If you have a recipe that calls for Golden Syrup and you don’t have it, there’s no need to rush to the store or special order it – this tutorial will show you how to make golden syrup right in your kitchen! Just 3 ingredients, 99% hands off, and it keeps for months!
What Is Golden Syrup?
Golden Syrup is something you may not have heard of unless you’re into British baking. But it’s an indispensable ingredient when it comes to making a number of traditional British recipes. And its versatility extends far beyond that (ideas on ways to use it below).
Golden syrup (also known as light treacle) is a thick amber-colored inverted sugar syrup comprised of sugar, water and citric acid. It has a deep caramelized, buttery flavor and has been a kitchen staple in Great Britain for over a century. It’s also popular in Australia and New Zealand.
You’ve probably see the the iconic green and gold cans of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. In 2006 it made history when it was entered into the Guinness World Book of Records for having the world’s oldest branding and packaging. The design and appearance of the cans have remained consistent for nearly 140 years.
This syrup is very thick (significantly thicker than corn syrup) and drizzles slowly. In more recent years Lyle’s has also made their product available in squeeze bottles for convenience to use at the table.
Golden Syrup vs. Corn Syrup – Are They The Same?
No. The ingredients, the process, the flavor and the texture are different.
Golden syrup is made from sugar whereas corn syrup is made from corn and they are made using different processes. Corn syrup (whether light or dark) isn’t as thick and basically tastes like thick sugar water, lacking any depth of flavor (many people, including myself, think its cloyingly, sickly sweet). In contrast, golden syrup is thicker and has very deep caramelized, buttery, and complex flavor notes.
There is no equivalent in the U.S. and substituting corn syrup will not yield the same flavor results.
How Do You Use Golden Syrup?
Golden syrup is very versatile and historically has been used in both sweet and savory applications though today it’s mostly used in baking and desserts. Anything that calls for corn syrup can be substituted with golden syrup for a far superior flavor. (As one example, try it in your next pecan pie to take it to a whole new and incredible flavor level!)
And it can be used as a substitute for any liquid sweetener.
Here are a few ways to use golden syrup:
- Cookies/Biscuits (ANZAC Biscuits from Australia/New Zealand are a famous and delicious example)
- Ice Cream & Sorbets
- Brandy Snaps
- Treacle Tart
- Treacle Pudding
- Cakes (English Parkin is a classic example)
- Butter Tarts
- Drizzled over pancakes, waffles, oatmeal and porridge
- Drizzled over fruit salads or yogurt
- In savory marinades for a touch of sweetness
- Used in place of simple syrup in drinks
- Baked Apples or Baked Pears
- ….and more!
How To Make Golden Syrup
Let’s get started!
This homemade golden syrup recipe is extremely easy to make using just 3 ingredients and is 99% hands off. This recipe makes about 20 ounces (about 3 cups) and don’t worry if you think that’s more than you’ll need for a while because this stuff keeps for several months at room temperature. But if you prefer you can also half this recipe.
Put the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir to combine, and bring to a boil, stirring regularly to prevent burning, and stir very gently to avoid splashing the liquid up the sides of the saucepan. Gently stir in the lemon juice.
Reduce the heat to a VERY low and gentle simmer (I use “3” on my induction cooktop). Leave the saucepan uncovered. DO NOT STIR the syrup again.
Let it gently simmer until it is a rich amber color. This will take upwards of an hour. Do not increase the heat to rush the process – caramelizing sugar is a low and slow process.
Once the syrup is a rich amber color turn off the heat, let it sit for a few minutes, then pour the hot syrup into a glass jar and let it cool completely before closing the jar with a secure lid.
Note: The syrup will be runny while it’s hot but will thicken as it cools.
Store your syrup at room temperature in an airtight glass jar with a sealable lid. It will keep for many months.
How To Make Golden Syrup
- 1 1/4 cups water (300 ml)
- 4 cups (800 g) cane sugar (for a deeper flavor you can substitute a little bit of brown sugar if desired but will need to use a digital thermometer *see Note)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (either fresh or bottled will work but fresh produces a better flavor)
- OR 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (instead of the lemon juice, but lemon juice produces a better and less bitter flavor)
- Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, stirring regularly to prevent burning until the sugar is dissolved. Stir very gently to prevent sugar water from splashing up the sides of the saucepan. Once boiling gently stir in the lemon juice or citric acid. Reduce the heat to a very low and gentle simmer (I use "3" on my induction cooktop but this will vary from cooktop to cooktop) Leave the saucepan uncovered. DO NOT STIR the syrup again. Let it simmer on very low for 40-60 minutes or longer until the sugar is a rich amber color. If you're using a thermometer the temperature should be about 240-250 degrees F.Note: If your syrup is too thick and stiff you can reheat it, adding a little bit of water. If your syrup is too runny then you need to let the syrup caramelize longer.
- Turn off the heat, let it sit for a few minutes, then pour the hot syrup into a glass jar and let it cool completely before closing the jar with tight sealing lid.Store your golden syrup at room temperature where it will keep for several months. This makes approximately 3 cups of golden syrup.
David Phillips says
A recipe that we love that uses syrup is Sticky Pudding.
In the bottom of a flat casserole dish add 2-3 tablespoons of syrup, and a tablespoon of quince paste (membrillo). Cover with Victoria sponge mix and bake. When the top looks ready, turn the heat down for 10 mins to make sure the middle is cooked. The syrup bubbles up through the cake mix, and is yummy!
Tips for serving syrup:
1. Heat a spoon over gas just just before you scoop the syrup – it will then slip of the spoon.
2. Pour from the tin, and use a knife to slice through the drizzle as it leaves the tin. Rotate to catch the drips.
Kimberly Killebrew says
That sounds yummy, David, I especially like the addition of the quince. Thanks for sharing!
I made this a few days ago and it turned out great, but I thought I might add a few comments for other rookies. I used a half cup of brown sugar, as suggested in the recipe. While I think it added nicely to the flavor, it was hard to tell when the syrup reached the correct “amber-ness” as I’d never made this before. I’d suggest making it once with plain white sugar to see how it works. Also, I had to reheat and add about 1/2 cup of water to thin it out after cooling. It looked right when it was hot, but it thickened up a LOT as it cooled! I used the syrup in my first ever batch of Anzac biscuits, which were also a success.
Kimberly Killebrew says
Thank you, Rick, I’m happy it was a success! Thanks also for the feedback, I’ve added a note to recipe about the increased need of using a digital thermometer if you’re using some brown sugar.