Easy & Quick Lemon Basil Simple Syrup

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(This article was originally published on August 8, 2022 and was last updated on August 8, 2022)

This lemon basil simple syrup is such an easy way to zhuzh up a huge range of recipes. Adding it to a cocktail, mocktail or other drink is an obvious use, but you can also drizzle it over baked fruit or cakes for an amazing, dessert, add it to pancakes instead of maple syrup, stir it into your morning oatmeal or overnight oats for an added injection of sweetness – there’s a huge variety of possibilities!

homemade lemon basil syrup in a mason jar on a white marble counter

Lemon Basil Simple Syrup (with Fresh Basil Leaves)

In my quest to make the perfect basil cocktail, I’ve been experimenting lately with both basil infused simple syrups and basil infused vodka and gin.

I originally made this lemon basil syrup to go with a Basil Blueberry Vodka Lemonade cocktail, but I’ve since come to love a spoonful with sparkling water, too and a handful of fresh berries, a fresh squeeze of lemon, and a sprig of fresh basil as a garnish, too. It’s super refreshing!

The best part? This recipe is super simple, and takes almost no effort at all. Huzzah!

A lemon basil mocktail made with lemon basil simple syrup, fresh lemon and blueberries, a sprig of spicy bush basil, and sparkling water
A lemon basil mocktail made with lemon basil simple syrup, fresh lemon and blueberries, a sprig of spicy bush basil, and sparkling water

What You’ll Need to Make this Lemon Basil Syrup

Freshly squeezed lemon juice in a glass bowl next to the squeezed lemon halves and fresh basil leaves

Simple syrup is basically sugar syrup, made of basic white granulated sugar and some form of liquid (often water, but in this case we used water and lemon juice).

Basic, unflavored simple syrup is just a matter of mixing water and sugar in equal proportions, bringing it to a boil, and then letting it simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, before allowing to cool.

Simple syrup is indeed super simple!

For this lemon basil version of simple syrup, we need to add in some flavorings: lemon (fresh lemon juice and some lemon peel) and basil (a big bunch of fresh sweet basil leaves).

A Note About Proportions and Ratios When Making Basil Lemon Simple Syrup

I made this batch of lemon basil syrup for my personal consumption, and since I’m only confident in it keeping about a week to 10 days in the fridge, I didn’t want to make too much. (Note: unflavored simple syrup generally lasts longer than flavored or infused simple syrup!).

Using 1/2 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of liquid, this recipe yielded just over a 1/3 cup of the simple syrup for me, or roughly 6 tablespoons. Since I just use this to flavor my drinks (sparkling water, homemade mocktails, and homemade craft basil cocktails), I also don’t need exact measurements!

However, if you want to make a larger batch, you can, you’ll just need to keep the 1:1 sugar to liquid ratio, and eyeball the flavorings.

Yield: 1/3 Cup

Easy Lemon Basil Simple Syrup

A lemon basil mocktail made with lemon basil simple syrup, fresh lemon and blueberries, a sprig of spicy bush basil, and sparkling water

This sweet and zestly lemon basil syrup goes beautifully in cocktails or mocktails, and is extremely easy to make.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1/2 white granulated sugar
  • Zest (peeled) from one small lemon
  • 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 to 3 small lemons)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • About 15 to 20 large basil leaves, plus an additional few leaves for garnish


    Wash and pat dry lemons. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from one lemon.

    lemon peel, a peeled lemon, and a vegetable peeler on a white marble surface

    Add 1/4 cup white granulated sugar to a small saucepan, and toss in the lemon peels on top of the sugar.

    Sugar and lemon peel in a saucepan

    Cut lemons in half and squeeze the lemon halves until you have roughly 1/2 to 1/3 cup lemon juice. Top up with a bit of water, so you have 1/2 cup liquid total. Add to saucepan.

    A small saucepan with lemon juice and peeled lemon zest

    Harvest a large handful of basil leaves - roughly 15 to 20 large leaves, and wash to thoroughly clean. Throw the basil leaves in with the sugar, lemon, and water mixture. Give everything a quick good stir.

    Fresh basil leaves, lemon juice, sugar and water in a saucepan prior to boiling to make lemon basil simple syrup

    Bring the mixture to a boil on the stovetop, stir, and then reduce to low to simmer.

    Lemon basil simple syrup boiling on a stovetop

    Let mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. The basil leaves will wilt and the mixture will turn a greenish tinge, reducing slightly. After 10 minutes, remove from heat and let cool for at least 20 minutes.

    Pouring lemon basil simple syrup into a fine mesh strainer and funnel to strain the ingredients out

    Using a fine mesh sieve and funnel, stain the mixture into a heatproof container, such as a mason jar or metal container.

    Lemon basil simple syrup strains through a funnel into a mason jar

    Add the finished syrup to iced tea, use it to flavor water or cocktails, drizzle over pancakes, etc.

    A lemon basil mocktail made with lemon basil simple syrup, fresh lemon and blueberries, a sprig of spicy bush basil, and sparkling water


Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 9Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

Nutrient information is just an estimate, autogenerated and not reviewed or confirmed by this website or the author. Nutrient data may not be accurate. If you have a medically restrictive diet, specific nutrient or calorie needs or restrictions, please consider this information a best guess only.

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