How to Make Simple Syrup

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Looking for an easy and delicious way to sweeten up your favorite cocktails or baked goods? Look no further than my simple syrup recipe! With just two ingredients and a few minutes of prep time, you can have a versatile and flavorful syrup for all your culinary needs.

Learn how to make simple syrup at home to use in your favorite cocktails or recipes.

Every kitchen should be stocked with a bottle of simple syrup! It’s a versatile ingredient for a cocktail sweetener for tea and coffee drinks and dessert applications. As the name implies, a basic simple syrup recipe is equal parts of sugar and water.

I’ll show you how to make traditional and rich simple syrup. It only takes a few minutes to prepare! The solution is briefly heated to dissolve the sugar granules. The liquid sugar mixture makes it seamless to add to your culinary needs. Make a batch, and it will last for weeks when chilled. Customize it to make flavored simple syrup for cocktail recipes, beverages, and sweet treats.

Key ingredients

Sugar: Use granulated white sugar for a clean taste. It will have a slight golden hue when heated.

Water: Water helps dissolve the sugar to create a pourable solution.

Sugar selection

Person pouring granulated white sugar into a saucepan filled with water.

Granulated sugar is typically used to make simple syrup. It’s extracted from sugar beets or sugar cane. It’s affordable, widely available, and dissolves easily in water. Other types of sugar can be used to sweeten the syrup. Depending on what you plan to use it for, you can try other sweeteners with different flavor profiles.

Feel free to use packed brown sugar or muscovado for a molasses taste. Palm sugar adds a cotton candy-like flavor. Turbinado or demerara is larger in crystal size, so it will need more time to dissolve. Coconut sugar will add a more complex taste.

Types of simple syrup

  • Traditional Simple Syrup: Make with a ratio of one part sugar to one part water. It will have a thin consistency like a pumpable Torani syrup.
  • Rich Simple Syrup: Made with a ratio of two parts sugar to one part water. This will give a consistency similar to honey or maple syrup. This adds double the sweetness without diluting the recipe it’s added to.

Simple syrup recipe

I use a hot method to make simple syrup. Add one cup of water to a medium saucepan and heat it over medium-low heat. Once it gets to a low simmer, with some gentle bubbling in the pot, around 185ºF (85ºC), add one cup of sugar.

Stir until the sugar dissolves, simmering for about 2 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil! Reduce the heat as needed to prevent a dark color change. You don’t want to create a caramel sauce.

Flavor variations

Clear glass jar with homemade simple syrup inside.

A basic recipe for simple syrup adds a clean sweetness to various beverages or desserts. However, infusing more exciting flavors and aromas into the syrup is easy. Steeping ingredients in the hot syrup as it cools down gently extracts the most flavor. Strain the syrup before adding it to the storage container.

  • Spices: Whole cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, star anise, whole red chilis, or flakes for heat.
  • Vanilla: Use vanilla beans split in the middle to expose the seeds. You can scrap the pods to add specs to the syrup.
  • Citrus: Cut a large zest from an orange, lime, lemon, or grapefruit. The essential oils will infuse into the liquid.
  • Herbs and Flowers: Add fresh sprigs of rosemary, mint, basil, or thyme. Dried rose petals or lavender.
  • Fruit: Fresh or dried strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, passionfruit, banana, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, and mangoes.
  • Coffee: Add instant coffee or espresso not to dilute the syrup.
  • Liquors: Grand Marnier, amaretto, or coffee liquor like Kahlua.
  • Extracts: Pure vanilla extract, almond, anise, banana, licorice, or peppermint.

Storing simple syrup

Pouring simple syrup into a funnel placed over a glass jar.

Heating the sugar mixture helps to extend the shelf life. The heat helps to destroy spoilage organisms. Let the syrup cool completely before transferring it to a storage container.

You don’t want it to sit in the temperature danger zone too long. Once it reaches room temperature, pour it into a jar with a lid or bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between sugar syrup and simple syrup?

Both terms describe sugar dissolved in water, creating a thickened solution, which makes it much easier to mix into beverages, drizzle, or brush onto foods.

What is the formula of simple syrup?

The base is one part sugar to one part water (by volume) for a thinner traditional simple syrup. For the thicker, rich syrup, use two parts sugar to one part water.

How much simple syrup equals 1 tablespoon of sugar?

About 4 teaspoons of simple syrup or ¾ ounces equal about 1 tablespoon of sugar. For rich simple syrup, about 2 teaspoons or ⅓ ounce.

Pouring simple syrup into a glass of soda and ice cubes.

How long does simple syrup last?

Traditional simple syrup can be stored in an airtight glass container for up to a month in the refrigerator. Rich simple syrup has double the amount of sugar. The higher concentration of sweetener lowers the water activity. This makes it harder for spoilage organisms to survive because the sugar draws moisture from anything in the surrounding environment. This extends the shelf life to about 6 months when properly stored.

How to Make Simple Syrup

My simple syrup recipe is quick, easy, and perfect for elevating your cocktails, desserts, and beverages.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time3 minutes
Cook Time2 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Course Drink
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Instructions 

  • Dissolve the Sugar – Heat the water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sugar once bubbles just break the surface and the water barely comes to a simmer, do not exceed 185ºF (85ºC). Stir until the sugar dissolves, simmering for about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat if needed, do not boil the syrup.
  • Cool and Store – Remove the pan from the heat. Cool the syrup to room temperature. Use immediately or cool to room temperature and store in a glass jar or bottle.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: About 1 ½ cups
  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon (0.5 ounces). About 8.25 grams of sugar per 1 tablespoon of syrup.
  • Storing: Cool to room temperature and store in a glass container for up to 1 month.
  • To Make Rich Simple Syrup: For a sweeter and thicker syrup (similar to pure maple syrup), dissolve 2 cups of sugar in 1 cup of water. Simmer until the granules dissolve, about 3 minutes. Yields 2 cups. Refrigerate for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 24 servings
Calories 32kcal (2%)Carbohydrates 8g (3%)Fat 0.03gSodium 1mgPotassium 0.2mgSugar 8g (9%)Calcium 0.4mgIron 0.004mg

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. Danielle says

    Hi, I wanted to make strawberry syrup to make strawberry milk. Could you please tell how much fruit you would use?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would add 8 ounces of strawberries. Slice them up and let them simmer in the simple syrup, about 20 minutes. The strain and press to extract the flavor and color. Let me know how it goes!