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Simple Syrup Recipe

Simple syrup is a kitchen must-have.

Whether you’re an aspiring mixologist, a home baker, or an iced coffee lover, it’s an essential ingredient.

This simple mix of sugar and water adds sweetness in a flash. And it couldn’t be easier to make.

Homemade simple syrup in a glass bottle.
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What Is Simple Syrup?

If you’ve ever made a smoothie at home and been disappointed, simple syrup is likely the answer.

Well, a lack of simple syrup, to be precise.

Smoothies, cocktails, and iced drinks almost always feature a splash of this magical liquid.

The reason? The kick of sweetness enhances the flavors, making your drink so much more delicious.

But what is it?

Simple syrup is a blend of equal parts sugar and water.

Warmed until the sugar dissolves, it’s syrupy and most often used in cocktails and to keep baked goods moist.

That’s right. A lot of bakers brush simple syrup over their cakes to keep them moist. It’s a not-so-secret trick of the trade.

But that’s not all! You can make simple syrup with all kinds of fun add-ins.

For example, many cocktail bars add fruit, flowers, and extracts to amp up their creations.

Neat, huh?

How to Make Simple Syrup at Home

Making simple syrup is about as straightforward as it gets. So don’t worry about heating sugar on the stove. This isn’t caramel!

There are really only two steps: 

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1. Simmer the sugar and water. Bring it to a boil, then simmer until all the sugar fully dissolves.  

2. Cool the syrup. Let it cool in the pot for a bit, then transfer it to a heatproof container.

And that’s it! Didn’t I say this was easy?

A glass bottle filled with simple syrup beside a jigger and shaker on a concrete table.

Simple Syrup Variations 

Doesn’t it seem like the simplest recipes always have the most variations?

There are plenty of ways to tweak the classic simple syrup recipe. Here are some of my favorite options: 

  • Use brown sugar. Swap in brown sugar for a nice, caramel flavor. 
  • Make it sweeter and thicker. Use twice as much sugar to water. This also extends the life of the syrup.
  • Use natural sweeteners. If you want to avoid sugar, use equal parts honey or agave nectar and water instead. 
  • Make it calorie-free. Try it with your favorite zero-calorie sweetener. You may need to play around with the amounts, depending on the brand.

How to Make Flavored Simple Syrup

Interested in something different? Try one of these fun recipe variations to make infused simple syrup:

  • Fruit Peel Infusions: Add fruit peels from apples, oranges, limes, or cucumbers, and simmer them with the sugar. Strain the syrup before use.
  • Fresh Fruit Infusions: Add fresh fruit, such as berries, peach slices, or plums, after the sugar has dissolved. Carefully mash it into the hot syrup and leave it to cool. Strain before use.
  • Floral Infusions: Edible flowers add flavor and aromatics to simple syrup. Options include roses, chamomile, lavender, and more. 
  • Herbs and Spice Infusions: Add vanilla or almond extract to the finished syrup. Or simmer ginger, cinnamon stick, or even chilies with the sugar and water.
Glass bottle with simple syrup on a concrete table.

Cocktails With Simple Syrup 

Plenty of cocktail recipes and mixed drinks call for simple syrup. As mentioned, it’s to add sweetness and to enhance the overall flavor of the drink.

Here are some of my favorites: 

Simple Syrup in Baking

Have you ever wondered how to moisten a dry cake? Simple syrup is the key.

A lot of bakers use a small layer of simple syrup over sponges to keep them tender for longer.

Here’s how:

  • Poke holes over the top of the cake and brush the syrup over the top.
  • Cut the cake while it’s still warm and brush a layer of syrup over the cut sides.

In both cases, the syrup will soak into the sponge and keep it fresh for longer.

How Long Does Simple Syrup Last? 

As long as you store it properly, simple syrup should last up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

Remember to let it cool fully first. Then, transfer it to a jar or bottle with an airtight lid.

Simple Syrup Recipe

Course: Drinks, DessertCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





Simple syrup is a kitchen must-have. Whether you’re an aspiring mixologist, a home baker, or an ice coffee lover, it’s an essential ingredient.


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup water


  • Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • When the mixture starts to boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove the saucepan from the stove and let the syrup cool.
  • Transfer the cooled syrup to a heatproof glass jar or bottle with an airtight lid.
  • Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to a month.


  • Use brown sugar instead of white for a pleasant caramel taste.
  • Add vanilla pods to the syrup and leave them to soak until it’s cold.
Simple Syrup

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

2 thoughts on “Simple Syrup Recipe”

    • Hi Michelle! I don’t recommend using simple syrup in jams or jellies.
      Usually, jams need sugar and fruit to boil until thick – that’s how they set. If you add simple syrup, there will be too much liquid in the mix, so it won’t set.
      Even with something like Sure Jell, making simple syrup is an unnecessary step.
      Hope this helps!


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