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Golden Syrup in a jar
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Golden Syrup for Mooncakes

Golden syrup, an important ingredient to make mooncakes, can be made at home with a handful of ingredients.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert and Snack
Cuisine: Chinese, Vietnamese
Keyword: homemade golden syrup
Author: Sophie


  • 2.2 lbs granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • juice of one large lemon (strained if possible)
  • a fews strips of lemon zest (optional)


  • Add sugar and water to a deep saucepan. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam.
  • Add the lemon juice and continue to simmer. Add a few strips of lemon zest if using.
  • Let the mixture simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on it and adjust heat as needed.
  • To check if the syrup is ready, dip a chopstick in the syrup briefly, then let it drop on a plate. If the droplet spreads slightly on the plate but still forms a round shape, the syrup is ready. You can see this test in the video in the post.
  • Another way to check is by measuring the weight of the syrup. You should have about 1.2kg (about 2.65lbs) of syrup. A little more or less is fine but don't go over 1.3kg (2.85lbs) or under 1.15kg (2.5lbs).
  • The finished syrup will have a rich amber color with a runny texture that is thinner than honey and will thicken over time. Transfer it to a clean container and let it cool completely. Then cover and store in a dry place at room temperature.


The syrup is ready to use after about a week. I usually give it 2 weeks before using it to make mooncakes. This recipe is specifically tested for our mooncake dough recipe, which does not use lye water.
This recipe is enough to make many batches of mooncakes, probably about 90 mooncakes with 100 grams each. Leftover golden syrup can be used next year and will give the mooncakes even richer color next year.