High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a highly processed sweetener used in many pre-packaged foods. Prized by food manufacturers for cost-efficiency and shelf-stability, HFCS appears as a primary ingredient in foods ranging from yogurt to bread, cereal to snack foods, dried fruits to desserts. Traditionally produced in factories using a highly technical process and list of ingredients, HFCS is not sold as an individual ingredient but rather as an ingredient contained within other foods. HFCS is syrup sweeter than sugar, difficult for the human body to metabolize and often used in high quantities by food manufacturers in order to enhance the taste and flavor of processed foods. The mystery and science behind the production of HFCS becomes exposed through the direct representation and interaction with the recipe and ingredients for creating HFCS

DIY high fructose corn syrup kit contents


Yellow Dent #2 refers to a type of corn known for its high starch content and heavy outer skin making it inedible to humans without extensive cooking and processing. Also known as field corn, Yellow Dent #2 is primarily grown as a feed for cattle, a base for ethanol and biodegradable plastics, as well as for processing into prepared foods.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Jar  Every kit comes with a jar to store your homemade high fructose corn syrup.


Video  Every kit comes with a wooden stirring spoon with a usb drive attached. The usb drive contains a copy of the instructional video for use of the kit at home.

Glucose Isomerase

Glucose Isomerase  is a genetically engineered enzyme (Streptomyces) produced through the fermentation of microorganisms using a variety of bacteria. Glucose Isomerase converts starches into sugars by changing glucose into fructose. Glucose Isomerase was developed for the process of making high fructose corn syrup.

Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric Acid  A highly corrosive, strong mineral acid. A component in battery acid, drain cleaner, and lead batteries. Sulfuric Acid functions as a preservative in the procedure for making high fructose corn syrup.

Alpha Amylase

Alpha Amylase  is a bacterial enzyme similar to what our saliva produces to break down starches. Alpha Amylase is a starch-splitting enzyme used to separate sugar from starch and seperate sugar into shorter chain oligosaccharides.

Glucose Amylase

Glucose Amylase  is an industrial enzyme derived from a yeast or fungi. Glucose Amylase further catalyzes the breakdown of malto-oligosaccharides to glucose.


Xylose  D Xylose is a five carbon sugar. Xylose is converted into D xylulose through the isomerization process of making high fructose corn syrup.

Rubber Gloves

Rubber Gloves  are used while handling the hazardous laboratory strength salicylic acid.


Cheesecloth  is used to separate the corn slurry from the syrup. The cheesecloth wrapped corn slurry can be discarded in the trash.




  • 8 cups water
  • 1 drop Sulfuric Acid
  • 2 cups ground corn
  • 1 teaspoon Alpha Amylase
  • 1 teaspoon Glucose Amylase
  • 1 teaspoon Xylose**
  • 2 droppers Glucose Isomerase


  • Bring to a boil 8 cups of water and add 1 drop of sulfuric acid
  • Heat on Stove to 140F, reduce heat to low
  • Add 2 cups corn and soak overnight at 140F
  • After soaking add 1 teaspoon Alpha Amylase
  • Stir and allow to become viscous and thin
  • Cool to room temperature
  • Add 1 teaspoon glucose amylase
  • Pour corn slurry over cheesecloth lined bowl
  • Sprinkle over 1 teaspoon Xylose
  • Strain liquid from corn and dispose of corn
  • Pour strained liquid back into pot and heat to 140F
  • Add 2 droppers Glucose Isomerase***
  • Bring to a boil for 1 minute, simmer 15 more minutes
  • Pour into glass jar and enjoy
  • *Recipe adapted and modified from King Corn with permission from Curt Ellis
  • After more research another round of iterations and testing I have determined several things--
  • ** I have decided that Xylose is an unnecessary ingredient.
  • ***The Glucose Isomerase should be added prior to straining the corn
  • ?This recipe is a research in progress, one that has been going on for many months and will continue into the future. The recipe is not meant to be the definitive authority on how to make high fructose corn syrup but rather the jumping off point for further investigation as a citizen food scientist


The DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup Kit has a kickstarter pending to fund the production and distribution of more kits to anyone and everyone who is interested in the process of making their own HFCS at home. The Kit provides the user with a way to directly interact with an ingredient that is typically only produced in large-scale factories behind closed doors. The kit allows everyone to be a citizen food scientist and take control of the mysteries behind industrial food production.

Maya Weinstein

Links & Information

The DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup Kit is the brainchild of Maya Weinstein. The DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup Kit (DIY HFCS KIT) begin as a journey to uncover the mysteries of processed food. Often times at the grocery store while reading common food labels one cannot distinguish what certain ingredients are or where they came from. The DIY HFCS Kit is a way to visualize as well as interact with the food science behind industrialized ingredients, it is citizen food science for everyone, everywhere. The ingredient chosen for this particular kit is one that is seen a lot in processed and pre-made foods, it is pretty much everywhere, and it goes by the name high fructose corn syrup. The interesting thing about high fructose corn syrup is that the ingredient pops up in so many foods; from cereal to bread, yogurt to ice cream, frozen dinners to canned soups; but high fructose corn syrup is never actually seen on its own. One of the main reasons for this is because it is a highly processed industrialized ingredient created in large factories behind very closed doors. The method for making for high fructose corn syrup was not easy to uncover, nor were the ingredients, but with a little help from some friends and a whole lotta research and testing the Kit was finally created. The DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup Kit contains all of the ingredients you need to make high fructose corn syrup at home along with an instructional video, all you need is a stovetop or crock pot and I’ve provided the rest. I strongly believe in learning through experience and making. With this Kit and future DIY Processed Foods Kits we are all citizen food scientists armed with an increased knowledge about what goes in our food. Maya intends to continue this series of DIY processed food kits with future kit ideas such as DIY Enriched Bleached White Flour and DIY Monosodium Glutamate.