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Basil Simple Syrup

Basil Simple Syrup

  • Prep 10min
  • Total25min
  • Servings16

Easy flavorful syrup - perfect for use in flavored ice cubes or cocktails!MORE+LESS-

ByMichelle P

Updated September 28, 2014



cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves


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  • 1

    Heat ingredients over medium heat, stirring occassionally, until sugar has dissolved.

  • 2

    Remove from heat, and allow to steep for about 15 minutes.

  • 4

    Keeps for about a week in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

How to Make Basil Simple Syrup (and what to do with it!)

Published: May 1, 2012 · Modified: Feb 10, 2021 by Kiersten · This post may contain affiliate links.

Basil simple syrup is the perfect way to use any spare basil you might have leftover from a recipe. And if you grow your own basil, well, you can make your own basil syrup all summer long! I like experimenting with different varieties of basil--Thai basil imparts the licorice-y flavor of anise, while lemon basil adds just a hint of citrus to the syrup.

The best part about making basil simple syrup is that it's as easy as making a regular simple syrup--you just add a handful of basil leaves to the sugar and water. Here's how you do it:

Combine 1 cup of sugar, ½ cup of water, and ½ cup of washed basil leaves in a small saucepan.

Bring to a simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Let the syrup cool completely, then pour through a fine sieve into a jar or resealable container.

Although basic simple syrup lasts several weeks in the fridge, since this syrup has basil added to it, I try to use it within a week. So how can you use your basil simple syrup? Lots of ways! Here are some ideas:

  • My favorite way to use it is in drinks. Try adding it to iced tea, lemonade (and limeade!), or cocktails instead of sugar.
  • Sweeten popsicles with it. Here's a recipe for Basil-Infused Lychee Lime Ice Pops.
  • Drizzle a little bit on fresh fruit. It's great on strawberries, blueberries, melon, and pineapple.
  • Use it in a granita or sorbet, like my Meyer Lemon & Basil Sorbet.

Basil simple syrup adds a sweet, herbal note to any drink or dish. And if you're not a fan of basil, you can use this same method to make simple syrups flavored with other herbs--try it with mint for the best homemade mojitos you've ever had!

Basil Simple Syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh basil leaves

Put sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir and heat until it boils sugar will dissolve and the syrup will be clear. Add basil leaves, stir to submerge all leaves, and turn heat off. Allow leaves to steep until liquid cools, 30-45 minutes or so. Strain leaves out using a mesh strainer discard leaves. Syrup will be tinged with pale green. Store syrup in a labeled jar in the refrigerator.

Makes about 3/4 cup syrup — enough to play with in several different ways!

Basil leaves steep in sugar syrup

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As other users have noted here, this recipe makes a lot of syrup so I halved it, just fine. I reduced it by half and used it to replace the sugar in my peach crumble and it was delicious. Actually, I can't wait to try this with the other herbs in my garden, like thyme and lemon balm.

A very good basil syrup. Just tried it a second time with lime zest instead of lemon. I'm anxious to use it!

it is wonderful and everyone loves the question:has anyone ever frozen the syrup? i want this in the winter and how great to take our abundance of basil and make something other than pesto!!

Delicious and so refreshing! This recipe makes a ton of syrup! Good for two pitchers of lemonade:)

This makes a lot more syrup than needed for the vodka gimlets! After two pitchers over the last few weekends, this weekend I made a watermelon cocktail! Froze watermelon chunks after removing the seeds, filled blender, added one martini glass of vodka, one martini glass of the simple syrup and juice of 1 - 1 1/2 limes! blend and drink, but be careful, it goes down easy! I had to repeat it again yesterday for my sister after work. Of course, sadly, my husband and daughter had to scrounge for leftovers for dinner as I no longer felt like cooking. LOL

Lake side, loons, and basil vodka gimlets. doesn't get much better than that. Awesome summertime drink for just me or me and a bunch of friends!

This syrup is wonderful in the basil lemonade recipe also found on this site--everyone raved about it and it disappeared as soon as I put it out at a recent party--and I think it would be great to make some summery cocktails as well. I think the few people who thought it was "too sweet" or undrinkable must have tried it on its own, which is pretty clearly not how it's meant to be served.

An addition any bar tended could keep to make up simple cocktails or non alcoholic summertime drinks. I substituted agave nectar for the sugar (1 cup agave to 2 cup sugar for a tart lemonade mixture or 1.5 cup agave to 2 cup sugar for a sweeter mixture.)

I used purple basil and the syrup turned out a pretty pink color. The gimlets are a great drink for a summer afternoon.

Delicious. I have made this often to rave reviews and recipe requests. It's so simple. You can easily adapt it to make limeade or any other combination of citrus fruits. Likewise, I have substituted the basil with mint, thyme, lavender, scented geranium and/or a mix with lemon verbena. This is a very versatile base recipe. Equally tasty with the suggested vodka gimlets or substituting an equivalent of water for non-alcoholic mixers.

Try pouring some on plate and using it as a sauce for a mild flavored cake or torte.

I love making this syrup to use in gimlets when the weather gets nicer, and I think it really deserves a better overall rating. If it isn't obvious, it's meant to be used as a syrup for flavoring other drinks like the "basil vodka gimlets" found on this site, not to be drank on its own. To the negative reviewers, give it another chance! :)

This drink tasted like basil flavored sweet tea. Way too much sugar. Undrinkable.

Delish, made a couple of times. I used 1 cup of sugar cause I don't like overly sweet anything. Mix with vodka for a great summer drink.

This is the third time I made this, but I cut the sugar by half down to 1 cup and I think it's a better result -- not so sweet as before. Poured it over vodka and ice. Yum!

This is just awful!! I was really looking forward to a refreshing summer drink, but it was way too sweet. It was undrinkable, and we had to pour it out.

This was a wonderfully addictive syrup. Just different enough to be special. Give it a try!

The one drawback to this recipe is that I crave it! I adore the Vodka Gimlets, and I keep a supply of this syrup on hand to spice up any drink (even just water). It can be frozen (I use an ice cube tray), and although it never hardens like ice, it keeps a long time and mixes easily into cold drinks. A real winner!

Very good and simple. I used only 1-1/2 cups of sugar instead of 2 (I don't like my drinks really really sweet) and it still had plenty sweetness for me and my fellow drinker's tastes. Used the syrup for Lemon Basil Gimlets on this site for Easter cocktails in Florida, and everyone loved them. Will definitely make again!

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Delicious. But, mine cam out quite green with lots of small pieces of basil. Is that normal? Also, how long will it last chilled?

This syrup has nudged out pesto as my basil destination. I have only changed the recipe to exclude the wet paper towel - it takes way too long to filter the syrup. I simply pour it through a very fine sieve. Loved this with vodka and soda or over fruit salad.

I made this because we have a serious amount of basil in the garden and are looking for uses for it. I love herbal cocktails - I usually make simple syrups from rosemary, lavender and ginger for cocktails but thought I would try this. I used raw sugar, which I don't recommend it gives the syrup a unappetizing brown color. I shook it with ice and rum and it is okay but something about it just isn't quite right. It could be the color but it might be that it tastes just a little too much like a pesto mojito. I'll stick with rosemary in the future.

I take this syrup, chill it, and then shake it in a martini shaker with ice. Then, I pour it into a martini glass with diet tonic water. I call it my Thai-tini Spritzer. My foodie-friends and I love it!

Absolutely delicious in a drink. I attended a cooking show with Sara Moultons, and the drink was served in between the foods we tested.

This is just great on cantaloupe! Definitely give it a try!!

This was so refreshing and easy! Made this for two pregnant women at a party, but ended up being loved by all.

This syrup is delicious, and makes an excellent cocktail when mixed with vodka and seltzer. Very refreshing in the summer!

Please note that straining should be done with rinsed and squeezed cheesecloth, not paper towels. The latter doesn't allow the syrup to pass through at all. This syrup is delicious with fresh mango.

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