Easy Homemade Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup Recipe

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This easy homemade vanilla simple syrup recipe tastes way better than the stuff from the store, yet only uses three simple ingredients you probably have on hand. Keep a batch in your fridge for the most refreshing iced coffee, tea, sodas, and more!

decorative bottle with homemade vanilla simple syrup next to vanilla beans and coffee.

Whether you love adding vanilla syrup to your coffee drinks or want to make it for a special occasion, making your own vanilla syrup is seriously easy! Start by making a basic simple syrup with equal parts water and sugar. Then, add a real vanilla bean to get that rich vanilla flavor and those delicious little flecks!

This homemade simple syrup can actually be made in several different ways:

One batch will last for 1-2 weeks in the fridge, so you can easily use it all week long. You can easily scale this recipe up or down too, so make as much as you need!

jar of homemade vanilla bean simple syrup next to vanilla beans.

Why you’ll love this vanilla simple syrup recipe


  • Cheaper than the store – Have you noticed the price of vanilla syrup at the store? Compare that to the low quality ingredients list and you’ll realize why it’s so much better to DIY. You just need a little sugar, water, and a whole vanilla bean or too. It’s so much cheaper!
  • So easy to make – You just need 3 simple ingredients and a little patience to make your own vanilla bean infused simple syrup. It’s seriously simple, even if you’ve never made a coffee syrup before!
  • Great for beverages, desserts, and more – Since the sugar crystals are dissolved in the water, you can easily use this syrup to sweeten cold beverages, like your favorite iced coffee or cold brew. It’s also great brushed onto cakes, drizzled over ice cream, and so much more!
  • 3 simple methods – Whether you have a stash of whole vanilla beans on hand or just some old vanilla extract, I’ll teach you how to make a great syrup with whatever you have on hand!

Equipment

To make this homemade vanilla syrup recipe, you’ll need:

  • Small or medium saucepan
  • Sharp knife (I used a paring knife)
  • Narrow funnel
  • Syrup bottles or a mason jar
ingredients to make vanilla bean simple syrup.

Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar – You can use any sugar you like for this homemade vanilla simple syrup. I usually use organic cane sugar from Costco.
  • Water 
  • Vanilla – You have several different options. You can use fresh vanilla beans, vanilla sugar, your homemade vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste! Follow the step-by-step instructions below for the best results.

How to Make Vanilla Simple Syrup (3 Ways)

With Real Vanilla Bean

  1. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan. 
  2. Use a sharp knife to slice 1-2 vanilla pods lengthwise, then carefully scrape out the caviar. Add the pods and caviar to the pan.
  3. Turn on the pan to medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for approximately an hour.
  5. Strain out or remove the vanilla pods and store the homemade syrup in an airtight container or glass bottle. 
  6. Keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and use as desired.

Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste

  1. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan like normal. Remove from the heat when the sugar crystals dissolve. 
  2. Then, stir in the vanilla bean paste or extract. Stir well to incorporate, especially for the paste.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool and store in a glass jar as described above.

With Vanilla Sugar

  1. Follow the same steps in the first version (heating the water and sugar on the stove), but use vanilla sugar instead of regular white sugar. 
  2. For a stronger vanilla flavor, feel free to add up to an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste once you remove the syrup from the heat.

Storing

It’s best to store any homemade syrups in the fridge. This vanilla coffee syrup recipe will last for 1-2 weeks when stored this way.

Helpful Tips

  • If you don’t have any whole vanilla beans, you can use up to 2 TBS of vanilla bean paste instead. You can do the same with pure vanilla extract as well.
  • Use twice as much sugar for a rich simple syrup. This will make a really thick syrup!
  • For a darker, more caramel-like flavor, replace the white sugar with brown sugar.

How to Use Vanilla Syrup

Once you have a batch of vanilla syrup on hand, you’ll find plenty of ways to use it! It’s a great addition to a variety of drinks, desserts, and more.

  • Sweeten a vanilla simple syrup cocktail
  • Drizzle over fresh fruit
  • Brush on cake layers to lock in moisture
  • Stir into your morning coffee and favorite drinks
  • Make a delicious homemade cream soda
  • Sweeten your cup of chai or hot chocolate
  • Stir into your favorite iced tea for a floral flavor
  • ​Whip into homemade whipped cream

Flavor Variations

  • Lavender vanilla simple syrup: Add up to 3 tbsp of dried lavender buds to this recipe.
  • Orange vanilla simple syrup: Slice an organic orange into thin slices and steep it in the vanilla sugar mixture. 
  • Cinnamon vanilla simple syrup: Simmer 1 whole cinnamon stick in the vanilla bean syrup.
  • Vanilla chai simple syrup: Either add up to 1 tablespoon of cardamom pods or 2 bags of your favorite chai tea.
overhead view of a bottle of vanilla syrup next to green towel.

FAQs

Can I use vanilla bean paste to make homemade vanilla coffee syrup?

Yes! There’s a standard ratio for substituting vanilla extract, whole beans, paste, and more. In general, one whole vanilla bean is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.

If you don’t have vanilla extract or whole beans, use the paste! It has a strong vanilla flavor that’s perfect for flavoring this syrup.

What is the best type of vanilla for simple vanilla syrup?

You can use any type of vanilla beans, including extract-grade beans or the leftover beans from making your own vanilla extract! I used Ugandan beans for this homemade coffee syrup, which are a great option. Feel free to use Bourbon or Madagascar, Mexican, or Tahitian vanilla beans. Each one has a slightly different flavor. Madagascar beans typically have the strongest, most classic vanilla flavor, while Tahitian has a lighter, more floral flavor.

What is the best way to add vanilla flavor to homemade vanilla simple syrup?

Personally, I’m partial to using the whole vanilla bean pod because I love the little flecks and the rich vanilla flavor. If you make a lot of vanilla sugar like I do, you can get an even stronger flavor by combining two of the methods above. Use the vanilla sugar instead of white sugar, but also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste once you remove it from the heat. So good!

Related Recipes

I love making my own simple syrup for tea, coffee, lemonade, and so much more! They’re great for entertaining all year long. These are some of my favorite simple syrup recipes.

cup of vanilla coffee with vanilla syrup.
glass bottle with homemade vanilla simple syrup.

Homemade Vanilla Simple Syrup Recipe

This easy vanilla bean infused simple syrup recipe tastes way better than the store-bought stuff, yet only uses three simple ingredients. This recipe includes variations for making it with whole vanilla beans, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and even vanilla sugar, so you're sure to find a way that works for you!
5 from 1 vote

Equipment

  • Small or medium saucepan
  • Sharp knife
  • Syrup bottles or a mason jar

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, (or 1 cup vanilla sugar)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, (or 1 TBS vanilla bean paste or extract)

Instructions
 

With Real Vanilla Bean

  • Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice 1-2 vanilla pods lengthwise, then carefully scrape out the caviar. Add the pods and caviar to the pan.
  • Turn on the pan to medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for approximately an hour.
  • Strain out or remove the vanilla pods and store the homemade syrup in an airtight container or glass bottle.
  • Keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and use as desired.

With Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste

  • Place the sugar and water in a saucepan like normal. Remove from the heat when the sugar crystals dissolve.
  • Then, stir in the vanilla bean paste or extract. Stir well to incorporate, especially for the paste.
  • Allow the mixture to cool and store in a glass jar as described above.

With Vanilla Sugar

  • Follow the same steps in the first version (heating the water and sugar on the stove), but use vanilla sugar instead of regular white sugar.
  • For a stronger vanilla flavor, feel free to add up to an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste once you remove the syrup from the heat.

Notes

Store the leftover syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
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