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How to Make Brown Sugar Simple Syrup like Starbucks

See how easy it is to make brown sugar simple syrup like Starbucks with this two-ingredient recipe. It's perfect for sweetening coffee, tea and drinks like the new Starbucks Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso.
Condiment bottle containing brown sugar syrup.

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Homemade Brown Sugar Simple Syrup Recipe

This DIY Starbucks brown sugar simple syrup recipe is incredibly easy to make and adds a rich, sweet flavor to coffee, tea and many other drinks.

Since the brown sugar is already dissolved, this simple syrup mixes perfectly into both cold and hot drinks. For example, I use this syrup to make the new Starbucks drink, Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso at home.

What I love about brown sugar syrup is that since the sugar contains molasses, the syrup has a bit of a caramel flavor.

In other words, brown sugar syrup adds flavor as well as sweetness. On the other hand, syrups like Starbucks Classic have one job—sweeten the drink.

Squeeze bottle of brown sugar syrup.
I like to store my homemade simple syrup in condiment squeeze bottles.

How to Make Simple Syrup

If you’ve never made your own homemade simple syrup before, you definitely should give it a try.

Here are a few reasons why I like to stock my refrigerator with a collection of homemade simple syrups.

  • Simple syrup is easy to make since most recipes only have two to three ingredients.
  • It’s inexpensive to make since its main ingredients are sugar and water.
  • Homemade simple syrup is a lot cheaper than buying bottles of coffee syrup from the store.
  • You can keep a variety of flavors on-hand to make all sorts of drinks. For instance, I always have a bottle of homemade Starbucks vanilla syrup in my fridge. I use it for homemade iced caramel macchiatos. I also use it to make these other Starbucks copycat recipes: vanilla sweet cream cold foam and Starbucks whipped cream.
One measuring cup of brown sugar and one cup of water to make simple syrup.
Most simple syrup recipes are equal parts of sugar and water.

In general, most simple syrup recipes are a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water. That’s it; two ingredients.

Of course, you can make the syrup sweeter with additional sugar or lighten it up a touch by using less.

And making flavored simple syrups is a no-brainer, too.

All you have to do is add a little extract or infuse flavor with things like citrus peels, mint leaves, vanilla beans or cinnamon sticks.

For instance, it’s a snap to make peppermint syrup with a few drops of peppermint extract. This syrup is delicious in fun holiday drinks like peppermint iced coffee.

Anyway, I think you get the point. Making simple syrup is…simple.

So, let’s make some brown sugar syrup.

Saucepan full of brown sugar and measuring cup with water.
All you need to make homemade brown sugar syrup is a saucepan and stove.

Brown Sugar Syrup Recipe

To make brown sugar syrup, combine equal parts of water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, cool the syrup, and pour into a bottle. The syrup thickens as it cools.

Store the syrup in the refrigerator. Since sugar is a preservative, it will be good for 4-6 weeks. However, don’t be surprised if you use it up before it “expires.”

What I love about making this simple syrup is that it’s easy to adapt the recipe to however much you want to make. All you have to do is use equal parts of brown sugar and water.

Light vs Dark Brown Sugar

By now, you may be wondering if you should make syrup with light brown or dark brown sugar.

And the answer is, it’s a matter of taste.

Refined brown sugar is simply white sugar combined with molasses. And the difference between light and dark brown sugar is the amount of molasses in each. Overall, dark brown sugar contains almost twice as much molasses as light.

So what does this mean as far as brown sugar syrup goes?

Basically, syrup made with dark brown sugar has a richer caramel flavor compared to light brown.

Just keep in mind, while the type of brown sugar is interchangeable for syrup, this isn’t always the case for baking.

Bowl of light brown sugar compared to bowl of dark brown sugar.
Light brown sugar contains less molasses than dark brown sugar.

Equipment for Making Simple Syrup

Luckily, you don’t need any fancy or pricey kitchen tools to make simple syrup at home. Really, all you need is a a saucepan and stove.

However, I strongly recommend making simple syrup with filtered water.

Therefore, if you don’t have a water filtration system, a Brita filter pitcher is practically a must-have. Not to mention, you can also use it to make better-tasting coffee, tea, lemonade and ice cubes.

Starbucks Brown Sugar Syrup

Starbucks brown sugar syrup is basically brown sugar simple syrup, although it has a few more ingredients.

Bottle of Starbucks brown sugar syrup next to vanilla syrup.
Starbucks brown sugar syrup ingredients include brown sugar and salt.

Take a look at the Starbucks Brown Sugar Syrup label. Notice the ingredients include:

  • Invert Sugar and Brown Sugar
  • Water
  • Natural Flavors
  • Salt
  • Preservatives

Therefore, to make brown sugar like Starbucks I like to add a touch of salt, as well.

Salt brings down bitterness and increases perceived sweetness, making it ideal for coffee.

More Starbucks Syrup & Topping Recipes

Squeeze bottle of brown sugar syrup.

Brown Sugar Simple Syrup

Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Easy copycat Starbucks brown sugar simple syrup recipe for coffee, tea and drinks like Starbucks Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 1/4 cup water, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Instructions


To Make Salt Solution (optional)

  1. Combine 1/4 cup warm water and salt.
  2. Stir until dissolved.

To Make Brown Sugar Syrup

  1. Combine 1 cup water and brown sugar in saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Optionally, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt water. (The rest of the salt solution can be discarded.)
  4. Remove from heat and cool. Then bottle in an airtight container.
  5. Store brown sugar syrup in refrigerator.

Notes

This brown sugar recipe is perfect for making Starbucks new drink, Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso.

Dark brown sugar makes a stronger molasses flavored simple syrup compared to light brown.

Variations include adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or steeping a cinnamon stick in syrup while it simmers and cools.

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