Nov 18, 2008

Vanilla Syrup for Coffee

Mochas are fairly easy to mix up at home if you happen to have some chocolate or cocoa powder lying around that can be stirred into hot coffee. Drinks that are vanilla-based, although so popular at coffee shops, tend to be a little bit more elusive to the at-home barista – especially if you don’t want to buy the bottled stuff.

This vanilla simple syrup is easy to make and far better than anything out of a bottle. It is two parts sugar to one part water, with a real vanilla bean used to infuse the flavor. You can scale it up to make a huge batch, bottle it yourself and keep it in the fridge for flavoring your own lattes and coffees – not to mention lemonade, iced tea or anything else you might like to sweeten – any time. Using a real vanilla bean, as opposed to vanilla extract, really gives the syrup a great flavor. It may not look that impressive on its own, but it both smells and tastes delicious.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Slice vanilla bean lengthwise and drop it into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring once the mixture comes to a simmer, until all sugar has been dissolved. Remove from heat and scrape vanilla seeds out of the vanilla bean and into the syrup. Cool completely, then store in the refrigerator to use as needed.


  • this is great! we use the bottled stuff, but somehow it doesn’t really taste like vanilla, just a sickeningly sweet something…

    how long will it last in the fridge?

  • Sandy – It will last at least a couple of weeks. I would say it could take me up to 6 weeks to get through a bottle if I’m not using it too frequently and it’s always been just fine. It might even last a bit longer than that – I just haven’t put it to that test yet!

  • I have been using this recipe for almost a year now and it lasts on the counter for 3+ weeks with no bacterial/fungal growth. In other words, I have never had anything grow on it. I do put it in a bottle with a narrow neck and install a pour spout on it. It may crystalize and form some “rock candy” like formations, but I’ll bet it does that in the fridge too.

  • Does this make a fairly strong vanilla flavoured syrup? What would happen with TWO vanilla beans? How much syrup would you use for say a 12-ounce mug of London Fog? And lastly, is there a place you recommend to buy vanilla beans online? Our small town rarely has such gourmet delicacies!

  • great recipe~~ i always want to drink some flavored coffee at home and don’t want to shell out the amount for bottled stuff.
    here is a little advice… add a bit of lemon juice to it and it wouldn’t crystallized when storing it

  • I don’t have access to vanilla beans. Could you use pure vanilla from Mexico & how much would you use?

  • Mildred Carrol- The one question you have I can answer is about the London Fog since I’m a huge fan of the drink. What most recipes usually recommend is 1 tbsp. per cup (16oz) but you can vary the amount to your liking.

  • Nicole, you made my day! This stuff is gorgeous! I made it with brown cane sugar and overdid it a little bit on the vanilla – it’s a rich, dark brown with millions of little vanilla specks hiding inside. when opening the pot, the sweet vanilla scent fills the entire flat. it’s so pretty, it blows your mind :) needless to say – it’s the basis for a perfect cup of London Fog. thank you so much!

  • I put my homemade vanilla syrup in a bottle and after a few days later there are something floating inside…like fungal or something. Do anyone know why and how to avoid it?

  • Julie – It is possible that the bottle you stored it in might not have been completely sterilized (or perhaps something just snuck in when you weren’t looking). To avoid this, try washing your bottle in very hot water (or steaming it in the dishwasher) and storing the syrup in the fridge. I hope this helps!

  • This recipe looks beautiful. I will be making this sweet syrup for my sweetie for valentine’s day! How much does the above recipe yield?

    Thank you!

  • […] 3 tbsp vanilla syrup […]

  • Love the simplicity!

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