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Making Simple Syrup

Making Simple Syrup

There are some terms in cooking that can be confusing, especially for people who are just learning how to cook. The term “simple syrup” is a good example. It isn’t difficult to make or to use, but many recipes assume the reader knows what it is. Following is a primer on simple syrup.

Basic definition

At its most basic, simple syrup is sugar dissolved in water. The ratio is usually about a cup of sugar to a cup of water. Often, the water is heated a little or brought to boiling to make it easier for the sugar to dissolve. Normally the solution is stirred until no sugar remains on the bottom of the container.


The strength of the sugar solution can be varied, depending on what it is being used for, by adding more sugar to the water. Other variations are easily possible, though. For instance, brown sugar, corn syrup or powdered sugar can be used instead of regular granulated sugar. Using different kinds of sugar can lead to subtle variations in flavor and consistency in the finished syrup.

Uses for simple syrup

Simple syrups have many uses. For example, they can be used to make breakfast syrups, with a little bit of flavoring. For example, adding a some huckleberry juice to simple syrup makes a very agreeable and tasty blueberry syrup that is far less expensive than most flavored syrups that can be purchased in a store.

A simple syrup can also be used to make a superb sweet and sour sauce, by adding crushed pineapple and some quality vinegar. Many people use a variation of simple syrup to fill Hummingbird feeders, after adding a few drops of red food coloring, so this syrup isn’t limited to culinary uses. In fact, mint, anise, garlic and many other herbs are added to simple syrup for medicinal uses. This is especially true of bitter herbs, since the sweetness makes them a little easier to take, or at least a little sweeter. Simple syrup is even a great addition to wine during wine making, since it is already in solution. Simple syrup is also used for various drinks.

Simple syrup with simple sugar

One point of confusion about the term is that simple syrup can indeed be made out of simple sugar, such as fructose. These sugars tend to be easier to digest, just as honey is, so they are normally considered to be healthier alternatives. Simple syrup doesn’t require simple sugar to make, though it can certainly be made from these kinds of sugars. 

It isn’t hard to understand the meaning of ‘simple syrup’. This substance has many uses and it is quite easy to make. This is a point of potential confusion, however it doesn’t need to be. Regardless of the kind of sugar, simple syrup is just a cup of sugar dissolved in a cup of water, though variations are possible.

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