Zobo (Hibiscus Flower) Syrup

Zobo Syrup

For my very first recipe post this year, I decided to show you another another "side" of the humble hibiscus flower. locally called Zobo in Nigeria. This is not only because Nigeria is one of the highest exporters of this food item, but also because I have so much interest in it and believe it is so under-utilised. Its intense deep red colour, tart taste and the promise of high levels of anti-oxidants are simply to irresistible for me. (Read more about Zobo (aka sorrel, roselle, hibiscus flower) here).

Before zobo can be effectively used in recipes, I have determined that is has to undergo some form of minor pre-processing, which will enhance taste and texture and ability to incorporate well into other dishes.

Zobo leaves are mainly sold dried, so in the first instance, they must be cleaned thoroughly and then softened. I also determined that they need to be sweetened in order to reduce or mellow down the tartness.

Zobo is generally used to make a tea/beverage and the leaves, after brewing are often discarded. I consider this to be such a waste and decided to find ways of using the whole of the leaves. If not for anything else, but for the fact that vital nutrients are not lost.

Hibiscus Flower Syrup

I was keen to see how the leaves can be added to dishes such as salads, desserts, cocktails, baking etc; to enhance tastes and texture or just to add visual appeal to a dish. So I decided to make Zobo Syrup...and wow,,,,the possibilities are endless.

Check out the very simple steps for making Zobo Syrup and discover some exciting new ways to incorporate it into your salads, cocktails, desserts, pancakes, baking etc

What you need
  • Dried hibiscus (zobo) leaves
  • Sugar
  • Water

What to do
  1. Give the zobo leaves a quick wash and transfer into a large pot. 
  2. Then add the water and sugar and allow to boil until the emerging syrup thickens. Take note..boil under low to moderate heat to avoid burning the sugar. The use of a thermometer is recommended to check that the temperature does not exceed 120 degrees. The longer the syrup is boiled the thicker it is. Thickness is also a factor of the quantity of sugar used.
  3. Transfer the syrup with all the zobo leaves into a jar and set aside until needed. Use a jar with an airtight lid. Be careful when handling hot sugar. 
  4. Allow to cool then place in the refrigerator. You are now ready to add the syrup to your pancakes, desserts, salads, cocktails....

Hibiscus Flower Syrup


  1. hi, please what is the quantity of sugar and water. i have been looking for what to use with my homemade yoghurt. im so making this this weekend. thank you so very plenty

    1. Hiya, you will need quite a lot of sugar in order to make a syrup.... the amount should depend on your personal preferences. If you wish to use less sugar, then you can add some corn starch (dissolved in water first) to thicken the syrup....hope this helps.

  2. Funke, I love your recipes. Why don't you include quantities of your ingredients?

    1. Hi Yara, thanks for stopping by. I believe recipes are to prescriptive, so I tend to provide basic ingredients requirements and I encourage my readers to adapt according to their palettes and taste preferences. I believe this is the best approach for people to explore and achieve their signature dishes/results.

  3. I really like healthy stiff. So sugar won't work for me.whats the water native to get this?

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