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Demerara Syrup – The Complete Guide

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If you have ever come across a recipe that calls for either demerara or simple syrup, you probably, like us, opted for the simple syrup.

We get it! We don’t blame you, because what is Demerara syrup anyways?

This syrup is made from Demerara sugar that was originally produced in the province of Demerara in the northern part of South America.

Today, the syrup itself is easily accessible from your local supermarket, so gone are the days of sacrificing flavor for convenience!

So, what is Demerara syrup? Demerara syrup is a type of simple syrup that is made with a combination of equal parts water and Demerara sugar. The syrup has a very distinctive flavor of caramel, toffee, and a hint of earthiness which sets it apart from traditional syrups in the use of mixed drinks and other recipes.

Today, we will be looking at all things demerara sugar, from what it is, how it’s made, a bit of its history, and the syrup itself. We’ll also be looking at how to make your very own at home and the many uses this syrup has!

What Is Demerara Syrup?

Demerara is basically a type of simple syrup, except it’s not made with regular granulated sugar like a simple syrup is. Instead, it is made from Demerara sugar which gives this syrup its own unique characteristics.

Demerara cane was originally cultivated in the Demerara region of Guyana in South America. The sugar is light brown in color and contains less moisture compared to traditional brown sugar that we know. 

The texture of the sugar crystals is also much coarser, making them even more unique.

Today, Demerara sugar is produced in various countries such as Malawi (a small country in Southeast Africa) and Mauritius (a small island just east of the South African coastline). Mauritius has become the largest producer of Demerara sugar.

Demerara sugar became extremely popular around the early 19th century when the vacuum pan was invented.

This tool became an essential part of the production of Demerara sugar as it extracted excess moisture much better, which causes the sugar to crystalize at much lower temperatures.

The vacuum helped force the molasses to form the crystals which give the product its distinct light brown and beige color, as well as the larger sugar crystals.

Demerara sugar and Demerara syrup were first popularized in British cuisine, which is why you will see so many British recipes calling for it.

Later, it became popular in American cuisine, and thereafter, the rest of the world jumped on the Demerara syrup train.

Demerara Sugar Vs Brown Sugar

Many people confuse these two ingredients because of how similar they look. First, let’s discuss the more common of the two, brown sugar.

Today’s brown sugar is most often made from regular refined white granulated sugar that has added molasses.

Brown sugar is a very refined product because it has been processed to remove the brown color before the brown color from the molasses is added. Doesn’t make much sense but that’s literally how it works!

Demerara sugar on the other hand is made by extracting some molasses, but only to a certain point. The final product that you buy still has some left which gives this sugar its color.

In terms of which is healthier, we would have to say Demerara simply because of the fact that it has been less refined and because it naturally contains more molasses.

Demerara Syrup Characteristics

Demerara syrup has an amber-like color that looks deliciously rich and luxurious from the get-go.

It also sometimes has a golden glow to it and has about the same consistency as a medium simple syrup. Think about something between cold honey and maple syrup.

The consistency can easily be adjusted by either heating the syrup, or basically watering it down with other liquids in your recipe. You can even make a thin Demerara syrup by adding some water and mixing it together.

The lighter-colored Demerara syrups work better for cocktails and mixers whereas the thicker syrups work better for baked goods or even glazing some products (savory or sweet).

It is completely smooth and doesn’t have any lumps or graininess to it. It also has a much more complex and rich flavor profile compared to simple syrup and goes great with ingredients that pairs with caramel and toffee.

You can also definitely pick up the molasses flavors that add a beautiful earthiness to your dish. Demerara syrup will also definitely add some sweet and toasty aromas to your recipe with hints of nuttiness.

Demerara Syrup Vs Simple Syrup

Just like Demerara sugar and granulated white and brown sugar differs, so do their syrup versions. Naturally, simple syrups are made from regular white granulated sugar, and very rarely granulated brown sugar.

Demerara syrup is made specifically from Demerara sugar and never anything else.

Simple syrup is made by combining water and sugar. It most often comes in three different consistencies: light, medium, and heavy (or thick). Demerara syrup is usually only a medium consistency, where after you adjust it.

While the consistencies can be the same, the colors are completely different. This is because demerara sugar has a darker color than white sugar.

Simple syrup is a clear syrup with no color, has a slightly sweet aroma, and has no added flavor other than sugar.

Simple syrups work great if you want to add sweetness, but no flavor changes to a recipe. Certain cocktails or recipes work better with a simple syrup than a flavored syrup.

Demerara syrup is a clear, golden-hued, amber syrup with a sweet, earthy caramel aroma. The flavor profile of the Demerara syrup differs from a regular simple syrup.

Demerara syrup works great to add complexity and diversity to a recipe or simply to add a twist to old favorites.

Demerara Syrup Nutritional Value

Demerara sugar is technically healthier because it has been less refined. The molasses in the cane is extracted to a certain point and the final product is left with some molasses naturally left.

This differs from granulated white and brown sugar that is processed until the color has been completely removed, along with any possible nutrients that the ingredient may have had.

Only after the sugar is left colorless, is molasses added back into the granules to make brown sugar.

However, before you get too excited, sugar is still sugar and is still not the healthiest of ingredients. A 100-gram serving of Demerara syrup contains 160 calories and accounts for 32% of your daily nutritional intake for carbs.

But don’t worry, no one is consuming 100 grams of syrup! A teaspoon or tablespoon of Demerara sugar goes a long way!

The main benefit of any sugar is that it provides carbohydrates to the body, which means energy!

Demerara syrup is not necessarily healthier than regular simple syrups but it does contain a little more nutritional value in the form of vitamins and minerals.

Demerara sugar (and therefore syrup) contains calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B3, B5, and B6.

Remember, vitamins and minerals are lost through the process of heat, so heating the syrup to boil will cause you to lose some of these nutrients. You can reduce the loss by only heating the sugar for the shortest time frame possible.

Because Demerara sugar is still refined, it is seen as an added sugar that can be linked to obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. And it spikes blood sugar levels just the same as regular sugar would.

Demerara Syrup Uses

We know, we know! You are just about ready to jump onto the Demerara syrup train with us! But, what is this syrup actually used for other than a sweetener? Believe us, a lot more than you may have originally thought!

First off, since it’s basically a simple syrup, you can substitute the simple syrup in any recipe with Demerara syrup. Just make sure that the flavor profile of the Demerara syrup matches the flavor profile of your recipe.

But, considering caramel and toffee flavors are equally versatile and pair well with loads of ingredients, the substitution will easily work most of the time!

One of the most used types of recipes that contain Demerara syrup is probably cocktails. The syrup can be used to make either classic or modern cocktails.

Demerara’s characteristics pair perfectly with barrel-aged spirits (whiskey being our favorite), rums, agave spirits, and even vodka.

Whiskey sour or Tiki Old Fashioned cocktails also pairs extremely well with Demerara syrup, and you can even add it to your favorite Daiquiri recipe to give it a unique twist. The world is your playground and Demerara syrup is the gateway.

Looking at more non-alcoholic drinks, you can also add Demerara syrup to your coffee or iced coffee for extra flavor.

The caramel and toffee undertones from the syrup add a toasty flavor and aroma that pairs well with the earthiness of the ground coffee. 

You can also create your very own unique flavored syrups by infusing your Demerara syrup with ingredients like a vanilla pod, orange peel, or spices like cinnamon and cardamom!

Apart from cocktails and drinks, Demerara syrup works great for baking. Simple syrups are essential for so many desserts and baked goods.

Fudge, caramels, cooked meringues, and cakes all require some type of sugar syrups, so why not Demerara?

And functionally speaking, the presence of molasses will help retain moisture in your freshly baked products too!

Demerara syrup works great with banana muffins and carrot cakes, but once again, the possibilities are endless.

It can also be used to brush sponge cake with which will help retain or add juiciness and moisture to the crumb while also giving it a caramel and toffee flavor.

This amber-colored syrup will also add deeper color to the dishes you make and is also sometimes used as a glaze. When it is heated or baked, the glaze helps make your dish darker and gives it a beautiful golden color.

If you feel like you’re going to need a dentist appointment after all this sweet talk, luckily, Demerara syrup can also be used for more savory recipes.

Try using Demerara syrup in one of your favorite marinades! A splash of Demerara will not only add sweetness but also have a tenderizing effect on the proteins of meat.

You can also add it to a basting sauce which will then help add color to your food when it browns

And, you can even substitute honey with Demerara syrup, especially in dressings and sauces. It will also help break the acidity in vinaigrettes and pickling liquids.

Demerara Syrup Recipe

Why run to the grocery store for Demerara syrup if you can make it in the comfort of your own home? It’s super easy, quick, and keeps very well if stored properly.

Keep a bottle of Demerara syrup around the house for cocktails, cooking, baking, or even as a gift for a loved one.


  • 500 ml (2 cups) Demerara Sugar
  • 500 ml (2 cups) Water


  1. Combine the sugar and water in a medium-sized pot. 
  2. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.
  3. While the syrup is simmering, stir to make sure all of the sugar dissolves. This should not take more than 2-3 minutes
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the syrup to cool slightly. Be careful when handling the syrup and pot as it will be dangerously hot!
  5. Pour the contents into a sterilized jar or bottle and store them in the fridge.

You can also infuse your syrup with herbs such as lavender or mint, or add spices to your syrup while cooking.

Just remember to strain the syrup after cooking to remove any impurities. Flavored syrups are great for using on their own in cocktails, or in a wide variety of recipes.

Homemade Demerara Syrup Vs Store-Bought Demerara Syrup

Anything store-bought is usually more convenient than making it yourself, but we feel like homemade products just have something special to them. It tastes much better and it gives you the satisfaction of knowing exactly what’s inside.

Store-bought Demerara syrups can often be pricey and not economical. Remember, you are paying for packaging and convenience, not just the ingredients.

It is far cheaper to buy Demerara sugar and make your own syrup. Also, homemade Demerara syrup also doesn’t contain any preservatives, chemicals, or artificial flavors like most store-bought products do.

Sure, it is convenient and quick to just buy Demerara syrup, but it only takes 15 minutes to make the syrup at home. 

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over Demerara syrup and how to make it, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

What sugar can substitute Demerara sugar if you’re unable to get a hold of it?

Turbinado sugar is a great substitute for Demerara sugar. Turbinado sugar however has finer crystals (the sugar will dissolve quicker in the syrup, which is great), and a light caramel flavor.

The syrup will be similar to Demerara syrup with the flavor being a bit more subtle.

Is Demerara sugar the same as raw sugar?

Demerara sugar is a type of raw cane sugar. The sugar is minimally refined which means it goes through the minimum amount of processes to obtain the sugar.

Is Demerara syrup gluten-free?

Pure sugar or raw sugar is naturally gluten-free. Sugar cane is a grass plant and holds no similarities to its relative’s wheat, barley, and rye, which also means it contains no harmful gluten proteins.

How do you adjust the consistency of your Demerara syrup?

For a light Demerara syrup use a ratio of 1 part Demerara sugar to 2 parts water. For a medium Demerara syrup use a ratio of 1 part Demerara sugar to 1 part water.

Finally, for a thick Demerara syrup use a ratio of 1 part water to 2 parts Demerara sugar.

Demerara Syrup

Demerara Syrup

Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This recipe is a great alternative to traditional simple syrups, with notes of caramel and earthiness brought from the Demerara sugar!


  • 500 ml (2 cups) Demerara Sugar
  • 500 ml (2 cups) Water


  1. Combine the sugar and water in a medium-sized pot. 
  2. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.
  3. While the syrup is simmering, stir to make sure all of the sugar dissolves. This should not take more than 2-3 minutes
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the syrup to cool slightly. Be careful when handling the syrup and pot as it will be dangerously hot!
  5. Pour the contents into a sterilized jar or bottle and store them in the fridge.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 30 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 0gSugar: 70gProtein: 0g

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