Curious about how to make vanilla syrup so you can fancify your pancakes and glam up your coffee? This fragrant homemade vanilla syrup is versatile enough to go from breakfast to dessert to everything in between. And the recipe makes plenty, so you can not only indulge yourself but also friends and family and co-workers and anyone else who hears you rave about it and insists you share.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Tester Sue E. said it best with her comment “This homemade vanilla syrup is quick and simple to make, requires few ingredients, has many uses, and is delicious!”

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Granulated sugar–The sugar is dissolved in water to create a simple syrup. If you already have simple syrup on hand, use 2 cups in place of the sugar and water.
  • Vanilla beans–For a less expensive option, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste for the beans.
  • Vanilla extract–Don’t use imitation extract here, as the flavor difference may be noticeable.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Make the simple syrup. Boil the water, sugar, and vanilla beans until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let the vanilla beans steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into a bottle or jar and store in the fridge.


How do you use vanilla syrup?

You’re going to want to drizzle, douse, and dribble this over and into and onto just about everything. It’s especially divine when…
– Splashed into coffee or tea (vanilla latte, anyone?)
– Stirred into sparkling water for a cream soda.
– Drizzled over pound cake or ice cream.
– Poured on fluffy pancakes, waffles, French toast, oatmeal, or anything else you’d smother in maple syrup.
– Stirred or shaken into cocktail concoctions that use simple syrup.

How long will the syrup keep?

Stored properly in a sealed container in the fridge, the syrup will keep for up to 1 month.

Can I make this with vanilla bean paste?

Yes, you can. For a less expensive option, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste to the simple syrup instead of the vanilla beans.

Helpful Tips

  • Homemade vanilla syrup should be stored in a sealed bottle or jar in the refrigerator.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan diets.

More Great Syrup Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A bottle half-filled with vanilla syrup and a couple vanilla beans inside. A cork rests beside the bottle.

Vanilla Syrup

5 / 2 votes
This vanilla syrup, made with vanilla beans, sugar, and water, works magnificently for pancakes, coffee, cakes, cocktails, and so many other uses. And just think of all the time and money you’ll save by making your own vanilla lattes.
David Leite
Servings20 servings
Calories80 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time40 minutes


  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and vanilla beans and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Let the syrup boil hard, without stirring, for 2 minutes. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let the vanilla beans steep for 30 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. You should have about 2 1/2 cups. Let cool.
  • Divvy the vanilla syrup among individual bottles or jars and include a half vanilla bean in each. (If making this as gifts, plan on filling three 8-ounce jars.) You can keep the vanilla syrup in the fridge for up to several months.


  1. Storage–Vanilla syrup should be stored in a sealed bottle in the fridge. It will keep for up to 1 month.
  2. Substitutions–Use 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste in place of the vanilla beans.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan diets.
Food Swap Cookbook

Adapted From

Food Swap

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Serving: 2 tablespoonsCalories: 80 kcalCarbohydrates: 20 gProtein: 0.001 gFat: 0.1 gSodium: 1 mgSugar: 20 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2016 Emily Paster. Photo © 2016 Michaela Jebb . All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like the sweet flavor of vanilla. That’s why this simple vanilla syrup would not only be a great gift idea, but a perfect sweet condiment just to keep in the fridge for everyday use.

I can’t wait to try this concentrated vanilla syrup in not only an iced coffee or iced tea perhaps, but also in a sweet cocktail or punch, maybe even a drizzle over a warm bowl of cream of wheat or oatmeal, or even drizzled over a warm pound cake as a decadent glaze.

In fact, this tasty syrup is so versatile, I think it would even be nice drizzled over fresh fruit before you roast the fruit for a seasonal dessert idea.

I poured it into a large Mason jar to keep in the fridge. It’s very concentrated and sweet. I’m loving that the syrup lasts for several months in the fridge; again, perfect to keep around and use whenever the vanilla craving hits or to fancy up in decorative jars to give to a friend as a sweet gift.

What can I say? This homemade vanilla syrup is quick and simple to make, requires few ingredients, has many uses, and is delicious!

I used the syrup in homemade lemonade, coffee, and Coke. I even poured it over some not-so-wonderful store-bought pound cake and let it seep in. I think there will always be a jar of this in my fridge.

I was wanting to make pancakes but I wanted something other than the same old maple syrup. I tried this vanilla syrup and I was definitely not disappointed!

It was easy to make just before I started making the pancakes. This gave me enough time for the vanilla beans to steep while I cooked the pancakes. It was an excellent addition!

It makes more than you will use in one sitting so I put my leftover syrup, with the vanilla beans, in a jar in the fridge. Not quite all of it fit into the jar, so I poured what was leftover over some canned peaches and it was excellent!

There are so many ways you could use this syrup and I’m excited to have it on hand. In fact, some hot cocoa is sounding really good right now…

I’ve been an avid cook and baker for many years now. I’m always interested in trying new methods and ingredients but one of the ingredients that I’ve never used is whole vanilla beans! They just seem too expensive for me to spend my tight grocery budget on.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had vanilla beans in my shopping cart and put them back at the last minute! What converted me? I saw this recipe—so simple, so promising, and the yield of three 8-ounce jars of syrup!

This straightforward recipe comes together so easily. The result is a lovely, aromatic syrup the color of honey and flecked with beautiful vanilla bean. The syrup is thin—thinner than real maple syrup—which is okay because I used it to make a delicious vanilla coffee and it incorporated easily.

Next, I’d like to try it as a sweet finish poured over pound cake or ice cream. The recipe author suggests using it on pancakes, which I can’t wait to try. (If you like a thicker syrup on pancakes, you might want to boil the syrup a little longer to get that thicker consistency.)

This is definitely not a recipe to pass on. We all know that premium ingredients yield premium results but if you still need to rationalize spending the extra cash, think of all the money you’ll save if you use this syrup to make your own vanilla-flavored coffee drinks instead of picking them up at the local coffee shop. See? Not only are vanilla beans worth the splurge—they’ll save you money!

I figured I could use one as a Father’s Day gift for my food-loving Dad. Surely I could spend the cash on him! (I wrapped my Mason jar in twine with a tag.)

This vanilla syrup recipe was really easy. It smelled great when it was finished and tasted good in carbonated water.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I think it is so funny that I just made some Vanilla Syrup the other day and had purposely purchased the exact same bottle that you used to empty and use to put my Vanilla Syrup inside. Great minds think alike! I need to find the one pound bottle like you used so I can store more inside of it.

  2. The absolute best vanilla bean price I’ve been able to find is Costco as a seasonal item. I wait every year to stock up.

  3. 5 stars
    At *least* one of us is psychic! Just this afternoon I was wishing for a vanilla syrup recipe. The favored hangout for high school kids in my neighborhood growing up was famous for their Vanilla Cokes. The trad order was a VC and fries, always with ketchup. It’s where I learned to love fries with ketchup and VCs. I’m going to give this a try as soon as I can get some vanilla beans. Yay! You read my mind…or I read yours. 😉

    Thanks, guys

    1. Hah. You’re quite welcome, ruthie. Thank YOU for sharing your memory of VC and fries. I love that food can take us back to a different era—and, along with it, all the attendant emotions and memories and loveliness.