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Lite Corn Syrup

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2009

How will lite corn syrup affect baked goods?

We chose a few recipes from our repertoire and compared versions made with the original Karo Light Corn Syrup containing a combination of glucose and fructose and the new Karo Lite Corn Syrup, which contains glucose and sucralose (aka Splenda) but no fructose. We made our pecan bars, chewy chocolate cookies, and two kinds of chocolate frosting (bittersweet and milk chocolate) for our experiments.

It took just a few nibbles for tasters to detect an unpleasant aftertaste in the recipes made with lite syrup. Worse, in the bittersweet chocolate frosting, the Splenda-sweetened syrup created a consistency so elastic, it was almost rubbery. Things went further downhill when we made the frosting with milk chocolate: This sample was full of clumps. Why the texture problems? According to our science editor, the culprit was the cellulose gum present in the lite corn syrup, which reacted with the calcium in the milk chocolate; more milk led to the formation of an insoluble calcium salt. The bottom line: We recommend avoiding lite corn syrup in cooking and baking.

We recommend sticking with Karo Light Syrup.

Karo's Lite version is not worth the calorie savings.