It is peak blackberry season here in Northern California. Yesterday I went berry picking at Amber Oaks Berry Farm where they have endless rows of gorgeous thornless blackberry plants. I grabbed a box of little green berry baskets and headed out. Barely 20 minutes passed and I was back at the packing shed with 6 pounds of gorgeous blackberries. Fresh blackberries always taste better than store-bought, but for my Blackberry Syrup Recipe for Pancakes (store-bought will work just fine. This easy blackberry syrup recipe is perfect for the Instant Pot but if you prefer, use just a large pot on the stovetop.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Blackberry Syrup, like most fresh fruit syrups, is not just for pancakes and waffles. This simple syrup recipe is great on pancakes, French toast, and golden brown waffles. This versatile recipe for homemade blackberry syrup can be used in many tasty ways.
- It makes a wonderful ice cream topping, great on dessert crepes, and as syrup for beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. While writing, I am sipping a blackberry iced tea!
- You can make a small batch of blackberry syrup and keep it in the refrigerator. This recipe is NOT a canned blackberry syrup. If you want a shelf-stable blackberry syrup, there are plenty of great recipes to choose from online.
- In-season blackberries are plump, juicy and just bursting with flavor. My fingers are still purple from my berry picking adventure.
- One of the best things about making homemade fresh fruit syrups is that they do not have weird ingredients or preservatives.
- Blackberries, fresh picked, store-bought, or frozen (thawed) will do.
- Granulated sugar. I like to use the extra fine granulated for this as it melts faster. Regular granulated is fine as well.
- Lemons to add some acidity and aid in the thickening of the syrup. Lemons, especially the seeds contain a lot of pectin, which helps to thicken this syrup without having to use cornstarch.
- Water for thinning the syrup.
Full list & measurements provided in the printable recipe card.
Cut out the pulp and seeds from the lemon. Use the middle part not the peel.
Add the blackberries, lemons and sugar to the Instant Pot.
Stir to distribute the sugar evenly from the booth to top of berries.
Use a potato masher to crush the berries. Pressure cook for 15 minutes.
Allow the pressure to release before opening the lid of the Instant Pot.
Stir the berries with a wooden spoon to mix liquid and blackberry pulp.
When thoroughly mixed remove the container from the Instant Pot. Cool.
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Strain berries and liquid though.
Use a wooden spoon to mash the berries releasing the juice into the bowl.
Continue to drain thoroughly. Discard the pulp and save the syrup.
Final Step - Allow the hot syrup to cool at room temperature. Pour the syrup into glass jars or plastic containers. If freezing, verify that the container is safe for freezing, and leave at least ¾" of headspace to allow for expansion.
- Some cooks like to add vanilla extract to their blackberry jams and berry syrups. It does add a subtle flavor change.
- I love blackberry flavor and lemon so I might add extra lemon juice to mine. If I were to add lemon zest, I would do so after the syrup was cooked.
- I use blackberry jam to make a blackberry barbecue sauce. I imagine this syrup would be perfect in a barbecue sauce recipe.
- For gift giving, package the syrup in cute little jars with the recipe attached.
Blackberries are in season from about May through October. They only get sweet while ripening on the vine, and can end up quite bitter when picked unripe. Unlike some other types of fruit, blackberries do not continue to ripen after being picked. It's important to only pick ripe fruit for eating soon or storing.
When the syrup starts to run off a spoon in a sheet or a stream, then it's almost ready. It will also start to look more like syrup and less like juice. If you think the syrup is done, take it off the heat and let it cool a bit. As it cools, it thickens and becomes syrup.
Blackberries are delicate and should still be washed carefully to keep them intact. You can gently rinse blackberries under the cold water faucet. You can rinse them by placing them in a large bowl of cold water and agitating them gently with your hand.
Looking for More Berry Recipes?
These two recipes using strawberries, blueberries, and pichuberries, plus many more berry recipes, are on the website.
- Instant Pot (optional)
- Large bowl
- Medium bowl
- Wooden spoons ( pick the ones that you don't mind getting purple)
- Large fine-mesh sieve
Food Storage Tips
- This method of cooking blackberry syrup does not involve canning. Your Blackberry Syrup for Pancakes will keep for one-two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and several months in the freezer.
- You could use quart jars, but I like one pint for the freezer and a half pint for the fridge. Re-heat to a gentle boil on the stove in a small saucepan over low heat.
- Regarding freezing: Syrups made without cornstarch freeze and maintain their consistency better than those made with cornstarch. Syrups made with my Blackberry Syrup Recipe for Pancakes does not contain cornstarch as written.
- The farmer at the berry farm where I picked my blackberries gave me these tips for picking the right berries:
- Look up under the leaves for big berries that have gone unnoticed by others.
- Find berries that gave a dull surface. Shiny berries are prettier, but they are under-ripe.
- Pull gently on the berry. If it comes loose, it's ripe. If it resists your attempt to pull it, move on. It is not ready yet.
- My top tip is to wear an apron while making this recipe. Don't make me show you my shirt. Next time I am wearing an apron!
- Using the inner part of the lemon including the seeds is the secret to getting the sauce to thicken. The seeds contain pectin, a natural thicken agent. Don't be tempted to throw the peels into. The cooking will bring out the bitterness of the pith.
- If you find that your syrup is not thick enough, you can mix a teaspoon of cornstarch to a teaspoon of water. Heat the syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the cornstarch gradually, whisking constantly, until you get the consistency you like. My Blackberry Syrup Recipe for Pancakes results in a medium thick syrup, more like maple syrup than molasses.
The perfect pairing for this simple blackberry syrup is to pour it over slices of my Meyer Lemon Pound Cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and freshly whipped cream.
Blackberry Syrup Recipe for Pancakes
- Instant Pot (optional)
- Large pot for stove (if not using Instant Pot)
- Large bowl
- Medium bowl
- Wooden spoons (pick the ones that you don't mind turning purple)
- Large fine-mesh sieve
- 2.5 cups sugar white granulated sugar (not tested with brown sugar)
- 3 pounds blackberries approx. 4 plastic berry baskets or 9-10 cups
- 2 lemons
- Using a small sharp knife, cut out the pulp and seeds from the lemons. Use this part of the lemon, not the peel. Discard the peel or use for something else.
- Add the blackberries, lemons and sugar to the Instant Pot. (If not using an Instant Pot, use a large, heavy bottomed pot with lid)
- Stir to distribute the sugar evenly from the bottom to top of berries.
- Use a potato masher to crush the berries. Pressure cook for 15 minutes. (If not using an Instant Pot, bring the berries to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 30 minutes, stirring frequently)
- Allow the pressure to release before opening the lid of the Instant Pot. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your pressure cooker.
- Stir the berries with a wooden spoon to mix the liquid and blackberry pulp.
- When thoroughly mixed, remove the container from the Instant Pot. Cool to room temperature.
- Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Strain berries and liquid though the sieve.
- Use a wooden spoon to mash the berries releasing the juice into the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the underside of the side to remove any syrup that might be stuck.
- Continue to drain thoroughly. Discard the pulp and save the syrup.
- Allow the hot syrup to cool to room temperature. Pour the syrup into glass jars or plastic containers. If freezing, verify that the container is safe for freezing, and leave at least ¾" of headspace to allow for expansion. Syrup will thicken as it cools.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.