Vanilla Syrup: Just like the Starbucks vanilla syrup, this homemade version is the perfect sweetener for cold brew, iced coffee, and iced lattes!
I feel like I’m spiraling down into a coffee abyss this summer. And it’s not like that’s a bad thing! It’s just that I recently made a whole bunch of different coffee syrups and I’m having trouble choosing which to add to my morning iced lattes and cold brews.
Decisions decisions! Don’t make me make decisions! I’m truly an awful decision maker.
Seriously, give me a menu in a restaurant with 5 choices and I’m much better off deciding on a meal from a menu with 25 choices.
Given that, I’m totally the person who cruises the Starbucks drive-thru in the mornings and order the same.exact.drink every.single.time. I’m not even kidding.
It’s just that it requires too much brain power in the morning for me to have that internal discussion about what another drink might taste like. And heaven forbid, WHAT IF I DIDN’T LIKE IT?!
That would be a complete waste of big bucks! So I default to my usual: a vanilla latte. Hot in the winter; iced in the summer. I’m pretty easy when it comes to this one thing in my life.
Making Homemade Coffee Syrup to Save Money
I recently shared my favorite way to make that $5+ iced latte at home with you and I’m back to add another coffee syrup to the list of must-makes for your iced lattes, cold brew, and ice coffee. We ARE fully entrenched in cold coffee drinking season after all!
And since I’m working at home on the blog full-time now, I desperately needed to find a substitute for my Starbucks vanilla lattes. Because: no more drive-thru morning coffee runs! Well folks, this homemade vanilla syrup is exactly what I need in my life right now.
While my cinnamon dolce syrup, my blackberry vanilla, and my toasted coconut syrup were extraordinary measures in taking a risk on new flavors (they’re all AMAZING by the way!), I still needed to come back to my roots with this vanilla coffee syrup.
I’ve been making it for, oh gosh, 7 or 8 years now? And now that I perfected how to make my iced lattes at home, I’m well on my way to never looking back on buying overpriced lattes.
Say hello to my homemade iced vanilla latte AND my homemade hot vanilla latte! That’s kind of a liberating feeling, isn’t it?!
Vanilla Syrup for Hot Lattes Too!
As you can imagine, this syrup isn’t relegated for just cold drinks. It works perfectly in hot coffee and lattes too. In fact, this was the first syrup I used when I started making my hot lattes at home.
Just like with an iced drink, this blends seamlessly into hot drinks too. So no more tapping the bottom of your mug to get the sugar to dissolve!
How to Make Vanilla Syrup for Coffee
The process to make vanilla syrup at home could not be any easier. Here are the kitchen tools and ingredients you’ll need:
- a 1-quart sauce pan
- a small funnel (optional but useful and highly recommended to reduce messes)
- a silicone spatula
- a glass bottle or jar with an airtight lid
- 1 ½ cup of granulated/white sugar (if you have vanilla sugar, use that!)
- 1 ½ cup of water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 or 2 vanilla beans pods, sliced open and seeds scraped out
And all you need to do to make vanilla bean syrup for your coffee drinks is bring the sugar and water to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the vanilla, and drop in the vanilla bean seeds and the scraped pods. Mix it up a bit to distribute the seeds.
Let the mix cool slightly and then transfer the syrup to the glass bottle or jar (the funnel and spatula help with this) along with the bean pods.
The syrup will keep in the fridge for a few weeks (mine lasts closer to a month).
But Wait. Isn’t this Just a Simple Syrup?
Why yes, yes it is. That’s the brilliance behind these coffee syrup recipes! Simple syrup is made with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. And then you can add other ingredients and let them steep in the syrup to flavor it.
Here’s how I’ve made other flavored simple syrup recipes:
For my toasted coconut syrup, I let the toasted coconut steep in the simple syrup for 30 minutes. The coconut flavor infused into the syrup and left a toasty and delicious liquid sweetener.
For my cinnamon dolce syrup, I simply dropped 2 cinnamon sticks into the syrup, let them steep away, and then added a little vanilla. The cinnamon did wonders to flavor that syrup and made it taste like a cinnamon roll!
For my blackberry vanilla syrup, I smashed up some blackberries and cooked them in a simple syrup and then let them steep to extract their flavor. Then I strained them out and cooked the syrup down to a thick consistency. Oh boy! This fruity syrup is just delicious in iced coffee!
I also made a rosemary simple syrup for my mistletoe kiss Christmas cocktail by tossing a fresh rosemary sprig into the hot simple syrup. This gave the syrup an earthy herb flavor that paired so perfectly with the lemon juice in that cocktail.
So the beauty of this vanilla syrup is that with a basic ratio of sugar to water, you can easily reduce or increase the recipe as it fits your needs. If you can remember the ratio of 1:1:2 (sugar to water to vanilla beans), it’s simple to scale the recipe up or down!
Could that BE any easier?!
Homemade Vanilla Syrup
Homemade vanilla syrup is the perfect sweetener for cold brew, iced coffee, and iced lattes. It's like the Starbucks vanilla syrup and since you can make it at home in about 10 minutes, there's no reason to spend the big bucks on store-bought coffee anymore!
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 vanilla bean pods, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
- Add the sugar and water to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar as the water heats.
- Boil for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the vanilla extract, vanilla seeds and the scraped pods to the pot. Let the syrup cool for a few minutes and then transfer it to a 16 oz (or larger) glass bottle or jar. The syrup will seem thin but it will thicken as it cools.
Add a couple tablespoons of the syrup to your favorite coffee drink (hot or cold) or to ice tea, lemonade or cocktails. You can also brush this onto warm yellow cakes or cupcakes to give them a little flavor boost and to add additional moisture.
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Unfortunately vanilla beans are so expensive right now. I’m using the ones I just bought to make bourbon vanilla extract. But I will save the recipe!
Yes, vanilla beans definitely are a luxury item these days. I’m not sure how you buy them but they are cheaper when purchased in bulk (Amazon is a great resource for bulk vanilla beans). And once your extract is finished, you can definitely use the bean pods from the extract to help flavor this syrup.
If you want to make it sugar free, use monk fruit sugar. It’s the same ratio as regular sugar. I found it at Costco and I use it for everything. Win win!
Great suggestion, Netty! Thank you!