If you are a chocolate dessert lover, then you’ve got to have a chocolate syrup recipe in your back pocket!
It’s so easy to make in just a few minutes. It thickens up beautifully once chilled. You’re guaranteed to throw out any store-bought sauce you have in your cupboard because this homemade syrup is SO much better.
Growing up, we spent summers churning classic vanilla ice cream in an old-school ice cream maker, and Grandma would make a big batch of her homemade chocolate syrup to drizzle on top.
There was truly nothing better. Now, I’ve finally gotten around to making my own homemade chocolate syrup, inspired by Grandma’s recipe.
Chocolate Syrup vs. Chocolate Sauce (and Ganache)
Sometimes chocolate syrup and chocolate sauce are used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. Throw in chocolate ganache, a similar type of chocolate…but it’s also different.
Let’s cover the differences between the three to clear up any confusion and maybe help you win some trivia down the road…
- Chocolate Syrup: made with just water – no additional fat like cream or butter. It’s thinner in consistency than sauces and easily mixes into drinks.
- Chocolate Sauce: usually made with the addition of milk, cream, or butter. It’s thicker in consistency. Hot Fudge falls into the chocolate sauce category because it’s made with the addition of fat and is thick.
- Ganache: the thickest of them all, it’s simply chocolate and cream – no added sugar. It can be turned into a dip, frosting, truffles, and more.
Ingredients You’ll Need
There are only 5 ingredients you’ll need for this recipe, and I question even counting a few of them as ingredients (ahem, looking at you, water).
The good news is that I’m willing to bet you have most, if not all, available already!
- Cocoa Powder: use 100% unsweetened cocoa (or cacao) powder for this syrup. Find it in the baking aisle of your grocery store. As with most recipes, using a higher-quality cocoa powder like Ghiradelli will result in a more decadent syrup. But the basic Hershey’s cocoa powder will work just fine, too!
- Sugar: good ol’ granulated sugar adds sweetness to the syrup – no high fructose corn syrup in sight!
- Water: if you have filtered water, go ahead and use it for the best flavor. Since we have such few ingredients, quality especially matters.
- Vanilla Extract: rounds out the flavors in the syrup.
- Salt: again, balances out both the bitter chocolate and the sweet sugar (and you know I love how salt is magical when it comes to bringing flavors together!). A pinch goes a long way, and you won’t even taste it!
- I use kosher salt; if you’re using table salt, halve the amount or use even less than half to start.
You’ve got that right, this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan!
How to Make Chocolate Syrup
This recipe is just as easy as making a basic simple syrup recipe, because that’s basically what we’re doing, with the addition of cocoa powder.
Not only is it just as easy, but it’s way more affordable and budget-friendly to make at home than buying storebought. Not to mention the quality and flavor are so much better homemade (move over, Hershey’s, there’s a new kid in town!).
To ensure the syrup is smooth, sift the cocoa powder first.
It’s not always necessary, especially if your cocoa powder is super fresh and not already clumpy. But if you have any concerns and want to guarantee the sauce is smooth, sift it!
Then, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat. The mixture will take a minute to fully combine. As it heats up, you’ll begin to see it come together into a glossy syrup.
Continue to whisk frequently as the syrup slowly simmers. There’s no need for it to come to a rolling boiling, which often results in a bitter, almost burnt-tasting sauce.
Allow it to slowly simmer for two to three minutes. It will thicken slightly as it simmers. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and vanilla extract.
At this point, the sauce may still seem runnier than you’d like. I assure you, as it cools and even chills in the fridge, that’s when the magic happens!
Upon chilling, the syrup texture and taste develop even more. The result is a thicker, drizzle-worthy syrup that’s shiny with rich, decadent chocolate and a better-than-Hershey’s flavor.
Remember, it’s not hot fudge, so it will remain syrup-like, easily scoopable, and not overly thick.
Storage & Freezing
Allow the syrup to cool completely to room temperature. Store it in an airtight container like a mason jar or glass bottle in the fridge. It will keep for at least a month, if not more. If you notice any discoloration or odd film forming on the top, it’s time to toss it.
You can freeze chocolate syrup, too! Place it in a freezer-safe container, ice cube tray, or even better, SouperCubes. If freezing in a mold, transfer the individual servings to an airtight container once frozen.
Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature, stirring until smooth. You can also thaw on defrost in the microwave.
Ways to Use Chocolate Syrup
Aside from sneaking spoonfuls straight out of the jar, there are so many ways to enjoy homemade chocolate syrup!
- Ice Cream: of course, this syrup is amazing over ice cream! Add a drizzle of bourbon caramel sauce and your favorite candy to make the perfect dessert!
- Even better, add homemade brownies and make a brownie sundae! Also delicious drizzled on the brownies themselves, but when in doubt, always include ice cream.
- Make chocolate milk or the best hot chocolate. Just add 1-2 tablespoons to a cup of cold or hot milk of choice, stir until combined, and enjoy!
- Stir it in iced coffee, or make iced mocha lattes or a mix-and-match for endless possibilities of flavored iced lattes.
- On that note, make a homemade mocha or add mint syrup or extract and make a peppermint mocha.
- Add it to milkshakes!
- Make chocolate-covered popcorn.
- Drizzle it over slices of cake.
- Indulge at breakfast and use it on pancakes and waffles!
- Add to chocolate cocktails like a Chocolate White Russian.
Tips for the Best Syrup
- Don’t bring it to a rolling boil; or simmer for too long. It may turn burnt and bitter tasting.
- Chilling the syrup before using it will result in the best flavor, so it’s highly recommended you make it in advance.
- That being said, if it seems too runny and you simmered for up to 3 minutes, chill it before you deem it too runny. And remember, it’s not a fudge sauce.
- Use high-quality ingredients so they shine through!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe How to Make Homemade Chocolate Syrup
- In a small or medium saucepan, whisk together sifted cocoa powder, sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat. Stir frequently as it simmers for about 3 minutes; it shouldn't come to a rolling boil. The syrup will bubble and expand, becoming slightly thicker.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt. Allow to cool, and transfer to a glass jar or bottle. Chill in the fridge before using for optimal flavor and texture – it thickens up quite a bit in the fridge and the flavor really comes together!
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month. Use it to make chocolate milk, hot cocoa, mochas, drizzle on desserts, ice cream, and more!
- Yield: This recipe makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.
- Salt: half the amount (or less) if using table salt.
- Too runny? Be sure you simmered the syrup for at least 3 minutes; then chill completely in the fridge where it will thicken.