After over 10 years of making my own cocktails and mocktails, there’s one thing I’ve learned: homemade ingredients just taste better than store-bought. Because of this fact, I find myself making my own simple syrup on a regular basis. It is, after all, simple! But what if you can’t use a whole batch of syrup within a few weeks? How do you store leftover simple syrup? Can you make a big batch and freeze it for longer-term storage? Can you freeze simple syrup at all?
You can certainly freeze simple syrup for longer storage. In fact, it’s one of my favorite ways to keep simple syrups on hand! How you store it is important though, so check out this post for all the tips and tricks you need to experience the most success when freezing your precious homemade syrups.Jump to Recipe
- 💕 why you'll love freezing homemade simple syrups
- 🧐 What is Simple Syrup?
- 😳 Does Simple Syrup Go Bad?
- 🤑 Rich Syrup vs. Simple Syrup
- 👩🏻🍳 How can I use Simple Syrup?
- 🛒 ingredients
- 🔥 Heat-Method of Making Simple Syrup
- ❄️ Room Temperature-Method of Making Simple Syrup
- 🎛️ recipe variations for simple syrup
- 🧰 equipment needed
- ⚖️ weights of different sugars
- storage tips
- 🍭 How much simple syrup does 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water make?
- 💬 q+a
- 🥣 recipe
- 🧯food safety & other information
💕 why you'll love freezing homemade simple syrups
❄️ easy - all you need to do is bottle your syrups or portion them in ice cube trays, then freeze and store them! It doesn’t get easier than that! Check out the resources for some of my favorite tools for freezing!
🙌 convenient - storing your homemade simple syrups in the freezer is a great way to keep seasonal flavors at arm’s length. It’s the perfect liquid sweetener for all of your beverages, from cocktails to coffee.
🧐 What is Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is made of equal parts of sugar and water. The sugar dissolves in the water, resulting in a sweet syrup that can be added to beverages, hot or cold. The standard ratio for making homemade syrup is 1:1. This means if you use 1 cup of sugar, you’ll use 1 cup of water. If you use 2 cups of sugar, you’ll use 2 cups of water.
Simple syrup can be made a variety of ways, using heat and without heat. I prefer the heating method because it’s quicker and results in a much more stable syrup. Heating the syrup kills bacteria and microorganisms that can shorten the shelf life of your finished syrup.You can make simple syrup by just dissolving sugar in water at room temperature, though.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific instructions on making simple syrup with both methods.
😳 Does Simple Syrup Go Bad?
Yes. Because it is made of just sugar and water, bacteria and microorganisms can grow in the mixture. This is especially true if it is stored improperly. If you ever see any cloudy matter in your simple syrups, throw them out.
You have some options when it comes to preserving the shelf life of your simple syrups.
- You can add in an acid, like a small amount of lemon juice, to help prevent the darkening of the syrup and crystallization.
- You can also add a small amount of high-proof alcohol, like 80-proof vodka or Everclear. The alcohol acts like the acidic lemon juice to inhibit crystallization and keep the syrup from changing colors over time.
Adding acid or alcohol helps to slow the growth of microorganisms that can lead you simple syrups to spoiling faster.
🤑 Rich Syrup vs. Simple Syrup
A rich syrup is a simple syrup that has a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. That means using 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water or 1 cup of sugar to ½ cup of water.
This results in a thicker syrup that has a richer, sweeter flavor. It also results in a syrup that is more viscous.
These syrups can last longer in the fridge because of the higher sugar content.
Another bonus of using rich syrups is that it requires less of them to sweeten beverages, so if you are making cocktails in a smaller glass, like a coupe glass, you can use less syrup to get the same amount of sweetness!
👩🏻🍳 How can I use Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is best suited for beverages because it mixes so well into hot and cold drinks with ease. Plain simple syrup is a great way to easily sweeten things up!
cooking and baking:
- In Layer Cakes - brush your syrups between layers of cake, or brush the tops of cupcakes with simple syrup before frosting them. This is the best way to keep cakes moist and impart a subtle flavoring. It’s especially great when using fruit syrups or flavored syrups!
- Glazing Fruit - brush fresh fruit on tarts, pastries, or oatmeal with simple syrup to give the fruit a slight shine and impart some sweetness. It is best to do this just before serving.
- Poach Fruit - you can use simple syrups to poach fruits you will be using in desserts. This helps to gently cook the fruit while also sweetening it.
- Shave Ice Topping - Homemade shave ice is increasing in popularity, and simple syrups are a fun way to customize flavors of shave ice without using corn syrup and artificial flavors!
cocktails, mocktails & more:
- Cocktails - The classic use of simple syrups is in cocktail recipes. It’s a quick and easy way to sweeten cocktails and balance sour or bitter flavors in drinks. Recipes like this sparkling blueberry vodka lemonade and this kiwi mojito use fruit-infused simple syrups to add a punch of flavor and sweetness.
- Mocktails - Making a batch of lemonade can now be something that you customize based on the fruits or flavors that are in season. Check out this blueberry lemonade for a dose of inspiration!
- Iced Tea - Making a pitcher of iced tea is a great way to stay hydrated in the summer, but not everyone likes the same level of sweetness in their iced tea. Having a squeeze bottle of simple syrup on hand means everyone can customize their tea to their liking!
- Coffee - One pump or two? You’ll be your own barista in an instant when you keep a batch of simple syrup on hand. You can quickly add any flavor you want to your beverages, like with this double shot iced shaken espresso recipe!
- granulated sugar - plain granulated sugar works perfectly in simple syrup recipes. Sometimes, you will see that recipes call for superfine sugar, but if you are heating your syrup over medium-low heat, regular granulated sugar works just fine! You can use different sugars based on the flavor profile you want. Brown sugar or demerara sugar works beautifully for creating a more complex syrup. You can also make simple syrups using honey or maple syrup!
- filtered water - plain filtered tap water works best for this recipe because it has already been filtered of impurities that could affect the flavor of the finished syrup. Using filtered water is especially important if you are using the room temperature method of making simple syrup.
- Optional ingredients - you can use one of these optional ingredients to help preserve your simple syrup for longer.
- lemon juice - lemon juice acts as a natural preservative to keep your syrup from spoiling for a longer period of time.
- high proof alcohol - using 80-proof vodka or Everclear is another way you can preserve your homemade simple syrup.
🔥 Heat-Method of Making Simple Syrup
This method of making simple syrup involves dissolving equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
Step 1: Pour 1 cup of water into a 1.5-quart saucepan, and place it over medium heat.
Step 2: Add 1 cup of sugar to the pan.
Step 3: Stir occasionally using a non-reactive tool, like a silicone spatula. If you are adding lemon juice to the syrup, do so now.
Step 4: Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Step 5: Transfer the mix to a heat-safe container, like a glass measuring cup, to make it easier to pour into your storage container. If you are confident in your pouring skills, you can skip this step!
Step 6: Transfer the simple syrup to your preferred storage container, and allow it to cool completely in the fridge. Once it’s cooled, you can transfer it to the freezer for longer-term storage.
❄️ Room Temperature-Method of Making Simple Syrup
This method of making simple syrup involves dissolving equal parts of sugar and water in a container at room temperature. It takes a little longer but yields similar results.
Step 1: Measure out one cup of water into a measuring glass. Room-temperature water or warm water works faster than cold water.
Step 2: Add 1 cup of sugar to the 1 cup of water in the mixing glass.
Step 3: Stir the mixture well. The sugar will not completely dissolve during the first stirring.
Step 4: Allow the sugar to settle. Then, give the mixture another stirring after 5 - 10 minutes.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3 - 4 until the sugar is completely dissolved. This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on the temperature of your home.
A cooler home will take longer for the sugar to dissolve. If you are adding acid (lemon juice) or alcohol to your mixture, do so now.
Step 6: Once the sugar has dissolved, pour your syrup into your desired storage container and stash it in the freezer for longer-term storage.
Hint: If you want to make and store your syrup in the same container, simply combine equal parts water and sugar in a glass jar, bottle, or plastic container that can hold at least 16 ounces. Shake the mixture intermittently over 15-30 minutes until the sugar is dissolved, then store as instructed above.
🎛️ recipe variations for simple syrup
Simple syrup is the perfect canvas for flavors, and it’s super easy to customize to your liking. You can infuse fruits and other flavors into syrups and create seasonal flavors that will make any coffeehouse jealous. 😏 Some of my favorite flavors of simple syrup are:
- lemon - lemon simple syrup is a cocktail classic! It’s also great for making lemonade extra flavorful.
- strawberry - strawberry simple syrup is perfect for making homemade sodas like this strawberry Italian soda, or jazzing up coffee like in this iced strawberry latte.
- brown sugar - this is a coffee house classic for a reason, but it’s also great in lemonade, iced tea, and cocktails!
🧰 equipment needed
- small saucepan - for the heating method of making this syrup, you'll need to use a small saucepan. Opt for a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan like this 1.5-quart saucepan.
- kitchen scale - I use a kitchen scale in all of my recipes, because it’s an easy way to be more precise and it helps lessen clean up. You don’t need to dirty a bunch of measuring cups. Instead, you can pour your ingredients right into the cooking vessels on the scale.
Not to mention, a cup of sugar from a measuring cup can result in different weights depending on how you scoop it. This can cause slight variations in the resulting finished dish. Measuring ingredients with a kitchen scale is a great way to get the same results every time. I have and love this OXO kitchen scale.
- airtight storage container - you’ll need an airtight storage container like a glass bottle, glass jar, or BPA-free plastic container, or BPA-free plastic squeeze bottle to store your syrup in. Make sure to sterilize your bottles to maximize shelf life. If your dishwasher has a “sterilize” feature, that’s an easy way to ensure your containers are clean and sterile.
- measuring cups - I like using these glass measuring cups from Anchor Hocking when making simple syrups with the heat method or room temperature method at home.
- spoon or spatula - you'll need a spoon or spatula for stirring your syrup, no matter which method you choose to make it.
⚖️ weights of different sugars
When measuring by volume or scooping using a measuring cup, there really isn't much truth to "cup-for-cup" measuring. For instance, a cup of white sugar weighs less than a cup of brown sugar. It's always best to weigh your ingredients with a kitchen scale because it's much more precise. Here is a table of weights of sugars to reference!
storing in the fridge:
- The shelf life of your simple syrup can range from a couple weeks to about a month when stored in the fridge. When frozen, it can last up to 3 - 6 months.
- When it comes to convenience, nothing beats these OXO squeeze bottles. They are marked for easy measuring, and they are perfect for storing in the door of the fridge.
storing in the freezer:
- Once the syrup has cooled, you can place the container of simple syrup straight into the freezer for longer-term storage. You can quickly defrost a simple syrup by running it under warm water or setting it on the counter while you prepare your other ingredients.
- Store it in a freezer-safe airtight container, like glass storage bottles with stoppers, glass jars, BPA-free plastic squeeze bottles, or BPA-free plastic containers. This helps to keep the syrup from getting freezer burned or absorbing any flavors in the freezer. As I share above, I love using these OXO squeeze bottles with a freezer label on them. 🤓
- Alternatively, you can portion out simple syrup into an ice cube tray like this one for frozen cubes of syrup. This is not my favorite method. The syrup may not freeze solid. This is because of the high sugar content. Unless your freezer is extremely cold, you will need to scoop the cubes out using a small spoon. Be sure to cover the ice cube tray with an airtight lid so that your syrup cubes do not absorb any “off” tastes or smells in the freezer.
- Like a simple syrup, a rich syrup may not freeze solid because the sugar content is higher than the water content. Depending on the sugar-water ratio, the frozen mix will remain almost gel-like, in a semi-frozen consistency. Likewise, a simple syrup that has alcohol added to it will not freeze solid.
gifting simple syrups:
- Making a large batch of simple syrup is great during the holiday season, because it makes a wonderful gift for family and friends. It is also a fantastic hostess gift!
- I love to gift syrups in bottles like this set of swing-top glass bottles, and they’re great for taking photographs. 😘
🍭 How much simple syrup does 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water make?
Most people think that 1 cup of sugar + 1 cup of water makes 2 cups of simple syrup.
Actually, one cup of sugar and one cup of water actually make anywhere from 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups of simple syrup.
- This is because when sugar is dissolved in water, chemical changes happen that result in the volume decreasing to about ¾ of the overall weight.
- If you heat the syrup to make it, it will evaporate some of the water, resulting in less volume.
Yes! Freezing simple syrup is a great way to store it longer term so you can keep a batch on hand regularly!
Store your simple syrup in the freezer in glass bottles or BPA-free plastic squeeze bottles. I love using bottles with measurements on them, so I know how much I have left. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays, but keep in mind it may not freeze solid.
When stored properly, a bottle of simple syrup can last up to 6 months in the freezer. Be sure to check it for signs of spoilage, like cloudiness (when thawed) or spots of floating debris.
Most people think that 1 cup of sugar + 1 cup of water makes 2 cups of simple syrup. Actually, it makes 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups of simple syrup! This is because of the chemical changes that happen to sugar when it is heated and/or dissolved in water.
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Simple Syrup (Two Ways!)
- 1 1.5 quart non-reactive saucepan
- 1 storage bottle glass or BPA-free plastic
- 200 grams granulated sugar 1 cup
- 237 grams filtered water 1 cup
- Combine 200g of sugar and 237 g of water in a small 1.5-quart saucepan.
- Place the pan on the stovetop burner and heat it on medium heat.
- Stir occasionally using a non-reactive tool, like a silicone spatula. If you are adding lemon juice to the syrup, do so now.
- Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- Transfer the mix to a heat safe container, like a glass measuring cup, to make it easier to pour into your storage container. If you are confident in your pouring skills, you can skip this step!
- Transfer the simple syrup to your preferred storage container, and allow it to cool completely in the fridge. Once it’s cooled, you can transfer it to the freezer for longer-term storage.
Room Temperature Method
- Combine 200 g of sugar and 237 g of water in a mixing glass. Room temperature water works faster than cold water.
- Stir the mixture to combine the sugar and water.
- Allow the mix to settle for 5-10 minutes. The sugar will not completely dissolve during the first stirring.
- After 5 - 10 minutes, give the mixture another stirring.
- Repeat steps 3 - 4 until the sugar is completely dissolved. This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on the temperature of your home. A cooler home will take longer for the sugar to dissolve. If you are adding acid or alcohol to your mixture, do so now.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, pour your syrup into your desired storage container and stash it in the freezer for longer-term storage.
🧯food safety & other information
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!
- While you can allow this syrup to sit at room temperature, don’t leave it out for longer than 4 hours at a time. This helps to inhibit bacteria growth that can happen from the sugars in the syrup. Read more about the temperature danger zone here.
- Use sterilized containers whenever possible. You can sterilize your containers by boiling them briefly, running them through your dishwasher with the sterilize feature activated, or pouring boiling water into the containers.