Bubble Sugar

Cheesecake with bubble sugar
PaoloScarlata / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 12 servings

Bubble sugar is an easy decoration made from cooked sugar that adds a beautiful touch to cakes, cupcakes, and pastries. You can add coloring and flavoring to make this elegant lace decoration match your desserts. Don’t miss the tutorial with step-by-step illustrations showing how to make bubble sugar!

This recipe calls for clear alcohol, but you can substitute clear alcohol-based extracts instead if you are worried about some guests consuming a small amount of alcohol. The resulting bubble sugar will taste fairly strongly of whatever flavoring you use, so take that into account when making the substitution.


Steps to Make It

Prepare the Candy

  1. Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

  2. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then insert a candy thermometer and cook the candy to 315 degrees.

Prepare the Bubble Sugar Tray

  1. Take a piece of parchment and crumple it between your hands, then smooth it out and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Keep some of the wrinkles, as a little bit of texture is necessary for the final product.

  2. Shortly before the sugar has finished cooking, pour the alcohol or alcohol-based flavoring on the parchment, and rub it between your hands to spread the alcohol over the entire surface of the sheet.

Pour the Bubble Sugar

  1. Once the sugar reaches the proper temperature, remove it from the heat and remove the candy thermometer.

  2. If you want to color your bubble sugar, add a drop or two of food coloring at this point. You can stir just a few strokes, to make swirled bubble sugar, or stir until it is fully incorporated.

  3. Tilt the baking sheet at a slight angle and carefully begin pouring the sugar syrup on the top of the sheet, so it runs down the parchment paper. The alcohol will make the sugar bubble up.

  4. Once the sugar has been poured, allow it to cool, undisturbed, until fully set.

  5. Carefully peel the paper from the back of the bubble sugar, and break it into small pieces to use as decoration.


  • Store at room temperature in an airtight container for several days. Bubble sugar is best made and kept in a low-humidity environment.