How to Make Simple Syrup

5 from 11 votes
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Keep your cakes moist, your coffee sweet or make a heat-busting lemonade – this two-ingredient homemade simple syrup is a versatile must-have for your pantry.

A small bottle with homemade sugar syrup

What Is Simple Syrup

Making simple syrup might be one of the easiest things you can do in your kitchen – contrary to the myth. A homemade simple syrup doesn’t require a certificate from the Cordon Bleu or a science degree – it just needs a pan, two ingredients, and a spare ten minutes.

Simple syrup is a mixture of heated water and sugar, stirred until the sugar dissolves and a syrupy texture has formed. This is then used to add flavor and sweetness to food and drinks. It’s the base for a lot of famous cocktails and mocktails, used by pâtissiers to keep their cakes moist for long periods of time or used in a variety of desserts to bring a touch of sweetness.

Ingredients for Simple Syrup

This simple recipe only needs two ingredients:

  • Sugar: You can use any variety you like: white, cane, brown, coconut, demerara sugar, etc. You can even use sugar-free sweeteners like stevia. The sugar you use will affect the color and sugar-free options will make it thinner.
  • Water: Ordinary tap water should work if you live somewhere with good tap water – otherwise, filtered water may give better-tasting results.
  • Lemon juice: (Optional) Adding a dash of lemon juice helps to balance the sweetness by adding a touch of tanginess.
Ingredients for simple syrup

How Do You Make Simple Syrup

Add your sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a soft boil and stir constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. This will usually take 2-3 minutes to simmer. Be careful and keep an eye on the sugar and water so the sugar doesn’t burn.

Once the sugar has completely dissolved, switch off the heat and allow the simple syrup to cool before transferring it to a sterilized, airtight glass jar. It should be thin and easy to pour – about the consistency of maple syrup.

Steps for making simple syrup with white sugar

Simple Syrup Ratio

Because this homemade recipe is so simple, the one thing you need to be accurate about is your ratios. If you want to make multiple batches, you can easily adjust the quantities of the ingredients – but make sure to follow the ratio. The best (and simplest!) ratio for simple syrup is 1:1 – equal parts sugar to water (in volume).

If you want a sweeter “rich sugar syrup”, then use a ratio of 2:1 of sugar to water. This is more commonly used by bartenders because it creates a richer mouthfeel in the drinks – so you can choose which ratio will best suit your dish.

Pouring freshly made simple syrup in a bottle

How Long Does Simple Syrup Last

Refrigerator: If you’ve made a classic 1:1 simple syrup, this can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks in an airtight container. If you’ve made the rich version using the 2:1 method, this will keep for up to several months in the fridge. It’s also shelf-stable, so you can store it at room temperature if you prefer.

If your mixture has turned cloudy, this can mean the syrup has spoiled and should be disposed of.

There is a theory that adding a spoonful of vodka will extend its shelf life – but the amount needed can impact the flavor, so proceed with caution.

Freezer: If you want to preserve it for longer, it will keep in the freezer for up to 12 months. It may not freeze completely solid – this is normal, because of the high sugar content.

A small bottle with sugar syrup

Uses for Simple Syrup

Here are my favorite ways to use it:

More Syrup Recipes

If you try this simple syrup recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

How to Make Simple Syrup

5 from 11 votes
By: Samira
Keep your cakes moist, your coffee sweet or make a heat-busting lemonade – this two-ingredient homemade simple syrup is a versatile must-have for your pantry.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 32 Tablespoons

Ingredients 
 

For traditional 1:1 simple syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water)

  • 2 cups sugar white, cane, brown, coconut, or sugar-free like monk fruit, stevia
  • 2 cups water filtered works best

For 2:1 "rich" simple syrup, use 4 cups sugar to 2 cups water!

    Instructions 

    Simple Syrup Ratio

    • The best (and simplest!) ratio is 1:1 sugar to water. If you want a sweeter "rich sugar syrup", then use a ratio of 2:1 of sugar to water.

    How to Make Simple Syrup

    • Add the sugar and water to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a soft boil and stir constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. This will usually take 2-3 minutes. Be careful and keep an eye on the sugar and water so the sugar doesn't burn.
    • Once the sugar has completely dissolved, switch off the heat and allow the syrup to cool before transferring it to a sterilized, airtight glass jar/bottle. The syrup should be thin and easy to pour.

    How To Store

    • Fridge: The classic 1:1 syrup can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. The rich version using the 2:1 ratio will keep you in the fridge for up to several months. It's also shelf-stable, so you can store it at room temperature if you prefer.
      If your mixture has turned cloudy, this can mean the simple syrup has spoiled and should be disposed of.

    Video

    Notes

    • What consistency is simple syrup? The basic syrup is fairly thin and easy to pour. However, rich s syrup will be thicker.
    • For a thicker syrup: bring the mixture to a boil and allow some of the water to evaporate. This will create a thicker syrup but will also change the water-to-sugar ratio.
    • Making flavored simple syrups: There are tons of ways to flavor your syrup using vanilla and other herbs and spices, alcohol, fruits, etc. Check the blog for my favorite variations.
      Check the blog post for more tips and serving recommendations!
      Course: Dessert, DIYs, Drinks
      Cuisine: American
      Freezer friendly: 1 Year
      Shelf life: 1 Month

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1Tbsp, Calories: 48kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 1mg, Sugar: 12g, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 1mg

      Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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      2 Comments

      1. 5 stars
        We own a coffee shop and mistakenly received a shipment of cane brown sugar We could not get information on who sent it, how it was paid for or why we received it, nor how to return the product. So, needless to say, finding this information has opened a whole new product for which may very well become a signature menu item. So, when I read, “I may even share a whole series of flavored syrups. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in, in the comments.” PLEASE CONSIDER THIS COMMENT AS AN INDICATION OF INTEREST.”