Homemade Blackberry Syrup

This chile-infused blackberry syrup is slow-burning, sweet and spicy, and homemade. Inspired by a recipe in the September 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine, it’s great in spritzers, over pancakes, in oatmeal, and on and on.

Homemade Blackberry Syrup

The next time you have blackberries on hand, please make 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 for a good stretch. I clipped the recipe out of an issue of Gourmet Magazine years ago, September 2007, and enjoy it  every year when berries are in season.

jars of homemade blackberry syrup

Blackberry Syrup: The Recipe

Over the years I’ve made this syrup experimenting with a range of chiles. Play around! Broadly speaking, it’s easy to adjust the spiciness to your liking. My advice is to make notes so you know your preference for future batches.

A Special Syrup: How To Use It

The ways to enjoy this syrup are endless.

  • Use it to spritz up sparkling water.
  • Swirl it into yogurt, oatmeal, or crème fraîche.
  • Slather on buttered toast or skillet cornbread.
  • Drizzle over goat cheese.
  • Use as a topping for pancakes, crepes, or waffles.
  • Jazz up tapioca pudding.

Use it in Cocktails

Gourmet highlighted their original version of this blackberry syrup alongside a bourbon-based cocktail (it was a Briar Patch), and a version of a Desert Sunrise. If you think of it as a homemade spicy grenadine, you can imagine all sorts of cocktail applications (and non-alcoholic cocktails as well). 
blackberries on a paper towel
blackberry juice stains on a piece of parchment paper

Even More Ideas

I keep thinking about working this syrup 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. You'd only see it after slicing into the cake? Or you could use it in a simple vinaigrette, or as part of a fruit salad. There are a lot of other ideas down in the comments, and I’ll put a few highlights in the next section.
blackberry seeds in a strainer with a wooden spoon

Blackberry Syrup: How *You're* Using It

You've shared so many great ideas over the years in the comments. A few favorites:

  • Payel says, “it is great on top of strawberry ice cream, with french toast or with chilled white wine to make kirs.”
  • Kate dovetails with this sentiment saying this syrup was amazing over vanilla bean ice cream topped with roasted pecans.
  • On the savory front FCnoted, “I used this smoky syrup in a marinate to prepare tempeh peach kebabs.”
  • Sharon suggested a bruschetta with a slice of chevre blanc, grilled with a drizzle of this and maybe a sprig of rocket.

Lastly, you’ll have enough to gift some syrup to friends. You can print up little tags with recipe suggestions for a thank-you or housewarming treat. Enjoy!
jars of homemade blackberry syrup

More Berry Recipes

101 Cookbooks Membership

Premium Ad-Free membership includes:
-Ad-free content
-Print-friendly recipes
-Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest recipe collection PDF
-Weeknight Express recipe collection PDF
-Surprise bonuses throughout the year

spice herb flower zest
weeknight express
browse more:

Homemade Blackberry Syrup

5 from 1 vote

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 refrigerated, for a couple of 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 granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups / 355 ml water
  • 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz blackberries
  1. 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.
  2. In the meantime, puree the blackberries. I use 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
weeknight express
101cookbooks social icon
Join my newsletter!
Weekly recipes and inspirations.

Post Your Comment

Recipe Rating


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!


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


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


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!


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's...you'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! Anyway.....to 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

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.


    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.

    Heidi Swanson

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!


    Thanks so much for reporting back Jane. Really helpful, and I’m glad it wasn’t overkill – I would have felt bad!

    Heidi Swanson

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


Your recipes are so creative...love 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.


    Hi Deanna – that was just the brown bag I had them in torn open. No roasting involved. -h

    Heidi Swanson

mmm good with mulberries too


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


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!


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


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.


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


Oh my God Heidi. This is a must-try-now for me. Thanks for sharing; you never fail to inspire me!

Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul

We just planted lots o blackberry bushes, I'll remember this in the autumn!


genius. thanks for the nudge. :-)


Just made this with what I had on hand...red raspberries just picked this morning, and chipotles. Sweet, hot, smoky, and delicious brushed over chops on the grill.


I just made this. I chickened-out and only used two pasilla chilies. I regret this decision. I could handle more heat. It is very mild. Next time. Tonight I am going to add some garlic and slather this on char-broiled steaks. The 4th of July is my steak day. But I want this on fish, and so many other things, too. Yogurt, salad dressings,yes! Its uses are endless. I just tried it with cold seltzer. It is great! Thanks.


This is one recipe that I will copy and save for those weeks in late July when the bumper of blackberries comes in here in New Hampshire. My husband adores all things blackberry (except the techno one!) and will have a ball with this syrup. I especially like your idea of the syrup drizzled over chevre ... yes, a good idea!

Susan @The Spice Garden

I think that it would pair beautifully with a Spanish Machengo cheese with some home made rye crackers (Swedish style).


this is a great idea! too bad we don't have these blackberries around yet, but i bet we're gonna see 'em real soon, and maybe we do have them and i don't know since i missed the market today :)... either way, i'm sure this is great with other berries too!

heather @ chiknpastry

Beautifully deep flavored syrup. I can practically taste it just by your pictures. I would love to put it on some buttermilk pancakes or perhaps drizzled on a sponge cake.


Ah, such a versatile "topping". I can't wait to get my hands on some yummy berries from the market... so I can make this! Thanks for sharing!

Lick My Spoon

This is also good served as a snack when you have guest over. Just lay a block of cream cheese in a dish and pour this over it. Just enough to coat the cheese,,You can add more syrup as needed, Serve with Ritz crackers....YUMMMMM... I have also use the blueberry version called blue heat.


I've done a very similar recipe with blueberries and Thai super-hots, without pureeing or straining the berries. It was a great BBQ sauce! I'm getting ready to try a similar recipe with dark cherries and hot lemon peppers. Can't get enoughh of the sweet-heat this summer!

Steve Simon

This looks amazing. I love that I found the blackberry limeade post right below this post. That sounds like a perfect drink for right about now.

Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

I have that exact Gourmet mag lying around here for the same reason -- loved that syrups article, and it launched me into making a ton of different syrups. Love the idea of infusing the chiles. Steve's chiles de arbol would certainly pack a punch. I've had a hard time with those particular chiles because they are *so* hot. I bet they'd be good here.

jen maiser

    Oooh! If you’re a fan of those chiles, you have to make the sauce I included in the back of SNC – I think its around page 200. I drizzle it on everything – crepes, eggs, sandwiches, etc, etc. I think it calls for 8 -10 and a bunch of garlic.

    Heidi Swanson

I just made a batch and it was so good that I right away made another batch to give to friends. I think it's best straight out of the bowl with a spoon. I'd add more chilis next time. Yoghurt, etc. robs it of the heat.


Delicious! Made something quite similar recently with the amazing blackberries growing locally. Passed on some to friends saying, "You may not know what to do with this now, but you will very soon." The responses have been delightful!

Livin Local

This sounds great Heidi, I may have to make this. I have Steve Sando's de Arbol chilies in my pantry and I suspect one whole de Arbol, without even breaking it up, would be enough to give it quite some heat. What do you reckon?


    Hey Sam! I think I would start in the realm of three? For a good amount of flavor, spiciness, etc. Although using one might be subtle, and nice….let me know if you give it a try, I can update the head notes w/ your results. I love arbol chiles, and think they’d work well here. I think if you break up the chiles it’ll infuse the syrup better, but it all gets pureed in the end anyway so...

    Heidi Swanson

If you google, "cocktail recipe: Desert Sunrise" you will find a plethora of results for this vodka drink. There was also a "Desert Healer" (gin) recipe thrown in that would work with this syrup.


Terrific idea for a cocktail use and also I love the yogurt idea on top of lentil soup! Thanks


This looks wonderful, but about two months off. We're still barely into raspberries here (Seattle). It's a cabbage summer. You have sun in SF today? I envy you!


This looks amazing. I bet it would be great with chicken too.


Ashley, I am so glad I found this recipe. We have blackberries growing on bushes just outside. I love the chili component in this. The photos and ideas that you have are just great! :-)


Yum, I just made this but with 1.5 Habenero's (guajillo peppers are hard to find in Australia).It was perfect with the last recipe (Chocolate Loaf Cake) which I overcooked - darn fan forced oven! Oh an ice-cream.....so good - thanks Heidi!


This looks delicious. It's definately on my Summer to do list :)

Angela @ Madeleines + Macarons

I love your recipes!! The combination of chile & sweets works perfectly even though people still don't believe it! Chile & hot cocoa is also a favourite sweet & Chile combination I love!

Chocolate Freckles

We love blackberries and the spicy and sweet combo. Thanks for sharing.

My Kitchen in the Rockies

Wow - looks amazing! What a punchy little number! Love your creativity Heidi. It's making me crave summer - we're right in the thick of winter in Australia.


I can't seem to take my eyes off the photographs you took for this recipe. The color of the blackberries seems to permeate the entire post and also my mind. When I saw it I actually began to salivate. I might just have the syrup Mary Poppin's style - by the spoonful.

The Muse of The Day

oh my...that looks amazing. I have a big container of organic blackberries in the fridge and just made some cheesecake tarts today. I had some leftover batter so I poured them into a lined cupcake pan with a gingersnap at the bottom for a crust. I would love to try this syrup drizzled over one of those! On the list... inspiring as always!


Mmmm...this sounds right up my alley. Blackberries + summer go hand in hand in our household. Happy 4th! xo.

my spatula

Sounds like it would be really good on grilled salmon or chicken, not to mention as an ingredient in a vinaigrette! Thanks!


I like the idea of slightly smoky guajillo chili with sweet and tangy blackberries. I also think it would be a great idea to create a two layered cheesecake with this hot syrup running through it. I'm sure it would create a nice surprise in each bite.

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

This recipe sounds fantastic. Simultaneously complex and simple... If you haven't already thought of this, berry-stained parchment makes beautiful wrapping paper once it has dried!

Georgia Pellegrini

    Love love love this ideas Georgia.

    Heidi Swanson

Oh wow, what a great idea!

Simply Life

I would have never thought to make my own syrup from scratch! Thank you for the suggestion! Much better than trying to infuse vodka or gin for cocktails!


I vote for a recipe with cheesecake. It would be gorgeous to look at and eat.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

Is it weird that I want to eat those left-behind blackberry seeds? :] This looks and sounds fantastic!

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

This sounds absolutely fabulous!

Jessica @ How Sweet

Great companion to pork chops I'd expect too.

Anna Aspnes

If you're not a vegetarian, I imagine this syrup would be great brushed on fish before grilling, then made into fish tacos! Heidi, you could make tofu tacos :) I have an obsession with dried chiles-especially guajillos! Must be my Texan roots! And I have a plethora of blackberries, so thanks for the perfect idea!


This recipe sounds so tasty and versatile... I've been on a sweet and spicy kick myself. Can't seem to get enough of the sweet summer berries and a little heat!

Mary @ What's Cookin' With Mary

Sounds yum, the blackcurrants here are ripening quickly in all this hot weather - might give this a try this with them when the glut arrives :)


Wow, spicy and sweet, what a lovely combination for blackberry syrup! I never would have thought of this, but your yogurt suggestion sounds absolutely perfect. I'll bet this would work beautifully with peaches too, maybe with a shot of lime juice instead? Yum!

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

I have made something very similar (used some honey, chilis in adobo, kept some of the berries whole) and served it over couscous with seared scallops and some parsley. So tasty!


That sounds fantastic -- I especially love the oatmeal suggestion.


More Recipes

101cookbooks social icon
Join my newsletter!
Weekly recipes and inspirations.

Popular Ingredients

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of its User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

101 Cookbooks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Any clickable link to amazon.com on the site is an affiliate link.