How to Make Sugar Decorations for Desserts – Spun Sugar Recipe


spun sugar close up

Add some crunchy texture and some wow factor to your next dessert with these easy and highly versatile sugar decorations.  This recipe is not suitable for children due to high temperatures of the sugar syrup – but they will love eating it when it’s ready.

Approx 1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon glucose syrup (or corn syrup)
1/4 cup water

optional – nuts, herbs, fruit or other ingredients depending on what you want to use it for – see below.


Bring the ingredients to the boil in a saucepan.  Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water until there are no splashes of sugar on the sides.

spun sugar recipe step by step dessert decoration

Boil without stirring until you see a golden tinge in the syrup (if you are using a gas stovetop this is likely to be somewhere around the edge, if electric it will be in the middle).  Remove from the heat immediately and stir.

boil the sugar mixture without strring

To use your sugar syrup as a decoration for dessert choose one of the following methods:

1. Using a fork or spoon drizzle the HOT sugar syrup onto baking paper or you can use the back of a lightly oiled ladle to make domes.  Be very careful not to get any on you.

drizzle hot sugar syrup

dome spun sugar decoration recipe


2. Allow it to cool slightly and using two forks pull sugar into strands – see video for example of how to do this.

pull sugar between two forks

3. For pulling lots of fine strands around a croquembouche or making ‘sugar fabric’ there is a tool you can use – I don’t have one so I made my own using a piece of wood and some nails (put it through the dishwasher to make sure its really clean).  Place a sheet of baking paper over a large plastic container.  Pour the hot sugar syrup onto a silpat on one side, then using your home-made tool pull the sugar into fine strands by dipping the nails into the syrup and quickly moving it across the container and back again, dip into the syrup and repeat.  Use scissors to cut your ‘sugar fabric’ into pieces and roll into balls.


spun sugar threads dessert decoration

4. Pour it all onto a sheet of baking paper, quickly spread it out and sprinkle with roasted nuts or seeds.  Once completely cold snap into pieces the desired size and use on top of cupcakes or desserts.

sugar pistachio decoration

5. Quickly mix in other ingredients like chopped chocolate, coffee, mint or grated orange rind… use your imagination.  Sugar syrup is extremely hot so anything with water content will steam and spit so stand back.  Pour onto a baking sheet and wait until it is completely cold.  Grate to a fine powder then use the powder to make tuiles (instructions here).

Note these decorations are hygroscopic (they absorb moisture from the air) so will not last in humid conditions.  The finer the strands the less time it will last.  You can store them in an airtight container until needed.

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About Ann

Hi I'm Ann, food scientist, dietitian, wife, mum to 3 boys. Join me each week for desserts, chocolate and cakes.
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17 Responses to How to Make Sugar Decorations for Desserts – Spun Sugar Recipe

  1. angela says:

    my sugar keeps coming out cloudy instead of clear- what could i be doing wrong?

  2. eddy laine says:

    hi ..just wanna ask if how long can i store homemade sugar toppers?

  3. Chelsea says:

    Hi Ann,
    Long time viewer and subscriber, first time writer. My friends party is coming upnand she asked for chocolate chip muffins and cookiesbbut I am hoples so I was wondering could you please do a video or put up a video? It would be much appreciated!!!

  4. Melanie says:

    Hi I want to make a large dome shape to be inverted onto a cake to make a snow globe (& there’ll be Christmas themed decorations under the dome) so what’s the best way to achieve this? Spoons aren’t big enough & I had thought of using a glass bowl or would I be better off using a (silicone) hemisphere cake tin? Thanks

  5. Nazrin says:

    Hi Ann,.

    I saw ur pages and they really facinate me,. This Spun Sugar recipe is awesome,. i’m surely gonna try them and those chocolate cups too,. :)

    Can you suggest me a page where i can get stensils for decorating my cakes!!,.

    Thankyu.. :)

  6. Brandon says:

    Hi, I tried to make this using the fourth method of pouring it onto a sheet and breaking into pieces, but it kept ending up really gooey and sticky instead of hardening up so that one could break it. What am I doing wrong?

    • Ann Ann says:

      hi brandon, couple of options 1. it may not have been heated to a high enough temp 2. is it really humid and did you leave it out – it absorbs moisture from the air so needs to be stored in an airtight container.

  7. Stephanie says:


    I saw this recipe and decided that I wanted to go a little bit deeper and more detailed. I really want to recreate the Crystal Gem Apple from Adventure Time for a costume for a comic convention and I would like to make it out of sugar.

    Would you by any chance know how to shape sugar to make it look angular and geometric?

    Thank you!

    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi stephanie, the easiet way would be with a silicone mold. Depending on the size you need it there are gem molds that you can buy for sugar work.

  8. Elson Sequeira says:

    Hi Ann,

    Love the website and the detailed instructions

    I had a question, once we make these, do we need to refrigerate or is it fine if we keep it at room temperature.


    • Ann Ann says:

      Hi Elson, room temp in an airtight container. THey absorb moisture from the air so the fridge is more humid and they wont last as long, put them on the dessert just before serving.

  9. Karen says:

    I can’t find the template available on the above site for the dump truck.

  10. mio says:

    hi,may I ask, does the temperature of the surrounding affects the sugar threads? like for example when the surrounding is warm and humid, would the sugar melt or would not form the desired shape?

    • ann ann says:

      Hi mio, if it is humid the decorations will absorb more moisture from the air, store in a airtight container until just before serving.

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