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

How to Make Homemade Golden Syrup

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Golden syrup, where have you been all my life?!!

I had no idea what I was missing until I made a batch using this super easy golden syrup recipe. It tastes just like Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup (I did a taste test – homemade vs Lyle’s) but it’s so much cheaper.

If you live where you can’t buy a bottle of Lyle’s or if you need a large amount for a recipe, I highly recommend using this simple recipe for golden syrup to make a batch at home. It makes a great Lyle’s Golden Syrup substitute.

If you’re not sure what to do with this buttery syrup after you make it, check out this post about 5 easy international food gifts to (DIY or buy). Golden syrup in cute jars makes a great holiday, house-warming or hostess gift!

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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 recently. Plus, I’d eaten all of the scones and clotted cream I’d made and was looking for a new delicious sweet treat to try.

I decided on English golden syrup because it’s a key ingredient in treacle tarts (Harry Potter’s favorite!), which I also recently made (and now I see why it’s Harry’s favorite). Plus, I like that it doesn’t go off quickly, so you can make up a batch, store it in a jar in your cupboard, and use it up slowly.

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

What is golden syrup?

It’s a thick, smooth golden-colored syrup made from cane sugar that has a unique buttery scent and a light caramel flavor. It’s less sweet than, say, corn syrup. It’s also called light treacle (not to be confused with dark treacle, which is similar to molasses). It can be used to flavor things like porridge or you can use it for baking cookies, tarts, cakes, etc.

What is in golden syrup?

Golden syrup ingredients are a simple combination of sugar, water, and a slice of lemon.

Is golden syrup the same as Golden Eagle Syrup?

From what I can tell, no. Golden eagle syrup (from the Golden Eagle Syrup Company in Alabama, USA) is a blend of corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar syrup, cane molasses, and honey. Golden syrup is made from sugar, water, and a slice of lemon.

Is golden syrup vegan?

Yes! In fact, it seems to be a popular honey substitute.

Golden syrup vs corn syrup – is there a difference?

While both syrups are similar in color, they are very different items. Corn syrup is made from corn(starch), whereas golden syrup is made from sugar. The flavor is also different. Corn syrup has a very mild flavor, whereas golden syrup has a more pronounced buttery caramel flavor.

What about golden syrup vs maple syrup?

They’re both syrups but they taste very different. Golden syrup has a buttery caramel flavor, whereas maple syrup is….well, maple flavored. Maple syrup may also be a bit runnier.

And golden syrup vs honey?

Golden syrup may look like honey in color and texture but they taste very different. That said, golden syrup can be a vegan substitute for honey, if you’re ok with a different taste.

Where can I buy golden syrup in the USA?

While not as easy to find in the US as in the UK, I was able to buy a bottle of Lyle’s at World Market. From what I’ve read online, you might be able to find it at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Wegmanns. I’ve heard (but can’t confirm) that you might even be able to find golden syrup at Walmart.

The easiest thing to do is add a bottle of Lyle’s Golden Syrup to your next Amazon order (click here to get a bottle on Amazon).

How can I use golden syrup?

There are SO many ways you can use this delicious syrup! Once you try it, you’ll want to put it in an on everything. Trust me on that! 😉

You can drizzle golden syrup on pancakes, waffles, french toast, scones, ice cream, Greek yogurt, and things like that.

You can make porridge with golden syrup.

Or try adding a bit to your coffee, tea, smoothies – anywhere you want a bit of sweetness (sorry if that sounds horribly wrong to any of you from the UK!).

You can also bake a great many tasty things with it! I’ve been compiling a list of recipes that use golden syrup so I can start making my way though the list (don’t you wish you could just spend the whole day in the kitchen baking?!). Here are some ideas I’ve gathered so far…

  • G.S. dumplings
  • G.S. cake
  • Flapjacks (I’ve discovered that these are like cookie bars, not flapjack pancakes!)
  • G.S. cookies
  • G.S. rice crispy cakes
  • Steamed G.S. pudding
  • G.S. cornflake cake (I’m really curious about this one)
  • G.S. biscuits (cookies!)
  • G.S. cupcakes
  • Self-saucing pudding (you had me at self-saucing)
  • G.S. muffins
  • Oat slice
  • Mars bar slice
  • Caramel slice
  • G.S. pecan pie (this would be good for Thanksgiving or Christmas)
  • G.S. oat cookies
  • Chocolate G.S. cake
  • Anzac biscuits
  • G.S. loaf cake
  • G.S. sponge cake
  • G.S. ginger cake (also great for Christmas)
  • G.S. tart (I have a recipe for mini treacle tarts right here)

Quite a list, isn’t it? Have you made any of these recipes? I’d love to hear how you use golden syrup in your baking!

Is there a good golden syrup substitute?

If you want to replace golden syrup in a baking recipe, use light corn syrup. Do note, however, that they don’t have the same flavor and you’ll lose the unique golden syrup flavor, which may impact your recipe. But if you’re just looking for a golden syrup alternative where the specific flavor isn’t super important, corn syrup is a good substitute for golden syrup because they share the same properties and should therefore bake the same way.

Does golden syrup expire?

If you store your fresh syrup in a sterilized glass jar in a dark and dry cupboard it should last a couple years — or even longer. Over time, you might find some granulation in your syrup. That said, I have a jar that’s been in my cupboard for a year now and there’s no granulation yet. You can still eat it that way, it’s just not as smooth. If you see mold or if it smells weird, I’d toss it out. It’s is so cheap and easy to make, I wouldn’t chance it. Overall, properly stored, golden syrup preserves well and will keep for a long time.

Is golden syrup healthy?

Well, it’s made from sugar but I’ll let you decide if golden syrup is healthy within your diet. 🙂

What do I need to make golden syrup?

Not much in the way of ingredients or cooking tools!

Ingredients:

  • white sugar
  • water
  • slice of fresh lemon

Kitchen tools:

  • saucepan
  • electric kettle to boil water in
  • measuring cup
  • sterilized glass jar with a lid

Speaking of glass jars, 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 an easy DIY 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 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 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 syrup. Store in a cool, dry place.

I used my syrup in this mini treacle tart recipe and am now eyeing all of those delicious golden syrup recipes I listed above like pudding recipe, golden syrup cake…. 🙂



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 syrup, whether homemade or Lyle’s original?

Click here to look inside this ebook!

 

–> Rather read this book for free? Sign up for a free trial of Kindle Unlimited!

 


4.42 from 12 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
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon slice
Instructions
  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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53 Comments

  • Reply
    STEPHANIE ABBOTT
    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
      Cate
      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
    Molly
    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
      Cate
      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
    Anna
    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
      Cate
      August 25, 2017 at 11:00 am

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

  • Reply
    Maragold
    October 4, 2017 at 10:23 pm

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

    • Reply
      Cate
      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
    Spandy
    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
      Cate
      October 18, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      I would imagine so!

  • Reply
    Diana
    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
      Cate
      December 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm

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

  • Reply
    Daniela
    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
      Cate
      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
      Cate
      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
    Svetlana
    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
      Cate
      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
    Eeva
    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
      Cate
      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
      Cate
      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
      Cate
      February 27, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Glad you found it! Enjoy! 🙂

  • Reply
    sara
    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
      Cate
      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
    Deborah
    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
      Cate
      April 18, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      Mmmmm….Schichttorte 🙂

  • Reply
    Deborah
    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
    Cate
    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
    samantha
    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
      Cate
      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
      Cate
      June 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks, Sheila!

  • Reply
    MsD
    June 19, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    What temperature should the syrup reach?

    • Reply
      Cate
      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
    Jordan
    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
      Cate
      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
    Becky
    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
      Cate
      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
    Pragna
    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
      Cate
      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!

  • Reply
    Rita E Gorra
    September 24, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I made this, but I needed the 3rd batch to get it right. The first time, it was late and I thought it had turned golden (I have a copper pot and it was hard to see). It looked like our light corn syrup. The next time, I was distracted and it burnt. The third time, the charm, I ignored cats, dogs and husband until it turned a deep gold. I used it to make Flapjacks (recipe from Smitten Kitchen) and it turned out fantastic! I will use the syrup in other recipes, but it was totally worth it.

    • Reply
      Cate
      September 24, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      I’m so glad the third batch turned out well! I’m going to have to try those flapjacks. Golden syrup is also delicious on oatmeal, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, ice cream… 🙂

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Pettipoohs
    November 11, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I’ve been buying golden syrup for donkies years snd had no idea you could make it! Mine has turned out beautifully so far. I’m just waiting for it to cool. I HAD to test it… …twas delicious 👌. Giving Tate & Lyle a run for their money and it’s much cheaper. Your recipe is spot on & I’m making it in England. Thanks for posting this for us to use for free.

    • Reply
      Cate
      November 13, 2018 at 12:25 am

      I’m so glad it worked for you! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Sherry
    November 11, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    This came out great! My only issue was that it did dry out & crystallize but I added some of the boiling water and waited and waited and it finally turned carmel color. Followed the rest of the recipe to a T. I can’t wait to use it. I have a recipe for a Bourbon Pecan Pie that calls for golden syrup and after seeing how expensive it is to purchase, I’m so thankful to have found this recipe! Thank you for posting!

    • Reply
      Cate
      November 13, 2018 at 12:26 am

      Bourbon Pecan Pie sounds so good!! Let me know how it tastes with the Golden Syrup!

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