Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is also used to make iced tea simple syrups, iced teas and refreshing cocktails like Kentucky's famous mint julep.
Simple syrup (also called sugar syrup) has a wide variety of uses, from glazing baked goods and soaking cakes to preserving fruits and making candies. To make a simple syrup, cook water and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Then bring the syrup to a boil and cook for about one minute.


Simple syrup can be made in varying densities, with the thickness depending on the ratio of water to sugar used. Follow the measurements listed in your recipe, or use these general guidelines:

Light syrup: 5 parts water to 1 part sugar.

Thin: 3 parts water to 1 part sugar.

Medium: 2 parts water to 1 part sugar.

Heavy: equal parts water and sugar.

Cooking Tips

Sugar syrups may also be cooked to more specific stages or temperatures, depending on their applications. The stages are named for how the syrup feels between the thumb and forefinger when dipped in ice water.

Thread: 230ºF (for candies, fruit pastes).

Soft-ball: 239ºF (for buttercream, fondant, fudge).

Hard-ball: 248ºF (for almond paste, Italian meringue).

Soft-crack: 257ºF (for caramels, nougats, taffy).

Hard-crack: 295ºF (for candies, glazed fruits, spun sugar).

Flavoring Tips

Simple syrups can be flavored with extracts, juices, liqueurs, and so on. Add flavorings before cooking begins. Let them cool in the syrup and if necessary, remove and discard. Here are some ideas:

Spiced syrup: add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and whole allspice.
Citrus-flavored: add the zest of lemons, oranges or limes.
Coffee-flavored: substitute coffee for the water.

Try one of our favorite simple syrup recipes:
Chicago Lemon(Lime)ade
Forbidden Fruit
Banana Cream Cake with Strawberry Cream Filling