Homemade Hibiscus Syrup

Have you tried using hibiscus flowers in your baking yet? I fell in love with them as an ingredient years ago when I first made these Hibiscus Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies. Boiled and well-steeped, the petals yield an elixir that is tangy and tart; almost fruity. Its flavor is reminiscent of raspberry and maybe rhubarb with something faintly floral lingering in the background.

Hibiscus syrup is one of the easiest things in the world to make, so it puzzles me why anyone would pay a hefty price for a commercially prepared bottle. Just one bottle can cost more than a pound of organic hibiscus leaves does, which would make ten times the amount of one purchased bottle!

This syrup is especially nice to have as we journey into warmer months because it's a refreshing addition to beverages, but its virtues are countless!
Here are a few of my favorite uses:

  • Pour over ice cream
  • Stir into iced tea
  • Freeze for icy granita
  • Brush over cake layers 
  • Add to chocolate ganache
  • Freeze into ice cubes for drinks
  • Add to raspberry coulis and other fruit sauces
  • Pour over pancakes
  • Add to buttercream frosting
  • Drizzle over yogurt
  • Pour into carbonated water for Italian soda
  • Use for DIY craft cocktails (hello hibiscus mimosas, margaritas, mojitos)
  • Give bottles as gifts!

To begin this project you'll need a cup of dried hibiscus petals. This one pound bag from Frontier is organic and very economical. I've used Frontier products previously with my work for Fair Trade, so it's a brand I trust.

You'll also need some bottles or canning jars with lids. I purchased these clear bottles with shrink capsules because I plan to give some away to friends and family. One recipe of this syrup will yield six 5 ounce bottles with just a little left over for you to pour into your LaCroix (or other).

The ingredients are simple: dried hibiscus petals, sugar, and water, a squeeze of lemon and 1/4 vanilla bean. Bring it all to a boil on the stove top and let it steep for 30 minutes. Strain once through a sieve, then again through a tea towel or cheesecloth, and then pour into sterilized bottles.

Speaking of, there's no better way to sterilize than a dip in boiling water. I suggest you keep a large pot of boiling water on the stove top, that way you can dip the bottles one at a time as you work. Fish them out of the hot water with tongs to avoid burns and place the bottles on a towel to dry. The hot water evaporates quickly from the bottles after they are removed from the water, so there's no extended wait for the bottles to air-dry.

I wasn't sure the shrink capsules would work for me since I didn't have a heat gun, but my very old very decrepit hairdryer did the trick on its hottest setting. Just hold the hairdryer nozzle very close the shrink capsule (about 1-inch away). The seal is a lovely finishing touch if you're a giver of homemade gifts. I really love that the capsules also have gold pull-tabs on the top edge of the lid for easy removal.

Hibiscus is high in Vitamin C, and reportedly has more antioxidants than green tea! Some studies show that it also helps lower blood pressure, so aside from this simple syrup, you may want to steep some petals in boiling water to make a healthful tea. I hope you'll give it a try!

Homemade Hibiscus Syrup
Yields about six 5 ounce bottles

4 cups (960 ml) filtered water
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (2.5 ounces) dried hibiscus flowers
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 vanilla bean

Combine the water, sugar and hibiscus flowers in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice. Split and scrape the vanilla seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds to the pot. Add the bean pod also; stir until the sugar is melted. Remove from heat.

Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve; strain again through a cheesecloth or tea towel to remove fine powdered hibiscus debris.

Transfer the mixture to an 8 cup measure with a pour spout. Fill sterilized jars or bottles and close with tightly fitting lids. Let stand at room temperature until cool, about 1 hour. Transfer bottles to the refrigerator.

Syrup will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

link Homemade Hibiscus Syrup By Published: Hibiscus Syrup Recipe


  1. This is SO pretty and such a perfect springy idea! We use hibiscus liquor in truffles at work sometimes, so I'm excited to try this! I wonder what other petals one could use to make a variety of floral mixers? So inspired!

  2. Can I dry the flowers from my hibiscus tree and use them?

    1. I think that's a wonderful idea! I'm a little jealous that you have a hibiscus tree. There are a few things to consider when using your own dried hibiscus. Make sure it's an edible variety. If your tree is close to a busy road then it could be tainted with car exhaust. Also, the hibiscus I used is organic, which contains no pesticides. Be sure your tree hasn't been sprayed with chemicals. I'd do a little research on which parts of the plants to use. I think only the petals and calyx are used for edibles (omit the stems and leaves).Thanks for asking!

  3. I love unusual ingredients! I was just thinking about planting some edible flowers in my garden. Now I'm super inspired to try hibiscus! Thanks!

  4. Stunning as ALWAYS!! I've had this in cocktails before and LOVED it, so I'm so excited to have a recipe to make it myself!! xo

  5. Hello, can you please advise whether the hibiscus syrup has to be used within 3 weeks once opened or whether it has to be used within 3 weeks regardless it's open or not. Thank you

  6. if you have some hibiscus trees, you not need to dry the leaves,you cut with a scissor just above the "green points" of the bulb
    the leaves of hibiscus are very nice to eat too,chop it fine in your salad, or put it in fish soup with rhubarb stems, it giver a bit sour taste
    If the syrup ferments after "the 3 weeks in the refrigerator" its still very nice with those co2 bubbles and the tiny amount of alcohol(3..4%) from the fermentation, a bit less sweet but still refreshing
    Keep the seeds, and dry them in the sun, and seed next spring, enjoy the mountain of beautiful flowers and the fresh smell the tree produces during its 1 year lifetime

  7. If unopened, can this recipe be kept, sealed, for longer than three weeks? Thank you!

  8. If unopened, can this syrup be kept for longer than 3 weeks?

  9. Inquiring how long is the shelf life if not opened?


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