Lemon Simple Syrup is such a delicious way to use up a harvest of lemons. It’s easy to make, lovely as a gift and can be used in everything from fudge to cocktails. Even better, you only need 2 ingredients and one pan.

You’ll love this orange simple syrup too.

Lemon syrup drizzling off a spoon into a jar.

This lemon syrup is for the true lemon lover. It’s nothing but lemon juice, zest and sugar and gives a very intense lemon flavour. Rich, sweet and absolutely luscious.

It’s perfect used in this Easy Lemon Fudge, or as a base in cocktails and lemonade. If you’re a true lover of lemon, like I am, you’ll find it completely delicious poured directly over pancakes or ice cream too.

If you like lemon but enjoy a lighter flavour, you can dilute the lemon flavour by replacing some of the juice with water and save the all-lemon-juice recipe for adding to drinks as mentioned above.

A jar and bottle both filled with lemon syrup, sitting on a wooden board.

How To Make Lemon Syrup

This is so easy.

  1. Just add 1 cup of lemon juice – that’s one cup after straining out any pulp and pips – to a saucepan with lemon zest and 1 cup of white granulated sugar.
  2. Heat it over medium heat while stirring to dissolve the sugar
  3. Let it come to a boil and leave it to boil, stirring every so often, until it’s reduced.

You can make this lemon syrup the consistency to suit the way you’re using it. If it thickens to the colour of the syrup in these photos, you’ll need to use it warm or at room temperature on warm or room temp foods.

If using it on cold foods or in cocktails though, at this thickness it may become too firm. Instead, only cook it until the sugar has dissolved and it has reduced very slightly or you can add a little water to thin it out after cooking.

Tips For Perfect Lemon Simple Syrup

  • Use a heavy based saucepan as this will distribute the heat more evenly and stop the syrup from burning.
  • Stir while the sugar is dissolving, then let it come to a boil and just stir every so often so that it heats evenly and doesn’t burn.
  • For a lighter flavoured syrup, best for pancakes, replace some of the juice with water.
  • Make sure to strain out pulp and pips
  • When peeling the zest away from the lemon, try not to get any of the white part as this is very bitter.
  • Sterilise your preserving jars & bottles – Just wash and rinse the jars, then place them upside down in a casserole dish (for safety) in a warm oven 180C / 350F for 10 minutes. Make sure to use oven gloves to move them around.
  • Consistency: Reduced by half is good for serving warm over desserts or at room temperature (where it will be the thickness of maple syrup). If you’ll be serving it with anything cold, just let the sugar dissolve then bubble for another 30 seconds or so. If it’s too thick it will become too firm once cool, however, you can thin it with a little water if needed.

Uses For Lemon Peel

There are loads of uses for lemon peel so don’t waste it. You’ll only need the peel from one lemon for this recipe but peel all the lemons before you juice them and you can freeze that peel for other uses like tucked inside a chicken while it’s roasting.

If you use a microplane to create very fine zest, you can use it in cakes and desserts to give them a lift.

Lemon syrup being poured over a stack of pancakes.

You can also use it for cleaning – add it to vinegar for an all natural cleaner and use to clean your kettle.

Uses For Lemon Syrup

You can use lemon syrup for

  • Cakes – drizzled over the top while they’re still hot
  • Cocktails in place of a regular simple syrup (see consistency notes)
  • Lemonade – top it with sparkling water (see consistency notes)
  • Pancakes, French toast and waffles – drizzle a little straight over the top
  • Oatmeal and smoothies as a sweetener
  • In your water or iced tea – just a tiny bit will add lemon flavour and a slight sweetness
  • Yoghurt or ice cream – drizzled straight over the top (see consistency notes)
  • Gifting – lemon syrup keeps really well, so give it as a gift. You can use this cute printable gift tag.

How To Store Lemon Simple Syrup

Store the syrup in sterilised bottles, unopened for up to a month. Once opened, use it within a week.

Due to having such a high sugar content, it won’t freeze completely but storing it in the freezer will keep it good for much longer. Make sure not to overfill your jars though as liquid expands when freezing.

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A jar and bottle both filled with lemon syrup, sitting on a wooden board.


Such a great way to use up an overload of lemons, Lemon Simple Syrup is great kept in the fridge ready for a pancake brekky or given away to loved ones as a gorgeous homemade pressie.

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A jar and bottle both filled with lemon syrup, sitting on a wooden board.

Lemon Simple Syrup

4.8 from 5 votes
This Lemon Simple Syrup recipe is easy to make and bursting with tangy, lemon flavour. Just 2 ingredients and you can have fresh homemade lemon syrup for pancakes, cocktails, lemonade, for cake – the options are endless.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 lemons
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar

Instructions
 

  • Use a peeler to peel just the yellow part of the skin from one lemon, not the white part (notes).
  • Juice enough lemons to reach one cup of strained lemon juice.
  • Add the peel of one lemon, the one cup of lemon juice and the cup of sugar to a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring the mixture slowly to a boil, while stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Let it boil away, stirring only every now and then, until it starts to thicken and starts reducing (see notes for consistency) – it will vary depending on what you are using it for.
  • Strain the peel out of the syrup, then pour into sterilised bottles.

Notes

Equipment used: heavy based saucepan, Weck preserving jars
  1. The white part of the lemon peel is bitter, so try to leave that behind and only get the yellow part.
  2. You only need the peel of one lemon for this recipe but you can go ahead and zest all the lemons like this or with a microplane, then freeze the rest for use in other dishes (add to the cavity of roast chicken for instance or fine zest is lovely added to cakes).
  3. The lemon juice will keep for months stored in sterilised bottles, but once a bottle is opened, try to use it within a couple of weeks.
  4. For a lighter flavour, replace some of the lemon juice in the recipe with water, then continue as per the recipe.
  5. Consistency: Reduced by half is good for serving warm over desserts or at room temperature (where it will be the thickness of maple syrup). If you’ll be serving it with anything cold, just let the sugar dissolve then bubble for another 30 seconds or so. If it’s too thick it will become too firm once cool. You can thin the consistency after cooking if you need by adding a little water.  
  6. Don’t use this straight from the stove but it can be served warm or room temperature.
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A printable gift tag for lemon syrup.