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Learn how to make Simple Syrup at home in minutes with just 2 ingredients: water and sugar. Use it in cocktails, iced tea, or brush it over baked goods.

Pouring simple syrup into a jar.

Simple syrup is a cocktail staple that couldn’t be easier to make. Just combine 1 part water and 1 part sugar (1:1 ratio) until the sugar is dissolved. That’s it!

I prefer to heat the water and sugar over low heat to speed up the process, but honestly, you can just shake them together and you’ll be good to go.

Simple syrup is used in a wide variety of cocktails including Margaritas, Hurricanes, Daiquiris, Piña Coladas, Mojitos, Long Island Iced Teas, Gimlets, and Whiskey Sours.

You can also use it in non-alcoholic drinks such as iced tea, iced coffee, lemonade, or punch. If you make rich simple syrup (a sweeter version with a 2:1 sugar-water ratio), you brush it over baked goods like pound cakes, muffins, and donuts.

Store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or check out my tips for extending the shelf life even longer (hint: VODKA).

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. How to Make Simple Syrup Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for how to make simple syrup.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Sugar: Regular white granulated sugar is the standard here. Use a 1:1 ratio (1 part sugar to 1 part water) for basic simple syrup, and a 2:1 ratio for rich simple syrup.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Combine equal parts sugar and water together over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Stir until just dissolved.
Dissolving sugar in warm water.
  1. Cool before using, then add to your favorite cocktails like this Old Fashioned. Store covered in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator.
Making an Old Fashioned cocktail.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: 1 cup sugar + 1 cup water = 1 ½ cups simple syrup
  • Storage: Store simple syrup covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks. Discard the simple syrup if it starts to get cloudy. To extend the shelf life to 3 months total, add 1 tablespoon vodka to the simple syrup before refrigerating. Sterilizing the jar(s) before adding simple syrup also extends the shelf life, too.
  • Rich simple syrup: A more concentrated sugar syrup in a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts sugar to 1 part water). Simmer this for at least 10 minutes to make sure all the sugar crystals dissolve. This denser syrup is ideal for brushing on baked goods like pound cake or muffins.
  • Sour mix: Stir in 1 cup fresh lemon juice and ¾ cup fresh lemon juice to the cooled simple syrup recipe below (you’ll have about 3 ¼ cups sour mix).
  • Flavored syrup: Steep flavors in hot simple syrup, then strain out the flavoring ingredients. Store in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks. Some flavor ideas include fresh herbs (rosemary, mint, basil), spices (cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, fresh ginger root), citrus (orange or lemon zest), or even flowers (lavender, rose petals).
  • Hummingbird nectar: To feed your flying friends, combine 4 parts water and 1 part sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely, then add to your hummingbird feeder. Do not add red food coloring.
Three jars of lavender lemonade.
Lavender Lemonade made with Lavender Simple Syrup.

Recipe FAQs

How long does simple syrup last?

Basic simple syrup will last 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. To extend the shelf life to 3 months total, add 1 tablespoon vodka to the simple syrup before refrigerating it. Sterilizing jar(s) before adding simple syrup also extends the shelf life.

How long does rich syrup last?

Rich simple syrup will last up to 6 months in the refrigerator (add 1 tablespoon vodka to the simple syrup to extend the shelf life even longer). It’s a more concentrated sugar syrup in a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts sugar to 1 part water). Simmer this for at least 10 minutes to make sure all the sugar crystals dissolve. The higher concentration of sugar makes it harder for bacteria to grow.

Why does my simple syrup look cloudy, fuzzy, or moldy?

Your syrup is old and needs to be discarded.

Do you need to heat the water to make simple syrup?

Heating is not required for simple syrup; just combine water and sugar in a jar and shake it. The sugar dissolves faster with warm water, though, so that is my preferred method (you have to wait for it to cool, though).

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Cocktails with simple syrup

Simple syrup in a jar.

How to Make Simple Syrup

Learn how to make Simple Syrup at home in minutes with just 2 ingredients: water and sugar. Use it in cocktails, iced tea, or brush it over baked goods.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Servings 12 servings (1 ounce each)
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Calories 65

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved (do not boil).
  • Remove from heat and cool completely. Pour into a sterilized container and store covered in the refrigerator.

Notes

  1. Sugar: Regular white granulated sugar is the standard here. Use a 1:1 ratio (1 part sugar to 1 part water) for basic simple syrup, and a 2:1 ratio for rich simple syrup.
  2. Yield: 1 cup sugar + 1 cup water = 1 ½ cups simple syrup
  3. Storage: Store simple syrup covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks. Discard the simple syrup if it starts to get cloudy. To extend the shelf life to 3 months total, add 1 tablespoon vodka to the simple syrup before refrigerating. Sterilizing the jar(s) before adding simple syrup also extends the shelf life, too.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ozCalories: 65kcalCarbohydrates: 17gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 1mgSugar: 17gCalcium: 1mgIron: 1mg
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I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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