How to make rose syrup at home? This article is for all of you who love using edible flowers in your kitchen. This is an easy recipe for homemade rose syrup using fresh, edible rose petals or dried, edible roses.
Previously published in 2014. Republished with updated content 2023.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Table of contents
- What is Rose Syrup?
- How to Make Rose Syrup?
- What is the difference between Rose Syrup and Rose Water
- How to Use Rose Syrup?
- How to Store Homemade Rose Syrup?
- Sterilising Jars/Bottles for Storing Rose Syrup
What is Rose Syrup?
Rose Syrup is a cordial that’s flavoured with the aroma of roses. It’s basically simple sugar syrup plus roses and is red in its concentrated form, and pink in colour when mixed with milk. It’s sweet and has a strong, musky and floral aroma.
While autumn is my favourite season, I adore summertime for the bounty it throws my way. And using homegrown, organic flowers in the kitchen is one of the greatest delights of growing your own.
My kids love rose syrup, as I did, growing up in Singapore. We drink it, we cook with it and we use it as a drizzle on our desserts and ice cream.
I love making my own, because that way, I know it’s free of unnecessary preservatives. The only concession I make is the use of food colouring. But these days, natural food colours are pretty easy to come by, if that’s what you prefer.
How to Make Rose Syrup?
Making rose syrup at home is a very, very easy process. There is the super easy way, and the “proper” way with real roses, as in today’s recipe.
You can make rose syrup in 2 different ways:
1. Using edible rose petals, fresh or dried. This can also be labelled as food grade roses.
2. Or using rose water, which I call my cheat’s rose syrup. This, if truth be told, is so much easier and you don’t have to source out edible roses. This is how I make my rose syrup more often than not. Click here for this method.
This article and recipe is about making rose syrup the traditional way, using fresh, edible rose petals, or the dried ones. Because I know many of you love to use edible flowers in the kitchen.
All we do is:
- Simmer the rose petals and sugar.
- Add lemon juice, stir in colour, then leave to cool.
- Strain and enjoy!
Should you boil or simmer your syrup? You definitely want to simmer it to retain as much of the aroma as possible.
What is the difference between Rose Syrup and Rose Water
Both are made with steeping rose petals in water. However,
- rose syrup is made with added sugar and is a cordial. Rose Syrup is sweet.
- rose water is made without sugar, and is used for its aroma, rather than its taste. Rose water is rather bland tasting.
Whether making “real” rose syrup or the cheat’s version, you need very, very few ingredients for it.
To make rose syrup with real roses, you need:
- rose petals (fresh or dried)
- white sugar
- lemon juice
- concentrated red food colour (not pink food colour)
- optional rose water (only if your rose syrup is not strong enough in aroma)
Fresh Roses or Dried Rose Petals?
You can use either. Fresh roses will give you a lighter, more floral fragrance, while dried roses will give you a muskier rose syrup. If using fresh roses, you want to get the ones that have a strong fragrance. This will make the difference between needing the rose water or not.
Whichever you’re using, be sure to buy your roses from a reputable seller, ensuring that they are labelled as edible. Or food grade. This is so your roses are pesticide free and fit for consumption.
When my kids were little, I had roses growing in one corner of the back garden that were grown organically, using only natural sprays to ward off bugs and disease. The red roses answered to a higher calling every summer and went into making our homemade rose syrup!
These days, I live on a slightly busy street, and my roses are all in the front garden. So I just go online when I run a class on how to make rose syrup with real roses or rose petal jam.
What colour rose is best for homemade rose syrup? You want a deep, dark red. But if you really, really can’t get red ones, any fragrant rose will do, then just colour it, which we will be doing anyway.
Can you use Dried Rose Buds?
Yes, absolutely. Use the same amount of rose buds as you would petals.
Dried rose buds are usually slightly more floral and stronger in aroma, which is a good thing.
Sugar in Homemade Rose Syrup
Do you use white sugar or brown sugar? Definitely white sugar. Brown sugar is just going to muddy the water so to speak, and you’ll end up with a very brown cordial.
You might balk at the amount of sugar in the recipe. But don’t forget, we are making a simple syrup, so it wants to be concentrated and very sweet. When turning this rose syrup into a drink, we’ll be diluting it, so don’t fret.
The lemon juice we use is minimal, and isn’t there for flavour. We add lemon juice in homemade rose syrup for a pop of colour. It brightens the red, so you don”t end up with a murky brown.
Red Food Colouring
Whatever the colour of your roses, for the prettiest rose syrup, you’re going to need red food colouring. Not pink food colour. Because you want your rose syrup to be a deep, dark red, so when diluted, it’ll be pink.
But this is a matter of choice. If you don’t want any food colour and are happy with just the way your syrup taste and looks, then by all means, skip the colour.
I use Wilton food colour, and because it’s concentrated, we only need a tiny amount. You can purchase Wilton’s pack of colours here on Amazon.
Do we need Rose Water?
Firstly, we’re talking about rose water, and not rose essence. Both ought to be found next to the vanilla in the baking aisle. Here is the link for getting it on Amazon.
This will completely depend on the fragrance of your roses. After cooling and straining, if you think the aroma isn’t as strong, then stir in just half a tablespoon of rose water.
Rose water is a deceptive little ingredient. Don’t be tempted to use too much. This is because when you are consuming the final product, too much rose water, while smells nice, has a sharp bite, which can irritate many throats.
You might be thinking: if I’m using rose water, I might as well just make the Easy Rose Syrup. I can’t argue with you there!
How to Use Rose Syrup?
So what can you do with rose syrup?
- Treat it like a cordial, dilute with water at a ratio of 1:4 (more or less, to taste).
- Add milk to it to get rose milk. In Singapore and Malaysia, we call this sirap bandung or air bandung (air is pronounce a-yay). Click here for the recipe on my Singaporean and Malaysian Recipes blog.
- Use it in cocktails, mocktails, add it to champagne or prosecco for a Rose Syrup Prosecco, or flavour gin with it. Or make rose mimosas!
- In the same vein, you can flavour lemonade to get rose lemonade, a favourite with my oldest since he was little. He’s 22 at the time of writing (2023)!
- Use it to flavour traditional desserts like Mahalabia and Falooda (click for recipes)
- concentrated rose syrup is fantastic drizzled on ice cream, mascarpone, ricotta, or anything similar for quick desserts
- it’s great with pancakes, crêpes and waffles.
- if you like fruity teas, it makes great rose tea lattes
- you can also make a pink tinted rose buttercream icing for decorating cakes and cupcakes
How to Store Homemade Rose Syrup?
Store your strained rose syrup in a clean, airtight bottle or glass jar. I tend to sterilise all my jars and bottles (see below) before using. However, one washed with hot soapy water and left to air dry will work too.
How long will homemade rose syrup keep? Store your airtight jar or bottle in the fridge, and the syrup will be perfectly fine for a month. Because our ratio of water to sugar is 1:1.5, use it within 4 weeks.
You could increase the sugar to 800g which is 4 cups, and your rose syrup will be quite happy in the fridge for 3 months. Sugar is a natural preservative, don’t forget.
Sterilising Jars/Bottles for Storing Rose Syrup
- Turn the oven on to a cool 130˚C/250˚F/Gas Mark ½.
- Wash the jars/bottles and lids in hot soapy water.
- Place the jars/bottles and lids upside down in the oven and leave them to dry, with the door closed for 15 minutes.
- Leave the jars/bottles and lids in there, bring them out only when you are ready to fill. Be careful, as they’ll be hot.
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Homemade Rose Syrup with Fresh or Dried Edible Roses
- 60 g fresh edible, unsprayed red rose petals OR unsprayed
- 30 g dried edible rose petals or rose buds
- 500 ml water
- 400 g white sugar 600g/3 cups for a sweeter syrup
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- concentrated red food colouring as needed
- ½ Tbsp rose water, optional only if needed
- If using fresh rose petals, soak them in cool water for 10 minutes, to dislodge any bugs. Then give them a rinse.
- Place the rose petals (fresh or dried) in a medium saucepan, add water and sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring once or twice.Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, do not let it come to boil as I believe that boiling will encourage all the essential oil to evaporate, you need the the oil for flavour and aroma.⅗
- Turn the heat off and take it off the hot hob. Stir in the lemon juice.
- A little at a time, stir in your red food colouring. Concentrated food colour needs to be stirred in while your syrup is still hot for it to dissolve well.
- Leave it to cool down to room temperature, and hour ought to do. Then strain using a fine mesh strainer. You could strain straight into a jar, if that's what you're using.If using a bottle, I suggest straining into a jug or bowl, because of the next optional step.
- Now, taste your syrup, either by licking the back of the spoon or diluting a little with water. Inhale the aroma. Do you think the fragrance is strong enough? If not, stir in the ½ Tbsp of rose water.Cover and store in the fridge and use within a month.