The quintessential coffee house sweetener is easier to make at home than you think! Three easy pantry ingredients is all you need to create delicious homemade vanilla simple syrup.
This homemade vanilla syrup recipe couldn't be simpler to make! It's the best way to sweeten your coffee drinks at home, especially if you're a fan of cold brew coffee.
Homemade vanilla coffee syrup is a liquid sweetener making it ideal for cold beverages so you don't have to worry about grit in your drink from pure cane sugar.
Making your own vanilla syrup from simple ingredients easily found at the grocery store is quick and tastes better than Starbucks vanilla syrup or any other simple syrup you buy at the store.
And all we're doing is taking a basic simple syrup recipe and dressing it up with whole bean vanilla or quality vanilla extract!
Skip the drive to your favorite coffee shop and make this homemade syrup in your own kitchen!
Ingredients for Vanilla Syrup
- White sugar - Choose either cane sugar or beet sugar
- Vanilla extract or a whole vanilla bean - High quality vanilla is necessary in this recipe. Use a real vanilla bean or 100% pure vanilla extract.
How to Make Homemade Vanilla Simple Syrup
Bring water to a low boil in a small pot over medium heat. Add sugar.
Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add in vanilla extract or vanilla beans.
Let the mixture sit until it reaches room temperature. (This is especially important if you’re using a vanilla beans instead of extract.) Remove vanilla beans, if using, or leave it the syrup for a stronger flavor.
Pour your syrup into a glass, airtight container.
Store syrup in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Cool the syrup completely before using it in cold drinks. Using hot or even room temperature syrup in cold drinks will cause the ice cubes to melt more quickly resulting in a watery drink.
- Use only 100% vanilla extract made with real vanilla bean. (The expensive one, not the cheap extract made with artificial vanilla flavoring.) This makes a HUGE difference in the vanilla flavor in your syrup.
- Customize the sweetness level by adjusting the amount of sugar in your syrup. The standard ratio of sugar to water in simple syrup is 1:1. Make a sweeter rich syrup by increasing the sugar to a 2:1 ratio. Decrease the sweetness to create a light syrup level by using a 1:2 ratio of sugar to water.
How to Use Homemade Vanilla Syrup
- To sweeten your morning coffee - Either hot or cold!
- Add it to your favorite hot chocolate.
- Whisk 1 teaspoon of vanilla syrup into 1 tablespoon of heavy cream until the cream is frothy. Use it as homemade sweet cream foam on top of iced coffee.
- Drizzle 1-2 tablespoon of syrup over fresh fruit and chopped, fresh mint for a quick fruit salad.
- Add to a glass of Coca-Cola to make your own vanilla Coke at home.
- Make a French soda (pictured below) - Fill a tall glass with ice. Add in 2 oz vanilla syrup and 4 oz of club soda or sparkling water. Pour 1 tablespoon of heavy cream on top. Stir, sip and enjoy!
FAQs and Substitutions
If you’re used to seeing clear or light yellow vanilla syrups at coffee shops, the brown color of this syrup might surprise you. By using pure vanilla extract or vanilla beans, you’re creating a syrup with completely natural color in it, which isn’t always the case with the syrups found in coffee shops.
These are little flecks of flavor from the inside of the vanilla bean. As it steeps in the hot syrup, it’s very possible that your vanilla bean has released a few of the flecks from inside of it. (This will be especially true if you cut the vanilla bean in half before putting it into the syrup.)
Vanilla simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Discard it if the syrup becomes cloudy or you see any change in its color.
I highly recommend using an air-tight glass jar - like a pint mason jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Plastic containers can give off the flavors of whatever was stored in them last, which will impact the flavor of your syrup. Using glass avoids this.