How to Make Simple Syrup

You'll never have to pay for store-bought simple syrup again!

Simple syrup is basically liquified sugar that is used to sweeten both hot and cold drinks (especially cold, so you don’t have to deal with granulated sugar that stubbornly refuses to dissolve). It’s often stirred into classic cocktails and homemade lemonade.

You can easily make simple syrup at home by boiling water and sugar. Your grocery store will stock premade simple syrup, but it will generally have added stabilizers. If you’re interested in keeping your syrups as, well, simple as possible, homemade is the way to go!

Simple Syrup Recipe

Basic simple syrup is just equal parts water and sugar. That’s it! You can make a rich syrup using a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water; it’s more concentrated, but it’s the same process.

You can also use brown sugar (which will give a slight molasses flavor to the syrup), demerara sugar (for a caramel-y taste) or honey (for either all or half the sugar). Going the sugar-free route, follow the same process with Stevia; just know that your “syrup” will be much thinner—more watery than syrupy.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


Step 1: Boil the ingredients

Pour the sugar and water into a small saucepan, stir to combine and then bring to a boil over medium heat. Some people bring the water to a boil first and then add the sugar, but it doesn’t really matter. Either way works.

Step 2: Simmer

Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup is clear. This will take about five minutes.

Step 3: Cool the simple syrup

Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow the syrup to cool.

How to Store Simple Syrup

To store simple syrup, pour it into a lidded glass container and place it in the refrigerator. Basic, unflavored simple syrup will last about 3-4 weeks.

How to Use Simple Syrup

How can you elevate any basic cocktail? With a simple syrup! Just whip up a batch of Cranberry-Orange Sangria, Blueberry Mojitos or Pomgaritas and see for yourself. You can also use simple syrup in homemade coffee drinks, like an iced latte.

Bakers use simple syrup to create moist layer cakes, too. You brush simple syrup over each cooled layer, allowing the liquid to soak into the sponge and add the perfect amount of extra moisture!

How to Infuse Simple Syrup

To infuse simple syrup, remove the saucepan from the heat source after Step 2. Place your desired flavorings, like herbs or fruit, into the pan and cover. Once the syrup has cooled completely, remove the added ingredients.

The best flavor to infuse into your syrup depends on what drinks you plan to make. If you want a sweet and spicy cocktail, you can infuse the syrup with jalapeno and lime juice. For a sweet and tart cocktail, go for something fruity like cranberry. And if you want a simple and sweet cocktail, honey goes a long way.

Some honorable mentions for flavor infusions are cinnamon, mint, rosemary, blackberry and ginger.

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Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. As the editor of the Taste of Home Christmas Annual (among other titles), she's in the holiday spirit all year round. An enthusiastic baker, she's known for her cookies, cakes and other baked goods. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.