Beautifully floral and fragrant rose simple syrup made with real roses. This syrup only requires three ingredients and is very easy to make. Ideal for iced teas, milk teas, cocktails, cakes, pancakes and much more!
Roses are the world’s most famous flowers, renowned for their beauty and sweet fragrance. Although they look gorgeous in a vase, they’re also great for desserts and drinks.
In Eastern Europe rose petals are used to make jams and syrup, which are then preserved and used throughout the year. And trust me, there’s nothing better than summery jam flavours in the middle of winter!
Rose syrup is great because of its versatility: use it in iced teas, milk teas, café lattes, cocktails, cakes, on pancakes or waffles. The possibilities are endless!
Although you can get store-bought syrup, the flavour is typically much more artificial than the homemade version. Made at home, rose simple syrup only requires three ingredients: rose petals (either fresh or dried), sugar and water. It really is as simple as that!
Why stop at rose syrup when there are so many delicious simple syrups perfect for drinks? Check out this extra fruity strawberry simple syrup that tastes divine!
What does it taste like?
Rose simple syrup taste sweet, floral, and very fresh. It has a very delicate taste, and a perfumed scent. This makes it a great addition to drinks and cocktails, as it brings a lot of freshness and natural sweetness.
In my opinion, rose syrup tastes like a fully blossomed garden on a sunny summer day. It’s gentle, aromatic, and sweet.
Why this recipe is great
- Quick & easy: You only need one saucepan and a sieve to make this recipe. Also, it only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish.
- 3 ingredients only: This recipe is very simple and only requires 3 ingredients – roses, water, and sugar.
- Entirely natural: All ingredients used in this recipe are 100% natural. No artificial flavour enhancers are used, making this recipe much healthier that store-bought syrup.
- Tastes divine: The fragrance from this rose simple syrup is very floral, aromatic, and fragrant. It’s delicate, but it packs a lot of flavour.
- Has many uses: There are countless uses for this rose syrup, as it can be used for drinks, teas, cakes, pancakes and much more!
Uses & Ideas
Rose simple syrup is incredibly versatile, as it can be used in a lot of ways. I like to use it in:
- Milk Tea or Bubble Tea – rose syrup works wonders with milk tea and is the main base for making Rose Milk Tea. It gives a wonderful floral flavour, which works great with most green, Jasmine or black teas.
- Iced Tea – this syrup goes so well in cold drinks. Simply mix it with cold water, add a few ice cubes and you get a delicious summer drink. Add a splash of cold green tea to make it even more refreshing!
- Cocktails – syrups are main ingredients in most cocktails, so you can use this rose simple syrup in almost any recipe. Try it a Rose Margarita, Rose Bellini, or a Rose Mimosa to go with your brunch!
- Pancakes & Waffles – this syrup can be used the same way you would maple syrup, so drizzle a bit on top of pancakes or waffles for a sweet floral kick. Top with some edible rose petals for extra fragrance.
- Cakes – use this rose syrup to soak cake layers for extra moisture and flavour. I like to use it to soak my Basbousa Cake with Cream, as it brings extra freshness.
- Cheesecake – Drizzle some syrup on top of your cheesecakes for extra summery flavour.
- Edible roses – you can choose either fresh rose petals, dried rose petals, or dried rose buds. All work great and bring fresh aroma to the syrup. See the section below on how to choose the right roses for this recipe.
- Sugar – granulated sugar is needed for this recipe, but you can also use light brown sugar for extra caramel flavour. However, since the flavour of roses is very delicate, I do not recommend using any strong sugars, like dark brown sugar or muscovado.
- Water – use bottled still water or filtered water for the best result.
Pro tip: add a few dried hibiscus leaves to give the syrup a vibrant, yet natural red colour.
How to choose the right roses for cooking
You can use either fresh rose petals or dried roses for this recipe. The type of roses you choose can have an impact on the flavour of the syrup, so it’s important to get the right one. The taste of rose petals can range from flavourless, to sweet, bitter, or slightly spicy. Here are the best types of roses for this recipe:
- Always choose roses that have been grown specifically for eating. These types of roses are typically grown without the use of pesticides, fertilisers, or other toxic chemicals. For this reason, you want to avoid roses sold as flower bouquets in flower shops, as they could be laced with chemicals.
- Strong fragrance is a good indicator that the roses also taste good. Although they look gorgeous, red, and burgundy roses tend to have very little fragrance, so they won’t be good for cooking. Pink and white roses tend to have a much stronger scent, so they’re better for cooking.
- Make full use of your garden and grow roses yourself. Avoid using any chemicals and keep it as natural as possible. Choose heirloom roses that are easy to grow and don’t require many special conditions.
- Buy from specialist stores that sell edible flowers. These shops grow flowers in line with food safety regulations, making them safe for consumption.
- The best varieties for edible rose petals are Damask Roses, Rosa Rugosa or Rosa Rugosa Alba, Jubilee Celebration and French Roses (known as Apothecary’s Rose or Rosa gallica).
- If using fresh roses, use only the petals. Simply pluck them out carefully from the stem.
- Edible dried roses can be found in two ways: rose buds or rose petals. Both versions are perfectly fine for this recipe.
- Always buy dried roses that are clearly labelled ‘edible’. This can be either tea roses, salad roses or cake decorating roses. Do not buy products that are only labelled for use in ‘body care, bath or crafts’.
- Edible rose petals are great for tea and for making syrup. They can also be used in cakes and other bakes.
- You can also buy edible rose buds, which have the same taste as the petals. Ensure they are clearly labelled ‘edible’ or ‘tea leaves’. Although edible, dried rose buds aren’t exactly pleasant to chew on as the stems can be a little tough. Instead, use them for decoration or for infusing teas, syrups or as cake decoration.
How to make Rose Simple Syrup
- Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over high heat.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer.
- Use a sieve to remove the rose buds or petals.
- Return the liquid to the saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened. The syrup should have the consistency of maple syrup.
Pro tip 1: Do not leave the roses in the syrup for too long, as this can make it taste bitter.
Pro tip 2: If using fresh rose petals, you may need to simmer the syrup a few minutes longer due to the extra moisture. You can also reduce the water by a few tablespoons to counter this.
Pro tip 3: Use a few dried hibiscus tea leaves to give the rose syrup a more vibrant and natural colour.
Success Tips & Tricks
- The right type of roses: Some roses have little to no flavour, so they wouldn’t be good for this recipe. See my section on How to choose the right roses for cooking.
- Hibiscus leaves: adding a few hibiscus tea leaves will give the syrup a lovely, rich red colour. Without it, the syrup will be a very pale pink.
- Perfect consistency: For drinks, the rose syrup needs to be on the runny side, like maple syrup. Simmer the syrup for 10 minutes for the right consistency for drinks. For drizzling it on pancakes or waffles, the syrup should be slightly thicker. Simmer it for about 15 minutes for a thicker syrup. For soaking cake layers, it should be even thinner, similar to water. Only simmer for 5 minutes.
- Crystallisation: Adding sugar after the syrup has already started cooking can cause it to crystallise. Ensure you add all the sugar at the very beginning of the recipe.
- No bitter taste: Don’t simmer the rose buds for too long in the syrup. The stem of the buds can give the syrup a bitter taste. The buds should only simmer for around 5-10 minutes maximum. After this, remove them and keep cooking the liquid.
- Adjust sweetness: This syrup is slightly sweeter than honey, so ensure you don’t use too much of it in drinks.
How to store
In the fridge: Rose simple syrup will last for 2-3 weeks stored in the fridge. Place it in an airtight jar or bottle and refrigerate. Do not use if it looks cloudy or it smells weird.
In the freezer: This recipe is great for freezing and will hold for 3-4 months. Freeze it in ice moulds and add directly into drinks instead of ice cubes.
Frequently asked questions
Rose simple syrup is ideal for use in drinks like infusions, iced teas, milk teas or bubble teas, and cocktails. It can also be used in baking, for soaking cake layers, on cheesecakes or cupcakes. Drizzle it over yoghurt for a quick and easy dessert.
Rose syrup and rose water are not the same thing and they shouldn’t be interchanged in recipes. Rose water is made only from roses and distilled water, so it is very liquid. It does not carry a lot of sweetness as it has no added sugar.
Rose syrup is made with roses, water, and sugar. It is much more viscous in consistency and is closer to maple syrup in texture. Rose syrup also has a much stronger aroma, as it is typically simmered for longer than rose water.
Simple syrup can become cloudy for two reasons: it was prepared incorrectly, or it has gone bad. When prepared correctly, simple syrup will be transparent and very smooth. Adding sugar after the syrup has started cooking can make it crystallise and become cloudy.
Simple syrup can start growing bacteria if stored incorrectly. Rose syrup should be stored in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks or frozen for up to 4 months.
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Rose Simple Syrup Recipe
- 1 cup dried rose buds or petals* (40 grams)
- 1 cup water, filtered (250 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- Place the sugar, water, and edible roses into a medium saucepan. Cook over high heat until the water starts to boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Use a fine mesh sieve to drain the liquid and remove the roses.
- Return the liquid to the stoveand cook over low heat for another 10 minutes. The syrup needs to have the consistency of maple syrup.
- For thicker pancake syrup, simmer for 5-8 extra minutes.
- 1 cup of dried roses are equivalent to 2 cups of fresh rose petals.
- Nutritional value is estimative only and is calculated per serving. This recipe makes approximately 1.5 cups of syrup or 12 servings.