly
  • Fill Sugar powder into a plastic bottle
  • Make the bottle upside down so that sugar comes at the point of the cap 
  • Press the bottle of sugar onto the fires, before that pump the bottle to get oxygen
  • If the sugar gets enough oxygen, it will fire and use your mouth to blow better results. 

Also Read: Check out our other article about How Does Flour Cause An Explosion?

Is sugar combustible dust?

Although powdered sugar is made of precisely the same sugar as usual table sugar, granulated sugar is highly combustible dust. It is very dangerous when it gets enough oxygen, exploding massively in sugar dust or powdered sugar. Therefore, it is much appreciated as tinier than the same structure of cube or regular sugar.

Let me give a slight hint about combustible dust. It is a well-defined matter which can catch fire when it gets enough oxygen and is mainly formed by solid organic compounds. 

Is sugar syrup flammable?

Typically, sugar syrup is not flammable, but it may burn if the temperature rises more than 500 degrees Celsius. After that, it is just sweet, watery-like textures but thicker than water and is to make. Even if it burns, it will be less flammable than powdered sugar because it has a high quantity of water.
So, the sugar syrup will not flame, but it will be burnt if exposed to excessive heat.

What happens if you put sugar on fire? 

Sugar is mainly hydrocarbon – an organic compound that only contains hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen.

When these three organic compounds combine with fire or are placed on a stove, it turns solid into a liquid, known as melting. This melted substance is known as caramel. A thick and saccharine flavor and the taste and aroma of the sugar ultimately may cause a fire if you make a mistake a little during baking. It occurs when the sugar gets piping hot at the moment of blazing. 

Suppose any food factory required a bulk amount of sugar syrup and granulated sugar. In that case, they must establish a necessary fire fighting protocol to reduce any potential hazards.

What’s the smell of burnt sugar? 

The smell of burnt sugar is a deep, bitter coffee candy or excess heated caramelized type smell. It is a bitter smell because the enzyme has denatured due to high temperature. If the sugar is too burnt, you will smell acute smoked caramel flavor, bitter for nasal smoothness.

Some research shows that it causes cancer in humans. Apart from the burning point of view, you should not eat excess burned food as it contains a large amount of acrylamide that may increase the chance of suffering from cancerous diseases.

Also Read: Is Resin Flammable Or Combustible?

What is burnt sugar called? 

The scientific term for the smell of burnt sugar is stolen. This chemical substance is related to sugar excess heating. In the baking industry, it is referred to as BLACKJACK. We usually call it cameral sugar. If it is heated, then exceptional, and the breaking of pure carbon may occur.

There is a significant difference between burnt sugar and sugar syrup. The term burnt sugar stands for crystallized sugar cubes that are exposed to excessive heat but not melted. On the contrary, the sugar syrup is deliberately prepared by mixing with water, and citric acid with a controlled amount of heat to melt the sugar up to the desired level.

Why is sugar not explosive?

Sugar is not explosive. It is not wrong to say that some types of sugar are explosive such as powdered sugar, and granulated sugar is also explosive but less than powdered sugar. Still, it may explode if it is at a higher temperature than usual.

The more the particle is ground finely, the more fire will occur, and the explosion increases.

Powdered sugar is tasty to eat as it blends with food finely, but it is one of the dangerous sugar categories. Suppose you keep it carelessly during cooking or beside flammable objects. In that case, it may cause a vast explosion that may take your life.

So, you should keep aware while baking something. Do not think sugar is a harmless component, and knowing basic chemistry is necessarily significant.

Can sugar spontaneously combust?

Can sugar spontaneously combust

Sugar can spontaneously combust because the activation energy is too high due to the increment of heat which occurs by the process known as combustion reaction – [exothermic reaction]. 

When any kind of sugar reacts with the oxygen in the air due to the heat, it makes a different group of atoms, and energy is taken up. So it makes up black soot by incomplete combustion reaction.


Sugar is part and parcel of our food that makes cake or any food mouth-watering with just a pinch of sugar. Whether you eat salty or spicy food; you always put sugar in the food for a better taste.

However, it will be a good habit if you focus on the hazard of using sugar. Do not take any chemistry-related thing simply.

I hope this article has given your ideas about the flammability power of sugars. Many people may take it simply, but you should try to understand it before you apply something.

Leave a Comment