How to Make a Dessert Syrup


Syrups are common in the baker’s kitchen.  You can make your own pancake syrup or flavored syrups to put over desserts.  If you cook it longer, it becomes thicker, more like a sauce than a syrup.  (Syrups thicken as they cool so don’t over-cook them.)

The traditional dessert syrup is one part water to one part sugar by weight.  Thinner syrups, such as those used as glazes, are made with two parts water.  Of course these are less sweet.

This is our long time standard recipe.  It is a little more diluted than the standard 1:1 syrup since a cup of sugar weighs about eight ounces.  (A cup water weighs eight ounces.)

Notice that this recipe calls for cornstarch as thickener.  It’s not necessary.  You may cook the sugar syrup a little longer to thicken it.  The cornstarch makes for a very quick syrup.

How to Make Fruit Syrup

This is a simple sugar syrup to which fruit is added.  The recipe can be doubled.

1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 cup individually frozen berries or other fruit

Optional: 1/4 cup corn syrup such as Caro

  1. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a heavy saucepan.  Add the water. Add the optional corn syrup
  2. Cook the syrup until it bubbles and thickens washing down the sides of the pan with water and a pastry brush to sugar crystals. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in the fruit.

Serve the syrup with fruit whole or in chunks or press the fruit through a strainer to make a smooth syrup.


  • The cornstarch tends to make the syrup cloudy. If you want a clear syrup, omit the cornstarch.
  • The corn syrup helps retard crystallization.
  • An alternative way to eliminate sugar crystals is to cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and boil for a couple minutes. The steam in the pan will condense and run the sides thereby removing the crystals.


Instead of fruit, add a flavor or an extract enhanced by a food color if desired.