Homemade Vanilla Syrup for Pancakes or Milkshakes

A couple of years ago I was rockin’ my ratty yoga pants on a Saturday morning. I was feeling so darn accomplished for being coherent enough (aka fully caffeinated) at 7 a.m. to make pancakes for my children.

Let’s face it, Saturday morning cartoons were not created for kids. They were created so parents could sleep in past 7 a.m. So, anyway, I’m up and mixing the pancake batter when I realize we don’t have any pancake syrup. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Well. That was a major downer.

vanilla syrup title shot

They say necessity is the mother of invention. In my case, necessity is the mother of “Google it.” So, I pulled up a bunch of recipes and realized that most syrup recipes are brown sugar based. I had brown sugar! We were back on track, baby!

Now, the recipe I found was for maple syrup. Helloooo – I did not have any reason to have maple extract in my cupboard.  So, I improvised. I used vanilla extract. And they all lived happily ever after. Seriously though, the syrup was delicious and decadent.

stack of pancake syrup
The easy homemade syrup recipe involves 5 ingredients: brown sugar, water, salt, vanilla extract and butter. It takes maybe 5 to 6 minutes to make. Now, keep in mind that hot-off-the-stove, the syrup is going to be really runny – that’s what you’re seeing in these pictures. Still tastes AMAZING though! It becomes thicker as it cools. I store the leftovers in a container in the fridge. I don’t know how long it should last, but ours doesn’t last more than a few weeks before we eat it all. 🙂

pancake stack on a plate

I keep meaning to try the recipe with maple extract, but it’s two years later and that still hasn’t happened. I’m sure it would rock our already happy tastebuds though. Making syrup is so easy and it doesn’t have any chemicals or preservatives in it – you won’t want to go back to the store-bought stuff!

Here’s the original recipe:

My version:

1 1/2 c. brown sugar (packed)
3/4 c. water
1 tbsp. butter
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla flavoring (really, I’ve never measured this – just a quick “glug” works fine)

Mix brown sugar, water, butter and salt in saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in maple flavoring. Serve warm. Enjoy! Store any leftover syrup in the fridge. (Keep in mind that as the syrup cools, it will thicken. In the refrigerator, the syrup may develop a hard layer on top from the sugar. It melts back in if you heat the syrup back up.)

P.S. In case you are wondering, I make pancakes using the recipe from the old, orange Betty Crocker Cookbook. It doesn’t have a date on it, but it was my Grandma’s, so it’s pretty old. 1950s or 60s maybe?

Other Uses for Vanilla Syrup

This might also be usual for as a:

  • vanilla syrup for milkshakes
  • vanilla flavoring for milk
  • addition to a strawberry syrup milkshake for synergy in flavoring

Thanks for reading today! Here are some other posts you might enjoy!

Whiskey Cake

Vanilla Coconut Cashews and Almonds

Vanilla Glazed Banana Muffins

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