How to make concentrated fruit syrup?

What is concentrated fruit syrup?

Concentrated fruit syrup is a thick, sweet syrup made by cooking fruit with sugar and water to reduce the liquid content, resulting in a concentrated, intensely flavored syrup. The high sugar content allows the syrup to be shelf stable for extended periods. Fruit syrups are versatile ingredients used to sweeten drinks, flavor desserts, top waffles or pancakes, or use in cocktails.

Why make your own concentrated fruit syrup?

Making your own concentrated fruit syrup allows you to control the ingredients. Store-bought syrups often contain preservatives, artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup. Homemade allows you to use natural sugar and real fruit for a fresher, purer flavor. You can also customize the syrup to your preferred sweetness level and use your favorite fruits or combinations, like mixed berry or tropical fruit blends. It makes an easy homemade gift too!

What fruits work best?

Most fruits can be used to make syrups, including:

  • Berries – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries
  • Stone fruits – cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums
  • Tropical fruits – mangos, pineapples, passionfruit, guava
  • Citrus fruits – oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
  • Pomes – apples, pears
  • Melons – watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe

Fruits with a high water content like melons may require longer cooking times to concentrate the syrup. Fruits with tough skins like pineapples need to be peeled and cored first.

Equipment needed

Making concentrated syrup only requires some basic kitchen equipment:

  • Saucepan – A medium to large saucepan with thick, high sides works best to allow for rapid boiling and syrup reduction. Stainless steel or enameled cast iron work well.
  • Fine mesh strainer – Used to strain out fruit solids and seeds after cooking.
  • Funnel (optional) – Makes transferring strained syrup into jars easier.
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Jars or bottles – For storing the finished syrup. Mason jars or glass bottles with tight sealing lids are ideal.
  • Immersion blender (optional) – Allows you to blend cooked fruit into a smooth puree consistency if desired.


The basic ingredients needed are:

  • Fruit – Fresh or frozen. Amount will vary based on batch size.
  • Granulated sugar – White sugar or organic cane sugar. 1 cup per 2 cups of fruit is a good ratio.
  • Water – 1/4 to 1/2 cup per 2 cups of fruit. The less water added, the faster it cooks down.
  • Lemon juice (optional) – 1-2 tsp per batch helps balance sweetness.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these simple steps for making concentrated fruit syrup:

1. Prepare the fruit

Wash, peel, core or seed fruits as needed. Berries and grapes can be left whole. Dice larger fruits like peaches into 1/2 inch cubes. This allows fruits to break down faster as they cook.

2. Combine ingredients in a saucepan

Add prepared fruit, sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Use a 1:2 fruit to sugar ratio and 1/4 to 1/2 cup water per 2 cups of fruit as a general guideline. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat

Place pan over high heat and bring to a rapid boil, stirring frequently. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a steady simmer.

4. Cook until thickened

Simmer for 20-60 minutes until reduced by half or more, and a syrupy consistency is reached. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom. Fruit is ready when tender and easily mashed.

5. Puree or strain syrup

For smooth syrup, use an immersion blender to puree directly in the pan. For strained syrup with fruit pieces, pour through a mesh strainer to remove solids. Press solids to extract all liquid.

6. Pour into sterilized jars

Pour hot syrup into sterilized jars or bottles, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims clean and seal lids. Let cool completely before storing. Refrigerate up to 3 months or freeze for longer storage.

7. Use as topping or mix into drinks & recipes

Once cool, the syrup is ready to use. Drizzle over waffles, pancakes or ice cream. Mix into lemonade, cocktails or seltzer for a fruity twist. Use in fruit glazes, desserts and more.

Tips for the Best Results

  • Use very ripe fruit for the most flavor and sweetness.
  • Cut large fruits into smaller pieces so they cook faster.
  • Add lemon juice to brighten flavor and balance sweetness.
  • Simmer uncovered so moisture can evaporate.
  • Use exact measure of sugar called for so syrup sets up properly.
  • A pinch of salt enhances overall flavor.
  • Let syrup cool completely before sealing jars for storage.
  • For longer shelf life, sterilize jars in boiling water for 10 minutes prior to use.


  • Refrigerate for 2 to 3 months.
  • May be frozen for up to 1 year.
  • For shelf stable canning, process sealed jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
  • Always refrigerate after opening.


Syrup is too thin

If your syrup is thin like juice rather than thick like honey, it typically means it needed longer cooking time. Be sure to cook until reduced by half or more to reach the proper syrup consistency. It also helps to use less water in the initial mixture. Try starting with just 1/4 cup water per 2 cups fruit.

Syrup crystallized

Sugar crystallization happens if a syrup is overcooked or cooled too quickly. To avoid, be careful not to over boil, and prevent rapid cooling by letting syrup sit off heat for 5-10 minutes before canning. If crystallization does occur, reheat syrup over low heat, adding a splash of water as needed to dissolve the crystals.

Fruit floats to the top

As a syrup cooks down, some fruits tend to float up. This is normal with berries and cherries. Gently stir syrup and mash fruits against the side of the pan periodically to keep them immersed in the liquid as it reduces. The fruit will break down more as the syrup cooks longer.

Burnt syrup

To prevent scorching, be sure to stir the syrup frequently as it simmers. Keep heat at a low boil, just high enough to maintain a steady bubbling. If syrup does burn slightly, straining will remove any charred bits.



Regular granulated sugar can be replaced with:

  • Organic cane sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Maple sugar
  • Honey – use 25% less as honey is sweeter than sugar


For deeper fruit flavor, try substituting water with:

  • Fruit juice
  • Coconut water
  • Herbal tea


Adapt syrup to use your favorite or in-season fruits like:

  • Berries – any type
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Apricots
  • Nectarines
  • Mangos
  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Melons

Flavored Syrup Variations

Plain fruit syrups are wonderful, but you can also add complementary flavors for your own signature creations:

Berry Lavender Syrup

Add 2 tsp dried lavender buds or 2 tbsp fresh lavender flowers when cooking berries. Strain out buds before canning.

Spiced Plum Syrup

Add 1 tsp each ground cinnamon, allspice and ginger when cooking plums.

Vanilla Peach Syrup

Add 2 split vanilla beans to peaches while simmering. Remove beans before canning.

Chai Pear Syrup

Steep 2 black tea bags and spices (2 tsp each cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger) in water before adding pears. Discard tea bags and spices before canning.

Piña Colada Syrup

Puree cooked pineapple with 1/2 cup coconut milk and 2 tbsp rum extract before canning.

Recipe Ideas

Fruit syrup is extremely versatile in both sweet and savory uses. Here are just a few ways to use your homemade creations:


Mix into:

  • Lemonade, iced tea
  • Seltzer water for an Italian soda
  • Cocktails – sweetener & flavoring
  • Smoothies
  • Milkshakes


Top on:

  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • French toast
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal


Use in and on:

  • Puddings
  • Cakes
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Fruit desserts
  • Ice cream
  • Cheesecake

Savory Pairings

Brush on:

  • Meat for grilling
  • Salmon and fish fillets
  • Chicken wings

Whisk into:

  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces and glazes


The nutrition of fruit syrup depends on the type and amount of fruit and sugar used. In general:

  • High in natural sugars like glucose and fructose.
  • Low in fat and protein since fruit and sugar are the main ingredients.
  • Provides vitamins and antioxidants from the fruit.
  • Berry syrups tend to be higher in fiber compared to stone fruit or citrus syrups.
  • 1 tablespoon contains approximately:
    • Calories: 60
    • Carbs: 15g
    • Sugar: 12g

Enjoy fruit syrups in moderation as part of a balanced diet. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men.


Making your own concentrated fruit syrup at home is simple and rewarding. Use ripe, seasonal fruit and your preferred sweeteners to create a custom flavored syrup. Bottle it to enjoy for months or gift to others. Syrups make easy and versatile toppings, mix-ins and ingredients in both sweet and savory recipes. Experiment with different fruit combinations and add-ins to find your favorite flavors.

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