This homemade chocolate syrup recipe isn’t only an acceptable replacement for commercially-made versions, it sort of beats the pants off of store-bought. Buh bye, Hershey’s syrup!

Homemade chocolate syrup being drizzled over a cup of vanilla ice cream

Chocolate syrup costs pennies to make, it takes all of 10 minutes to whip up, you know exactly what went into it (no high fructose corn syrup here!), AND it tastes ah-mazing.

Table of Contents

A spoonful of chocolate syrup is drizzled into a glass of milk for chocolate milk.

Why You’ll Love this Chocolate Syrup Recipe

This homemade chocolate syrup recipe makes milk, coffee, smoothies, ice cream – you name it – taste fantastic.

I love this version because it’s not overly sweet. It’s just nice and purely chocolatey, yet with very few ingredients. FOUR ingredients, in fact – okay, five if you count the water!

I first shared this recipe over 10 years ago, in 2013. Since then, thousands of people have made it and asked qustions/shared feedback; so I’ve tweaked and added all kinds of substitution notes etc. so that you’re sure to have glossy, perfect chocolate syrup success.

What have other readers said about this recipe when they’ve made it and loved it?

  • “OMG! This is the best chocolate sauce I’ve ever tasted! I have to say the tablespoon of vanilla really made it fabulous! Thank you!”
  • “I lost count how many time I made this chocolate syrup. So easy, simple yet super tasty!”
  • “Waaaaayyyyy better than the real thing!  I highly recommend.”
Chocolate syrup is drizzled over ice cream

Chocolate Syrup Ingredients

The list of ingredients is so, so simple.

  • Cocoa powder – Use a good quality 100% unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder like Guittard or Ghirardelli. But in a pinch, Hershey’s works fine too.
  • Granulated sugar – just your typical white sugar!
  • Pure vanilla extract – because vanilla + chocolate are BFFs.
  • Salt – I use kosher, but you can use sea salt or table salt, just start with about half of what the recipe calls for or your chocolate syrup will be too salty.
  • Water (pretend it’s there in the photo)
Ingredients for homemade chocolate syrup include cocoa powder, granulated sugar, pure vanilla extract, and salt.

How to Make Chocolate Syrup

Here’s how to magically make chocolate syrup from cocoa powder, sugar, salt, vanilla, and water!

Simply stir together the cocoa powder and sugar in a medium saucepan, then add the water and salt. It won’t combine right away, but keep going and watch the magic happen!

Cook, stirring, over medium heat just until it comes to a boil, becoming glossy, smooth, and glorious. Let boil for a very short period of time, remove from heat, and add the vanilla. You’re done!

Recipe Substitution FAQs

Can I use more (or less) vanilla?

Yes! I called for 1 tablespoon because I love the stuff. But now that vanilla is at a premium, personally, I only use a teaspoon or so. It shouldn’t drastically affect the final outcome.

Can I use regular table salt instead of kosher salt?

Yes! I would start with half the amount then add a pinch or more later on when you taste and adjust.

Can I use Splenda instead of sugar?

Readers have reported success with substituting Splenda! Here are their comments.

  • I followed your recipe, but replaced cup of sugar with 1/2 cup of Splenda. It worked! Tastes great and blended well with milk for chocolate milk. Thanks!
  • I made this with stevia (pure stevia powder – I used 3/4 teaspoon) dissolved in half a cup of water instead of the sugar. mixed cocoa powder 90% dark and 10% milk.

Can I substitute honey for the sugar?

I have tried this and it does not work out – the honey makes the syrup way too thick. Sorry!

Can I substitute coconut sugar for the granulated sugar?

I have not tried this personally, but a reader did report success!

Can I substitute agave for the sugar?

The result is thick (like with honey) but one reader reported she still loved it that way.

A clear glass with chocolate syrup being stirred into milk for chocolate milk.

Ideas for Using Chocolate Syrup

  • Stir into milk and drink cold or heat it up for hot chocolate! I love it in oat milk. Start with about a tablespoon of chocolate syrup per 8 ounces of milk or so and stir in more until it’s the exact chocolatey level you crave. “Chocolatey level” being an official term, of course.
  • Drizzle it over ice cream – like homemade vanilla ice cream. Yum.
  • Try it in a smoothie like this Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie. So good!
  • Stir it into coffee with a splash of cream. Instant mocha!
  • Or go with a cold coffee situation. Add to your cold brew or try this Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate Mocha!
  • Add it to your next milkshake for the perfect chocolatey situation.
  • Cocktails love chocolate! Add a drizzle and drink up. This Chocolate Martini looks perfect.
4.85 from 44 votes

Easy Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 8
This rich, dark chocolate syrup is better than Hershey's! With just 4 ingredients (5 if you include the water) and 10 minutes, you'll have your own homemade chocolate syrup. Recipe as written makes a nice dark chocolate version; add more sugar for a sweeter sauce.


  • 1 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar*
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar until blended. Add the water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and whisk over medium heat just until begins to boil, stirring constantly.
  • Let boil just until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Your chocolate syrup will still be fairly thin (it thickens to a syrup-like consistency once cool). Taste and stir in additional salt until dissolved, up to 1/4 teaspoon, if desired.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool. Taste again. If it’s not sweet enough for you, add a bit more sugar and stir in the warm syrup until dissolved.
  • Store syrup in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. The syrup should keep, refrigerated, for at least a month.


Consistency Tips

If it’s too thick, it cooked for too long. Try cooking for less time. If your current batch has thickened up too much, try heating the sauce gently and thin with a bit of water. If your syrup appears too thin, try cooking it for a bit longer, but if it’s coating the back of your spoon it’s probably the right consistency. Remember, it thickens a lot once it cools. 

*Sugar/Sweetness Notes

Recipe as written makes a nice, dark, slightly less sweet chocolate sauce. Add up to 1/2 cup more sugar for a sweeter syrup. If you add the sugar after cooking the syrup, be sure to taste your chocolate syrup while it’s still warm and if it’s not quite as sweet as you’d like, add some more sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until it’s sweet enough for you. Be sure to let it cook a bit more so that the sugar dissolves!

Storage Tips

Store syrup in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. The syrup should keep, refrigerated, for at least a month. I haven’t yet tried freezing/thawing this homemade chocolate syrup, but I think it would work fine. 
I have had readers ask if they can can this recipe, and my answer is that I wouldn’t do it, just because you have to be really careful what you preserve via canning. I’m not sure the pH for the chocolate syrup would make it a safe candidate.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 2tablespoons, Calories: 126kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 149mg, Potassium: 164mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 25g, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 1mg

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