How many calories are in simple sugar syrup?

Simple syrup, also known as bar syrup, is an ingredient commonly used in cocktails and other beverages. It’s a mixture of sugar and water that helps sweeten drinks in a convenient way. But how many calories are actually in simple syrup? Here are some key facts to know:

The main ingredients in simple syrup are granulated sugar and water. By itself, granulated white sugar contains approximately 4 calories per gram. The exact calorie count of simple syrup depends on the ratio of sugar to water used.

A common ratio for simple syrup is 1:1 – meaning equal parts sugar and water. With this ratio, 1 fluid ounce (30 ml) of simple syrup contains about 60 calories. That’s because there are about 15 grams of sugar in 1 fluid ounce of 1:1 simple syrup. So at 4 calories per gram, that equals 60 calories.

However, recipes can vary. A richer 2:1 ratio (twice as much sugar to water) results in simple syrup with more calories. At this sweeter ratio, 1 fluid ounce contains about 106 calories.

In summary, the calorie count of simple syrup ranges from 60 to over 100 calories per fluid ounce, depending on the exact amount of sugar used.

Nutritional Facts of Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is essentially just a mixture of sugar and water. So its nutritional value simply comes from the sugar content. Here is the nutritional breakdown for a standard 1:1 simple syrup per 1 fluid ounce (30 ml) serving:

  • Total Calories: 60
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Potassium: 1 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Sugars: 15 g
  • Protein: 0 g

As you can see, simple syrup is almost entirely carbohydrates and sugar, with no protein or fat. The main nutritional facts to note are the 15 grams of sugar and 60 calories per fluid ounce.

Sugar Content

The high sugar content is the main nutritional consideration with simple syrup. An ounce contains 15 grams of sugar – which is about 3-4 teaspoons worth.

This accounts for 27% of the recommended daily value for added sugars based on a 2000 calorie diet. While simple syrup can be used sparingly to sweeten drinks, consuming it in excess can contribute extra sugar and calories that most people should limit.


Simple syrup lacks other micronutrients that are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. For example, it does not provide any notable vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants.

So while the sweet taste may be appealing, simple syrup does not offer much nutritional value beyond its sugar and calorie content.

Calorie Comparison to Other Sweeteners

How does simple syrup compare calorie-wise to other common sweeteners? Here is a breakdown of the calories per teaspoon (4.2 grams) for various sweeteners:

Sweetener Calories per Teaspoon
White Sugar 16 calories
Brown Sugar 17 calories
Maple Syrup 17 calories
Honey 21 calories
Simple Syrup (1:1) 24 calories

As you can see, simple syrup is one of the more calorie-dense sweeteners on a per teaspoon basis, compared to sugar, maple syrup and honey. The only exception in the table above is a very rich 2:1 simple syrup, which would contain even more calories per teaspoon.

So while simple syrup may be convenient, it is one of the more concentrated sources of sugar and calories. Using just a teaspoon or two to lightly sweeten a drink is better than pouring in much more.

Tips for Reducing Calories in Simple Syrup

If you want to reduce the calorie count of simple syrup, there are a few options:

Use a Lower Sugar Ratio

The less sugar used compared to water, the fewer calories the syrup will have. A 1:2 ratio of sugar to water will cut the calorie count by about 1/3 compared to a 1:1 ratio.

Try a Sugar Substitute

Sugar substitutes like stevia or monk fruit extract can be used in place of some or all of the sugar in simple syrup. This would reduce the calories while still providing sweetness. Combining sugar and stevia allows cutting down the sugar amount.

Flavor with Extracts or Herbs

Boosting flavor with extracts like vanilla or almond allows you to use less sugar and achieve the same taste impact. Herbs like mint or rosemary can also enhance flavor.

Opt for Sugar-Free Mixers

When making cocktails or adding to drinks, use sugar-free mixers like diet soda or unsweetened tea. This avoids adding more sweetness on top of the simple syrup.

Effects on Blood Sugar

The high sugar content of simple syrup means it can spike blood sugar levels rapidly. While not a concern for most people, those with diabetes or prediabetes need to account for the carbohydrates and monitor their blood sugar response.

Some guidelines when consuming simple syrup:

  • Limit portion sizes to a teaspoon or two max
  • Pair with protein, fat or fiber to slow absorption
  • Avoid on an empty stomach
  • Spread out consumption over time instead of all at once

Checking blood sugar before and about an hour after consuming simple syrup can help understand your body’s response. Work with your healthcare provider if needing to better manage blood sugar levels.

Cost Comparison to White Sugar

Simple syrup comes at a higher price point compared to regular white sugar. Here is a cost comparison:

  • White sugar: Approximately 5 cents per ounce
  • Simple syrup: Approximately 15-25 cents per ounce

The convenience of being able to quickly pour and mix simple syrup versus measuring out granulated sugar does come at a higher price.

Making homemade simple syrup is one way to cut down on costs. DIY simple syrup only requires sugar and water heated together, for a fraction of the price of premade syrups.

Uses for Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is used in a variety of beverages and treats. Some of the most popular uses include:


Simple syrup is an essential ingredient in many cocktails. It sweetens boozy drinks like whiskey sours, old fashioneds, and negronis. The syrup incorporates cleanly into cold beverages without leaving undissolved sugar at the bottom of the glass.

Coffee and Tea

Simple syrup can add touch of sweetness to hot or iced coffee and tea drinks. The neutral flavor doesn’t impart other tastes like honey or maple syrup would.

Pancakes and Waffles

Drizzling simple syrup over pancakes, waffles or French toast provides a sweet topping alternative to sugary syrups like maple or chocolate.

Fruit Salads and Desserts

The liquid consistency of simple syrup makes it easy to mix into fruit salads as a sweetener. It also works in other desserts like yogurt, chia pudding, oatmeal and more.


Adding a dash of simple syrup can be an easy way to make fruit smoothies a bit sweeter without overpowering other flavors.

How to Make Simple Syrup

One of the easiest DIY projects in the kitchen is making your own simple syrup. Here is a quick step-by-step guide:


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan
  2. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until sugar fully dissolves
  3. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove from heat
  4. Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month

The basic 1:1 ratio makes an all-purpose simple syrup. For richer flavor, try a 2:1 ratio or add vanilla, spices, citrus zest, herbs, coffee, or other mix-ins. Now you can skip the store-bought syrup and enjoy homemade!

Common Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about simple syrup nutrition and calories:

Does simple syrup go bad?

Yes, simple syrup can go bad after 1-2 months stored in the refrigerator. Signs of spoilage include mold, fermentation bubbles, and off odors or flavors. For longest shelf life, keep refrigerated in a clean airtight container.

Is simple syrup keto-friendly?

No, simple syrup is not keto-friendly due to the high sugar content. Even a few teaspoons could exceed the low daily carb intake on a keto diet. Sugar-free simple syrup alternatives work better for keto.

Is simple syrup healthier than sugar?

No, simple syrup is not healthier than granulated sugar. It has the same nutritional profile – almost entirely carbohydrates/sugars without vitamins, minerals or fat. The only benefit is convenience of the liquid form.

Does simple syrup have carbs and sugar?

Yes, simple syrup is almost entirely carbohydrates and sugar. A 1:1 ratio syrup has 15 grams of carbs and sugar per 1 ounce serving. So it does not fit into low-carb or low-sugar diets.


Simple syrup is an easy way to add sweetness to beverages and recipes. Standard 1:1 simple syrup contains around 60 calories and 15 grams of sugar per ounce. While delicious in moderation, simple syrup is mostly empty calories and sugars with little nutritional benefit beyond sweet flavor. Monitoring portion sizes is important, especially for those watching their sugar intake or blood sugar levels. Make your own simple syrup at home for an affordable option. Use these tips to cut calories, but enjoy the convenience and versatility of simple syrup in your favorite drinks and desserts.

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