How to Make Simple Syrup

If you’ve ever wondered how to make simple syrup, here is an easy tutorial! Simple Syrup keeps cakes moist through the decorating process…and can add flavor, too!

Table of Contents
  1. What is simple syrup?
  2. Simple Syrup Ratio
  3. How to Make Simple Syrup
  4. Can I flavor the syrup?
  5. How long can I keep simple syrup?
  6. Do I need to refrigerate simple syrup?
  7. Simple Syrup for Cakes
  8. How much simple syrup to I use for cake?
  9. Do I have to wait before I decorate the cake?
  10. How to Make Simple Syrup Recipe Recipe

Simple sugar syrup is called what it is for one reason. It’s simple. And today we’re talking all about how to make simple syrup!

simple syrup sugar water ratio

What is simple syrup?

Simple syrup is a water & sugar combination, cooked together into a syrup. It is often used in cocktails, or iced beverages such as lemonade or iced coffee. But it is also delicious used on layer cakes to add moisture.

Simple syrup is also popular for fruitcakes since they tend to be on the drier side.

Simple Syrup Ratio

The trick is this. No matter what size batch of syrup you want to make, always use a 1:1 liquid to sugar ratio. However much water you put into the saucepan, that is how much sugar you’ll use too. So you can use as little as ½ cup of each….or on up from there! I generally use 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar.

How to Make Simple Syrup

Remember…use equal amounts of water and granulated white sugar. Simply heat the water to a low boil in a small saucepan on the stovetop, then add the sugar. Whisk the sugar into the water until all of the sugar is dissolved. This won’t take long…ours took about 5 minutes from heating to when the sugar was completely dissolved.

how to make simple syrup sugar water

Can I flavor the syrup?

Yes! We don’t usually flavor our syrup so we can use it for any type of cake or as an all purpose glaze. But you can add your favorite extract if you’d like. Think mint, vanilla, coffee, butter, almond…you name it, it would work!

How long can I keep simple syrup?

The way we make simple syrup as described in this recipe, it will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 month. The general rule is to only make an amount that you will use in a reasonable amount of time, such as within a month. That will keep you from having to constantly make it, but also keep it as fresh as possible.

Do I need to refrigerate simple syrup?

Yes, you should refrigerate simple syrup. I’m not a scientist or a food safety expert, so I’ll not try to go into details. Syrup would be ok at room temperature for a day or two, but unless you have a small amount that you will be using up quickly, store it in the fridge.

simple syrup sprinkle bottle

Simple Syrup for Cakes

What does simple syrup do for cakes? In short, it keeps cake moist. Most often, pastry chefs who do intricate designs use simple syrup to keep cakes moist during all steps of the decorating process because it can sometimes take days to build a cake. Simple syrup can be used for homemade cakes which can sometimes seem drier and denser than box mix cakes.

You can use a sprinkle bottle or a pastry brush to apply the simple syrup to the cake or cupcakes.

How much simple syrup to I use for cake?

This is a hard question to answer with much preciseness, but in short I’d say a few tablespoons, depending on the size of the cake. You don’t want to soak the cake so that it is soggy, but most cakes can handle a generous sprinkling of syrup.

Do I have to wait before I decorate the cake?

Yes, after you sprinkle the cake with syrup, allow it to totally soak into the cake before you start adding buttercream or fondant. You want to be sure the frosting sticks!

simple syrup recipe

You’ll LOVE this syrup sprinkler bottle that we use here. Buy it on Amazon!

easy simple syrup for cakes
easy simple syrup for cakes

How to Make Simple Syrup Recipe

4.67 from 51 votes
If you’ve ever wondered how to make simple syrup, here is an easy tutorial! Simple Syrup keeps cakes moist through the decorating process.
Servings 8
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes


  • 1 cup water 8 ounces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
  • Your favorite flavor extract (optional)


  • Heat the water in a small pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sugar and bring the water to a low boil. 
  • Stir and cook until all of the sugar granules are dissolved into the water.
  • Allow the syrup to cool. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or another extract if you desire.
  • Store in a sprinkle bottle or airtight container in the refrigerator. This will make about 2 cups of syrup.



The flavor possibilities are endless! Choose anything from mint to rum to lemon.
The calories shown are based on ¼ cup of simple syrup. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.


Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 24g
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 96
Keyword sugar, syrup

Try this on our favorite chocolate cake recipe.

About Julie Clark

We are Julie, Maddie, and Kinslee – a mother and daughter team sharing with you the best cakes to satisfy any need or sweet craving that you may have. Welcome to our family’s kitchen!

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5 stars
Suggestion…I find making simple syrup, using Corn Syrup instead of sugar, works really well, and it’s sticky so it makes it very easy for the frosting to stick.

5 stars
When using 1/2 cup of sugar and water, how much extract should you add?

If we’re adding an extract do we put it in with the water or sugar or after the pot is off the stove? Please answer asap. I need to make this for tomorrow by noon. Thanks!

If I plan on freezing my cakes for a couple of weeks, do I put the simple syrup on before I freeze or after when I’m actually ready to decorate? Thank you!

Hi can I apply the simple syrup and wrap it with plastic wrap then put in the fridge overnight

Please won’t sugar syrup make cake to spoil within a week

Can I use Splenda instead of regular sugar?

5 stars
Hi, I made lemon syrup and I was wondering if it’s supposed to be thick ? Or is it intended to be watery?

Making three separate cakes for wedding I’m in the wedding so need to know how soon to decorate and display cakes. Ceremony at 4:00 Reception at six

I made a Pound Cake. How many sprinkles do I put on my cake.

My cake is never moist how much for what kind of cake?

If adding simple syrup to a cake,does it make it too sweet , as already added sugar when making it ?

Hi.. I will be baking a chocolate marble pound cake with ganache for filling . Can I still use this simple syrup for layering

Please when is it best to add syrup to cake?
Is it immediately after baking or when it is cool?

Where can I get the bottle shown for sprinkling?

The recipe says video, but where is the link?

Hi must I let the syrup cool before pouring on the cake or I use it still hot