Golden Syrup

Lyle's Golden Syrup. Glorious glowing substance, vital ingredient in British kitchens, oldest brand in in the country, its green and gold tin unchanged since 1884. I couldn't contemplate life without it.

It is well travelled. Scott took some to the Antarctic. According to Wikipedia it is widely available in Germany, Norway, Sweden, India, The Philippines, Canada and Ireland. Australia and New Zealand have their own brands. Louisiana is, apparently, the only state in America where it is available. 

The strange picture of a dead lion surrounded by a swarm of bees and the quotation underneath is a biblical reference. It is something Samson said on finding that bees had made a honeycomb in the carcase of a lion and possibly refers to the Victorian ideals of strength and industry.

Dylan Thomas was clearly thinking of the Lyle's tin when he described Mr Mog Edwards in his play Under Milk Wood as Samson-syrup-gold-maned, whacking thighed and piping hot.
 That line always makes me think of the Scotch pancakes my mum used to make for weekend teas. She kept them piping hot wrapped in a tea towel and we ate them spread with butter and golden syrup. I make them for my children but for breakfast not tea.

 Gingerbread, Anzac biscuits, gingernuts, flapjacks, treacle tart (no treacle just syrup), hollygog, steamed syrup sponge pudding all require a dose of the golden. Scotch pancakes, porridge, plain bread and butter are all enhanced by it. And most gloriously gorgeous of all - Yorkshire pudding baked in a dish doused liberally with golden syrup and clotted cream.

Watching the thread of syrup form patterns in the tin is part of its charm. Who hasn't drizzled their initials on their porridge?

I'm afraid that unlike its older sibling, black treacle golden syrup has no nutritive worth at all. It's basically just sugar. It rots your teeth and makes you fat.

Am I bothered?

No. And to prove it here is my flapjack recipe. 
 I've made these so often I can make them in my sleep. A great storecupboard recipe. This recipe makes a lot -4 dozen, this is because I have teenage boys. You can halve the recipe although you will have to experiment with tin sizes etc.


Grease and line three rectangular baking tins. Mine are 13 by 9 inches and 1 inch deep. I have reusable liners cut to fit them but I grease the sides with butter.

Melt together in a large pan:
2 packets of butter (500g). I use this quantity as our butter is sold in 250g packets -
 1 lb of butter will work -I think that is four US sticks. I like salted butter. On no account use margarine. For anything.
12 oz demerara sugar I think turbinado sugar is the US equivalent.
4 tablespoons of golden syrup

Stir in
2 lbs rolled oats
optional -add a handful of sunflower seeds/ pumpkin seeds/chopped nuts/ coconut / dried fruit

Make sure all the oats are coated with the buttery mixture. Divide between the tins and press down.
Bake at 190°c/170°c fan oven for 23 mins. Yes, 23 mins, at least that's what it takes in my fan oven to produce flapjacks with the right degree of chewiness. Experiment with your oven.
Once cool invert the tins and whack smartly with your hand and the flapjack should fall out in one piece.
Cut each into 16 pieces.

These have dried apricots and sunflower seeds.

Store in an airtight container. They keep very well and also freeze well. Brilliant lunch box fodder.



  1. Anonymous8:09 pm GMT

    Thanks to your creme-au-chocolat a few weeks ago, I bought butter for the second time ever in my life. I am now a complete convert. I even have a spare packet in the fridge and can go ahead and make flapjacks!

    (Why does it always take three clicks before my comment is posted here? Sorry if you get duplicates you have to delete.)

  2. Supermarkets sell their own versions of golden syrup but none of them taste anything like as good as the genuine article.

  3. I live in North Carolina, USA and just discovered Golden Syrup over the holidays. I wanted to make Nigella's Rocky Road Candy and had been told by many friends that there was no substitute for Golden Syrup.
    Thankfully I found one little grocery store that has a large section of over seas food. It's a staple in my house now. So good!

  4. Everything that you eat has the potential to rot your teeth if you don't clean them.

    Equally, everything that you eat has the potential to make you fat if your calorie intake is not matched by energy expended.

  5. Christine8:40 pm GMT

    Beautiful photographs! When I was about 8 years old we had a substitute teacher at my primary school for a few days and he told us all about the quotation on the golden syrup can. Forty years ago and I still remember that quite well, it certainly made an impression. I can get golden syrup in a couple of places here in Texas but the price is terribly high, I try and save space in my suitcase to bring it back from the UK. Thanks for the flapjack recipe, I'll pass it on to a friend here who has been struggling to make good flapjacks.

  6. golden syrup - I love it! J's uncle used to tell this lovely story about cleaning out the tanker he drove so it was clean enough transport golden syrup in. My dad always heats the spoon over the gas flame so when you put it in the tin it sizzles and the syrups slips off the hot spoon into the recipe!

  7. Just Gai, you are so right. I tried the Tesco version once and it had no flavour just sweetness.

  8. Thank you Sue! Was just about to hunt out a flapjack recipe and now it's right here. The syrup is already in the cupboard. Like you the green and gold tin is the only one to have. I always wish I could think of something fabulous to do with the tin though. It seems such a pity to throw them out.

  9. I have a tin sitting here on my counter. I, too brings tins of it back from the U.k. Two big tins usually last me a year. With two feet of snow outside on the prairie I am just about to make a steamed suet sponge..................
    I loved the tin as a child. Delia s gingersnaps would nt be the same with it.

  10. Helen they make great containers for pens and pencils. If you punched holes in the bottom they could be pots for kitchen herb. or would they rust.....?

  11. There is nothing like using the proper stuff - TATE & LYLES Golden Syrup, great on pudding too!
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  12. I too love golden syrup - we had syrup sandwiches as children! I don't think I could eat one now though!! Empty tins? we always punched 2 holes.threaded baler twine through (sorry - farming background!) and made stilts from them!!

  13. I've only tried it once--in one of my introductory baking classes in culinary school. It was "sweetener tasting day" and we tried every type of sugar, molasses, syrup, and artificial sweetener available. I felt like I was headed for a diabetic coma by the end of the day. I do wish golden syrup was more commonly available in the US though...it really was delicious.

  14. Pancakes and golden syrup - heaven, and steamed syrup pudding and the tins have lots of uses. I totally agree about margarine. It's a weird conglomeration of greasy stuff and horrible additives - not a food at all.

  15. Thanks Sue,I too have been looking out for a flapjack recipe,and what better recomendation than yours,you could almost grab one(or two or...)from the screen
    Best Wishes
    Sue xxx

  16. Lyle's golden syrup was a must in my childhood in South Africa, I used to come home from school and cut myself a doorstep slice of bread, lather it with crunchy peanut butter and swirlsof golden syrup....aaah those were the days xox It's now a must in my house and lives in my baking ingredients cupboard.

  17. Mmmm golden syrup - Winter Sunday teas as a child (proper teas as we called them), with hot buttered toast spread liberally with Lyles golden Syrup. Definately "buttered" toast not, no not ever margarine (or maggie anne as my dad used to call it)I never use margarine, I attended a seminar once with Doctor Madeleine Portwood an eminent educational psychologist, and she said she never used margarine as it is only one molecule away from plastic! xxx

  18. esther jane11:33 pm GMT

    i'm in washington state and we have lyle's in several stores, although it's a bit pricey. i love the tin and wanted to have it just because i like tins and putting things in them, but i couldn't justify buying it since good gracious, what do i use golden syrup for anyway?! not only has your post solved that mystery, but your yummy recipe has also given me the perfect excuse to buy that pricey little tin with the sweet stuff inside. thanks!!

  19. I am also in Washington State and had no problem finding it. I hadn't heard of it until a Nigella recipe called for it (don't remember which one) and was pleased when it was right in my local market...I do love the tin.

  20. Well....I have an unopened tin of Lyles sitting in my cupboard so I know what I'll be making tomorrow:)

    I also like it drizzled on buttered toast...yummm.

  21. Now I want to find some of that beautiful golden syrup in Oregon. :-)

    Our equivalent is Karo syrup which comes in "dark" and "light" - but it's certainly not as pretty and golden as yours!

    It would be interesting to try to convert your recipe to how we measure things here.

    Hugs, Teresa

  22. Anonymous7:05 am GMT

    Oh I'm so hungry and envious now, golden syrup costs a fortune here in Switzerland so I have to ration my use if it. Trouble is if you save things for best you never use them.

  23. You certainly provide inspiration for any jaded cook. I have just found your blog and I am hooked.

  24. Those photos just make you want to take a teaspoon and sneak some out of the tin ;)

    BTW the tins can be so useful when they are empty - pen holders/plant pots

  25. Can we have your recipe for Anzac biscuits too please : )

  26. Yes, what is an Anzac biscuit?

    This post is like an ode to syrup. THANKYOU for the recipe. Mine demolish flapjacks as though there were no tomorrow. Yours look crispy and so so good.

  27. Morning Sue. I love flapjacks and haven't made any for ages, so will give these a go. Please tell me HOW you make the images larger on blogger - Nina's post this morning is driving me nuts trying to work it out!! x

  28. The lion is dead? I never knew that the lion was dead. I'm deeply unsure about wanting a dead lion in my kitchen cupboard.

    The Lattes recently discovered something amazing when I switched recipes - flapjacks are not all created equal. Some are healthy-ish blocks of goodness bound together with sugar and butter, and some are more or less entirely toffee with a few oats thrown in.

  29. Anonymous2:26 pm GMT

    Lovely pictures. Our "golden syrup" in the states is "King Syrup", but unfortunately I don't think you can get it in a can anymore. It was an absolute staple in our house when I was growing up. I love it.

  30. The tins do rust with bulbs and herbs in. You have to line the tin with foil before you plant.
    Golden syrup. Delicious.

  31. "on no account use margarine. For anything."

    Well said! I have been hankering after a decent Flapjack recently, so will have to do a little calculation to work out how I can get a smaller amount. Thank you for the recipe.

  32. HaHa. You made me laugh. Stumbled into your kitchen via Flickr. Love your attitude to food. Got on you.
    All the best


  33. Ooh yes. Lovely pictures. I love the tins too, in fact I can't bear to throw them away after the syrup is gone, I'll use them for anything.

  34. Absolutely superb photos Sue!

  35. My son is named after the creator - Abram Lyle. He came from my home town, we have many streets named 'Lyle' road, street, hill, place, etc... Was a major blow to the town when they closed the factory in the 1990's... a lot of people stopped buying the brand for anything, i did find it hard to get Tate & Lyle Sugar for years, but its slowly starting to come back in the shops.

    Another fact for you: According to a news report, the Guinness Book of Records has concluded that the design of Lyle's Golden Syrup tin, which has remained almost unchanged since 1885, forms Britain's oldest brand.

    Your flapjacks look amazing... going to hunt out some tins and make this tomorrow.
    Thank you
    Lola Lemon (from MSE)

  36. I'm going to try this recipe this weekend, but I'm going to guiltily confess ahead of time that I will have to substitute the Golden Syrup. I've done research and plan to go with equal parts maple syrup and honey. In the future, I will search for it here in Cleveland, OH but my research tells me it might be difficult to find...I guess since I've never had the real thing, it might be acceptable for me...I still feel guilty, Sue. Don't be mad at me!

  37. Thanks for all the comments :o)

    Teresa, surely packages of sugar and oats are sold in lbs and oz? 12 oz is three quarters of a lb.

    Katherine, good luck! I think that both maple syrup and honey might contain too much water for the recipe to work well but I'm sure however it turns out it will taste good.

    Lola Lemon, how interesting, you must be from Greenock. I did know about it being the oldest brand in Britain -I mentioned it in my first paragraph :o) Hope you like the flapjacks.

  38. Anonymous2:51 pm GMT

    I cannot believe after so many years of having golden syrup in the cupboard I have never noticed that the lion is dead :0)

    I have just found your blog and it is so lovely I'm hooked already- I doubt I'm going to get any more work done this afternoon.


  39. I haven't made flapjcks for ages, so no excuse now, thank you for your latest factoid, I never realised the Lion was dead! Amazing that I never noticed...I wonder why they have kept the design the very same for all that time? I'm glad they have though.

  40. We can get golden syrup here in California, too... its just expensive. I've subbed honey in recipes for the syrup before, but I think I may have to go buy some to make these flapjacks.

  41. Winding Ways10:28 pm GMT

    New York has Golden Syrup. Wegman's stocks it, but it comes in a glass jar, not a tin.

  42. Anonymous10:54 pm GMT

    I have spent the last hour reading your blog........got to it via a link about using up tinned pineapple from MSE........it's made me feel all warm and cosy. Saved on my favorites and will be visiting regularly........thank you for sharing! dundeedoll from MSE (and from very near Worcester)

  43. I wanted to let you know (finally) that I did make the flapjacks with the maple syrup/honey substitute and it seemed to work fine. The end result was a cross between a regular and a chewy granola bar. I think I would have liked them sweeter though. I'm sure the golden syrup would be best. I found I could order it online for $18!

  44. Hello Sue I have had a couple of goes at writing a message to say thank you for your lovely blog, recipes and inspiration. Hopefully I have got it right this time. I have just looked at your flapjack recipe which I intend to try - my children once begged me 'no more flapjack' so your recipe obviously better than mine! Happy New Year and keep blogging.

    1. Hello June,
      I hope you like the flapjack -it might take a few goes to get just right depending on the size of your tin and thickness of the flapjack.


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