Candy Temperatures and Testing Your Candy Thermometer

Caramel sauce

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There are many techniques to learn if you're serious about making candy, and the temperature of the syrup is one of the most important aspects. Make sure you have a reliable thermometer before you start. See below for instructions for testing a candy thermometer for accuracy.

Candy Temperature Chart

Threadbegins at 230 F The syrup will make a 2" thread when dropped from a spoon.
Soft Ballbegins at 234 FA small amount of syrup dropped into chilled water forms a ball but flattens when picked up with fingers
Firm Ballbegins at 244 FThe ball will hold its shape and flatten only when pressed.
Hard Ballbegins at 250 FThe ball is more rigid but still pliable.
Soft Crackbegins at 270 F A small amount of syrup is dropped into chilled water, it will separate into threads that will bend when picked up.
Hard Crackbegins at 300 FThe syrup separates into threads that are hard and brittle.
Caramelized Sugar310 F to 338 F

Between these temperatures the sugar will turn dark golden but will turn black at 350 F.

To test your thermometer for accuracy, put it in a pan of water over high heat. Bring the water up to a rolling, vigorous boil. Making sure the thermometer does not touch the side or bottom of the pan, leave it in the water for 5 minutes as it continues to boil. The thermometer should register 212 F or 100 C. If the thermometer is off by a few degrees, adjust your recipe accordingly. For instance, if it registers 210 F and you want to cook your syrup to the soft ball stage, or 235 F, cook until it reaches 233 F.