Thai Chili Syrup

thai chili syrup 2

Thai chili syrup is the ultimate combo of hot + sweet and we caramelize it for that delicious toasted flavor. I created this for my “One Night in Bangkok” cocktail based on a hazy recollection of a former Navy Seal. I laugh at his story every time I serve this and it’s only matched by the anticipation of a wonderful cocktail experience.

Making Thai Chili Syrup

This is easy to make, but requires a little patience and restraint during the process. You must avoid the temptation to stir while caramelizing the syrup. If you have ever made caramel you know excess stirring creates sugar crystals that ruin the caramel.

This is a very spicy syrup, but you can customize it by using fewer chilies or reducing the steep time. However, remember you will be diluting it with other cocktail ingredients that will tame it.

I’m going to take you through this step by step for a foolproof recipe.

infusing chilies

Step one is infusing water with Thai chilies. Place the chilies in a small saucepot with 1-1/4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes, turn off the heat, cover and steep for 2 hours.

infused chilies

This is the infused water that has taken a beautiful copper colored hue.

straining the water

Strain out the chili pods and return the water to the saucepot.

adding sugar

Add the sugar, heat over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved, then stop stirring!

starting to caramelize

It will begin bubbling with large bubbles that quickly dissipate. Just watch the pot – No stirring!

halfway there

As it heats, it begins to reduce with bubbles a little smaller that last a little longer, but do not cover the surface. Steam will begin to rise as the water boils off.

finished caramelizing

Finally the bubbles will become small and completely cover the surface. This is when it’s time to turn off the heat. It will be reduced to about 3/4 cup and very thick. Whisk in that last 1/4 cup of water to thin it a little, because it will thicken when refrigerated.

finished thai chili syrup

Ready to cool, bottle and refrigerate. Print

Thai Chili Syrup

A hot, spicy, sweet syrup caramelized to a toasted perfection!

  • Author: Tim


  • 11/2 cups water
  • 10 whole red Thai chili peppers
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar


  1. Place the chili peppers in a small saucepot with 1-1/4 cups water over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, then turn off the heat, cover and steep for 2 hours
  2. Strain out the chilies, return the infused water to the saucepan and add the sugar.
  3. Begin over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved – about 1 minute, then stop stirring! Lower the heat to medium low and just watch as it simmers.
  4. It will begin with large bubbles that dissipate quickly, then progress to bubbles that last a little longer and you can see the steam as the water reduces. another 2-3 minutes
  5. Continue watching without stirring until the bubbles are small and completely cover the surface
  6. Turn off the heat and whisk in the last 1/4 cup of water to thin it a little. It will thicken as it cools.
  7. When it’s cooled, bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.