Homemade Vanilla Syrup

published Oct 22, 2021
Vanilla Syrup Recipe

This sweet syrup is proof that homemade coffee sweeteners are always best.

Makesabout 2 cups

Prep2 minutes

Cook5 minutes

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A glass cup with coffee and cream barely mixed together so it appears marbleized, as vanilla syrup is being poured
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

The quickest way to upgrade your beverage game at home is to make a bottle of thick, rich vanilla syrup. With just three ingredients and some water, you’ll have the perfect flavoring for all your lattes, iced coffees, sodas, and cocktails. 

For the best and most luxurious flavor, spring for a real vanilla bean. Yes, it’s a splurge but split over the dozen or more drinks you can sweeten with just one, the math works itself out. For a more floral, birthday-cake taste, choose the Tahitian variety; for a smoky, woodsy vibe, pick Bourbon. A good vanilla bean will be plump and moist with gooey insides. 

Grinding the entire vanilla bean is a good way to minimize waste of a pricey product. Make sure to press down hard on the solids in the strainer so you get every last drop! 

What’s the Difference Between Vanilla Syrup and Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla syrup is a mixture of sugar, water, and vanilla. Pure vanilla extract is made by soaking and heating ground vanilla beans with water and alcohol where the flavor compounds from the vanilla bean diffuse into the alcohol. 

What to Use Vanilla Syrup with

Vanilla syrup is a must for coffee fans, but it’s also good in the following:

  • Smoothies and shakes: Just add a few drops while you blend.
  • Cocktails like margaritas and speciality martinis.
  • Fresh lemon or limeade: Stir some syrup in a tall glass with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and top with cold sparkling water for a refreshing drink. 
  • Iced teas.
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

How to Use Vanilla Syrup in Coffee

If you love to drink cold brew or iced coffee, vanilla syrup is a boon. Granulated sugar dissolves fairly easily in hot coffee, but cooler numbers deserve a syrup. Since the sugar is already dissolved in the concentrated syrup, it distributes evenly and sweetens the drink more quickly and with minimal stirring. Add to your morning cup until it’s sweetened to your liking.

How to Store Vanilla Syrup

Store your homemade vanilla syrup in a pretty (but airtight!) bottle in the fridge. Since none of the ingredients in vanilla syrup are particularly perishable, it will keep for a long time — up to one month.

Vanilla Syrup Recipe

This sweet syrup is proof that homemade coffee sweeteners are always best.

Prep time 2 minutes

Cook time 5 minutes

Makes about 2 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/4 cups


  • 1

    vanilla bean, preferably Tahitian or Madagascar Bourbon

  • 2 cups

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  1. Place 1 1/4 cups water and 1 vanilla bean in a blender and blend until the vanilla bean is pulverized, about 45 seconds. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan and press down on the solids to extract every last drop.

  2. Add 2 cups granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a clean bottle or jar and let cool completely before covering and refrigerating.

Recipe Notes

General tips: You can store the syrup with a whole vanilla bean split in half for an even stronger taste. Use the vanilla bean to make your next batch of syrup.

Using vanilla bean paste: Use 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste in place of the vanilla bean. There is no need to blend the paste with water. Simply combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved.

Storage: The vanilla syrup will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 4 weeks. If the syrup crystallizes, heat with 1 to 2 tablespoons water until fully dissolved.