45 In Basics/ Custard, Sauces & Creams/ Great Britain & Ireland/ Recipes

How to Make Homemade Golden Syrup

Golden syrup, where have you been all my life?

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How to make authentic Golden Syrup at home - so easy!

Whenever I make an international dessert it usually means I miss being abroad…and yep, I was really missing the UK. Plus, I’d eaten all of the scones and clotted cream I’d made and was looking for another delicious dessert to make. So, I decided on golden syrup (also called treacle) because it’s a key ingredient in treacle tart (Harry Potter’s favorite!), which I also recently made (and now I see why it’s Harry’s favorite).

A few days before making the treacle tart (actually, I made mini treacle tarts – you can get the recipe here in my free mini tarts ebook), I cooked up a batch of English golden syrup. OMG, golden syrup is so easy and so amazingly delicious. I will never be without a jar of homemade golden syrup again!

It's super easy to make authentic homemade Golden Syrup!

Where to Buy Golden Syrup?

If you’re in the US, you might be thinking, I don’t have golden syrup. Where can I buy it? And what does it taste like? Is it like other syrups? Can vegans have golden syrup? What are some things to have golden syrup with?

Well, I bought a $5 bottle of Lyle’s Golden Syrup at World Market. When I got home, I immediately tried a spoonful and…wow, yum! It has a buttery, kind of caramel flavor, different from any of the syrups I typically use in the US (e.g., maple, light/dark corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup).

From what I’ve read online, you might be able to find golden syrup at Trader Joe’s or Walmart or in the international section of your local grocery store. Or you can add a bottle of Lyle’s Golden Syrup to your next Amazon order (click here to get golden syrup on Amazon). It’s much cheaper to make golden syrup yourself, though! Just be sure to make it up a day or so before you want to use it so it has time to cool and thicken.

How to use golden syrup? Here are a few ideas…make a treacle tart or a golden syrup cake. Drizzle on ice cream, Greek yogurt, pancakes, French toast or a crepe cake. Spread on scones or toast. Add a spoonful or two to oatmeal or porridge. Just to name a few ideas!

What Do I Need to Make Golden Syrup?

Not much in the way of ingredients or cooking tools! As far as golden syrup ingredients go, all you need is sugar, water, and a slice of lemon. Yep, that’s it! (Scroll down to for the complete golden syrup recipe.)

Here are the kitchen tools you need: a saucepan, a kettle to boil water in, a measuring cup, and a sterilized glass jar with a lid.

I really like Ball glass canning jars and use them for everything. (Click here to grab a set of Ball wide-mouth canning jars.) BUT…I’ve been eyeing this set of super cute Weck Tulip glass jelly jars! What a great holiday gift that would be – yummy golden syrup in a cute reusable tulip glass jelly jar!

Swirl or Stir?

Golden syrup is one of the first things I made after starting this blog. I looked at a bunch of recipes and watched videos to make sure I was doing it correctly. The first time I made it, it turned out perfectly! The second time it dried out. Arg. The third and fourth times? Again, perfect. Based on the recipes I’d found, I stirred the syrup early in the simmering processes to help dissolve the sugar.

A few months ago I made caramel for the first time, and you probably know that you swirl – but do not stir – caramel. If you look through the comments, you’ll see that some people said their golden syrup dried out and wondered if the stirring had something to do with it? Maybe swirling would be better, since you swirl caramel? But…golden syrup isn’t really caramel, it’s syrup. But…then again, the goal is to turn the syrup  a nice caramel-y color and flavor.  

So I conducted an experiment. I used the same saucepan, the same burner, and the same temperature so that the only difference between three batches of golden syrup was swirling vs stirring.

First, I made a batch of golden syrup using only the swirl method. There was some crystallization around the sides of the pan, but the syrup tuned out perfectly.

Then, I made a batch and stirred frequently during the first round of simmering. This batch dried out and I tossed it.

For the third batch I stirred a few times just after adding the sugar. This batch also had some crystallization around the side but the syrup turned out perfectly. 

So, I don’t recommend a lot of stirring, especially once the syrup starts simmering, but a little stirring right after you add the sugar seems to be ok. That said, if you prefer to stick to just swirling, do that! 

How to Make Golden Syrup at Home

Step-by-step for making delicious Golden Syrup at home!

First, pour 3 Tbsp water and 1/2 cup sugar into a saucepan. Swirl the pan a bit to combine water and sugar (or stir it a couple times right after adding the ingredients).

Heat to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. Keep an eye on it as it simmers because it will look like it’s not doing much of anything for 10 or even 15 minutes, and then it will suddenly turn a golden caramel color.

When it’s a nice caramel color, slowly add 1 1/4 cups boiling water (I pre-heated the water in countertop water kettle). When you pour the water in the syrup it will sputter and steam so pour carefully.

Then add 2 1/2 cups of sugar and bring it back to a simmer. You can swirl the pot a bit or stir a couple times right after adding the sugar — or just leave it alone, as the sugar will dissolve it reheats to a simmer.

Add a slice of lemon (it keeps the syrup from crystalizing as it simmers).

Then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.

When the syrup is ready, take out the now candied lemon and let the syrup cool for a few minutes.

Pour the syrup into a sterilized jar (I poured boiling water into my jar and let it sit for a couple minutes). The syrup will be thin at this point but will thicken up as it cools in the jar.

Now you have golden syrup! Delicious.

Don't waste money buying Golden Syrup - make it at home for pennies!

This recipe made about 16oz of golden syrup. Store in a cool, dry place.

I used my golden syrup in this mini treacle tart recipe and am now eyeing a golden syrup pudding recipe, golden syrup cake…all things golden syrup. 🙂

I have to share this with you! This inexpensive golden syrup cookbook (ebook) gives you all kinds of sweet (and savory!) recipes for biscuits (cookies), traybakes, puddings, tarts, cakes, and other breakfast, brunch, and teatime favorite. Plus helpful baking tips and suggestions. You’ll find endless ways to enjoy your homemade golden syrup!

How perfect of a holiday, birthday or shower gift would this be with a jar of golden syrup, whether homemade or Lyle’s original?

Click here to look inside this ebook! 


4.23 from 9 votes
How to Make Golden Syrup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins

Sugar, water and a slice of lemon are all you need to make this buttery caramel flavored syrup! 

Servings: 16 oz
Author: International Desserts Blog
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon slice
  1. Pour 3 Tbsp water and 1/2 cup sugar into a saucepan. 

  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. 

  3. Once the mixture turns a caramel color, slowly and carefully add 1 1/4 cups boiling water (I pre-heated the water my countertop hot water kettle). 

  4. Add 2 1/2 cups sugar and bring to a low simmer. 

  5. Add a slice of lemon to the mixture. The lemon will keep the mixture from crystalizing at is simmers.

  6. Turn the heat down to low and let the syrup simmer for about 45 minutes.

  7. When the syrup is ready, remove the candied lemon slice. Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes before pouring it into a sterilized glass jar (I poured boiling water into my jar and let it sit for a couple minutes). The syrup will be thin at this point but will thicken up as it sits in the jar.

  8. Store in a cool, dry place. 

Recipe Notes

Store in a cool, dry place. 

Based on this recipe

Click here for more easy and delicious British and Irish baking recipes!

Click here to get my free European Christmas cookies ebook! 

These traditional European Christmas cookies are so yummy! Perfect for family holiday baking - they're super easy.

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Golden syrup is so easy (and cheap) to make at home!

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  • Reply
    June 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Yum! My hubby is English. His recipes sometimes call for this. I never even thought about making it. Looks like I’ll be trying soon. Pinned and scheduled again for later. Thanks for sharing at To Grandma’s House We Go.

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      Hi Stephanie, it’s so easy to make from scratch and it’s SO good! It tastes just like the bottled golden syrup that I bought at World Market. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I’m not sure how mine will turn out. I couldn’t get my sugar to turn golden in the beginning. It actually dried out a couple times still clear and I kept adding a smidge more boiling water. I finally turned it up to a med high and got it to turn. Now I’ve got it on low but it wasn’t “simmering”, just sitting, so I cranked that up a touch too… but I’m afraid to turn it up too much. Normally this stove seems to run a little hot, so I’m confused! This is why I don’t usually do sugar/candy lol Maybe I should stick baking and try to find the syrup for when I make flapjacks 🙂

    • Reply
      June 20, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Molly! I’ve had my sugar dry out and I just keep stirring until it turns golden, sometimes adding a bit of water here and there. I often adjust the stove temp, especially when simmering. Since the syrup simmered for so long, I left it pretty low (but definitely simmering). At different points I wasn’t sure if my Golden Syrup would turn out but it came together in the end. How did yours turn out?

  • Reply
    August 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    This is great! I’m from Australia, but living in India at the moment to visit my hubby’s family. Been craving golden syrup dumplings so bad but couldn’t find golden syrup anywhere here! Been using it in baking my whole life but never knew you could make it at home haha. Aussies use it in ANZAC biscuits mainly.

    • Reply
      August 25, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Ohhh, golden syrup dumplings and ANZAC biscuits…I need to make both of those things!

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Can I use the juice of lemon because I have squeezed lemon

    • Reply
      October 5, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Good question! From what I read, it’s best to use a slice of lemon because you’ll get just enough lemon to keep the syrup from crystallizing without making it too lemony.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Is it possible to double the recipe quantities (start out with 1 cup sugar 6tbsp water, then add 2.5 cups water and 5 cups sugar)?

    • Reply
      October 18, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      I would imagine so!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    I picked up a couple of cans of golden syrup while in England for a wedding this last June. I’ll admit, I’ve been a little worried about opening them because I’m afraid it will disappear too quickly. Now I can use them and make more whenever I need. Thank You.

    • Reply
      December 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      You’re welcome, Diana! Golden syrup is so easy to make and so delicious. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 15, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Hi! I try the recipe but the syrup turned out hard, no super hard but not with syrup consistency, I dont know how to explain it. What do you think I did wrong?
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      Hmmmm….it does thicken up as it cools in the jar but it should still be pourable. If it turned out too thick, it could be that it cooked too long or at too high of a temperature.

  • Reply
    Denise Huckleberry
    December 16, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Try golden syrup in your favourite caramel popcorn recipe instead of corn syrup. Mmmmmm….

    • Reply
      December 18, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Ohhh….that sounds great! I used golden syrup in caramels this weekend (instead of corn syrup) – also delicious!

  • Reply
    December 24, 2017 at 12:23 am

    When I got the syrup to simmer, it was good. But when I got to the part to make it start turning golden, it just wouldn’t. It kept drying out and turning out differently.

    • Reply
      December 31, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      That’s happened to me before! Here are two things to try:

      – bring the syrup to a simmer over a lower heat (so it doesn’t dry out before turning golden)
      – if it does start to dry out add a tablespoon or two of water and see if that helps

      Good luck! I’m sure it will work next time!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Hi! I would love to try this, however, are the ’cups’ in your recipe US or UK cups? I’m using desilitres in cooking and baking, so I’m trying to figure out the right amount. Thanks!

    • Reply
      January 27, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      Hi! The cups are US cups. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nikki Gwin
    January 31, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    We have two very light syrups made locally here in Alabama, Golden Eagle Syrup and Yellow Label Syrup I am not sure if they are what you call golden syrup, but they are not traditional pancake syrups which have maple or some other strong flavor. Just a good buttery sweet flavor.
    But now you have me wanting to make my own!
    🙂 gwingal

    • Reply
      January 31, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      I wonder if I could find them in North Carolina? I’ll keep my eye out for them. I’m curious if they’re similar to golden syrup. Do try making it at home sometime!

  • Reply
    Sue Rigby
    February 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

    I live in India and have never seen golden syrup here and I do miss it. I had no idea you could make your own, I am so thrilled to have found this recipe thank you so much. I am off to give it ago now, so excited 😃

    • Reply
      February 27, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Glad you found it! Enjoy! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 3:27 am

    Recipes for caramel insist on swirling the pan rather than stirring in the first stage because stirring can cause crystallization. Could that be why my attempt at this version of golden syrup never turned golden but simply crystalized?

    • Reply
      February 27, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      Hi Sara, you’re right that you don’t want to stir caramel but golden syrup isn’t that kind of caramel. The recipes I looked at recommend stirring, so that’s what I’ve done…but you don’t want to stir it too much. 🙂 That said, I decided to try an experiment to see how much stirring is ok…I’m going to update the blog post in a bit but here’s the short version: swirling is the easiest and probably the most correct way to go. If you stir, just stir a little to dissolve the sugar. If yours crystalized before turning golden (that happened to me once), the water evaporated too quickly, which can be caused by over-stirring or too high heat. You can try adding a little water but if that doesn’t work (if it’s added too late), just toss that out and try it again. It’s only a little bit of sugar and water. 🙂 It can take a while for the syrup to turn golden brown – it always takes longer than I expect. Thanks for your comment and I hope your next batch turns out well!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2018 at 2:20 am

    I’m in the process of making this now! Just added the slice of lemon and turned it down. We’ll see how it turns out. Fingers crossed!!!

    I’m making it bc it’s an ingredient in the German Schichttorte I’m making tomorrow

    • Reply
      April 18, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      Mmmmm….Schichttorte 🙂

  • Reply
    April 18, 2018 at 3:28 am

    I made this tonight and it turned out perfectly!!! I followed the recipe and got almost 16 oz so I’m not sure why there was so much more than you got. But it looks perfect and tastes buttery. I’ll take it 😊

  • Reply
    April 18, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    I’m so glad it turned out, Deborah! I just looked at the jar I poured the syrup into and realized that I read it wrong–I got 16 oz, too! I just changed it in the recipe. 🙂 It’s good stuff, isn’t it?!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I don’t know how to can, nor am I comfortable with it…can I just pour this into a heat proof pyrex?

    • Reply
      May 31, 2018 at 7:46 pm

      Hi Samantha! Yep, you can pour it right into a pyrex (no canning knowledge necessary). If you’re going to store it for more than a couple days in a pyrex, sterilize it first.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Sheila Couch
    June 16, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Golden syrup was an ingredient in a vegan cake that I am making for my daughter’s birthday. I followed your recipe exactly and it turned out perfect. I did swirl and not stir. Thank you for your recipe.

    • Reply
      June 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks, Sheila!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    What temperature should the syrup reach?

    • Reply
      June 21, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      It doesn’t need to reach a specific temperature. Just bring it to a simmer over medium-ish heat for the first part, and then turn it down to a low simmer over low heat for the second. As long as it’s simmering and doesn’t boil, it should be fine!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
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  • Reply
    July 17, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Hi, I tried making this but I encountered a few problems with the end result, I’m not sure if I simply did something wrong but heres what happened.

    I got the colour to come through perfectly fine first try, but the second part took a while to thicken, I kept taste-testing as it went along but I never got that golden flavour, just sugar. I didn’t add in the lemon slice as I didnt have any but it didn’t either, however once it started cooling I noticed it started to form a thick skin and almost solidify. I don’t know if it was just because I didn’t add in the lemon slice or not or if I left it simmering for too long, any advice?

    • Reply
      July 25, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      Definitely try it again with the lemon slice! It won’t turn out quite right without it. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 28, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Hi, I made this the other day and thought that it had worked well, but I noticed the next day that I have half solidified sugar at he bottom of my jar and thin syrup at the top half :/ do you know what I might have done wrong? And do you know if i can re-melt the sugar in the jar to get my syrup back 🙂 thanks!

    • Reply
      August 8, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      I don’t think you can re-melt the sugar in the jar but you could try pouring it into a saucepan and simmering it longer – be sure to add the lemon slice if you try this! The lemon keeps the sugar from crystalizing. If that doesn’t work, I’d just start over. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 21, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Hii i made dis syrup n it turn out as i want it thnk u i too ve a query can i add lemon juice instead of slice ??

    • Reply
      September 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      Sorry, I didn’t see this until just now! I haven’t tried making it with lemon juice but from what I’ve read, it’s best to use a slice of lemon because you’ll get just enough lemon to keep the syrup from crystallizing without making it too lemony. If you try it again with just lemon juice, let me know how it turns out!

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