This cheerfully bright and sweet Orange Simple Syrup is a flavorful addition that’ll add zippy flavor to everything from cocktails and coffee to breakfast and dessert. Best of all, this DIY simple syrup is made with just 3 ingredients and 5 minutes of active time. Simple, indeed!
About This Recipe
If you’re looking for a tasty way to add citrus flavor to your favorite recipes, you can stop your scrolling. This orange-infused simple syrup is:
- Quick & Easy - All you need is a saucepan, a stovetop, and 5 minutes of active time to make this sunshiny sweetener.
- Made With Only 3 Ingredients - All you need is sugar, water, and a piece of fruit. Orange you glad you stumbled on this easy recipe? 🤓
- Versatile - Whether you add a splash to your favorite cocktails (hi, Hot Toddy, Gin Sour & Margarita), use it to sweeten your coffee or tea, add moisture to your layer cakes, or give flavor to your breakfast, one thing is certain: if you make this orange simple syrup recipe, you’ll have LOTS of ways to use it up.
- Endlessly Customizable - Add extra pizzazz by infusing your simple orange syrup with herbs, spices, and edible flowers. Your imagination is the limit!
Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, this orange homemade syrup recipe requires just 3 ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Orange - Any type of orange will work well here, but make sure it’s nice and fresh. Since we’re using both the zest and the juice, I also recommend washing it thoroughly and opting for organic fruit to avoid exposure to pesticides.
- Granulated Sugar - Plain white sugar is the most neutral-flavored sweetener around. Feel free to swap in light or dark brown sugar, unrefined sugars like demerara, turbinado, or grated jaggery or piloncillo for more of a molasses undertone. You can also swap in your favorite liquid sweetener here, including but not limited to honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar.
- Water - If possible, try to grab filtered water for the clearest, cleanest, and brightest citrus taste.
Making this orange simple syrup (or really any infused or flavored simple syrups) is a snap. All you need are basic kitchen tools. Here’s what I suggest you grab:
- Saucepan - Every kitchen needs a saucepan. If possible, splurge a little bit for one with a heavy bottom — it’ll last much longer than cheap versions and will also help to minimize the chance of scorching.
- Mesh Strainer - You’re welcome to fish out the zest peels using a slotted spoon if you prefer, but placing the mesh strainer over the funnel leading into your squeeze bottle is the quickest, most direct method I’ve tried.
- Squeeze Bottle & Funnel - These are optional, but they are the easiest way I know how to store simple syrup without making a sticky mess of your fridge. The squeeze bottle also makes it easy to measure exactly what you need. You’re also welcome to use a mason jar, delitainer, or any other container with a tight-fitting lid.
How To Make Orange Simple Syrup
Homemade simple syrup couldn’t be easier to make, and this orange syrup is no different. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Mix Sugar & Water. Pour your equal parts water and sugar into a small saucepan and heat on medium heat. Cook, stirring the mixture until your sugar has completely dissolved.
Step 2: Add Flavor. Add orange juice and peel (or orange zest) and continue heating at a simmer for 5 minutes before removing from heat.
Step 3: Infuse. Allow syrup to infuse for half an hour as the simple syrup cools completely. There’s nothing to be done here except wait!
Step 4: Strain syrup into an airtight container and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it for cocktail recipes, cold drinks, salad dressing and cake layers to add a bright orange flavor!
When you make your own simple syrup at home, anything goes! Feel free to get as creative as you like to make a cocktail and coffee sweetener worth writing home about. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Consider Add-Ins. Pretty much anything that is edible and aromatic can be infused into simple syrup. Here are some of my favorite things to pair with orange:
- Cinnamon Stick, Cloves, and/or Star Anise - Spiced orange syrup sounds like a heavenly match with whisky. 🤷♀️
- Orange Blossom Water - For a more complex orange flavor that borders on floral.
- Jasmine - Another floral flavor that pairs well with everyone’s favorite citrus.
- Try An Alternate Citrus. Blood oranges, Lime, lemon, tangelo, mandarin, pomelo, and grapefruit simple syrup can all be made using the same method. And don’t forget blood orange simple syrup for a punch of bright color!
- Zest first, then juice. If you try doing it in the opposite order, you’re bound to get sticky.
- Zest only the bright orange parts of the peel. Once you get to the white pith, you’re in the bitter territory. After making the simple syrup, you can use the orange peels as a garnish for the cocktail of your choice if you'd like!
- To get the most juice from your fruit, give it a quick 10-second zap in the microwave, then roll it firmly on the counter for about 10-15 seconds before slicing it open.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eventually, this orange simple syrup will grow mold and go bad. However, because of their high level of sugar, most simple syrups will last in the fridge for at least a month as sugar is a natural preservative. Please note that a rich syrup (that is, made with double the sugar) will last for even longer. You’re also welcome to add about an ounce of vodka to the syrup to inhibit bacterial growth.
Yes! You’re also welcome to freeze any simple syrup to extend its shelf life to around 6 months.
I find that using a squeeze bottle with a cap is easily the best way to store simple syrup. That way, you can grab it from the fridge whenever you need a splash of flavor and direct it to wherever you’re using it with minimal spilling.
Sure! If you are watching your sugar intake, simply swap in your favorite sugar alternative. I don’t use them much, but research seems to indicate that any cup-for-cup sugar alternative should do a good job of dissolving into the water. Note that storage times may vary for non-sugar-based simple syrups.
More Simple Syrup & Sauce Recipes
As always, I love seeing your creations and hearing from you! If you try this DIY Orange Simple Syrup recipe, please share your creation with me on social media! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest - for more delicious recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
Orange Simple Syrup
- 1 cup (240 g) Water
- 1 cup (200 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 Orange, peeled/zested and juiced
- Pour your measured water and sugar into a saucepan and heat on medium1 cup Water, 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- Cook, stirring the mixture until your sugar has completely dissolved.
- Add sliced orange peel and orange juice from one orange and continue heating for 30 seconds before removing from heat1 Orange
- Allow syrup to infuse for half an hour as the simple syrup cools completely
- Strain syrup into an airtight container and store in the fridge
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