simple and basic sugar syrup in a bowl

How to make Simple Sugar Syrup

It is called simple sugar syrup for a reason because it is very, very simple, basic and easy to make. It is so easy to make, you will wonder why you have been spending money on store bought sugar syrup or shying away from recipes that call for sugar syrup.

Sugar syrup has a lot of uses, in drinks eg. fruit juices, cocktails, mocktails, iced tea, iced coffee, ginger tea and cashew juice. It is also used in candying fruits, in sorbets and for brushing on cakes to keep them moist longer.

Basically, simple sugar syrup is a water-sugar solution, but heating makes the sugar dissolve properly in the water so that when used for a drink or whatever else, sugar granules will not settle at the bottom. This is especially good for cold drinks.

If you need just a little simple sugar syrup, you can just shake water and sugar vigorously for 3-4 minutes. Though you will need some muscle power and patience for that.

Flavoured simple sugar syrup:

You can infuse flavour into your sugar syrup using herbs, spices, flavourings (essence) or fruits. It all depends on what you will be using it for, examples are vanilla pod or essence, mint, cloves, cardamon pods, citrus rinds or juices, ginger, cinnamon or any fruit.

To make simple sugar syrup:

1 cups water
1 cups sugar

Combine water and sugar in a pot, stir.

Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, continue stirring.

sugar and water in a pot used in making simple sugar syrup

Boil till liquid goes from grainy to cloudy and then totally clear. Take off the heat. 

simple sugar syrup in a pot

Add your flavouring at this point and leave to cool. If it is a herb or spice, remove when your syrup is cold, if not it will keep infusing making the taste too strong.

Use or store.

simple sugar syrup in a jug

Standard concentrations of Sugar syrup

Depending on usage, there are standard concentrations for sugar syrup:

  • Thin syrup, use 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar, this is the most common.
  • Medium syrup, use 1 cups water with 2 cup sugar. 
  • Thick syrup, use 1 cup water with 3 cups sugar.


Store your syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator till needed. It will last for about 4 weeks, after that you might start noticing some mold or bits. If it is infused with herbs or spices, the shelf life will be reduced to maybe 2 weeks.


  • I always bring my syrup to a boil even though the sugar might have dissolved before then.You don’t have to if you are sure of your source of water.
  • Leaving your herb or spice inside will also shorten the shelf life of your syrup.
  • The longer it is boiled, the thicker the syrup will be, so the thickness will depend on what it will be used for. 
  • If boiled long enough, it will start acquiring a tinge of colour. This is caramelization.
  • It will also thicken further when it cools down.
  • Brown sugar can be used in making simple sugar syrup. It gives a richer tasting syrup. (See my post on Easy homemade Pancake and waffle syrup soon).

Check out my chocolate syrup and zobo syrup. Do you have any suggestions or ideas for sugar syrup? Let me know in the comments below. Follow on Instagram: @thepretendchefofficial, Twitter: @thepretendchef 




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