How to Make Simple Syrup

5 from 1 vote

Learn how to make simple syrup with this easy 2-ingredient recipe. The step-by-step tutorial walks you through making homemade sugar-water syrup from scratch!

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Learn how to make simple syrup at home with this easy recipe! All you need is two ingredients and a few minutes! This homemade sugar syrup is perfect for mixing in cold drinks and desserts, and you can also make a flavored, Lebanese version called Ater.

Simple syrup in glass jar with spout for pouring

Simple syrup is a mixture of sugar and water that is boiled until the sugar dissolves. It is a great base recipe to have on hand, as it can be used in cold drinks, (did someone say iced coffee!?) as the base for homemade fruit pancake syrups, and even in desserts. You can add any flavorings you like to simple syrup, making it a versatile ingredient to have in your kitchen.

WHY learn to make homemade simple syrup

  • Never drink gritty lemonade or ice tea again. The sugar-water, similar to the consistency of maple syrup, dissolves effortlessly into cold (or hot) drinks.
  • Keep cake moist. A baking hack involves poking holes with a skewer into a cake and pouring simple syrup (often flavored) over the cake to amp up the moisture and flavor.
  • Sweeten Lebanese desserts. It’s very commonly used in Lebanese sweets and referred to as “Ater”. The difference between simple syrup and the Lebanese version is that we use more sugar as well as rose water or orange blossom water to flavor it.

what is the simple syrup ratio

The basic simple syrup ratio is 1:1.

One of the beauties of this recipe is its flexibility. Change the ratio to change the viscosity. Using more water than sugar makes a thinner concoction and vice versa. In my version, I like to increase the sugar just a scant so there’s slightly more sugar than water. The consistency mimics that of maple syrup.

2 ingredients to make the recipe

HOW TO MAKE simple syrup

  1. Pour the sugar and water into a small saucepan and turn on the heat.
  2. Bring the sugar and water to a boil, then lower the heat and stir occasionally.
  3. When the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is crystal clear, it is ready. Pull off heat. Decant to a heat-proof bottle and let cool.
3 image collage to show how to make the simple syrup

TIPS FOR making homemade sugar syrup

  1. Experiment with sugar water ratios to find a mixture whose viscosity suits your purposes. Ratios range from two parts sugar one part water, called rich syrup by mixologists, to three parts water and one part sugar.
  2. Try it with superfine sugar. This will dissolve more quickly and expedite the syrup making process.
  3. Start with squeaky clean pan, spoon and storage container. This is important to avoid crystals forming in your homemade syrup. Simple syrup can sometimes cleave onto impurities and form crystals.
  4. Use filtered water for best results. Hard water can also encourage unwanted crystals. So, if your tap water is hard, use filtered water for making simple syrup.

popular simple syrup variations

  • Squeeze lemon juice: A quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lime juices adds a bright flavor and scent to the simple syrup to fresh it up for drinks or desserts.
  • Add floral waters: In the Lebanese version of the recipe, we commonly add rose water or orange blossom water to add an aromatic floral scent to the simple syrup that compliments Middle Eastern desserts.
  • Infuse with citrus peels: Similar to the lemon juice, the peel from lemons, lime or oranges creates a zesty flavorful simple syrup that’s perfect to freshen up desserts.
  • Infuse with herbs: Popular ones include basil, rosemary and thyme. Allow them to steep in the sugar and water mixture while it cools. The long it steeps, the strong the flavor.

recipes to serve with simple syrup

HOW TO STORE simple syrup

Store covered in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Make sure the container is very clean to avoid contamination. If possible, rinse with boiling water before filling.

HOW long does simple syrup last

Because sugar itself is a preservative, the ratio used will have an effect on how long the simple syrup will last. This recipe, with an almost one-to-one ratio, should be great for up to a month in the fridge. Those with higher amounts of sugar will last longer.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can brown sugar be used to make sugar syrup, too?

Yes, brown sugar syrup pairs well with richer drinks like iced coffee or chai tea. Other sugars like coconut sugar and palm sugar also work for sugar syrups. Powdered sugar, because it contains cornstarch, would not be a good choice.

Can other flavors be added?

Yes! Citrus peels, ginger, and herbs like basil or rosemary may all be added in with the sugar and water. Allow them to steep in the mixture while it cools and perhaps for a bit after for a strong flavor. Then strain and store.

How do you make ater (Lebanese simple syrup)?

Instead of 1 ⅛ cup of sugar, use 2 cups of sugar. In addition, add 2 tablespoons of rose water or orange blossom water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

Bottle of simple syrup shot next to tall glass of carbonated water sweetened with simple syrup

While, simple sugar truly is simple, it adds so much to desserts and drinks. When you see it called for in a recipe, you should absolutely make it yourself.

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How to Make Simple Syrup

Learn how to make simple syrup with this easy 2-ingredient recipe. The step-by-step tutorial walks you through making homemade sugar-water syrup from scratch!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 12 servings
Course Condiments
Calories 72
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 5 mins

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour syrup into a heat proof container and allow to cool.

Notes

Storage: Store the simple syrup covered in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to one month. Make sure the container is very clean to avoid contamination. If possible, rinse with boiling water before filling.

Nutrition

Calories: 72kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 1mg, Sugar: 19g, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Photo Credit: Erin Jensen

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Bottle of simple syrup shot next to tall glass of carbonated water sweetened with simple syrup

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