Definition: Firm-Ball Stage refers to a specific temperature range when cooking sugar syrups. Firm-Ball Stage occurs at 245-250 degrees. This stage can be determined by dropping a spoonful of hot syrup into a bowl of very cold water. In the water, use your fingers to gather the cooled syrup into a ball. If it has reached firm-ball stage, it will feel firm and pliable but still slightly sticky, and will retain its shape when removed from the water but will quickly lose its shape at room temperature.