Homemade Chocolate Syrup


It is no secret that I am a big proponent of making things that many folks buy at the store. From the common (potato chips, bread, ice cream, laundry detergent) to the hard-or-impossible-to-find (furikake, candied jalapenos, game stock), home kitchen alchemy can do it if it’s worth having or doing. Sometimes my efforts earn me admiration, but just as often it gets me a resounding, “Why would you bother when you can easily buy this fill-in-the-blank at the store?” My motivation for this DIY spirit tends to vary with the project, but here, in no particular order, are a few reasons that pop up frequently.

  • To save money: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m cheap. I want to stretch every household dollar as far as it can reasonably go without breaking. Starting with basic ingredients prepared at home is almost assuredly gentler on your wallet than pre-fab food.
  • To make it taste better: I honestly believe that the best food is never, ever going to come from a box mix or a shelf-stable pre-made package. This is not to say I’m a food snob; I’ll eat just about anything you put in front of me. Food should sustain your body, yes, but it should also nourish your soul, so if I’m the one slinging grub, I’m going to make it the best grub I can possibly sling.
  • To make it better for you: Soup made at home is, unless you’re very heavy handed, certain to contain less sodium than the canned or frozen variety. You can opt to make foods with healthier ingredients (for example olive oil vs. vegetable oil, butter vs. shortening, etc…)
  • To avoid certain ingredients: Thankfully, my husband, children and self are free of food allergies, but there are still certain preservatives and ingredients that I choose not to serve to us. Making our own food from scratch is a much easier way to accomplish that than obsessively reading labels.
  • To know the source of the item: This is not a star-bellied sneetch issue; I don’t care whether something has stars on thars. The problem is that there have been some real problems in the recent past with food, household, or health and beauty items that did not meet safety standards. Besides, why pay for something to come from overseas when I can make it here at home, saving goodness-knows-how-much fuel and/or energy for better purposes?
  • To prove that I can do it: It’s that pioneer spirit, that sisu, that I-don’t-know-what. It’s the same reason my dad put on his winter kit and walked around the house three times after the meteorologist said that the weather was too bad for anyone to be outside. We do this because we are capable and we are not intimidated. If a machine can make it, I darned well better be able to make it, too. (This is where we pound our chests and do warrior cries, folks.)

Chocolate syrup is a big deal around here. Chocolate syrup is stirred into cold milk for chocolate milk, hot milk for hot chocolate, blended into smoothies, squirted on ice cream, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, pound cake,  and –when I’m not looking- directly into mouths. We consume it in vast quantities. A couple years back, I got tired of actively ignoring the ingredient lists (the major brands all have high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavouring, food dyes, and other things on my no-no- list) and paying through the nose for the privilege. A little experimentation yielded a vastly superior in taste, higher quality, far less expensive chocolate syrup that was simple to make and required nothing more exotic than Dutch-processed cocoa powder.

I played around with the classic Alton Brown cocoa syrup recipe and found that our crew greatly preferred it made with raw sugar because of the light caramel undertones it delivers and the added richness. Honestly. How could rich + chocolate go wrong? I make at least one batch (sometimes more if the hot chocolate consumption is especially high around these parts) of this good stuff a month.

Bonuses: If you are looking for fat-free, this recipe is for you! If you’re not looking for fat-free, I suggest making it anyway. This chocolate syrup is mighty good. This syrup can be made with honey if you have corn allergies or aversions chez you.  Try finding a chocolate syrup at the store that is corn syrup free for this price!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This simple homemade DIY chocolate syrup delivers a mega punch of deep, dark, and chocolatey flavour for drizzling on ice cream, stirring into milk, blending into Coffee Milkshakes , or whatever else your chocolate-loving heart desires.
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 3 cups raw sugar
  • 1 ½ cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract (preferably homemade)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup or mild honey
  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium-to-large saucepan (this will expand as it boils in later stages of the recipe), stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until the cocoa powder is also dissolved. Return to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-8 minutes. You do not want to boil it until it is very thick, as it will become even more viscous as it cools.
  3. Pour the hot syrup through a fine mesh strainer and let cool to room temperature before transferring into squeeze bottles.
Notes: Dutch-processed cocoa powder is used here because it dissolves more easily in liquids than common (a.k.a. natural) cocoa powder; No matter what its other benefits, a homemade chocolate syrup that is gritty isn’t what we want. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is generally easy to find in grocery stores with well-stocked baking sections and in bulk food stores. I use raw sugar in this recipe because I like the added depth of flavour and touch of caramel it contributes. If you cannot find it easily (it is also sold under the names turbinado, sugar-in-the-raw, and demerara) you can substitute white granulated sugar for it. You can get squeeze bottles at big box stores or in the kitchen notions sections of grocery stores. If you use an opaque ketchup or mustard bottle to store your syrup, remember to label it so you don’t forget what’s in there at an inopportune moment. While chocolate syrup is good on many things, hot dogs and hamburgers are not among them.


  1. Tara says

    I don’t have the time/energy to make everything from scratch (not even close), but this is definitely something I can see being worth it. Thanks so much!

  2. TiffH says

    Love it. I’m going to have to give this a try, now for some dutch-processed cocoa powder, I seriously doubt I can get that local, gonna have to look online or traverse into the city.

  3. says

    hi foodie with family, first time here from networkblog. great site. love the chocolate drink, looks very delicious. i now have found the right place to try out making chocolate recipe. thanks
    glad i blog walk to your site.. hi, i am Wan, from malaysia, do visit my blog , would love to read a comment from you too. have a nice day

  4. says

    I make this all the time, and I always use raw sugar because, well, I always use raw sugar unless I’m making something that requires superfine. I just like it. I took a quart of this camping, and when our friends at the adjacent campsites got wind of the homemade chocolate syrup, everybody had to have some. Thirty-five kids and seven adults pretty much killed it.

  5. Miranda says

    Thank you! I too have been trying to ignore the yucky ingredients in the store bought ones, but this sounds so much better.

    How long does it keep?

  6. Deja says

    I could not wait to try this and had a container of “Special Dark” cocoa powder. A mix of regular and dutch process. It worked great. My kids LOVE it and insisted on warm syrup on top of vanilla ice cream immediately!

  7. says

    My son asks for chocolate milk all the time but I can’t fathom buying the store bought stuff. This looks perfect!! I’ll suprise him with some chocolate milk when he gets home from school tomorrow! Thanks!

  8. jennifer says

    i have been looking for things i can make for christmas gifts. i thought this looked like a great idea. i was wondering if you had an idea of how long it will keep? does it need to be kept in the refrigerator?
    i can’t wait to try some myself!

  9. Janean Woods says

    I’m with Jennifer. I am wondering how long this would last and does it have to be refrigerated? I’d love to use as gifts!

  10. Amy says

    I wonder what I did wrong – the first time I made this (used turbinado sugar), it was PERFECT. Heavenly and wonderful. The second time I made it (gave half of it for a gift at Christmas without tasting it – my obviously stupid and bad choice – and regretted it later), I used demerara sugar (which I thought was just a different name for the same kind of sugar) and the syrup came out with big chunks/crystals in it. I thought it must have been melted by being boiled gently for 5-8 minutes as it was the first time around, but maybe not? Sigh. Well, I’ll just have to try again – I’m not quitting on this stuff, it’s too good! SO thanks for the divine recipe and I’ll try to avoid biffing it up again in the future!

      • Amy says

        Pretty sure it was operators error on my part! I’ll try again as soon as I use this up (oh yeah, I’m still eating it! Even made wrong and kind of chunky your recipe is still better than that nasty store bought stuff!)

  11. Dali la says

    OMG! This is so so good! Thank you! I was wondering if it needs to be refrigerated and how long does it keep?
    Thanks again!

    • says

      I’m so glad you like it! Yes, you probably should refrigerate it. It keeps for about a month in a tightly lidded container in the refrigerator, but we seldom have the chance to test that since it is hoovered so quickly by my family!

  12. Teresa says

    Hi, I am new to your blog and just love it so much. I am going to make this syrup this week and am wondering if you can eliminate the corn syrup and/or mild honey. I do not like the taste of either and wonder if it will change the consistency a lot or if I can just eliminate it. Would you know? Thanks so much.


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