A deliciously rich and easy homemade golden syrup recipe! This simple foolproof recipe is perfect when you’ve got a recipe that uses golden syrup but your cupboard’s empty or you can’t find it in the grocery store.
✏️ Why you'll love this recipe
I’ve always wanted to know how to make golden syrup from scratch. Turns out, it’s way easier than I’d thought! No thermometer needed!
Using only 4 ingredients (or less!) and a saucepan, you can make your own at home in under an hour without much effort.
You can also check out these great golden syrup substitutes instead!
Of course, it’s not possible to recreate the exact magic of Tate & Lyle’s golden syrup at home, but this is the best homemade version substitute.
It's rich and delicious, perfect when using it for baked goods. This golden syrup recipe is also super easy and you don’t have to do much – it’s really hands-off!
Make a batch of this syrup in a mason jar and give it as a gift for friends and family - especially around ANZAC day or Christmas, when loads of recipes use golden syrup!
This homemade golden syrup recipe is suitable for vegetarians and vegans, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and safe for those pregnant or breastfeeding.
This easy homemade golden syrup recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- White sugar: e.g. caster sugar
- Light brown sugar (optional)
- Lemon juice: fresh or bottled.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Top tip: For accuracy, it’s best to weigh your ingredients rather than using cups.
♻️ Substitutions / Variations
Using soft light brown sugar gives a delicious caramel molasses hint to your golden syrup, but you can swap this for white sugar to lessen the caramel flavour.
Alternatively, you can use dark brown sugar instead of light to increase the caramel flavour of your homemade golden syrup. Or swap more of the white sugar for light brown sugar.
Using fresh lemon juice adds a fresh and zesty lift to your syrup, but you can also use bottled lemon juice if you don’t have real lemons on hand.
I love the rich sweet flavor of this thick syrup, with just a hint of lemon.
However, you can alter the flavour for some fun and tasty syrup variations.
Add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon to your hot syrup when it’s finished cooking, in order to have a more festive flavor to your golden syrup.
You can also add ½ teaspoon of maple extract flavoring to your syrup if you’d like a homemade maple syrup version.
Steps 1 - 2: Stir water and the sugars together in a small saucepan, bringing it to a boil.
Step 3: Once boiling, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and stir in the lemon juice.
Step 4: Let the mixture simmer (gentle bubbling) without stirring for 30mins until you get a rich golden amber colour.
Step 5: Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for 10mins before pouring it into a sterile glass jar, leaving uncovered.
Step 6: Allow the syrup to cool completely (roughly 45mins) before screwing on the lid for storage.
🎥 Recipe video
Check out the recipe video below for how to make homemade golden syrup! You can also check out the golden syrup webstory!
💭 Top tips
- You’ll get more juice from your lemon if you roll it firmly against a hard surface before cutting and squeezing.
- Keep stirring your syrup as you melt the sugar, otherwise, it can burn on the bottom of your pan.
- But then do not stir your mixture after you add the lemon juice.
- Your syrup will thicken as it cools, but if it's too thin you can reheat the syrup, cooking it for longer to boil off more liquid.
- Sterilising your storage jars before use will allow your golden syrup to stay fresher for longer. See the FAQs below for instructions on how to sterilise jars.
❔ Recipe FAQs
Golden syrup is a thick liquid sugar that’s a rich amber colour.
Golden syrup, also called light treacle or golden treacle, is what’s known as an invert sugar. This is a mixture of glucose and fructose in liquid form. It’s stable during baking and will not crystallize.
It has a thick, treacle-like consistency at room temperature but has a more subtle flavour in comparison to treacle, honey and maple syrup. The colour is usually a deep golden amber.
Golden syrup is made in the process of refining sugar cane or sugar beets.
Your homemade golden syrup should last for up to 1 month stored in a sterilised airtight container at room temperature. Keep out of direct sunlight.
To sterilise jars, you can wash them with hot soapy water then place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 275F / 140C / 120C (fan) / Gas 1 for 10-15mins until dry.
Note that most lids have rubber seals, so remove these before you heat them. If they’re built-in, you can’t heat the lids along with the jars.
Alternatively, you can boil jars and lids in hot water in a large saucepan on the hob for 2-3mins.
Allow your jars to cool before use.
Yes, golden syrup is gluten-free.
Yes, this is a vegan golden syrup recipe (dairy-free and suitable for vegetarians).
🥞 Golden syrup uses
Golden syrup is a common ingredient in many delicious desserts, some of my favourites are in this collection of comforting golden syrup recipes.
You can make classic hot desserts like golden syrup dumplings, treacle sponge pudding, syrup cakes (like pineapple upside-down cake), suet pudding and more.
There are also pies and tarts like treacle tart, pecan pie and apple pie.
Golden syrup is used to make flapjack, biscuits and cookies like ANZAC cookies, shortbread and gingerbread.
It’s often used to make a favourite of mine – cornflake nest cakes! Though I’ve got a cornflake cake recipe without golden syrup too.
Homemade golden syrup is perfect for drizzling over porridge, hotcakes, pancakes and waffles for breakfast and brunch (or Pancake Day!).
It will take your ice cream to the next level too. Serve it at BBQs, garden parties and dinner parties for a twist on the usual ice cream treats.
For savoury dishes, you can also use golden syrup to sweeten things up. For example, adding it to sauces and marinades.
🧁 Other goodies
Looking for some other goodies to make?
If you love easy syrups, you can check out my article on the best homemade pancake syrups.
You can also take a look at these best ever golden syrup substitutions!
One of my favourite syrups is an apple syrup – super simple to make and so full of flavour!
Or for something a little more exotic, you can make yourself a delicious salted rum dulce de leche sauce – perfect for a boozy twist to toppings.
Other related recipes:
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- 175 ml (¾ cups) water
- 450 g (2 ¼ cups) white sugar caster or granulated
- 50 g (¼ cups) light brown soft sugar optional or more white sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice fresh or bottled
- Stir water and the sugars together in a small saucepan, bringing it to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and stir in the lemon juice.
- Let the mixture simmer (gentle bubbling) without stirring for 30mins until you get a rich golden amber colour.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for 10mins before pouring it into a sterile glass jar, leaving uncovered.
- Allow the syrup to cool completely (roughly 45mins) before screwing on the lid for storage.
- This recipe makes roughly 600g / 21oz of golden syrup.
- You can replace the light brown sugar with more white sugar of the same amount.
- You can store golden syrup at room temperature in an airtight sterile jar for up to 1 month.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.