Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Cover your ice cream and mix up your morning coffee with the BEST chocolate syrup recipe! This homemade syrup is made with five simple ingredients and no dairy or corn syrup. It is ready to use in just a few minutes!

glass jar with stars along the rim filled with dark brown chocolate syrup with a gold spoon inside and drips running down the jar

Best Chocolate Syrup recipe

We all scream for ice cream! But don’t we all scream for ice cream with lots of toppings?

My go-to ice cream sundae includes peanut butter ice cream with chocolate syrup for an extra punch of chocolate flavor.

Like me, you probably grew up on the kind that came in the convenient squeeze bottle. But did you know you can make it yourself? Instant game changer!

Chocolate syrup is so easy to make from scratch at home. But the best part? It is SO easy to make at home.

I also love using it for chocolate milk, mixing it into my morning coffee or using it in cocktails like this s’mores cocktail or a boozy milkshake.

Why you’ll love this recipe

You are going to fall in love with making your own chocolate syrup. Here’s why:

  • Homemade chocolate syrup comes together in just a few minutes with only 5 ingredients. It is quick and easy!
  • None of those five ingredients are corn syrup or artificial flavors, so you can feel good about knowing what’s in your food.
  • It has so many uses: ice cream, chocolate milk, cocktails, desserts and more.

I can’t wait to hear how you use it. Head to the bottom of this post and leave a comment, will you?

a s'mores cocktail with chocolate syrup on the rim

What is chocolate syrup?

Chocolate syrup is a sweet condiment made with sugar or corn syrup and unsweetened cocoa powder.

It is most often marketed as a dessert or ice cream topping, but it has tons of other uses, including for mixing into chocolate milk, hot chocolate, coffee drinks and cocktails.

Hershey’s is the most famous chocolate syrup brand, but let me tell you that this recipe here is even better.

Chocolate syrup vs. chocolate sauce

While chocolate syrup and chocolate sauce (AKA fudge sauce) are both chocolate-flavored toppings for ice cream, there are some key differences.

Fudge sauce has a thicker consistency. It is usually made from butter, real chocolate, cream, sugar and vanilla flavoring. It is most often drizzled over sweets, like red wine brownies or vanilla ice cream.

This homemade mocha fudge sauce has a hint of coffee flavor that is so divine!

On the other hand, chocolate syrup is runnier than fudge sauce. Its recipe includes sugar, water, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.

Chocolate syrup is also used for topping ice creams and desserts, but it also works well in beverages. It can be stirred into milk to make chocolate milk, added to coffee drinks to give them a mocha flavor or used to garnish cocktails and glassware.

Below I have the ultimate recipe for chocolate syrup that is made with natural ingredients and has the most authentic taste.

overhead shot of copper measuring cups filled with cocoa powder and sugar, a glass measuring cup of water, a bottle of Trader Joe's vanilla extract and a white ceramic bowl of salt

Ingredients

This rich chocolate syrup is made with a handful of basic ingredients. You probably have them all in your pantry right now!

Sugar

Store-bought Hershey’s chocolate syrup is made with high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and sugar.

My homemade version is much simpler, requiring just sugar and no artificial sweeteners. And it is SO much better than Hershey’s syrup!

It’s essentially a chocolate simple syrup that combines cocoa powder with homemade simple syrup. The sugar is what gives it its creamy texture.

You can use granulated sugar or cane sugar. It is okay to use brown sugar too.

Water

Even though chocolate has the leading role in this recipe, the type of water you use does make a difference.

If your tap water is safe to drink, tap water will work fine. However, filtered or distilled water will yield even purer results.

chocolate syrup being poured into a glass jar with a gold spoon laying to the left

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder is what brings the natural flavor of chocolate to this syrup recipe.

You will want to use unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. Though it is a powder, it is not the same as the sweet powder used to make hot chocolate.

Find natural cocoa powder in the baking aisle of the grocery store. What you are looking for is “100% Cacao” or “100% Cocoa” on the label. (The spelling differs depending on the brand — “cacao” refers to the name of the bean that chocolate comes from.) Organic cocoa powder is okay to use too.

There are a number of brands out there. Hershey’s Cocoa Powder and Nestlé Toll House Cocoa are pretty common and available at most grocery stores.

If you want a more decadent chocolate flavor, a high-quality brand will make a big difference. Try Guittard Cocoa Rouge, Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder or King Arthur Black Cocoa Powder. You can even use dark cocoa powder to make dark chocolate syrups.

Whatever you get, make sure it is unsweetened!

I recommend sifting the cocoa powder with a fine-mesh strainer to avoid lumps in the finished syrup.

Vanilla extract

Common in many baking recipes, most people have vanilla extract on hand in their pantries. My go-to is Nielsen-Massey’s vanilla extract, but any brand will work well.

You can also use vanilla paste or imitation vanilla in this recipe if you prefer.

Sea salt

A pinch of sea salt helps to balance the bitter chocolate and sweet sugar. You won’t notice that it’s salted — promise!

You can also use a pinch of kosher salt but I’d stay away from table salt here.

reese's cups on a white background with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Whiskey Milkshake

How to make chocolate syrup

Making this delicious chocolate syrup is SO easy! You will never go back to buying it again — trust me!

First, go ahead and sift your cocoa powder to get out all the lumps. This makes a big difference!

In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt until combined. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.

Let cool completely to room temperature.

Store in a glass bottle, mason jar or other airtight, food-safe container in the fridge for up to two months.

spoon drizzling thick chocolate syrup into glass jar

Variations and substitutions

Sugar-free chocolate syrup: You can easily make this recipe sugar-free by using your favorite sugar substitute. Check out this recipe for sugar-free syrup for more info.

Mocha syrup: Instead of 1 cup water, use ½ cup coffee and ½ cup water OR 1 cup coffee for a delightful coffee flavor.

Dark chocolate syrup: Use dark cocoa powder to make a dark version of this syrup. I wouldn’t recommend cutting down on the sugar content because sugar acts as a preservative. Instead, stir in more cocoa powder 1 tablespoon at a time.

Mexican chocolate syrup: Add ½ teaspoon cinnamon to your chocolate sauce to give it a lovely spiced flavor.

Peanut butter chocolate syrup: Stir in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter while the mixture is still warm. Stir until it melts.

Boozy chocolate syrup: Stir in 1 ounce of coffee liqueur such as Kahlua for an alcoholic kick.

Mint chocolate syrup: Add ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract instead of the vanilla. Or infuse about 10 fresh mint leaves with the mixture after removing it from the heat. Let cool completely and discard the mint leaves before storing. See this mint syrup for more details on using fresh mint.

closeup of milk being poured into a glass with homemade chocolate syrup with a jar of chocolate sauce in background

Uses for chocolate syrup

Chocolate syrup has so many uses! Here are my top picks:

The most obvious is to spoon it over your favorite ice cream. I recommend adding bourbon caramel sauce and some homemade sprinkles. Maybe some whipped cream too? Go crazy.

You can use this homemade sauce to make the BEST chocolate milk ever. Add 1-2 tablespoons to a glass and top with cold milk. Then stir until dissolved.

Add it to your morning coffee or espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos to give it a mocha flavor. This copycat java chip frappuccino is one of my faves, as is this dark chocolate peppermint mocha.

Mix it into or drizzle it on top of a milkshake. This double chocolate s’mores milkshake would be perfect, as would this boozy peanut butter chocolate milkshake.

This is a cocktail site, so I’d be remiss not to mention a few cocktails. Guinness floats are so much fun, as is this chocolate mint julep.

And of course it works so well with desserts! Use it as a dipping sauce for churros or drizzle it over chocolate cakes.

What about breakfast? You could even drizzle this over chocolate chip pancakes or waffles. Or chocolate pancakes!

glass jar with stars along the rim filled with dark brown chocolate syrup with a gold spoon inside and drips running down the jar

FAQ

How long does homemade chocolate syrup last?

Because chocolate syrup doesn’t have any dairy products, unlike hot fudge sauce, it can keep in the fridge for about two months.

Store it in a glass jar or other airtight, food-safe container.

What is the difference between chocolate sauce and chocolate syrup?

Chocolate sauce is made with melted chocolate, whereas chocolate syrup is made with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Chocolate sauce usually contains dairy products, including butter and heavy cream, while chocolate syrup is made with water.

Both are sweetened with sugar, flavored with vanilla and used for ice cream toppings. Chocolate sauce is the better choice for making chocolate milk, mocha drinks and cocktails.

What is chocolate syrup made of?

Though store-bought brands contain corn syrup, homemade chocolate syrup can be made without it. It contains sugar, water, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Is chocolate syrup vegan?

Yes! This recipe does not contain any dairy or animal products. Store-bought recipes

a s'mores old-fashioned on a wooden board

More syrup recipes

glass jar with stars along the rim filled with dark brown chocolate syrup with a gold spoon inside and drips running down the jar

Chocolate Syrup

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Homemade Chocolate Syrup is easy to make with just 5 ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt until combined. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Let cool completely and store in an airtight, food-safe container such as a mason jar.

Notes

Be sure to sift the cocoa powder to avoid lumpy syrup.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 ounce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

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