Skip to Content

Sugar Shards

These caramel sugar shards are made using just water and granulated sugar and are the perfect way to elevate any dessert!

image of caramelized sugar shards made using just water and granulated sugar

How to Make Colorful Sugar Shards

I let this batch caramelize until it reached a deep amber shade to decorate a caramel cake, but you can cook the sugar at steady medium-low heat to avoid caramelization and still reach the hard crack stage (290 F / 145 C).

I recommend using 1/4 cup of water instead of 2 Tbsp, which will also help minimize the caramelization.

Once the sugar mixture starts to boil, leave the temperature at a medium-low heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the sugar just begins to have a yellowish hue.

As it starts to turn in color, it should reach 290 F / 145 C.

image of sugar and water being boiled to make sugar shards or sugar glass

Once the mixture reaches this phase, you can remove it from heat and mix in any food coloring or flavoring before pouring it to cool.

I recommend adding 1 tsp of liquid food coloring for a pop of color, and / or 1 tsp of your favorite flavoring (I love using strawberry emulsion or lemon extract).

Just be sure to thoroughly stir the coloring or flavoring into the melted sugar. The sugar will thicken quickly as it starts to cool and it’s important to make sure the flavoring and color are mixed evenly throughout the sugar.

How to Break the Cooled Sugar into Pieces

There are a couple different ways you can break the hardened sugar into shards.

The first is using a sharp knife. This gives you a bit more control over the size and shape of the shards, but can be challenging to cut. Take lots of care if you choose to break your sugar using a knife.

image of caramelized sugar shards being cut into small pieces using a sharp knife

The other way is to use a blunt object like a mallet or hammer. This method instantly breaks the entire sugar sheet, and is the quickest and easiest way to create sugar shards.

Whatever route you chose, be careful! The edges of the sugar shards can be very sharp.

What Do These Caramel Sugar Shards Taste Like?

These caramelized sugar shards taste like a hard caramel or butterscotch candy.

However, if you chose to flavor them and skip the caramelization of the sugar, they can really taste like any hard candy. Just add an emulsion or extract of the flavor you’d like to taste.

These sugar shards are quite hard, so you wouldn’t want to bite down on them immediately. You’d want to eat them like hard candy, by savoring it until it softens a bit and then chewing it.

How Should I Use Sugar Shards?

These sugar shards are super versatile, and there are so many different ways you can use them. I personally love using them as a garnish to decorate cakes.

You can also keep them in larger pieces to garnish pastries, tarts, or even pies.

Another way to use sugar shards is to cut them up into tiny little bits and use them as sprinkles! They sparkle and shimmer, and look so pretty!

Melted sugar can also be poured into silicone molds! You can get as creative as you want creating sugar shapes like this.

I’ve made little sugar diamonds and gummy bears using this method! I love how versatile melted sugar can be.

How to Store Sugar Shards

Sugar shards are best used the day they’re made. Over time they have a tendency to stick to each other and can warp.

However, if you want to make these in advance I recommend storing in a Ziploc bag at room temperature.

Do NOT store them in the fridge!! The fridge will cause the shards to soften and melt together.

Tips for Making the Best Sugar Shards

  • Use a deep, heavy bottomed pot with a handle to heat and melt your sugar. It will help you evenly heat the mixture and allow you to easily pour the mixture out to cool.
  • Pour the hot sugar mixture onto a piece of parchment paper laid on a heat proof surface or a flat pan for thinner shards, or into a greased loaf pan for thicker pieces.
  • The sugar needs to reach “hard crack stage” which is around 290 – 300 F / 145 to 150 C. If you have a candy thermometer you can monitor the temperature to make sure it gets hot enough.
  • Feel free to flavor or color your sugar shards! Stir 1 tsp of your favorite flavoring (extract or emulsion) and / or 1 tsp liquid food coloring into the mixture once you’ve removed it from heat, before you pour it out to cool.
  • Use any small leftover fragments from cutting the sugar shards like sprinkles! They glisten and look gorgeous on cupcakes, cakes and even cookies.
image of caramelized sugar shards resting on a plate

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this recipe for caramelized sugar shards, I’d love to hear what think of it!

Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Yield: 4

Caramel Shards

image of caramelized sugar shards made using just water and granulated sugar

These caramel shards are made using just water and granulated sugar and is the perfect way to elevate any dessert!

Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

Caramel Shards

  • 2 Tbsp water (30 grams)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)

Instructions

Caramel Shards

  1. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a heat proof surface.
  2. Add 2 Tbsp of water and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar into a medium sized pot. Heat on medium-low without stirring (it causes crystallization and makes the sugar stick to the side of the pot)! Let the mixture sit until the sugar starts to dissolve.
  3. As the sugar dissolves, increase the heat to medium-high until the sugar becomes an amber / golden brown color.
  4. Pour the mixture onto the sheet of parchment paper in a thin and even layer. Let it cool for about 30 minutes or until it is set, then use a sharp knife to cut it into small shards. The caramelized sugar will be very hard once it's set, so be careful as you cut it!
  5. If you want to make these in advance, store in a Ziploc bag at room temperature. Do NOT store it in the fridge!! The fridge will cause the shards to soften and melt together.

Notes

Tips for Making the Best Sugar Shards

  • Use a deep, heavy bottomed pot with a handle to heat and melt your sugar. It will help you evenly heat the mixture and allow you to easily pour the mixture out to cool.
  • Pour the hot sugar mixture onto a piece of parchment paper laid on a heat proof surface or a flat pan for thinner shards, or into a greased loaf pan for thicker pieces.
  • The sugar needs to reach "hard crack stage" which is around 290 - 300 F / 145 to 150 C. If you have a candy thermometer you can monitor the temperature to make sure it gets hot enough.
  • Feel free to flavor or color your sugar shards! Stir 1 tsp of your favorite flavoring (extract or emulsion) and / or 1 tsp liquid food coloring into the mixture once you've removed it from heat, before you pour it out to cool.
  • Use any small leftover fragments from cutting the sugar shards like sprinkles! They glisten and look gorgeous on cupcakes, cakes and even cookies.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 145Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 0gSugar 37gProtein 0g

Skip to Recipe