Using fresh fruit in simple syrup recipes is one of the best ways to get creative in making drink recipes at home!

Spoon in jar of lime syrup next to lime wedges.

With fresh lime juice and basic simple syrup as the main ingredients in so many cocktail recipes (like our favorite margaritas!), let’s just get extra efficient and combine the two! Making a batch of lime simple syrup is so easy too, and takes less than 10 minutes. It’s basically a no brainer! sweetness.

Fresh Limes are Key!

The most important ingredient note for this recipe is to use fresh limes! Do not use lime juice that comes from those little squeeze bottles. If you do, the final result will be less potent in flavor, and more bitter and metallic tasting.

Plus, you’ll want to use fresh limes for the zest, which adds lots of tangy, zesty flavor!

How to Make Lime Simple Syrup

To learn more about the ins and outs of making a basic simple syrup, be sure to check out our guide to making basic simple syrup. This version has the same principles, but a few extra (simple!) steps.

Zest the Limes

The most flavor comes from the zest of the lime. Use a microplane or fine grater to shave – or zest- off the green skin of a whole lime. Be sure to use the whole fruit before you’ve sliced it to juice, so it’s easier to zest.

Do not press too hard when zesting. It’s important to not get the white pith below, as it has a bitter flavor which will in turn make the simple syrup bitter.

Bowl of sugar with lime zest.

Prep the Sugar

The key to enhancing the bright lime flavor is to rub the zest and sugar together. This releases the oil from the zest and infuses it into the sugar with all the flavor! Then, as the sugar is incorporated into the recipe, that bright citrus flavor is throughout.

This is the same method used in our margarita bars recipe. It’s equally important with lemon, like in lemon lavender scones or lemon sugar cookies!

Lime zest rubbed into sugar in bowl around cut limes.

As you rub the two together, you’ll see the texture of the sugar quickly become more like wet sand as the oils are released. Press them together until this texture is created, and until all the sugar is completely incorporated with the lime zest.

Simmer the Syrup

After those two steps for the zest, it’s time to continue just as you would with other simple syrups: simmering sugar and liquid together.

After you’ve zested the limes, cut them in half and juice them! Instead of water, we’re using all fresh lime juice in the syrup. If you prefer a less concentrated lime flavor, feel free to substitute half with water instead.

Lime juice and sugar in saucepan.

Combine the lime sugar and fresh juice in a small saucepan, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and strain out the zest.

Strain the Syrup

Along with the zest, there will likely be some fresh pulp in the syrup too, so I find it’s best to strain it out before using and/or storing the syrup.

Straining syrup in sieve over measuring cup.

You can use the syrup as is, without straining, but just know these pieces will be in it, and you’ll want to use it sooner rather than later. The syrup will keep longer if there are no fruit pieces in it because otherwise, they will ferment faster, spoiling the syrup.

To remove even more fine pulp or zest pieces, line the fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth.

Ways to Use Lime Simple Syrup

The syrup on hand is excellent to add to any non-alcoholic drink or cocktail you throw together, especially when you might add a squeeze of fresh lime, too.

  • Try it in your favorite margarita recipe, a daiquiri, or a Moscow Mule with ginger beer.
  • Make a refreshing limeade, similar to homemade lemonade.
  • Stir it in club soda for a lime soda.
  • Toss it with fresh-cut fruit to make a bright fruit salad.
  • Add it to a batch of freshly brewed iced tea for a zesty twist!
Lime simple syrup pouring into jar.

Storage & Freezing

Once cooled, store room-temperature lime syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, depending on how well it has been strained. If the syrup appears cloudy or has any off smells, it’s time to toss it and make a new batch.

I like to use a mason jar or a squeeze bottle for easy use.

You can freeze simple syrup, too! For this, I use the 1-ounce Souper Cubes tray because the individual serving amounts make using a little at a time, from the freezer, super easy!

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!

Jar of lime syrup with spoon next to lime wedges.
5 (1 rating)

Get the Recipe 10-Minute Fresh Lime Simple Syrup

Homemade lime simple syrup gives cocktails, limeade, and even desserts a bright tart flavor! It's sweet with a zesty tang thanks to fresh lime zest and juice. Ready in under 10 minutes.


  • 2-3 Tablespoons lime zest, approximately 6-7 limes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, use the same limes!


  • In a bowl, rub the lime zest and granulated sugar together until the texture of wet sand forms, and all the granules have been rubbed together. This releases the lime oil into the sugar for more flavor.
    2-3 Tablespoons lime zest, 1 cup granulated sugar
  • In a saucepan, whisk together the zest and sugar mixture, fresh lime juice, and granulated sugar.
    1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved completely. Remove from heat and strain the zest and any pulp through a fine mesh sieve. If you want to remove even finer particles, use a cheesecloth.
  • Let cool and transfer to a glass jar or other airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.


  • Recipe yields approximately 1 1/2 cup simple syrup.
  • Take care to not grate the pith (the white inner part after the zest) or the syrup will be bitter.
Serving: 2TBSP, Calories: 70kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 0.1g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.001g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 24mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.04mg
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!