Browning AKA Burnt Sugar Syrup Recipe

Browning, simply put is burnt sugar. It creates the most amazing dark brown hue ever seen in the culinary world.

Burnt sugar is very easy to make, all you need are 2 ingredients- sugar and water.

Despite its name, burnt sugar is not actually burnt-in fact;  sugar is heated either by itself or with a little oil or water.

This happens pending when it’s taken to a stage of caramelization (oxidation of sugar) where it’s smoking and almost black.

At that point, more water is added or ingredients are tossed in to stop the cooking process.

Browning is often bottled and can be bought at most grocers, but, as you can tell from my explanation, it’s relatively easy to do at home

Homemade Browning or Burnt Sugar syrup is a dark liquid used as a coloring for ice creams or cakes and also as a marinade for meats.

Making Browning/Burnt Sugar

Recipes for browning or burnt sugar can differ (some include vegetable oil, some water, some just sugar).

Depending on how it is used in the recipe, but the method is mostly the same-cooking the sugar until it melts, stirring constantly, and continuing to cook until it turns very dark brown.


All you need are 2 ingredients. This recipe makes about four 4-ounce bottles of browning sauce.

If you want more, do not increase this recipe. Just make a batch at a time until you get the amount you want.

  • 2 cups sugar, in a heavy-bottom saucepan like a cast-iron skillet
  • 1 cup of water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Firstly, place the sugar in the saucepan. Turn on to medium heat and stir slowly and constantly with the wooden spoon.
  2. Secondly, the sugar will melt into clear syrup, then the syrup will turn golden, and gradually it will darken.
  3. Then, continue stirring until the syrup becomes very, very dark, almost black.
  4. After that, it will start smoking, be very careful not to allow it to smoke heavily. It may burst into a flame which is extremely dangerous.
  5. Alternatively, if it begins to smoke too much, turn down the heat or take the pan off the heat briefly to slow down the smoking.
  6. Then, when the syrup has become very dark, almost black, immediately carry it to the sink, pour water all at once quickly, and stirring constantly.
  7. The sugar will spatter and steam at first, then quickly become a sauce. Stir until smooth-this will take just a minute or so.
  8. Lastly, once the sauce is formed, allow cooling before pouring into a sauce bottle. Then, store in the refrigerator.
Browning or Burnt sugar syrup
Browning or Burnt sugar syrup


Browning sauce is a blend of caramel color, vegetable concentrates, and seasonings.

Available since the early 1900s, the sauce is used to add rich dark color to foods.

Traditionally added to gravies and sauces, browning sauce also works well in soups and stews to darken the broth.

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