Already have an account?
Get back to the
Food & Recipes

Brown Sugar Syrup: How To Transform Hardened Brown Sugar Into ‘Liquid Gold’

It's easy, delicious and inexpensive — and can be used for treats like candy bacon (recipe included)

Brown sugar is a sweet treat superhero: It infuses cookies, cinnamon rolls and candied yams with notes of molasses and caramel. Yet, it feels like just a matter of time before your soft, sand-like brown sugar turns rock solid. Instead of struggling to soften it, we like to use the hardened brown sugar to make a thick syrup to keep at the ready when desserts or drinks need a touch of sweetness. Need another reason to whip up this DIY syrup? Well, you’ll get more bang for your buck as you can now use the entire bag or box of brown sugar. Keep reading to learn how to make brown sugar syrup and five ways it works wonders for sweetening your favorite food and drinks.

What is brown sugar syrup?

Making this syrup at home is super simple as it involves simmering light or dark brown sugar and water in a pan until it forms a syrupy consistency. Afterwards, the syrup is cooled and placed in an air container for later use.

The difference between brown sugar syrup and simple syrup

What separates brown sugar syrup from simple syrup is the type of sugar used as well as the amount. Standard simple syrup is made by simmering equal parts of granulated sugar and water. This produces a clear, thin syrup with a neutral sugary taste. In contrast, brown sugar syrup contains double the amount of brown sugar to water, resulting in a thicker, caramel-flavored liquid that looks and pours like maple syrup.

Brown sugar syrup boasts a sweeter flavor due to the greater proportion used, making it a surefire ingredient for satisfying sugar cravings. Homemade brown sugar syrup can be prepared in about 20 minutes, plus you can easily upgrade it by incorporating other flavors for the ultimate indulgence.

How to make brown sugar syrup 

Kim Benson, blogger at Insanely Good Recipes, has the perfect Brown Sugar Syrup recipe that turns hardened sugar into liquid gold. Although sugar and water are the core ingredients, she includes butter and/or vanilla extract as optional ingredients for a richer-tasting syrup.

Want to pump up the flavor even more as the syrup cooks? Benson says to “add a couple of cinnamon sticks, some star anise, fresh ginger, vanilla beans or even bourbon if you like.” Ultimately, this syrup is a blank canvas for your taste buds to get creative and help you make a tasty sweetener!

Brown Sugar Syrup

A spoon being dipped into brown sugar syrup
Rimma_Bondarenko/Getty Images


  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup water 
  • ¼ cup salted or unsalted butter, optional 
  • ⅛ tsp. vanilla extract, optional


  • Active: 15 mins
  • Total time: 15 mins + cooling time
  • Yield: approximately 1 cup
  1. Add the sugar to tall, heavy-bottomed pot. Carefully pour water around edges and stir gently. Turn heat to medium and bring mixture to light simmer. 
  2. When sugar is dissolved, add butter (if using) and stir until it’s all melted. Reduce heat to low and let mix simmer until it resembles syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add vanilla right at end, then pour syrup into heatproof container. 
  3. Let syrup cool completely uncovered. Pour into airtight container like mason jar or squeeze bottle and store in fridge for up to 1 month.

    Note: This syrup will thicken more as it sits in the fridge. While it’ll still be pourable, for a thinner syrup you can heat your desired amount in a pan on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. 

5 ways to use this homemade syrup 

The uses for this syrup are endless as it can be added to many sweet treats and drinks. Below are five ways to infuse your everyday foods with the sugary goodness of brown sugar syrup”

1. Stir it in hot or cold drinks.

This syrup is perfect for stirring into your daily java and tea drinks as it dissolves much easier than actual brown sugar. Start with 1 Tbs. of syrup per cup of your drink, taste and adjust based on your preference.

2. Drizzle it over pancakes, waffles or desserts.

You can use this syrup like maple syrup by pouring it over breakfast items like pancakes and waffles. Also, it’s tasty when drizzled over desserts such as a vanilla sponge cake or apple crumble.

3. Mix it into the batter of baked goods.

This syrup also comes in handy for providing a sweet, toffee flavor to homemade cakes or muffins and pies. Try replacing the full amount of brown sugar listed in the recipe with this syrup, especially if the steps don’t involve beating together butter and sugar to form the batter.

4. Blend it in cocktails or mocktails.

When making classic drinks such as an Old Fashioned or mulled wine, use this syrup instead of sugar for a more intense sweet flavor. Just swap the usual amount of brown sugar with the syrup — and cheers to a delicious drink!

5. Use it to candy bacon.

For a twist breakfast staple, use the syrup to make candied bacon. Simply brush each bacon slice with 1 tsp. of syrup (per side) and bake or cook in a skillet as you normally would. Then, enjoy this candied bacon in all of its sweet and salty glory!

To discover more pantry must-haves, check out the stories below:

This Extra-Creamy, Extra-Easy Caramel Sauce Takes Your Cakes From Good To Great

Chef’s Secret For Swapping In Light Cream for Heavy Cream in Your Favorite Recipes — Without Sacrificing Creaminess

Bacon Jam Is the Latest Tasty Spread to Try — Here’s How to Make It

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.