vanilla syrup

What Is Vanilla Syrup? A Versatile Ingredient for Kitchen

In summary: Vanilla syrup is a sweet liquid made from a mixture of water, sugar, and vanilla extract or vanilla beans. Vanilla syrup is commonly used in beverages like coffee, tea, and cocktails, as well as for glazing pastries, dressing salads, and drizzling over pancakes and waffles.

Ever crave that sweet vanilla latte or iced coffee from your favorite cafe? You can make your own delicious version at a fraction of the cost by using vanilla syrup. The syrup can be bought pre-made or made at home.

Once you have your syrup, it’s not only great for those heart-warming tummy-hugging lattes but can be used in a variety of other tasty ways including cocktails, pastry glazes, cake toppings, and fruit salad.

Here you’ll find out exactly what this delicious sweetener is and how to make it yourself.

What Is Vanilla Syrup?

Simple syrup is a liquified version of sugar with the same sweetness as granulated sugar. Vanilla syrup is a 3-ingredient mix of water, sugar, and vanilla. It is basically a simple syrup that has been flavored with vanilla extract or vanilla beans.

As opposed to adding granulated sugar to a drink and ending off your last sip with a mouthful of undissolved gritty sweetness, using a sugar syrup allows the liquids and flavors to blend evenly throughout.

This makes it ideal for cold drinks such as lemonades and cocktails as well as flavored coffee and tea. It is not only great for adding sweetness and rich flavor to coffees and teas but can also be used in a variety of other ways.

How To Use Vanilla Syrup


The syrup can be brushed over pastries or used to add moisture to layer cakes by brushing it over the surface after baking and letting it lightly soak in.


Simple syrup can work in vinaigrettes that require some sweetness, especially if you do not want the strong flavor of honey or maple, but a more neutral sweetening agent.

Fruit Salad

Fruit salads, especially when filling a pavlova or topping plain pastries, are lovely with a hint of vanilla sweetness. Drizzle a few drops of over the fruit, mix to coat and then fill or top the pastry. This works especially well with a mix of slightly tart fruits to avoid being overly sweet.


Cocktail recipes usually require simple syrup or flavored syrup. Your cocktail recipe will indicate the quantity. Vanilla flavored syrup works especially well with gin, rum, and vodka.

Pancakes and Waffles

A little drizzle over your waffles or pancakes adds a delicious hint of sweetness and spice.

Benefits of Using Vanilla Syrup

  • The liquid sweetener incorporates evenly and smoothly into cold and hot beverages, cocktails, and dressings without leaving undissolved grittiness at the bottom.
  • The sugar syrup offers a neutral sweet flavor in liquid form as opposed to stronger flavored sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey.
  • It is easy to make with only three ingredients.
  • Vanilla syrup adds both sweetness and flavor in one go and is versatile, pairing well with a variety of drinks from coffee and tea to smoothies, milkshakes, and hot cocoa.

See more: best vanilla syrup for coffee

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Syrup

Step 1: Measure and Heat

Mix equal parts of water and sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium on the stovetop. One cup of water and one cup sugar will yield around one cup of vanilla syrup.

Step 2: Dissolve

Do not let the mixture boil but stir continuously until all the sugar has completely dissolved into a clear, smooth liquid. Lightly brush the inside of the saucepan with water to prevent sugar crystals from forming if needed.

Step 3: Add Flavor

Stir in 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Alternatively, you can use a vanilla bean, slicing the pod lengthwise and scraping the seeds into the sugar mixture.

Add the entire pod into the syrup as well to extract additional flavor. Let the sugar mixture heat through for another minute before removing it from the heat.

Step 4: Cool and Store

Let the syrup cool completely and remove the vanilla pod. It is best to use a sterilized glass bottle for storing the syrup to prevent mold and crystallization. Store the vanilla syrup in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Tip: For a sugar-free version use a replacement such as xylitol or a stevia product instead of granulated sugar.

See more: Replacement for vanilla extract


Are vanilla syrup and vanilla extract the same?

No, vanilla syrup is a very sweet sugar syrup with a light vanilla taste while the extract is a more intense, somewhat bitter solution produced by steeping vanilla pods in ethyl alcohol.

What can you use as a vanilla syrup substitute?

If you do not have the syrup the best alternative to get the same flavor would be a smaller amount of vanilla extract. This can work well in coffee. To get the same consistency and sweetness, maple syrup can be used as a substitute in equal amounts.

What is in the vanilla syrup at Starbucks?

The Starbucks version includes preservatives to extend the shelf-life beyond that of homemade syrup. Their product’s ingredients include sugar, water, vanilla flavoring, as well as potassium sorbate, and citric acid as preservatives.


Vanilla syrup is a great flavored sweetener to add to coffee, tea, cocoa, milk, and to use with desserts and baked treats. Artificial vanilla essence can give off a slightly chemical taste, although it is much more cost-effective to use than real vanilla beans.

If you can splash out on the real thing to make your own syrup, you will end up with a superior tasting product. However, if your budget doesn’t allow it, make sure to add the vanilla essence only towards the end of the cooking time since it does evaporate quickly when heated.

Regardless of the version you make, a few teaspoons of vanilla syrup can transform any drink, dessert, or even waffles from pleasant to scrumptious.

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*image by igorr1/depositphotos

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