Making homemade simple syrup couldn’t be any easier. It’s not called simple for no reason. This sugar syrup is the perfect way to add sweetness to cocktails, iced coffee, and even decorate cakes.

Glass of simple syrup.

You’ll only need two ingredients that I’m sure you have on hand already, and in less than 5 minutes it’s ready to use however you need it. Even better? It keeps in the fridge for weeks, so you can have it on hand for those early morning coffees or happy hours with friends.

And once you’ve gotten the hang of making the basic recipe, you can add a variety of flavors to make homemade flavored syrups, too!

What is Simple Syrup Made Of?

Simple syrup is made of water and granulated sugar. That’s it, it’s truly that…simple! It’s literally liquid sugar.

Bowl of sugar next to water.

Sugar syrup is the go-to for cold drinks, especially because instead of using just regular ol’ sugar, the sugar is already dissolved into water.

This means that there are no gritty sugar granules that haven’t dissolved, and no extra time to even try to get the sugar to dissolve.

Sugar Substitutes

Using granulated sugar will give you the purest simple syrup that will work in any recipe. However, you can use the following, noting the flavor differences:

  • Brown Sugar: results in syrup with notes of caramel (delicious!)
  • Honey: again, will change the flavor and have hints of the honey’s flavors, whether that’s more floral, fragrant, or sweet.
  • Sugar Substitutes: if you’re looking to use a sugar alternative, you can usually use them in place of the sugar, however, it will change the taste of simple syrup. If you regularly use something like Stevia, then you probably won’t mind this change in flavor.

How to Make Simple Syrup

This might be one of the easiest recipes around because you really cannot mess it up. It’s only a matter of dissolving the sugar in the water, but here are a few tips for making it as successful as possible.

  1. Combine the sugar and water.
  2. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. It doesn’t have to boil for the sugar to dissolve.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Use, or store in the refrigerator.
Two images: pouring water into pan with water and then dissolved.

Simmer the water first before adding the sugar if you’re in a hurry. It will heat up faster and speed the process along, saving a few precious minutes.

Pouring simple syrup into jar.

Simple Syrup Ratios

The most common ratio for making simple syrup is a 1:1 ratio of water and sugar (i.e. equal parts). You can adjust the amount as needed, whether it’s 1 cup sugar and water, 1/2 cup sugar and water, or anything in between.

A 1:1 ratio creates a thin consistency, think maple syrup, but thinner. It’s perfect for any beverage.

A 2:1 ratio can be used too, with 2 parts sugar to water. This creates a rich simple syrup, made using the same process, but results in a thicker, more viscous texture. It’s sweeter, so you can use less of it to achieve the same sweetness level.

Spoon in jar of simple syrup.

Storage & Freezing

While simple syrup can last a while in the fridge, it does eventually go bad. To help it last as long as possible, usually, 3-4 weeks, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. If you notice any cloudiness or an off-smell, it’s time to toss it out and start a new batch.

If you don’t anticipate using the batch in those few weeks, you can freeze simple syrup. I like to freeze it in individual portions using Souper Cubes because they’re easy to remove, too! A regular ice tray will work as well.

Ways to Use Sugar Syrup

There are endless ways to use this deliciously sweet syrup! As I mentioned before, it’s hands down the best way to sweeten iced drinks because there’s no need for the sugar to dissolve – it already is!

Add it to Cocktails

It’s excellent in cocktails like a French 75, Old Fashioned, and Margaritas.

Flavored simple syrups are excellent to add a spin on cocktails like in this Cranberry Ginger Cocktails, Raspberry Long Island Iced Teas, or Watermelon Mint Cocktails.

Apple Cider Bourbon, Grapefruit Mint Cocktail, and Cranberry Rosemary Prosecco also use flavored simple syrups. If you couldn’t tell, I have a thing for using flavored syrup in cocktails.

But really, simple syrup is perfect for any cocktail recipe that needs a little sweetness. There’s no limit to the number of recipes that use it!

Simple syrup pouring into cocktail.

Sweeteen Coffee & Tea

But not only is it great in cold drinks, but it’s also super easy to mix into hot beverages as well. So for coffee and tea, simple syrup can be added to them both!

Whether it’s an iced latte or a hot latte, you can add regular simple syrup as a sweetener or add a flavored latte syrup like vanilla bean to make homemade vanilla lattes and more.

It’s also a great way to flavor iced coffee or cold brew, and both iced tea and hot tea. Try adding honey, cinnamon, or even molasses which all work well with tea and coffee, too!

But wait, there’s more!

It’s true, it’s not just about beverages. Bakers love to use this liquid sugar brushed between layers of cake. Brushed on the exterior of an unfrosted cake, simple syrup adds moisture and sweetness to the cake – two things that are winners in my book!

It can also be a glaze on tarts for a shiny, sweet finish. Check out our flavors below and make a rich syrup for pancakes, ice cream, or waffles, too!

Toss it in a fruit salad with fresh fruit and mint – it makes a wonderful side dish at brunch or dessert!

Simple Syrup Variations

Oh, a basic simple syrup recipe is just the beginning! You can flavor simple syrup with fruit, fresh herbs, and spices. Use other types of sugars if you need to.

Really, you can mix it up and do a whole lotta different things with it. Even adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for citrusy drinks changes up the flavor easily. Variety is the spice of life, my friends!

So once you have made the basic simple syrup, why not give one of these flavor variations a try?!

Herb & Spice Simple Syrups

Fruit Simple Syrups

Simple syrup in jar.

Additional Common Questions

How much syrup does 1 cup of sugar yield?

1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water will make approximately 1 1/2 cups of simple syrup. If you use just 1/2 cup of each, you will have approximately 3/4 cup of syrup.

How much syrup do I need in a drink?

This depends on the cocktail you’re making. If you’re simply mixing some syrup with liquor and club soda, it will all depend on your taste preferences. I usually use about 1 to 1 1/2 ounces per cocktail or coffee.

Can I halve, or double the recipe?

Absolutely! This recipe is one of the easiest things to double or halve or triple…you name it! Use equal amounts of water and sugar and you are good to go, the process is exactly the same.

Is simple syrup…

Yep, it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan (as long as your sugar is).

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!

Pouring simple syrup into jar.
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Get the Recipe How to Make Simple Syrup

Make simple syrup at home in less than 5 minutes – no need to buy store-bought simple syrup anymore! It's an easy and quick recipe and is super affordable (YES!). Use it in your favorite cocktails, coffee drinks, and even on cakes.




  • In a small or medium saucepan, whisk together water and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved. The liquid should be clear.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool or use immediately. If using in a cold cocktail, I do recommend giving it some time to cool before using.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3- 4 weeks and use in your favorite beverages or recipes as desired.


  • This recipe makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.
Calories: 64kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 0.3mg, Sugar: 17g, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 0.01mg
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!