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

Basil Simple Syrup

Basil Simple Syrup
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:

Basil Simple Syrup in Saucepan
Combine 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water, and 1/2 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.

Basil Simple Syrup in Jar
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:

Uses for Basil Simple Syrup

  • 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!


I bought a mint plant that’s supposedly the “official” mint used to make an authentic Kentucky mint julep. 🙂 I can’t wait until it’s big enough to try it!

That’s why I hate buying herbs at the grocery store–it’s so expensive and you only need a little bit and unless you have other recipes planned with them, the leftovers just go to waste. Grumble! But basil and mint both make really good syrup. I think I might experiment with a rosemary one for lemonade too…

Mmmmmm,.. We have basil growing in our garden right now. I really want to try this but our plant is so small, yet! Maybe further in the summer, I’ll be able to use this recipe. 😀

I had problems with my seeds, so while I wait for a new batch to get started, I cheated and bought some transplants from HerbFest. So I am going to have a TON of basil this summer…

First off, your blog looks terrific! I had no idea that you changed your name. Second, the basil syrup looks delicious. Basil is by far my favorite herb. I love the idea of keeping it in the fridge and using it as needed.

My friend’s make this and we have grapefruit basil martini’s. YUM! Fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, vodka, basil simple syrup and a basil leaf…….we are the happiest people around!

Kiersten, I made this yesterday and it’s divine! I had seen the recipe before on your blog and thought that I’d like to try it but delayed it. Last weekend I went to a café and they served homemade basil lemonade. I loved it and thought about your recipe. So last night I made it and it’s so much better than the one I had on the weekend 🙂 I used one cup of basil (but very tightly packed into the cup), 1 1/2 cups of water and 2 cups of golden caster sugar. It’s sweet enough for me and I had it with sparkling water – mmmmhhhh. Will try with iced tea and fruit this weekend. Thank you!

I’m so glad you liked it–thanks for letting me know! I’m going to have to try making my next batch of basil lemonade with sparkling water–that sounds perfect!

I tasted the syrup with seltzer water and loved it. It wasn’t as strong a flavor so I’m glad to see ,from another article, you can let the basil infuse for as much as an hour. I was wondering if overnight might make it bitter. I noticed that you boiled the basil along with the syrup. I bet that makes it stronger in flavor too. I’ll try that next time. Thanks for the info.

Hi! Just wondering roughly how much this makes? I’m looking to add this to some lemonade for a lovely drink and just wanted to know if this would be enough for me 🙂

Best wishes,

At the local Hard Rock they have a Strawberry Basil Lemonade that is DELICIOUS. You can substitute mint which my boyfriend prefers but I really do love it with basil more.

It sounds interesting. I have been looking into making my own syrup as I am watching my sugar intake. Can basil syrup be used for baking bread?

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