How to Make Simple Syrup

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A dash of simple syrup livens up just about anything, from coffee to cocktails to desserts. But have you ever stopped to wonder how it’s made?

It’s an alarmingly simple process, actually, as learning how to make simple syrup requires little more than a few basic kitchen tools and a minimum of two ingredients, one of which is just water. There’s no catch, either; it really is just that simple.

If you’d like to learn how to make this simple flavored syrup for cakes, cocktails, coffee, etc. then read on.

A glass bottle of simple syrup, a small measuring glass on the side.

Step #1. Prepare Simple Syrup Ingredients

Simple syrup ingredients prepped on the counter, chocolate cakes on a cooling rack.
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

Optional – to infuse the syrup with flavor (pick one):

  1. Vanilla Flavor: 1 tsp. vanilla
  2. Rum Flavor: 2 tbsp. rum
  3. Cinnamon-Orange Flavor: Cinnamon stick and orange peel

Note: For a stronger simple syrup, you can use a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. For this recipe: 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water.

Step #2. Add Water to Saucepan

Water pouring into a pot on the counter.

Pour water into a small saucepan.

Step #3. Add Sugar

Woman's hand pouring sugar into a pot and mixing with water.

Add the sugar to the saucepan.

Step #4. Heat the Mixture

Woman's hand mixing a sugar and water mixture in a pot.

Heat over medium-high heat until all of the sugar is dissolved, stirring often. Remove from heat. You can cool and use as is or add one of the flavors below!

Step #5. Cool & Add Flavoring to the Simple Syrup

A glass bottle of simple syrup, vanilla beans on the side.

Option #1 – Vanilla Flavor: Let the syrup cool and add the vanilla extract.

A glass bottle of simple syrup, a small measuring glass on the side.

Option #2 – Rum Flavor: Let the simple syrup cool and add the rum.

A glass bottle of simple syrup, cinnamon and orange on the side.

Option #3 – Cinnamon-Orange Flavor: Add the cinnamon stick and orange peel. Let the syrup sit for 3 hours to let it infuse and then remove the cinnamon stick and peel.

And with that, you have yourself a bottle of the finest simple syrup you could ever get your hands on. With just how easy that was to do, you’ll be wondering why you never tried making it yourself before for some time to come.

While the obvious applications are certainly great, there are a ton of creative ways you can use simple syrup, infused or plain, that you might not have even considered. Pastries can really benefit from a coating of it, like when you use simple syrup to moisten cake post-baking. You might even try to mix things up and make it with brown sugar for a more molasses-like flavor.

What’s your favorite way to use simple syrup? Even if you didn’t have one before, you sure will now that you can make it on demand. Easy to make and easy to store, you’ll never have to worry about a bitter drink or dry pastry again.

A glass bottle of simple syrup, a small measuring glass on the side.

How to Make Simple Syrup

Joss D
Learn how to easily make simple syrup at home with three flavor variations including vanilla, rum and cinnamon-orange.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 12 tablespoons
Calories 32 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the Simple Syrup Base:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

Vanilla Flavor:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Rum Flavor:

  • 2 tablespoons rum

Cinnamon-Orange Flavor:

  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange peel

Instructions
 

  • Pour water into a small saucepan.
    ½ cup water
    Water pouring into a pot on the counter.
  • Add the sugar to the saucepan.
    ½ cup sugar
    Woman's hand pouring sugar into a pot and mixing with water.
  • Heat over medium-high heat until all of the sugar is dissolved, stirring often. Remove from heat. You can cool and use as is or add one of the flavors below!
    Woman's hand mixing a sugar and water mixture in a pot.

Vanilla:

  • Let the syrup cool and add the vanilla extract.
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    A glass bottle of simple syrup, vanilla beans on the side.

Rum:

  • Let the simple syrup cool and add the rum.
    2 tablespoons rum
    A glass bottle of simple syrup, a small measuring glass on the side.

Cinnamon-Orange:

  • Add the cinnamon stick and orange peel. Let the syrup sit for 3 hours to let it infuse and then remove the cinnamon stick and peel.
    1 Cinnamon stick, 1 orange peel
    A glass bottle of simple syrup, cinnamon and orange on the side.

Equipment

Small saucepan
Jar or squeeze bottle

Notes

  • This recipe makes 3/4 cup of simple syrup.
  • For a stronger syrup, you can use a ratio of 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.

Nutrition

Calories: 32kcalCarbohydrates: 8gSugar: 8g

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is simple syrup?

Simple syrup is a mixture of sugar dissolved into water that is used to flavor drinks and desserts.

How do you store simple syrup?

Once cooled, it should be stored in the fridge in a jar, squeeze bottle or other airtight container.

How long does simple syrup last?

With a ratio of 1:1 sugar to water, simple syrup will last up to 1 month in the fridge. Stronger simple syrup with a ratio of 2:1 sugar to water will last much longer (up to 6 months). Simple syrup that is no longer good will be cloudy and you might see some mold growth.

We have some great ways for you to use your freshly made simple syrup! Check them out:

How to Moisten a Dry Cake

Hibiscus Tea Cosmopolitan

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