Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe

Inspired by a recipe in the September 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine - a slow-burning, sweet and spicy, chile-infused blackberry syrup. It's great in spritzers, cocktails, on toast, in oatmeal, and on and on.

Chile Blackberry Syrup

For those of you with summer blackberries on hand, you must must must try this recipe. It doesn't lake long, and you are left with enough sweet & spicy, chile-infused blackberry syrup to keep your taste buds tingling right into August. I clipped the recipe out of an issue of Gourmet Magazine years ago. Actually, here we go, it was September 2007. I switched up the chiles, made a few other tweaks, and have been using the syrup to spritz up sparkling water all week. It's also great swirled into yogurt, oatmeal, and crème fraîche. Other good ideas: use it to slather on buttered toast, drizzle over goat cheese, and I imagine it'd be a flashy, unexpected offering at any pancake, crepe, or waffle brunch.

Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe

Gourmet highlighted their original version of the syrup alongside a bourbon-based cocktail (Briar Patch recipe here), and a version of a Desert Sunrise (can't find a version of it online). If you think of it as a homemade spicy grenadine, I suspect you can imagine all sorts of cocktail applications. But don't limit it to cocktails, quite frankly, it seems like its uses are boundless. I keep thinking about working it into a cheesecake. You know how Humboldt Fog goat cheese has a thin layer of vegetable ash running through it? What if, using that as inspiration, you had a thin vein of the chile blackberry syrup run through the cream cheese filling - where you'd only see it after slicing into the cake? So the flash is a bit understated and unexpected. Or you could use it in a simple vinaigrette, or as part of a fruit salad. On the savory front, I'm tempted to make a chile blackberry yogurt, and use it to top some lentil soup.

Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe

Anyhow, I'm sure there are a thousand things you could think of here. Let me know if you try anything particular interesting, or find a pairing that works particularly well.

I hope those of you in the U.S. enjoy the long summer weekend and get plenty of sunshine, spritzy drinks, and sparklers.

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Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe

The original recipe calls for 4 dried pasilla chiles (1 oz). I had guajillo chiles on hand and substituted those. Either way, the resulting syrup is going to pack a good amount of punch. Actually, its more like a slow-motion punch, where - for minutes - the heat smolders and lingers as it moves through your body. I suspect two or two-and-a-half chiles will yield a mild syrup, for those of you weary of too much heat. The syrup keeps covered, and chilled for a few weeks.

4 dried guajillo peppers (1 oz - see head notes)

1 cup / 6 oz / 170g dark Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar

1 cup / 7 oz / 200 g organic sugar
1 1/2 cups / 355 ml water
1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
3/4 cups / 3.5 oz blackberries

Trim the stems from the dried chiles. Tear chiles into pieces and drop (along with seeds) into a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugars, water, and lemon juice, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring regularly, until the mixture has reduced to 2 cups / 475 ml, roughly 20 - 30 minutes.

In the meantime, puree the blackberries. I used a hand blender in a small bowl, but a standard blender is also an option. Force the berries through a fine-mesh strainer, and discard any seeds. Set the berry puree aside.

Once the chile mixture has reduced, remove from heat, and (carefully) puree it with a hand blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a heat-proof bowl. Press on the remaining solids in the strainer to squeeze out any syrup, and discard the remaining solids.

Whisk the berries into the chile syrup and set aside to cool. Place in a jar, or smaller jars, and refrigerate.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Adapted from a recipe in the September 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine, who adapted it from a Junior Merino recipe.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I tried the recipe without the peppers with some of the blackberries we picked at a farm last weekend. It is great on top of strawberry ice cream, with french toast or with chilled white wine to make kirs.


I just finally got around to using up some of the TONS of blackberries I have growing wild in my yard on this syrup. I made two batches with different fresh green peppers; one with a tiny very hot (maybe a thai chile?) that I removed from the sugar mixture and got a sweet, kind of warm result; in the other I used a long hot pepper that I left in and pureed. Much hotter, with a definite pepper taste. I am looking forward to using both versions!


this sauce was amazing atop vanilla bean tillamook ice cream with roasted pecans - its heavenly and i have you to thank!


dude. this sauce rules my kitchen! Made it with a jalapeno from our garden and a couple long peppers, and since there weren't any blackberries left at the market I got black plums instead, and added a bit of fresh lime juice. So far, atop ice cream, yogurt, pancakes, and pork shoulder, this is basically my favorite thing on the planet. I think next time I'll make it with the blackberries & see how it fares!


added in as a swirl into vanilla ice cream as it's churning...


This is a great thing to make and give away for Christmas. Yes! I am looking for my Christmas gifts, now.


Just made the syrup and prepping for the Briar Patch! Here's the Desert Sunrise from Gourmet. 1-1/2 oz tequila 1/2 oz chile blackberry syrup 4 oz fresh orange juice 1 tsp fresh lime juice Stir together tequila and syrup. Fill a 12oz highball glass with ice then pour tequila mixture over ice adn top with juices. Stir and garnish with an orange slice. Cheers!


Aww, when I read the title of this post, I thought it was going to be a special Chile (the place) recipe, and not chilli (the ingredient). Nonetheless, it still sounds as exciting as chilli and chocolate, so I shall have to give it a try!


I will have to pack some of this for my hunts. This will make those cold pancakes better. Thanks .


I used this smoky syrup in a marinate to prepare tempeh peach kebabs.... SO yummy!!!

Fiddleheads Cuisine

Love this recipe and your site. Found the chile's...finally. I didn't feel the heat though so I'll add one more chile next time. First tried the sauce on grilled chicken...fabulous. Then I just now tried Lynn's advice and put it with cream cheese and topped w/ chopped pecans on peppered table crackers....O000hhh la la! Tomorrow will try it on top of your 'Grandmas Grains' recipe. I've tried more of your recipes than anyone''re very inspiring. love ya!


Blackberries are my favorite sweet fruit. Absolute favorite. And I eat cartons in one sitting, so when I read this, I thought to myself, who would EVER have enough leftover blackberries to make a syrup? Lo and behold, one day, I noticed a case of blackberries just beginnining to get fuzzy at my office (we're an online fruits/veg dealer in Shanghai). I took them home (ate about 1/4 of them in the taxi) and gently mashed them in a saucepan with a little bit of water and a couple tablespoons of agave nectar. I looove spicy so I upped the chili dosage to 6 Thai bird chiles and I am in blackberry- chili heaven. Thanks for the inspiration Heidi, I absolutely adore your blog.


What a wonderful recipe. The chili and fruit combo works well as a glaze for carne asada. Who would of thought that. Anyway I am also using this as a glaze for pork tenderloin. Thanks for this gem of a recipe.


I always can jams for family and friends at the holidays, and have been looking for a new condiment to add to my holiday gift rotation...think I just found it. Thanks - S

Oui, Chef

Just make the syrup this morning. I used three chilies.......I found some dried at a Mexican grocery store and not sure of the variety. The man at the counter said they were hot, hot, hot! make a long story short....really turned out well. So tasty. Will have to read the replies to find out how everyone is using the syrup. Thank you for the recipe!

Alma Allen

I made this a few days ago, and I've been trying it out on nearly everything. For some reason, my blackberry flavor wasn't very prominent (maybe because my strainer was too fine and left a lot of pulp behind) so I find it's best served with a little bit more blackberries or blueberries mixed in. This morning, I had a "breakfast burrito" of creamy goat cheese slathered on a small tortilla, a hearty drizzle of this syrup, a touch of jam (one with no added sugar so it just adds a really rich fruit flavor), and a big handfull of blueberries. It was to die for. It was also great swirled into corn bread. My next project is to replace the honey in my homemade barbecue sauce with this syrup along with some grated ginger.


That combination sounds wonderful...jam maybe? I already have the blackberry juice ready and waiting, but no chiles. Sounds like a shopping trip! Thanks for sharing the recipe.


made this with frozen raspberries and fresh jalapeños ('cuz it's what i had around), then added a dash of chipotle powder later for a touch of smokiness. fantastic drizzled over cream cheese on toast or crackers! also really good in yogurt. absolutely divine when paired with chocolate!!! now i'm gonna have to make some pancakes or waffles really soon! ;-)


Sounds amazing! I can think of a couple of uses - over ice cream, or add some pectin and cook into a jelly. My favorite restaurant in Asheville, NC, The Early Girl Eatery, does a pan-fried mountain trout with green tomato and blackberry sauce, so maybe a Chile Blackberry syrup over trout or tilapia?

Melissa@The Hard Times Kitchen

My husband found your site and shared with me some of his favorite recipes. He knows how much I love to try new recipes and he does not mind being my guinea pig. I made a batch of waffles and put this new recipe on them. They turned out great.


This looks great--love the idea for a cheesecake. A thin layer on top with a mound of blackberries would be really pretty. Jerilea


Thanks Heidi! I made the syrup and it is very very mild and delicious. I put half a chili. Next time I will try with a little more. I am looking forward to reading your new book...


This looks wonderful. I love the addition of chili with sweet treats! Wonderful. Thanks - ann

ann West

Ooh yeah, goats cheese would be great with this. I imagine a bruchetta with a slice of chevre blanc, grilled with a drizzle of this and maybe a sprig of rocket. I love blackberries and the happy late summer days spent picking them, but spend ages pulling strange faces trying to get the seeds out of my teeth, so I love this recipe already.


Hi Heidi, I am really bad with chili, their heat is almost always too hot for me. So why is this recipe so appealing to me, I do not know. Anyway I bought all the ingredients, except I have fresh chili instead of dried. What do you reckon? They are supposedly mild, and I planned on using just one for a start. But fresh, is that gonna work? Many thanks in advance for your help, and your blog and book, which I love. HS: Hi Flo, If you are really worried, perhaps start with half. Although, depending on what type of fresh chile you have, one might not be a problem. I'd say start with 1/2 and make note, if it's not too hot, use 1 the next time around, until it is just how you like it. The syrup is still delicious w/o the spiciness, so I'd err on the conservative side if you tend to be v. sensitive.


With these recipes, I'm eager to improve my cooking and baking skills, coz I just love to eat tasty food.


i love this deep colour!

sam's cook

For the de Arbol chile commenters... After reading through the comments, I had to try this out with the Rancho Gordo chiles de Arbol I had on hand. All I had for sugar in the house was a cup of dark brown sugar, so I used that and 2/3 C agave syrup. I started with 4 chiles, and after a few minutes I got ansty and threw another one in (I convinced myself there were no seeds in the ones I'd used already...). As Heidi suggested, I tore them up into pieces. I would say it's exactly as spicy as I was hoping for, but I do love spicy everything. It's nothing to burn your mouth at all, and I mostly noticed the heat when I put the syrup in soda fresh out of my siphon, so it was pretty bubbly and it got in my nose! Other than that, the heat was as Heidi described. So I'd say 4 is a safe number, and I was happy with 5, but wouldn't be afraid of more, depending on what I plan to serve with the syrup. Hope that helps! HS: Thanks so much for reporting back Jane. Really helpful, and I'm glad it wasn't overkill - I would have felt bad!


This sounds like it would make an awesome berry margarita!!


mmm good with mulberries too


Your recipes are so this one and can't wait to try it...


I see the berry-stained parchment as if the berries were oven-roasted... but nothing in the instructions about cooking the berrries. Are they used raw in this recipe?? Thanks HS: Hi Deanna - that was just the brown bag I had them in torn open. No roasting involved. -h


WARNING: do not do what I did and use dried habanero! It was the only dried chili I had and I used .5 oz instead of the 1oz for the recommended chili from the recipe. SO SO SO hot. I put a tiny amount in seltzer and i can't even take a sip because the smell singes my nose and throat. Now... what do I do with this? Any suggestions? HS: Yikes! I'm so sorry. Those little guys don't mess around. I really haven't played around with blackberries and habaneros together before, but I will say....yogurt and other dairy really takes the heat off the version of the syrup I have here. So, whisk a bit into the syrup and then try it as a drizzle (over tacos?), or as part of a dressing, or as a marinade. Maybe as part of a bran or oatmeal muffin - that's a long shot, but...maybe someone else can come up with some ideas. Anything that can take some big heat/flavor.


This is just the recipe I need right now. It looks so good!


Hi Heidi, I've been a fan for a years and look forward to your posts, and make many many of your recipes. I realized a few weeks ago that I had stopped seeing your email posts and wondered what was up. I've re-added my email address a few times with no luck.My solution is to just check the blog every day, but wondered if others had reported similar problems? I really enjoy receiving the blog posting via email, it's not a big deal to check, but wondered. HS: Hmm. That doesn't sound good. Is there a chance it's being blocked by your spam filter? if anyone else is running into this, let me know, and I can look into it some more. Jo, I just added this email address, seems like it wasn't in the system. You should see an email sometime in the next couple of days, if not let me know. And if you don't want to get it at the address you submitted this comment under, just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom (or drop me an email) and I can remove or change it.


I'm thinking this could be preserved in just a boiling water bath. Anybody have any thoughts on this?


This looks amazing. What a great combo. I've always thought Ancho chiles are so versatile too, in particular when combined with chocolate. You read my mind when you suggested goat cheese. Now I know what I'm doing with my Farmer's market blackberries. I always love your blog!


Mmm this would also be a hand sauce for Venison or other rich game.


I made a trip to the farmers market for berries this morning just to try this recipe. Like Jan, I chickened out when I saw all.those.seeds in my pasilla chiles so I used only two peppers. The syrup has a wonderful depth, but I would like a little more fire. Next time, I'll make it with chipotle for the smoky notes. I don't think it will last long around here.


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