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Homemade Vanilla Syrup

Homemade Vanilla Syrup

Have you seen the price of those bottles of fancy flavored syrups?!  They are ex-pen-sive.  Especially when you consider what is in them – water, sugar, & flavoring.  Oh, and preservatives & needless additives – that must be why they’re so pricey.  Instead of spending an arm & a leg on a bottle of vanilla syrup, use that salvaged arm to stir up some home-made!

Vanilla Syrup

I’m a little bit obsessed with homemade gifts. Partly because it is really difficult to shop with 3 children in tow. Partly because it is difficult to know what someone wants specifically. Partly because I hate the idea of getting a person something they won’t use & don’t like. Partly because I have a frugal streak & making things is often less expensive than buying something. Mostly, though, because I want the person receiving the gift to know how much they mean to me. I feel that if I use my hands to put time, effort, thought, and a little sweat into something, it will better reflect my heart.  This vanilla syrup, presented in a glass bottle with a bow, is a great gift to give – for all of the above reasons!  Plus, it tastes REALLY good 🙂

Using just 3 ingredients, which you probably have in your pantry right now, plus water, this recipe takes only 15 minutes of active cook time & is so easy, you’re almost guaranteed to not screw it up.  Always a bonus in my book.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen.

Vanilla Syrup Simmering

You’ll start by mixing your sugars & water in a saucepan & heating it until you reach a simmer.  Then cook it for 10-15 minutes.  Be careful not to cook your sugar too much or it will start to become candy, instead of stay a syrup.  If you’re unsure, cook it a little less rather than more.  Also be careful not to let it boil over – very sticky to clean up!  Let it cool, add your vanilla, and Voila!  Homemade Vanilla Syrup in a flash (well, in a simmer).

Vanilla Coffee Syrup

This syrup is great in coffee or espresso beverages, or my favorite way to use it is in some Homemade Cream Soda!  Tasty, tasty.  And if you’re in more of a spicy mood, try this Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup!!  It’s a great way to add Fall flavors to your coffee, pancakes, or ice cream.

Homemade Vanilla Syrup

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 Liter

Homemade Vanilla Syrup

A simple & inexpensive recipe for homemade vanilla syrup. Great for flavoring coffee or espresso beverages, to pour over pancakes, or for homemade cream soda. Makes a great gift, too!


  • 3 1/2 c. Water
  • 3 c. granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Vanilla Extract


  1. Gently stir water & sugars together in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring to a simmer & cook for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from heat & cool completely. Stir in vanilla & enjoy!


Store at room temperature in an airtight jar or container. Makes a great gift!


This post may contain link(s) to affiliate(s). See my disclosure policy for more information.

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • Jackie k December 5, 2017, 8:45 am

    Hi your recipe looks very tempting but I’m from the uk and don’t understand your measurements. How much water should I start off with and do you means cups of sugar Thanks

    • Alecia Stanley February 2, 2018, 2:25 pm

      No problem! Here are the ingredients converted to British baking units:
      29 fl oz Water
      13.2 oz Sugar
      2.2 oz Light Brown Sugar
      3 tbsp (.8 oz) Vanilla Extract

      Hope that’s helpful!!

  • Agnes.B August 24, 2017, 12:55 pm

    Very easy to make and kids loved it. Thanks loads!!😇

  • Nichol January 30, 2017, 12:11 pm

    This is a GREAT idea that I’m definitely going to make today! I was just wondering what the best kind of vanilla to add? I have pure vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and “baking vanilla” which is really just a richer version of the pure extract. Thank you so much for this recipe, and I will be obsessively checking my Notifixations for a response so I can start making it!

    • Alecia Stanley January 30, 2017, 1:27 pm

      You can use any of the vanillas you listed. Personally, I prefer the pure vanilla extract in mine. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts after you make it!

  • Rachel January 11, 2017, 10:21 am

    Hi, how long can I store the syrup before it goes bad?

    • Alecia Stanley January 30, 2017, 1:30 pm

      Typically, you can safely store it at room temp for at least two weeks. I’ve used mine for at least a month or two beyond that with no problem. If you’re concerned, you can always freeze batches of it once it’s cooled & then pull them out as-needed.

  • Jo-Ann December 26, 2015, 11:20 pm

    I want to use it in a Steak n Shake copy cat recipe for a vanilla shake. It calls for vanilla syrup. Would this syrup be okay?

    • Alecia Stanley December 27, 2015, 5:25 pm

      @Jo-Ann – that sounds yummy!! Yes, this should definitely do the trick! Let me know how it turns out.

      • Jo-Ann December 27, 2015, 6:33 pm

        Thanks for the quick reply. I received a retro green Waring Malt making machine for my birthday (Dec. 22) . I’m excited to give it a “whirl”!!!

  • Jaya September 19, 2015, 9:53 am

    I’m not a fan of syrup, but I loved this recipe. It was easy to make and was perfect over pancakes. Thank you!

    • Alecia Stanley September 19, 2015, 4:56 pm

      @Jaya – I’m so glad you liked it! I’m not a big syrup fan either, but this one I (obviously) love, as well!! 🙂

  • Rebecca August 25, 2015, 3:43 pm

    Thank you for this simple recipe. I made some pancakes from scratch and this was perfect! I prefer it over maple syrup any day! I’ll try it in my coffee tomorrow. Mahalo

  • Ryan July 19, 2015, 2:52 pm

    Could this vanilla syrup be used to make vanilla coke if I combine it with coke

    • Alecia Stanley August 7, 2015, 3:28 pm

      @Ryan – Yes! Add 1 tbsp of the Vanilla Syrup to 1 can (or 12oz) of Coke. Enjoy!

  • Elke February 17, 2015, 3:56 pm

    Would it be okay to substitute the white sugar with Stevia? Do I need to make any other changes to the recipe if I use it?

    • Alecia Stanley April 17, 2015, 8:22 pm

      @Elke – I have honestly never baked with Stevia before. According to the Stevia online conversion chart, though, you would use 1 tsp Liquid Stevia or 1 1/2 tbsp Powdered Stevia per each 1 c. of Sugar … which means you’d need either 3 tsp Liquid Stevia or 4 1/2 tbsp Powdered Stevia for this recipe. As to the taste, cooking instructions, & texture, I really could not even start to guess. Might be worth a try for you though!! If you attempt it, I’d love to hear how it goes! Best wishes!!

  • Angie January 20, 2015, 8:01 pm

    This looked so good, but I must have done something wrong. My syrup tastes awful! Almost like plastic or burnt, but it hardly even reached the simmer stage at medium heat. Any suggestions?

    • Alecia Stanley April 17, 2015, 8:29 pm

      @Angie – OH NO!! That’s terrible! I am so sorry to hear that your first attempt turned out so poorly. That stinks! My first guess would be that maybe something just went wrong! Possibly there was residue in your pan, or an ingredient was bad, or the ingredients didn’t get incorporated well & burned on the bottom of the pan before it reached simmer??? I wish I could help more – like come over & help you make a new batch! 🙂 I do hope you’ll try to make it again & let me know if it turns out better. I’ve had SO much positive feedback on this recipe so I hope your next try is a HUGE success!!!

  • Rhonda December 16, 2014, 9:12 pm

    My husband loves vanilla diet coke from sonic. Would this work at home with can diet coke?

    • Alecia Stanley December 16, 2014, 9:14 pm

      @Rhonda – absolutely!! Add a tbsp or 2 to the soda & voila! Let me know how he likes it.

  • Michele November 18, 2014, 10:40 pm

    Inquiring minds want to know, how to find bottles like the one in the photo? The link provided is a different style (I also worry about that bottle not up for pouring syrup!) Thanks for a yummy recipe and gift idea!

    • Alecia Stanley November 21, 2014, 2:25 pm

      @Michele – the bottle pictured is from Walmart. I got it several years ago, but I’ve seen them other places since then. Hope that helps!!

  • rebeca huffman September 15, 2014, 10:56 pm

    Can this be used in pop

  • Liz August 1, 2014, 4:46 am

    Hi can I use vanilla essence?

    • Alecia Stanley August 1, 2014, 8:41 am

      @Liz – yes, you can definitely use vanilla essence in this recipe! The amount you use will depend on the type of essence you have (concentrated or imitation) & the strength of its flavor. If you have the real concentrate, it can be much stronger in flavor than extract, so start out with half the amount. If you’re using imitation essense, it will be much weaker, and probably not have the same “pure” flavor that extract would (similarly to imitation extract vs pure extract), so you may need to double it. I would start out slow & add more to taste, as needed.

      If you make it with the essense, come back & let me know how much you used & how it turned out!

  • Ann July 3, 2014, 8:10 pm

    Hey! I really want to try this syrup soon and was wondering how much vanilla beans should i use to replace the vanilla extract? And if i use vanilla beans without any extract, will the flavor still be as strong? Thanks!

    • Alecia Stanley July 22, 2014, 11:24 am

      @Ann – the basic rule when subbing vanilla bean for extract (and vice versa) is 1 vanilla bean = 1 tsp extract. I’ve never made this recipe with a bean instead of extract, but I think it would be delicious to try!!! If it were me, I would probably start with 2-3 whole vanilla beans (slit down the center to expose the seeds), drop in the pan with the sugar & water & let them boil. Taste it & if needed, you could split the bean open & scoop some of the seeds into your syrup, which should intensify the flavor over time (or keep the pods & all in your syrup). Keep in mind that the vanilla bean has a much more intense flavor than extract, so your finished product will taste much fresher & full-bodied — though the quality of the bean you buy (& extract) will determine a lot of that too. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out!!!

  • Allison April 6, 2014, 12:21 am

    Would it make much of a difference if I used dark brown sugar instead of light?

    • Alecia Stanley July 22, 2014, 11:15 am

      @Allison – Yes, the flavor will be different. I used dark instead of light before & the flavor, as expected, is more rich in the caramel notes. It is still good & a bit more pungent, in my opinion. I prefer the light brown sugar, but the dark was definitely still good!

  • Bethany January 25, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Sounds wonderful! Do you know How long it lasts? Can you freeze it?

    • Alecia Stanley January 27, 2014, 10:16 am

      It should last at least 2 weeks in a clean, sealed, glass or plastic container. Obviously, it will last longer if you refrigerate it. I’ve never tried to freeze mine, but I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t! Let me know if you do & how it turns out.

  • Olivia December 22, 2013, 11:49 pm

    Is the syrup supposed to be watery?

    • Alecia Stanley December 24, 2013, 8:43 pm

      @Olivia – yes! It is the same consistency of the Torani syrups. A little thinner than pancake syrup, but thicker than water :).

  • DeAtra November 14, 2013, 7:50 pm

    How much does it make, approximately?

    • Alecia Stanley November 27, 2013, 1:34 pm

      It makes about 1 liter of syrup.

      • DeAtra November 27, 2013, 7:29 pm

        Thanks. I made this stuff, and it is amazing!!! My Mom loves this in her morning coffee:) (My Dad just likes his plain, but it’s just bitter that way I find:) It’s way better than the Starbucks’ syrup and cheap. (Don’t tell my sister that, she works at Starbucks:)

        • DeAtra November 27, 2013, 7:35 pm

          What’s your next recipe? Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be amazing:)

          • Alecia Stanley November 28, 2013, 5:57 pm

            Thanks, DeAtra!! I’ve got lots more recipes to post – be sure to subscribe to the newsletter so you never miss one 🙂

  • Marcia August 21, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Yummy! All made and ready for breakfast tomorrow. Any chance you have a good homemade maple syrup recipe? I don’t care for store bought pancake syrup and pure maple syrup is expensive.

    • Alecia Stanley August 21, 2013, 9:58 pm

      @Marcia – so glad you made this syrup!! Hope it makes your breakfast sweeter :).

      Hmmm – I’ll have to do some research & look for a pancake syrup recipe. I think I have one from years & years ago. I actually prefer powdered sugar instead of syrup on my pancakes. Good idea, though!

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