Burnt Sugar Syrup | Browning | Burnt Sugar Caramel | Burnt Sugar Sauce

Burnt Sugar Syrup | Browning | Burnt Sugar Caramel | Burnt Sugar Sauce

As we make progress in the course of our sugar series, we will be looking at a rich, thick, dark-brown liquid known as “Burnt Sugar Syrup” or ” Browning”. If you have missed out in the previous lesson, don’t worry, just click here and here to be taken directly to the previous lessons. 

Burnt Sugar Syrup, Cake Browning


Simply put, it’s sugar that has melted and caramelized with a bit of sweetness and complex hint of bitterness. Imagine the feel of bitterness and sweetness! Smoky delight! 

It is also called Browning and can be seen in cake stalls, and malls. It is very simple to make, just pay attention, which is another key ingredient to me 😀. As a Baker, Dessert Maker, or Mixologist, this Burnt Sugar syrup is another key syrup that you shouldn’t be found wanting. Drizzle it over your dessert and ice-cream, add it to your coffee, add it to your cocktails, make cakes with it, etc. Whatever you do with it will produce a distinct flavor.

I usually make use of Brown Sugar (Dark or Light). I love the extra flavor the molasses adds to the syrup. You can definitely use white sugar. The only differences is that the White sugar will take a little time to get dark in colour during the caramelizing period. Also at the end of the day, a Burnt Sugar syrup made from Brown Sugar gives an extra flavor.

Burnt Sugar Caramel syrup, Burnt Sugar caramel sauce


  • Rule number 1, keep the kids away!  As simple as this recipe is, it can also get very messy. You want to pay 100% attention to the making process. So keep your little ones away to prevent any incident.
  • Next get everything ready. Trust me you don’t want to start this recipe unprepared. I usually boil my water and keep it in a hot flask before I start;  then I measure out my sugar. Get your clean and sterilized mason jars ready. I usually use mason jars or bottles because the syrup will melt plastics
  • Use a saucepan or pot with high sides. The sugar at some stage is going to foam a lot, so you need a saucepan with high sides. If you can, don’t use fancy pans or pots.
  • Cook on medium heat. Not high. You want to get this right especially if you are not working with a candy thermometer. So work on medium or low-medium heat. This gives you total control of the whole process.
  • Your whole kitchen will be smoky (‘cos of the caramelization. If using brown sugar it will be more. But it’s fine), so keep windows open to reduce a build up of smoke. Or if possible prepare your syrup outside.
  • Use a wooden spoon or spatula. Wooden spoons/spatula do not conduct heat, so they are my surest partner when making syrups involving sugar. You will see me making use of it all through this sugar series.
  • Hot water. Yes, this is most important. DON’T SKIP IT. Don’t be tempted to use lukewarm water. It won’t work. Also cold or room temperature water won’t do any good. You will have syrup spilling all over your work surface if you use anything otherwise. So stick to BOILING WATER please 🥺.
  • Be patient. If using white sugar then you need to be patient and allow the sugar dissolve completely, then start the caramelized process of turning into a brown liquid. Then you keep stirring occasionally till it turns from a brown liquid to a dark brown syrup that’s slightly thick. This is when it’s ready for the hot water addition.
  • Keep your eye on the sugar during the melting process. At some point, it will begin to foam. You need to stir it occasionally to avoid spillage.

  • When adding water to the sugar, add it bit by it. Like ¼ cup at a time. This will prevent the sugar from foaming up too quickly. If you pour the water at once, you will end up having syrup all over your kitchen and that equals more work, and no result 😀.
  • Once you are through, place your spatula into your pot add more water and allow the water to boil. This, I discovered is the easiest way to clean my utensils after making sugar syrups or candies.
  • You can add a pinch of of salt or to taste to the syrup to add more flavour. I usually don’t.


Store in an airtight container.

Shelf life is six to nine months.

Can be refrigerated for up to a year.

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How to make Burnt Sugar Syrup

See step-by-step Video here


  • Boil your water and keep in a hot flask. Measure your sugar and pour into a saucepan with high sides.
  • On a low-medium heat, set-up your saucepan containing sugar. Keep stirring with your wooden spoon or spatula occasionally till sugar dissolves. If using brown sugar, this process will be quite fast. If using white sugar, it will take up to 5 minutes.
  • Keep an eye on the sugar. For white sugar, it will at this stage turn brown. Keep stirring occasionally till colour becomes dark brown. For brown sugar this is quite fast, so just stir till syrup becomes slightly darker.
  • At this stage, sugar will start foaming and smoke will start building up. Don’t be distracted. You need all the attention. Keep stirring to disperse the foaming and prevent them from spilling. Once syrup becomes darker and slightly thick, remove saucepan from heat.
  • Next, stir it a little so bubbles reduces. Now get your hot or boiling water. Start adding the water little by little or ¼ cup at a time. And stir. If you notice any lumps, don’t worry, it will melt once you return pan to heat. Once you exhaust your cup of water, return saucepan to low-medium heat and start stirring.
  • Keep stirring till lumps dissolves if you have lumps. If not stir for about 2-3 minutes while cooking the syrup. Syrup at this point will be slightly thick. Remove from heat and pour into sterilized mason jar. Syrup will thicken as it cools. Once it cools, cover jar with its lid. And your Burnt Sugar Syrup is ready for that Caramel Cake, or to be mixed with your Cocktails or Coffee, or to be used as drizzle over ice-cream!


#sugarseries #burntsugarsyrup #cakebrowning #burntsugarcaramel
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2 years ago

[…]  Hot Water: Water must be boiling before you store in a hot flask. This aids the caramelization process of the sugar just like in the making of my BURNT SUGAR SYRUP. […]