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This simple brown sugar syrup comes together in 5 minutes and has a deep caramel flavor! It’s great for coffee drinks or pancakes.

Brown sugar syrup
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Here’s a next level secret for all your coffee drinks: Brown Sugar Syrup! Sure, you can sweeten your lattes and iced espresso with classic simple syrup. But this unique syrup adds even more flavor: its deep caramel flavor is intensely cozy, with notes of toffee and vanilla. It’s truly transforming! This Starbucks special takes only 5 minutes to mix up at home. Use it for so many other things: pancakes, waffles, oatmeal: you name it!

How to make brown sugar syrup

Brown sugar syrup is a variation on simple syrup: it’s a liquid sweetener made with equal parts brown sugar and water. Because of the molasses content, brown sugar syrup has a deep flavor with notes of caramel and toffee. It’s become popular for its use in Starbucks drinks, but it’s very easy to make at home. All you need is brown sugar! Here’s what to do:

  • Combine sugar and water: Place ½ cup each brown sugar and water in a small saucepan on the stove.
  • Heat until dissolved: Heat over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until fully dissolved. Do not simmer!

And that’s it! It comes together in no time. Dip your spoon in for a taste, and you’ll be amazed by the nuance in flavor.

Brown sugar simple syrup

Storing homemade brown sugar syrup

Store homemade syrup for up 1 month refrigerated. Best for storage is a glass bottle for easy pouring, or a glass mason jar. The flavor stays pretty constant over time, and it may last for even longer.

Ways to use brown sugar syrup in drinks

This brown sugar syrup is endlessly versatile, from Starbucks drinks to breakfast! We created it especially for our new Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Espresso (which we highly recommend). But there are so many ways to add delicious cozy nuance to drinks…and pancakes! Here are some coffee and tea drink ideas, then we’ll move on to breakfast:

Iced brown sugar oat milk espresso

Or, use it on pancakes and waffles!

Brown sugar simple syrup works as a substitute for maple syrup! Maple syrup can be expensive, so this easy affordable option works like a charm. In fact, it tastes almost as good as the real thing! Here are some ideas for using this maple syrup substitute:

More homemade syrup recipes

It’s so easy to make simple syrups at home! Here are more ideas for coffee drinks, cocktails, and breakfasts:

This brown sugar syrup recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Brown sugar syrup

Brown Sugar Syrup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: ¾ cup 1x
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This brown sugar syrup comes together in 5 minutes and has a deep caramel flavor! It’s great for coffee drinks or pancakes.


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water


  1. Add the brown sugar and water to saucepan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Stir until the sugar is dissolved (don’t simmer) for 1 to 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature before using. Stores in the refrigerator for 1 month.
  • Category: Syrup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Coffee
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Used a 10-1 ratio

  2. Josh says:

    Notice for anyone that grew up with real maple syrup, this is good but pretty weak. If you’re used to going to Starbucks and having aunt jemimahs syrup then five stars, for others make sure to use dark brown sugar and do 1.5 to 1 ratio sugar to water.

  3. Tom Smith says:

    Brown sugar syrup should not be stored in the fridge, it will recrystalize faster. Also, using equal parts water and burn sugar will yield a very watery, runny syrup. I usually put a cup or so brn sugar in a saucepan with just enough water to make the sugar fall flat in the pan. Simmer until dissolved. Only make small batches as it will recrystalize eventually Store in a cupboard.

  4. Yuri Swierk says:

    How do you get it to thicken up?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      This version stays relatively thin. You can simmer it for a few more minutes if you prefer a thicker texture.

    2. Anabel says:

      What type of brown sugar? Dark brown? Light Brown? Golden Brown?

      1. Sonja Overhiser says:

        You can use any type of brown sugar here!

  5. Shannon says:

    Are you supposed to bring to a boil? Or just warm it up?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      No need to simmer or boil!

  6. Brandy Lewis says:

    You specifically mentioned not to simmer, why? Does it do something bad like burn or separate?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      If you want a thicker sauce you could lightly simmer, but don’t bring to heavy simmer which will change the flavor!

    2. Kathryn says:

      I am a biologist (specifically biochemist). Simmering will cause thebwater to evaporate, which will cause the sugar molecules to change structure and depending on how hot it got, when cooled will harden like candy or even worse, and more likely, be gritty as individual sugar molecules combines into candy crystals inside your syrup. Heating sugar produces candy, and you don’t want candy.

  7. Sana E. says:

    Can you leave it outside? Kind of like coffee shops?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I’m not certain, sorry!

    2. Kathryn says:

      I am a biologist. Yes you can leave it in the counter (that’s what I’m assuming you meant by “outside.”) However, it will not last as long, bc it has no preservatives. You can buy food grade preservatives (perfectly safe) online so I suggest you do that and add the preservative to your syrup. Then it can sit in the counter. Potassium sorbate is a good one. Follow instructions or Google how much to use

  8. Carilyn Shupe says:

    This is great. I tried it with my brown splenda, too, same ratios. It was great. Use it in tea to make tea lattes. Yum!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can I use this syrup in my pecan pie?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I’ve never made a pecan pie! I’m not sure.

  10. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!