When and Where to Use Culinary Crystals

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The Struggle:

People tend to have a lot of questions about culinary crystals. Quick overview, Culinary Crystals are similar to an unflavored pop rock candy. But the best thing about culinary crystals is that they are customizable! So this opens up the possibilities for so many more foods. But there are some limitations to what foods we can add Culinary Crystals? I’d Like to use this article to cover some of the innovative ideas where people have tried to use Culinary Crystals. Unfortunately not all of them work the way we had hoped.

“Where can I use culinary crystals?” 

Caring for your crystals

Culinary Crystals are predominantly made from sugar. This is where a lot of the limitations come from. Sugar loves water and will solubilize at any chance it gets. This makes it difficult to add to foods because the crystals will activate long before they made it to the palate. We’ve covered its addition to foods like ice cream before. A brief rundown of how that works is pretty simple. Sugar does not dissolve into fat the same way it does into water. So the culinary crystals are coated in a thin layer of an ingredient we call “Flavor Base”. This is a type of fat that helps prevent the Culinary Crystals from popping prematurely due to the water in ice cream. This method is possible after 2-3 coatings of the favor base. Not all the new methods people attempt when using Culinary Crystals work perfectly. 

Recently we have had a few questions about adding Culinary Crystals in new and exciting ways. Honestly some of these ideas sound great, but the application may be impossible. A few recent ideas that have been presented to me have been for crushing the Culinary Crystals into a powder and use it to dust everything from potato chips to popcorn. Grinding the Culinary Crystals will activate most if not all of it is carbonation. This is what makes the crystals so special. Once the carbonation has been released what remains is more or less table sugar. Trust us we wish this was possible as well! 

Another idea that was presented to us would be to finish a hot sauce or caramel with Culinary Crystals. This we cannot recommend for one of the above points. Culinary crystals love moisture so they will activate immediately when added to a liquid. Secondly, Culinary Crystals react when heated. So its addition to anything with water or heat will cause a reaction. A question that often gets posed is “doesn’t the flavor base protect them?”. The flavor base helps protect the Culinary Crystals from moisture. However, the flavor base melts at a low temperature (~77°F) so it is not waxy on the palate, so they are not suited for protecting the crystals from heat.  

This doesn’t mean Culinary Crystals can’t be added to a number of things. A garnish on salads and charcuterie plates, inclusion in ice cream, and even chocolates. As long as the food is cold and fat based you can create an innovative dish with a touch of nostalgia. As I say with all of our ingredients the coolest things you can do with them haven’t been thought of yet. If you happen to be the person to think of those new things be sure to share the recipes with us. 

Looking for inspiration? check out our “Some Like It Hot Hot Ice Cream” recipe.


  • Can you spherify the crystals?

    • They cannot be turned into spheres. The crystals will activate and begin popping once they come in contact with any water-based liquid.

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