You are going to love how easy it is to make homemade prickly pear syrup!! The cactus pear fruit is sweet and colorful! I have used this sweet syrup for cocktails, pancake syrup, and even as a natural coloring for frosting!

A jar of prickly pear syrup.

What is prickly pear fruit?

Prickly pear fruit comes in several colors and varieties. I have found cactus fruit pulp in brilliant orange and vibrant hot pink. I am lucky our little produce market often has cactus pears so that I can experiment with them!

You can read a lot more about prickly pears and find many delicious recipes in my guide to prickly pears. If you like prickly pears, you will want to try these yummy Prickly Pear Margaritas!!

Some colorful prickly pear fruit on a paper bag.

Have you seen other colors of cactus pear fruit? Check these prickly pears out! They come in some beautiful colors!! I have made syrup from orange and hot pink cactus fruits.

A jar of cactus pear syrup with a bow around it.

You are going to love how easy making this prickly pear syrup is. The hardest part is finding prickly pears. We are lucky to have a small produce market here, and they have different varieties of prickly pears most of the year.

Prickly pears on a cutting board.

This is what cactus fruit looks like when the thorns are removed. I don’t recommend buying with the thorns, as they are really tough to pull off without hurting yourself.

A prickly pear cut open so you can see the magenta color inside.

This is what the hot pink prickly pear looks like inside. Prickly pears have a ton of tiny, rock-hard seeds. You definitely do not want these in your syrup!

Here is what the orange prickly pear fruit looks like. I used it to make the margarita I mentioned above.

For this golden prickly pear, I didn’t cook the pulp into syrup; I just strained it to mash out the liquid to make margaritas. The strainer is important because it keeps all of the seeds out of the juice.

Step-By-Step Directions:

The scooped out rind of the prickly pear.

Step 1: To get the useable parts, I scoop out the flesh of the prickly pear.

Pushing prickly pear fruit through a strainer to remove the seeds.

Step 2: Grab a strainer and run the liquid and prickly pear through it. Use a spoon to press it into the strainer to get all of the juice out. (You can do this step before or after cooking the pear.)

Simmering the prickly pear fruit to reduce the liquid.

Step 3: Put the flesh into a pot and simmer with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I simmer the syrup for about 30 minutes on really low heat until it thickens. If you didn’t put it through the strainer to remove the seeds, do this now.

Step 4: Allow the liquid to cool, and you have your syrup! It tastes amazing with bourbon in this Prickly Pear Cocktail.

Recipe FAQ:

What color is prickly pear fruit?

Prickly pear cactus fruit can vary from golden orange and green to hot pink.

Can you eat prickly pear seeds?

You could technically swallow the little seeds but do not bite them. They are rock-hard. It is best to strain the cactus pear fruit to remove all seeds.

What if the prickly pears have big spines on them?

Most prickly pears are sold without the spines. If yours has the spines, you definitely want to find these with the spines (aka giant thorns) removed. The thorns are hard to remove and hurt if you accidentally prick yourself with one. Wear thick gloves and use tweezers or pliers to remove them.

How long will this syrup keep fresh?

This homemade cactus pear syrup will last a week in the refrigerator.

How do you store this syrup?

I store my prickly pear syrup in an air-tight jar. You can also keep it in an air-tight storage container.

More fun sauce recipes to try:


  1. A fine mesh strainer to prevent the hard seeds from getting into the syrup.
  2. You will want to use a cutting board that won’t stain.

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. This helps others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A jar of cactus pear syrup with a bow around it.

Prickly Pear Syrup

Sandi Gaertner
A simple prickly pear syrup that can be used for cocktails, or on desserts.
4.84 from 31 votes
dairy free allergen icon
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
A vegan icon.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Gluten Free Sauces and Marinades
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 66 kcal


  • 1 ½ cups prickly pear
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • Take your de-thorned prickly pears and cut them in half.
  • Scoop out the middle fruit and add to a pot with the water and sugar.
  • Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
  • Allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. When the mixture thickens, remove from the heat and allow to cool. 
  • Take a soup ladle and add one scoop of the mixture to a strainer. (Make sure the strainer is over a bowl.)
  • Use a spoon to press the prickly pear mixture into the strainer to get all of the liquid out. Empty the strainer of the seeds and thick pulp and repeat until you do this with all of the prickly pear mixture.
  • Chill for one hour.


  1. I do not recommend eating the seeds. Use a strainer to press the prickly fruit pulp through it so you can get the juice without the seeds.
  2. Prickly fruit comes in many different colors from golden orange to green and hot pink. Any will work well in this recipe.
  3. This prickly pear syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 66kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 5mgPotassium: 35mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 8IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Not sure if I measured everything out right. My syrup is watery. I added additional tablespoons of sugar to try to thicken it. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Ashly, I haven’t seen this happen. Did you substitute any ingredients, cook different times, use the same amount of prickly pear? If you could walk me through your process I can try to help troubleshoot. Sandi

  2. Can you can the prickly pear syrup? I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the prickly pears that I have besides making prickly pear jelly and had thought of making a syrup. I have about 200 more process, and this recipe is exactly what I was looking for. I process the whole prickly pear through a juicer that leaves nothing but pulp and juice and it seems to make a good base for jellies and flavoring. Thank you

  3. Recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar and no lemon it the directions above it states 1/4 c sugar and lemon juice which is it?

  4. 5 stars
    Cool stuff because ‘pears are about the best fruit ever. To remove thorns, put some on a colander and under running water roll them around. The spines come loose and wash away but beware of glochids, the tiny thorns. Always use gloves when handling. Even when we toast pads to pickle for nopalitos there’s a chance of glochids. Also, we put the seeds in bird feeders. A lot of birds go nuts over them and chili seeds. It is Arizona, LOL!

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe! I did this with my friend and she grilled them and mushed them in the strainer hot and soft. That way you don’t have to mess with the thorns. Can’t wait to try the syrup with bourbon.

  6. Your recipe calls for 1 and a half pounds of prickly pear. Is that before the fruit is scooped out or do you mean 1 and a half pounds of the fruit that will get cooked. Thanks.

      1. This is confusing – the recipe says 1.5 cups. Do you mean 1.5 cups of pulp or the pulp from 1.5lbs of fruit?

  7. I use a potato masher instead of spoon works a lot faster and a lot easier. I went and picked the fruit myself. I make my on lemonade I use raw honey warmed up with lots of Italian lemons, Meyer lemons a lot.

  8. Hi Natalie, I wanted to say regarding the Prickly Pear, they grow on a cactus which grows wild throughout the desert southwest, I have some in my front yard ready to be picked right now as they are ripe and ready every August. I live in Tucson, Arizona, where we are surrounded by every kind of cactus there is in existence. My tribe uses this fruit for syrups, jams, salads or fresh off the cactus, the thorns are easier to deal with than people make it out to be. They taste fruity with the texture of a papaya but not overly sweet.

  9. 5 stars
    wow, I’ve never heard of this fruit before, it looks really weird! How is its original taste?
    – Natalie Ellis

      1. Hi Jackie, I am not sure. Since honey is a liquid, you will have to keep an eye on how wet it is. You may need to cut back on moisture, or simmer it longer to have some liquid evaporate.