Home » Golden Syrup (For Mooncakes) 月饼糖浆

Golden Syrup (For Mooncakes) 月饼糖浆

by Angie Liew
Golden Syrup Mooncake

This homemade Golden Syrup for mooncakes is so easy to make! All you need are sugar, water and some lemon slices. This syrup has a beautiful golden amber colour with a thick honey-like texture and sweet lemony fragrance. This is the key ingredient for soft, fragrant and golden brown mooncake skin.

Watch How To Make Homemade Golden Syrup for Mooncakes

Recipe Video for Making Homemade Golden Syrup For Mooncakes by Huang Kitchen
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Golden Syrup For Mooncake Recipe by Huang Kitchen - Vertical glass jars with lemons and traditional baked mooncake

Golden Syrup: The Most Important Ingredient To Make Baked Mooncakes

The Mid-Autumn Festival (Mooncake Festival) is just around the corner. This special occasion is simply not complete without mooncakes. Although there are so many varieties of mooncakes nowadays, I would say that the most popular variety is still the traditional baked mooncake. To make traditional mooncakes, the most important ingredient is Golden Syrup (月饼糖浆) that is used for making mooncake skin.

If you are planning to make mooncakes but don’t have any golden syrup in your pantry, the good news is you can easily make this at home with simple ingredients. It is cost efficient too. All you need are sugar, water and some lemon slices. Not much of hands on work needed, maybe just a bit of your time.

Golden Syrup Mooncake

Homemade Golden Syrup Gets Better In Time

With that said, some planning is needed, as golden syrup has to be made at least two weeks before it can be used. When left for some time, this syrup will thicken further and develop its signature amber colour with a rich lemony aroma.

Golden syrup preserves well and it is even recommended by many mooncake bakers to make golden syrup up to one year in advanced (we have tried this and it works perfectly). In short, you can also keep this year’s golden syrup for next year’s use. So what are we waiting for?

Golden Syrup Mooncake

What is Golden Syrup?

Golden syrup is comprised of sugar, water and citric acid. It is a type of inverted sugar syrup commonly used in baking recipes and asian desserts, such as traditional baked mooncakes. This syrup is best known for its golden amber colour with an amazingly thick honey-like texture and sweet lemony fragrance.

It’s also called inverted syrup, due to the sugar inversion process that happens when boiling sugar in water for a long time, while adding some acid to speed up this process. As compared to simple sugar, golden syrup is better at retaining moisture, thus effectively improving the shelf-life of baked goods.

Golden syrup is certainly the key ingredient in making mooncake skin, attributing to its signature softness, sweetness, flavour, golden brown colour and also better shelf life. 

Some Mooncake Recipes You Can Use With Golden Syrup

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Golden Syrup Mooncake

How To Make Golden Syrup?

Ingredients You Will need

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Lemon

Overview Of Cooking Steps

  1. Place sugar, water and lemon slices into a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Then bring the heat to low, simmer for about 1 hour till the syrup turns golden amber brown.
  4. Test consistency of golden syrup. Store and cool. 

Important Tips When Making Golden Syrup For Mooncakes

1. Control cooking time to get the right syrup consistency

If syrup is too runny, it will result in mooncake skin that is too soft (mooncake may lose its shape when baking). If syrup is too thick, it will result in mooncake skin that is too hard / flaky.

Cook the syrup slowly to prevent water from evaporating too quickly. The longer you cook the syrup, the darker colour it will become, with more sugar inverted. If water evaporates too quickly, the syrup will be lighter than desired.

2. Check syrup doneness by colour and consistency

The cooked syrup should be a golden amber colour that is not too dark. Consistency wise, it should still be runny and thinner than honey. Do note that syrup will thicken further as it cools down. And it will become even thicker after left for 2 weeks.

Making golden syrup is very forgiving. If not thick enough, cook for a little longer. If too thick, just add some water and continue cooking.

The easiest way to test if the golden syrup has reached the right consistency: Drop some syrup into a bowl of water.

  • If syrup spreads out in water and when touched, it feels syrupy, the syrup is perfect.
  • If syrup solidifies into small clumps / balls, it is over-cooked. Add more water and continue to cook.

Or, use the weighing method. You should get 1.3kg of golden syrup from 1kg sugar and 750ml water. (See recipe notes for more detail)

  • If less than 1.3kg, add more water and continue to boil.
  • If more than 1.3kg, cook for a while longer.
Golden Syrup for Mooncake Recipe by Huang Kitchen - Stored in glass jars with basket of lemons

FAQ About This Recipe

How do you use golden syrup?

Golden syrup is used in many baking recipes. The most popular usage is to make traditional mooncakes. You can also drizzle on pancakes, thin pancakes crepes and waffles as a substitute for maple syrup or honey.

Does golden syrup expire? How long can i store homemade golden syrup?

Store fresh golden syrup in clean glass jar, then keep in a dark and dry cupboard. If stored properly, golden syrup should last for years. A common practice for long-time mooncake bakers is to make golden syrup up to a year ahead.

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Golden Syrup (For Mooncakes) 月饼糖浆

Recipe by Huang Kitchen, Angie Liew
This homemade Golden Syrup for Mooncakes is amazingly easy to make. All you need are sugar, water and some lemon slices. This syrup has a beautiful golden amber colour with an amazingly thick honey-like texture and sweet lemony fragrance. This is the key ingredient for popular asian pastry and desserts, such as traditional baked mooncakes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes

Tap or Hover to Adjust Servings

Servings: 45 mooncakes



  • 1 kg sugar
  • 750 ml water, 3 cups
  • 4 slices lemon , cut into ½ cm thick


    Preparing Ingredients:

    • Preparing Golden Syrup Ingredients.
      Have ready all ingredients needed to make golden syrup: sugar, water and lemon. Cut 4 slices of lemon, about ½ cm thick each.

    Cooking Golden Syrup:

    • Preparing Ingredients for Golden Syrup.
      Place a medium-size pot on the stove. Add in the sugar, water and lemon slices. Stir a bit.
    • Cook golden syrup.
      Turn heat to high. Stir to mix well. Cook till the syrup comes to a boil, stirring occasionally till all the sugar has dissolved.
    • Cooking golden syrup.
      Then lower the flame to low. Continue to simmer gently (small bubbles) till the syrup turns a rich amber colour, about 1 hour later.
    • Testing if golden syrup is done.
      At this stage, test if the sugar syrup has reached the desired consistency. Drop some syrup into a bowl of water and it should spread out. When touched, you should feel syrupy at the bottom.
    • When done, off the flame and remove the lemon slices from the syrup. Remove the pot from the stove. Pour the hot syrup into a clean glass jar and let it cool completely before closing the jar with a secure lid. And we are done!
    • Golden Syrup for Mooncake Recipe by Huang Kitchen - Square photo of golden syrup
      This golden syrup will thicken after a few days and can only be used for making mooncake skin after at least 2 weeks. So Enjoy!


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Recipe Video


  • Make sure to stir well before the water boils. This prevents sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pot and ensures that it will be fully dissolved. 
  • Lemon is used to prevent sugar crystallization. If you find that the golden syrup has crystallized at the bottom of the container, you can transfer it back into a pot, add more lemon slices and boil again. If enough acid (lemon) is added, sugar should not crystalize.
  • You can also substitute lemon with local lime. But do note that local green limes have bitter skin, so taste may be affected.
  • Slice the lemon about ½ cm thick. Leave the lemon seeds intact as this works as a natural preservative for the golden syrup. Caramelised lemon slices can be used for lemon tea.
  • It is recommended to boil syrup using a pot with a smaller top opening. This will prevent too much evaporation during the boiling process. Over evaporation will cause the syrup to be too thick when it turns golden brown.
  • You can cook a bigger batch of golden syrup if preferred, not necessarily with just 1 kg sugar at one time. For baking mooncakes, 5kg of sugar is usually recommended at one go as the golden syrup can be kept for a long time. It gets better with time. 
  • To test if golden syrup is the right consistency, pour some syrup into a small bowl of tap water. If syrup spreads out in water and feels syrupy when touched, the syrup is just nice. If it solidifies into small clumps / balls, it is over-cooked. Add more water and continue to cook.
  • Or, you can use the weighing method. First, measure the weight of the pot you are using. After cooking, measure again the total weight of the pot with syrup inside. To get the weight of the syrup, minus pot weight from the total weight. For the right consistency, you should get about 1.3kg of syrup for 1 kg of sugar and 750ml water. If it is less than 1.3kg, add more water and continue to boil. If more than 1.3kg, cook for a while longer. 
  • It is important to keep the syrup for at least 2 weeks before using it for mooncakes. If you do not keep long enough, the mooncake skin will turn out hard. The longer the syrup is kept, the better the texture of the baked mooncakes.


Calories: 86kcal · Carbohydrates: 22g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 1g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Sodium: 1mg · Potassium: 1mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 22g · Vitamin A: 1IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 1mg · Iron: 1mg
Course: Baking
Cuisine: Asian, Baking, Chinese
Diet: Halal
Keyword: Mid Autumn Festival Mooncake

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Mixue April 23, 2023 - 1:42 am

Hi, can the homemade golden syrup be kept for 3-5 years? Mine had kept for 3 years. Can it still be used? Thank you.

Angie Liew May 17, 2023 - 5:39 pm

I usually keep mine for 2 to 3 years. Never tried for 5 years so I may not be able to comment. But I do know the colour of the golden syrup darkens with age. But that is fine. In fact its quality improves with time.

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