Easy Candy Strawberries Without Corn Syrup Recipe (Tanghulu)

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by Maggie Turansky

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These candied strawberries without corn syrup are super easy to make and only use three ingredients – one of which is water! If you’re looking for a very pretty, super achievable candy to make (especially if you’re a beginner), then this recipe is for you.

Making candy without using corn syrup has a few more considerations that one needs to be aware of and it’s not as foolproof as using a liquid sugar, however, if you follow these instructions, then you should hopefully see some success.

And if you’re nervous about trying your hand at candy-making, then these strawberries are a great starting point and a perfect way to refine your skills.

The shiny sugar coating on a perfectly red strawberry is instantly appealing – and it’s very satisfying to bite into one as well!

So if you’re after a candied strawberries recipe (also known as Tanghulu) that doesn’t use any corn syrup, you’ve come to the right place. I will explain all the steps and some of the potential pitfalls so you can have the best chances at success!

Candied Strawberries Without Corn Syrup
Candied Strawberries Without Corn Syrup

How to Make Candied Strawberries Without Using Corn Syrup

Making these candied strawberries is technically very simple – in fact, it only calls for three ingredients and one of those is water. And, as mentioned, it’s probably one of the easiest recipes to start with if you’re new to the world of making candy.

The steps in this recipe are the same as you will find in pretty much every candy recipe – they all include the same base.

First, you dissolve sugar in water, then you cook it to a certain temperature. How recipes vary depends on the additions you add or what temperature you cook it to.

Sugar and strawberries for candied strawberries
Sugar and strawberries for candied strawberries

For instance, if you’re making chewy caramels or caramel apples, you would cook the sugar syrup for longer than you would for candied strawberries, then add cream and/or butter, and cook it again to a certain temperature.

And if you’re making peanut brittle, you cook the syrup to a dark amber caramel stage before incorporating your additions.

However, there are no extra steps to making candied strawberries, which is why it’s a great recipe to hone your technique and to gain some confidence in candy-making without corn syrup.

It’s even easier than making candy apples because the smaller strawberries are much easier to dip and completely coat in sugar syrup. It’s just a step up from making hard candy or lollipops.

Spearing the strawberries
Spearing the strawberries

To begin, spear some strawberries with some toothpicks through the stem end. Insert the toothpick about halfway through the berry – you just don’t want it falling off when you end up dipping it in hot syrup.

Also, put a dish of cold water and a pastry brush next to your stove. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper to serve as a landing area for after you dip your strawberries.

Now, add some sugar to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. To ensure the highest likelihood of success, I recommend using caster sugar (also called superfine sugar) over regular granulated sugar.

Adding water and sugar to a pot
Adding water and sugar to a pot

The finer granules dissolve more easily, making it less likely that you will have crystals that will ruin your sugar syrup.

Pour a bit of water over the sugar and set it over medium-low heat. Stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, gently dissolve the sugar.

It is essential that the sugar is completely dissolved before the syrup comes to a boil, so don’t be afraid to remove the pan from the heat if you’re worried the syrup is heating up too quickly.

Stirring the sugar mixture
Stirring the sugar mixture

It’s better to go slowly with this step and ensure everything is dissolved than to rush and then ruin your syrup and have to start over.

If the syrup begins to boil before the sugar is dissolved, a single sugar crystal can cause a chain reaction that will cause your entire syrup to seize and crystalise – and there is no way you can fix it if this happens.

After your sugar is dissolved and as soon as you begin to see bubbles forming on the bottom of your pan. Stop stirring and dip the pastry brush in your water. Wash down the sides of the pan to ensure there are no sugar crystals collecting there.

Without stirring, allow your sugar syrup to boil away until it reaches a temperature of 300°F (150°C). You can use a candy thermometer for this or check periodically with an instant-read thermometer.

Checking the temperature of the syrup
Checking the temperature of the syrup

If you want to make candied strawberries without a thermometer, keep a dish of ice water next to the stove and periodically add a drop of your syrup to it. When the syrup instantly cools to a brittle, hard consistency, it is ready to remove from the heat.

Once you’ve reached the right temperature (known as the hard crack stage in candy making), immediately remove the syrup from the heat and allow the bubbles to settle for a few seconds. Then, holding the strawberry by the toothpick, dip each one in the syrup until it’s coated.

Dipping the strawberries into the syrup
Dipping the strawberries into the syrup

Allow the strawberries to set on the prepared parchment paper for a few minutes until they’re cooled and the candy is hard and shiny. Then, eat and enjoy!

You’re going to want to eat these candy strawberries within about an hour of dipping them as they will begin to weep and degrade after that.

Candied Strawberries Without Corn Syrup

Candy Strawberries Without Corn Syrup

These candy strawberries are easy to make and use only 3 ingredients – one of which is water! And there is no corn syrup to be found.
5 from 3 votes
Servings 8
Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 8 strawberries thoroughly washed and dried
  • 200 g (1 cup) sugar (see note 1)


  • Using a toothpick, gently spear each strawberry through the stem end until the toothpick is about halfway down the strawberry. Line a baking tray or plate with parchment paper. Set a pastry brush and a dish filled with cool water next to the stove.
    Spearing the strawberries
  • Add the sugar to a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with 1/4 cup (60ml) cool water. Set the pan over medium-low heat.
    Adding water and sugar to a pot
  • Stirring constantly with a heatproof, silicone spatula, stir until the sugar is completely dissolved in the water. Ensure that the syrup does not come to a boil before the sugar is completely dissolved. If you are worried that the syrup is coming to a boil too quickly, remove it from the heat periodically to prevent it from boiling.
    Stirring the sugar mixture
  • As soon as the sugar syrup begins to simmer, stop stirring. Dip the pastry brush in the dish of water and wash down the sides of the pan, removing any collected sugar crystals. Allow the sugar syrup to boil – never stirring – until a thermometer registers at 300°F (150°C), about 15 minutes (see note 2)
    Checking the temperature of the syrup
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sugar syrup to stop bubbling and settle for a minute or two. Then, working quickly, dip each strawberry until it is evenly coated in syrup. Allow to set on the prepared parchment paper until cool until hard – about 5 minutes. Eat within 1 hour of dipping.
    Dipping the strawberries into the syrup



1. I recommend using caster sugar (also known as superfine sugar) rather than granulated sugar as it dissolves more quickly and easily. However, if all you have is granulated, this is not a problem. Just ensure it is completely dissolved before moving onto step 4.
2. If you don't have a candy or instant-read thermometer, set a dish of ice water next to your stove. Once the syrup begins to boil, periodically add a few drops of syrup to the ice water to test it's doneness. When the syrup immediately cools to a hard, brittle consistency, it is time to remove it from the heat.


Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.001g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 0.4mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe or have questions?Click here to leave a comment!

Making a candied strawberry without corn syrup is super easy if you know what to look out for and you’re vigilant every step of the way. It’s also a great way to gain confidence to be able to make pretty much any kind of candy without using corn syrup!

Do you want to make candy strawberries? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More

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