Homemade Chocolate Syrup: No High Fructose Corn Syrup!

A 5-ingredient recipe that’s easy, tasty and fun, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make homemade chocolate syrup ages ago!  A 5-ingredient recipe that’s easy, tasty and fun, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make homemade chocolate syrup ages ago! 

I made an interesting discovery one Thanksgiving.  You can bake the most beautiful pies in the world and the kids will head straight for the ice cream.  Yes, the “a la mode” (sans pie) is the best.  And what put this over the top is the chocolate syrup that my sister in law pulled out of her cupboard.  Sundaes!

I can still see the delighted small bodies bent over the gallon tub, digging up scoops, followed by mock battles over the spray whipped cream.  So much fun! 

On the downside, though, commercial chocolate syrup usually contains high fructose corn syrup.  And it isn’t a bargain priced item if your family goes through a bottle in… about 30 seconds.  So I decided to make my own–with organic cocoa and real (organic) sugar–for Valentine’s Day. A 5-ingredient recipe that’s easy, tasty and fun, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make homemade chocolate syrup ages ago! 

What Makes This a Winner

When I made chocolate syrup again for the first time in ages (this post was first published in 2012!), it reminded me what a fun item it is to have around! Yes, homemade chocolate syrup is:

  • Tasty and useful. There are so many things you can do with chocolate syrup that my husband and I used up a half pint in a couple days (shhh). No kids needed!
  • Inexpensive. As usual, homemade is cheaper than store bought. You can buy organic cocoa powder and sugar in bulk for even more savings!
  • No special ingredients. You may already have all the needed ingredients in your pantry!
  • Ingredient control. With homemade, you can skip corn syrup and preservatives or go organic if you want!

A 5-ingredient recipe that’s easy, tasty and fun, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make homemade chocolate syrup ages ago! 

What You’ll Need:

No special tools are needed, though a whisk is nice if you have one.

And the ingredients are minimal.  In fact this is even a 5-ingredient recipe, three if you don’t count the salt or water! You’ll need:

  • Sugar. I used organic raw cane sugar, but regular granulated will work too
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Vanilla
  • Cocoa Powder. This is the only ingredient you’ll need to think at all about. Read the discussion below—or just go with a can of Hershey’s from the grocery store. 

A 5-ingredient recipe that’s easy, tasty and fun, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make homemade chocolate syrup ages ago! 

Dutch Chocolate or Natural – Per “the Experts”

Did you know that there are two types of cocoa?  The first is natural, and it’s the kind your grandmother used.   The other is Dutch Chocolate, which per King Arthur is natural cocoa treated with an alkalizing agent to lessen its acidity… This process makes “Dutched” cocoa smoother tasting and darker in color.” 

So how do you know which to use?

Well, from a health perspective, natural may be a better option. The World Cocoa Foundations says, “Evidence from the literature indicates that natural cocoas are high in flavanols, but when the cocoa is processed with alkali, also known as Dutch processing, or Dutching, the flavanols are substantially reduced.”

hot chocolate

Now if you are baking, the acidity difference gets you into concerns similar to buttermilk vs milk. Basically they don’t always act the same.  But this doesn’t affect non-baking uses like this chocolate syrup. Hooray!

As King Arthur notes “recipes that don’t use baking soda or baking powder can be made with whatever cocoa you like.” In that case it comes down to flavor. 

Now regarding flavor, Cooks Illustrated almost universally prefers Dutch chocolate.  King Arthur, on the other hand, comments that frosting seemed to taste (and look) better with natural.

Alas, I realize this is helping…, not very much. cocoa

My Experience

I’ve made homemade chocolate syrup with a variety of different cocoas, Dutch and natural. Though none of mine were bargain cocoas (e.g. not the store brand), I also didn’t special order the ultra fine varieties either. And I haven’t really hit a bad one. 

The first brand I tried was Hershey’s Cocoa (this is a natural cocoa powder) and my reaction was that it tasted a lot like Hershey’s syrup. So purely from a nostalgia experience—plus availability, this is a good option.

Bottom line—I recommend that you start with whatever you have. Then if you want to be a chocolate syrup connoisseur, branch out and experiment. Give me updates if you do! A 5-ingredient recipe that’s easy, tasty and fun, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make homemade chocolate syrup ages ago! 

Step by Step Directions

The directions, at least, are easy! First mix (or sift per one of my readers) together the sugar, salt and cocoa powder (this helps eliminate lumps)

mix dry ingredients

Whisk in the water

add water and whisk

Bring to a boil bring to a boil

Add vanilla, cool and enjoy!

Chocolate Syrup vs (Hot) Fudge Sauce

Did you ever wonder what the difference is between chocolate syrup (aka chocolate sauce) and (hot) fudge sauce?  When I think of chocolate syrup, I think of the Hershey’s syrup that I devoured as a kid. 

Now hot fudge sauce is similar but thicker and richer due to the addition of butter and cream (and sometimes chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk).  This means that, besides an even richer flavor, it stays thick when you heat it. 

Hot fudge sauce is perfect if you are making a hot fudge sundae.  But it isn’t going to stir smoothly into a cold glass of milk or work in all of the ideas listed below.   Bottom line?  Chocolate syrup is your more versatile chocolate condiment.  

And if you may be serving someone who is vegan or dairy-free, note that this is a dairy-free, vegan chocolate syrup! chocolate sundae

Fun Uses for Chocolate Syrup

Of course, once you’ve made your cocoa the real fun begins! You can:

  • Add it to cold milk for instant chocolate milk
  • Treat it as a hot chocolate syrup by adding it to warm milk (though go with this hot cocoa recipe if time permits)
  • Turn your coffee into a mocha
  • Drizzle chocolate swirls onto a plate and top with dessert to create a fancy presentation
  • Use it as a chocolate sauce for ice cream to create a sundae
  • Mix it into vanilla ice cream for a DIY chocolate ice cream
  • Play “malt shop” by making an old-fashioned chocolate ice cream soda
  • Keep up the malt shop theme with a chocolate malt or shake
  • Use it on dessert crepes or pancakes
  • Drizzle pound cake or angel food cake
  • Dip fruit  

Of course I’m sure there are more… Tell me what I’ve missed in the comments! 


More Chocolate Recipes

A 5-ingredient recipe that’s easy, tasty and fun, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make homemade chocolate syrup ages ago! 

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

A 5-ingredient recipe that’s easy, tasty and fun, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make homemade chocolate syrup ages ago! 
Author: Inger
4.67 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Desserts & Snacks
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 85 kcal


  • 1 c water
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c cocoa
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Pinch of salt


  • Mix together sugar, salt and cocoa.
  • Whisk in water and bring to a boil whisking to elimiate any lumps. Simmer about a minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Cool and store in refrigerator.


This makes about a pint.  Serving size is 1 ounce (2 Tablespoons).


Serving: 2 TablespoonsCalories: 85kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 82mgFiber: 2gSugar: 19gCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

69 thoughts on “Homemade Chocolate Syrup: No High Fructose Corn Syrup!

  1. David Scott Allen

    It’s funny, and you are going to think this is ridiculous, I drink cocoa every single morning of the year and I have no idea whether it’s Dutch processed or not. I have made some pretty unremarkable chocolate sauces, so I’m looking forward to trying yours. It’s the perfect drizzle for ice cream, or poached pears, or many cakes!

    1. Inger Post author

      I am so enjoying having it around. And I’m doing chocolate milk daily right now! Our choices are a bit ironic though I suppose given our respective climates!

  2. John / Kitchen Riffs

    Interesting discussion about cocoa. Mrs KR is the baker in our house, and she always has both on hand. So we can make a batch of this with each and do a taste test! 🙂 Anyway, haven’t had chocolate syrup in ages, and suddenly I have an intense craving. Thanks! I think. 🙂

  3. Kathleen Pope

    You had me at ice cream sundae! This chocolate sauce looks so delicious and easy too!

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  5. Amber

    Wow, so happy to find this recipe! I try to buy items without high fructose corn syrup for my family after noticing it’s in everything! I googled to hopefully find a brand I can buy locally – but now can try this awesome recipe. Also going to check if I can replace other items we use with your recipes. Thank you!

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks for visiting Amber. I love to use homemade whenever possible. I figure it’s healthier, cheaper–and so much fun!

  6. Joanne Baldwin

    I can’t believe I stumbled into Heaven. My 95 year old mother moved in with me and she simply MUST have a small ice cream sundae every night. I’ve been hunting down non-corn syrup chocolate syrup for her but in my search, found this recipe and just made it using Organic raw sugar and Ghirardelli cocoa…it is fantastic! Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe…simple, delicious, elegant, non-poisonous.

    1. Inger Post author

      I am so glad you and your mother are enjoying this Joanne. And now I have to wonder if a nightly ice cream sundae may be good for longevity–isn’t that a nice thought!

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks. I am regularly surprised by how easy it can be to make a healthier version of something.

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  8. Karen Z

    I Sift Cocoa Powder & Sugar into the bowl or pot so there are not any lumps in my recipes. Hope that tip helps.
    I look forward to making this. The chocolate syrup made without corn syrup in the store is so expensive $$$! Thank you!

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks for the tip Karen–just in time for hot cocoa season too! You know I think the chocolate syrup in the store is expensive even if you get the kind with the corn syrup. I buy my cocoa in bulk helps save money too!

  9. Joyce Stanton

    You are wonderful! The makings that I have always had on hand. Oh boy! I spent so much time looking on line. My creativity must have been asleep instead of creating. Thank you so much Inger.

  10. Kathy

    An excellent idea. Next time we need chocolate syrup, I’m heading back here to make the recipe. Thank you, Inger.

  11. jill

    I’ve been wondering if it was possible to make your own chocolate syrup. I love this recipe! But I’m concerned about the amount of sugar in it. Would it be possible to make it with Stevia, Splenda, or another sugar alternative? Also how long would the shelf-life be on the homemade chocolate syrup?

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      I keep it in the refrigerator. I believe that the sugar acts as a preservative but it goes quickly in our house (!) so I can’t really say how long it lasts. You might be able to use a sugar substitute–probably would have best luck with one that you can cook with and measures like sugar since the the sugar also has a bulking function–or you could adjust the amount of water. If you try this, I’d love to hear how it works.

    2. Will

      just my opinion.. but if you are going to use Splenda or anything like it you may as well stick to the commercial stuff with the HFC.. it is cheaper and not any less healthy than artificial sweeteners.

      1. Inger Post author

        Yes, I probably wouldn’t use Splenda either–though I use Stevia pretty regularly in my coffee. Hate to say it but probably the best way to reduce sugar is to reduce use of sugary products. Not that I’m in love with that answer 🙁

  12. grace

    you’ll put hershey’s out of business with this one! i had no idea it was so easy to accomplish–great share!

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      The only thing challenging at all is crushing out the cocoa powder lumps. My kids always get excited when I make this–and don’t care if I miss an occasional lump 😉

  13. Nutterbutter

    This is awesome. My son has allergies to corn and we want to make an ice cream cake for his birthday this weekend. Was hoping to find a recipe w/out corn syrup. Corn products is in just about every food product made in this country. Read the labels and you’ll see. That makes it very hard for someone w/ a corn allergy. Thanks again for your recipe. 😉

  14. Angela

    You had me at chocolate! I am attempting to replace the store bought items in our home with homemade healthier versions…my kids sooo thank you for this one since we are almost out of ‘chocolate sauce’! I am excited to look at your other recipes as well 🙂

  15. Louise

    I can’t tell you how long it has been since I thought about home made chocolate syrup, Inger. When my kids were small and huge chocolate syrup fans, I use to make my own “healthy” version using carob “beans.” They were never the wiser.

    Thank you so much for stirring up this recipe. It needs to be rekindled…

    1. Laura

      I like this recipe. I think food industry us forcing us to do more home cooking. Which is better for us.

  16. Agatha

    I am lovin’ the simpleness of this recipe. You can make so much really tasteful food and drink without all this crap added to ready-products. Simple cocoa, bit of sugar – simply beautifully fantastic!

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