Grapefruit Honey Cheong (Syrup)

This grapefruit honey cheong (Korean-style fruit syrup) is insanely delicious & versatile. You can use it for desserts, drinks, dressings, & more!

I LOVE grapefruit flavored anything. This recipe is inspired by a drink I had at Starbucks in Korea last year- the Iced Shaken Honey Ruby Grapefruit Black Tea. Delicious!! But only available at Starbucks in Asia. Womp. 

It’s ok though, I recreated it at home and it’s just as delicious. This cheong can be used for much more than just drinks though- it’s truly very versatile!

What is cheong?

Cheong is any type of syrup that is made by combining fruit or vegetables with equal weight in sugar, and letting it sit for up to 3 months depending on a few factors. The purpose is to extract as much flavor from the fruit or vegetable into the syrup.

This is exactly how plum syrup (maesil) is made, which is an ingredient I use in a lot of my cooking. Plum syrup takes about 3 months (or 100 days to be more traditional), but this grapefruit honey syrup only takes about a week. 


You only need 3 ingredients!! 

  • Grapefruit- try to find the juiciest, best tasting grapefruit you can. Sometimes they are overly bitter- try to avoid those. Most importantly, remove the white pith as cleanly as possible! This may take some time.

  • Honey– make sure you have real honey for this, it makes such a difference! 

  • Turbinado sugar- you can use only honey if you prefer, but I think adding a bit of turbinado sugar tastes better, plus it’s a bit more affordable than using all honey. *You can also just use white sugar (but turbinado tastes better imo).

How to make it

Making grapefruit cheong is SUPER easy, but it does take a little bit of time.

  • Peel the grapefruit- the most important and time consuming part is peeling the grapefruit clean. Make sure to remove all the bitter white pith, and remove the skins/membrane surrounding the pulp. Don’t worry if your pulp breaks apart. 

  • Weigh your ingredients– cheongs are usually a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar, just like this one. The ratio gets a little more complicated because I’m using two kinds of sweeteners, but it’s really not that difficult. For the sweetener ratio, I just use half honey and half turbinado sugar.

  • Combine grapefruit with honey and sugar- mix everything together and break apart the pulp. Tip: use your hands (wearing gloves of course) to squeeze the juice out of the pulp as you are breaking it apart for faster results. Super important- make sure your mixing bowl and spoon are sanitized! 

  • Store in a sanitized, airtight glass jar- store your cheong in a nice big glass jar and put it in the fridge! Let it sit for a week before using it for best results, but you can start using it right way if you want. That’s it!

How to use it

Treat this the same as you would any kind of sweetener- cheong can be used for cooking, baking, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages! Here are a few ways I like to use this grapefruit honey syrup:

  • Cocktails- this is a great ingredient to add to cocktails not only for sweetening, but adding a delicious grapefruit-honey flavor. Make up your own concoction or substitute simple syrup in any cocktail recipe for this grapefruit honey cheong.  

  • Tea– yes, you can use this as a sweetener for your hot tea! This is what my mom has been doing. I gave her a 16 oz jar of this syrup and she finished it within 1 week because she loved it so much! You can also just mix it with hot water. 

  • Cooking/Baking-you can absolutely use this syrup in place of sweeteners in your desserts and savory dishes. If it makes sense to lend a grapefruit-honey flavor to the dish, use it! 

  • Salad dressing-don’t sleep on this one! Grapefruit honey cheong is an amazing addition to salad dressings, especially vinegar/oil based ones.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages- this is my favorite way to use this cheong. Actually, the reason I made this recipe in the first place was to recreate a drink I tried at Starbucks in Korea! It’s the Iced Shaken Honey Ruby Grapefruit Black Tea. I LOVE this drink, but unfortunately it’s only available at Starbucks in Asia!

More cheong recipes

If you like this recipe, try some of my other easy cheong recipes on the blog! 

Grapefruit Honey Cheong (Syrup)

This grapefruit honey cheong (Korean-style fruit syrup) is insanely delicious & versatile. You can use it for desserts, drinks, dressings, & more!
5 from 46 votes
Servings 2 lbs


Makes about 2 lbs of grapefruit honey cheong (32 oz jar)

  • 2 grapefruits
  • 1/2 lb honey
  • 1/2 lb turbinado sugar or white sugar (but turbinado tastes better)


  • Peel the grapefruit, removing as much of the white pith as possible.
  • Peel off the skin/membrane surrounding the pulp, and remove any seeds.
  • Add the honey and turbinado sugar.
    *Option to use only honey or sugar here! The ratio of grapefruit to sweetener should be 1:1.
    *How you divide the ratio of sweeteners is up to you, but I recommend 1/2 honey and 1/2 turbinado sugar.
  • Mix together and break up the pulp as much as you can.
    Tip: use your hands (wearing gloves of course) to squeeze the juice out of the pulp as you are breaking it apart for faster results.
  • Store in a sanitized, air-tight glass container. Keep in the fridge for 1 week before using for best results, but you may use it right away!
    This will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

*This post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use & recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from qualifying purchases made through these links.

This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. Andrew

    5 stars
    First experience with cheong and Stella’s thoughtful and detailed explanation makes approaching new or unfamiliar recipes so manageable. This was great to use when making palomas too.

  2. Nicole Ballesteros

    5 stars
    This was such an easy and simple recipe. Highly recommend!

  3. @ang.carson8129

    5 stars
    I made this 4 days ago and I just tried it for the first time. It’s amazing and so good in tea!!! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  4. Bailey

    5 stars
    I made this today to mix with sparkling plain soda and it was so good!!! I really recommend trying it that way too. Thanks for giving us this recipe girl!!

  5. Mai T

    Another cheong recipe I will be adding to my list to make 😊 Your grapefruit and blueberry versions look amazing! I love your content. Thank you for sharing and doing what you do!

  6. ewici0finsta

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipes – I love the tangy grapefruit paired with the sweet honey (as i’m a hugeeeeee grapefruit fan myself lol). I’ve been making it almost every day since the recipe came out. Can’t wait for the next drink

  7. Oliver

    5 stars
    I made a jar of this and love mixing it with soda and yakult! Delish!

  8. Selfish_Jean

    5 stars
    Just made a batch! Super easy to make. Helps me ween off packaged sweet drinks and you can control the extra sugar content.

  9. Oanh

    5 stars
    I love grapefruit and I had this when I was in Korea. Thank you for showing us how to make it. This is my favorite recipe.

  10. David Le

    5 stars
    I’ve been getting into making Cheong for teas and cocktails, this was a simple recipe and I myself also like to add a bit of the peel for the oils as well!

  11. V

    5 stars
    Soo good! I’m going to try this with blood oranges next since we have a tree.

  12. AccidentalFashionista

    5 stars
    I don’t know why I never thought to use grapefruit for cheong! Love this!

  13. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Super easy and refreshing recipe. Looking forward to consuming mass amounts of this in the summer 😂

    1. Judy

      5 stars
      Never heard of cheong before this but was so intrigued and wish I found out about it sooner ! Soooo refreshing and tasty !

  14. Ella Churchill

    5 stars
    My sister loves grapefruits so we made this together with honey from our moms bees! We loved it 🙂

    1. Kyle Eddens

      5 stars
      Obviously using this in all my Paloma’s from here on out. So SO good.

  15. @Eshi33

    5 stars
    I knew I would love the drink, but the dressing was amazing!! Thank you for always posting such great, comforting content!!🥰🙌🏼

  16. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Delicious!! I love grapefruit and love having this to make a refreshing cold drink or to add to my hot green tea for a comforting drink. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  17. J.arnel

    5 stars
    Favorite cheong recipe!

  18. @gluedough

    5 stars
    Love this grapefruit syrup! So easy to make. I’ve been making one grapefruit/ball jar at a time. Brought jar over to my friend’s place to make her the drink with Earl grey (even more yum!), and she kept the jar and gave me an empty one in exchange to make more. Also have been byod-ing this to dine spots so I can enjoy with my meal! Thank you!

  19. ihsoyatam

    5 stars
    Love me some good cheong. The best to add to tea or sparkling water.
    Made this with a little less sugar as the grapefruit was on the sweeter side.
    Made this less than a month ago and I’m almost finished!

  20. chl0054

    5 stars
    This recipe is gold! Love that is has three simple ingredients and is so refreshing when mixed with a sparkling water. Thanks

  21. @panda_vs_unicorn

    5 stars
    I was always intimidated to make cheong, but recipe made it such much less intimidating and tastes so good.

  22. purely.kathy

    5 stars
    I love it! Made it a few say ago 🩷🤍🩷🤍 Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Carolyn Kwak

      5 stars
      I never knew you could make cheong with grapefruit. I made this a few days ago and I am so excited to try it. Now it’s waiting time and that’s the hard part. Thank you do much for the recipe.

  23. Adeline

    5 stars
    Love love love this easy and yummy recipe! I have been making this every week for my family.
    Thank you for sharing!

  24. Sayra

    5 stars
    Love this super easy recipe!

  25. Annie

    5 stars
    Spent hours peeling grapefruit but it was SO WORTH! Thanks my fave food blogger!

  26. MaryB

    5 stars
    This was most excellent and I put it onto a lot of foods… I’m OBSESSED with Cheong and cant wait to try the blueberry one!!!

  27. Hannah

    5 stars
    just made this the other day. ahh-mazing!! peeling was tedious but definitely worth it. love love love!!

  28. Barbara Miller

    5 stars
    This is the first recipe from StellanSpice! I love grapefruit! When I saw this used in ice tea, (my favorite beverage) I had to try it!! Now I have to stop myself from making it all the time. I use it as a treat now. Don’t hesitate, try this recipe if you like tea and grapefruits.

  29. Huong

    5 stars
    Love it!! It’s so versatile! I can add it to my morning yogurt or drizzle it over a vanilla cake!

  30. Gloria (IG: glo_415)

    5 stars
    I love grapefruit! I made this to make your Grapefruit Honey Iced Tea. You’re absolutely right about it being super easy. I actually made two versions. One following your recipe and the other with pomelo (my cousin has a tree and they are huge) I cut back the turbinado sugar in the pomelo cheong since the fruit was sweet. Both cheongs are so tasty. I made the iced tea with both recipes and they are both so yummy.

  31. Giovanni

    5 stars
    This recipe is so good I had my wife make it for me since she is very good with following ingredients. I’m not one to enjoy grapefruit alone so this making it sweet was amazing for us. specially me with my sweet tooth

  32. Su

    5 stars
    Love this idea! I made cheong all last summer after my garden harvest. Also the honey sounds like a great addition!

  33. Chris C

    5 stars
    The minute you posted this recipe, I realized I had all the ingredients and immediately ran to the kitchen and made this Cheong! It’s so versatile.. I’ve made it black tea and I made a Gin based cocktail! Thank you for sharing Stella

  34. Tina Lu

    5 stars
    Beautiful recipe, I’m obsessed with anything grapefruit. Thank you for such clear instructions and pictures. Will tag you when I can post a picture on my IG

  35. @minami_usagi_

    5 stars
    One of my favorite recipe! We have a lot of grape fruits and honey at home so this recipe is perfect. We enjoy the grapefruit flavor and the pulp. Always a plus when we can gift this to family and friends

  36. @n.vel.j

    5 stars
    It was fun creating this cheong. My grapefruit tree was ready to harvest so I took a couple to make this cheong. I had a hard time peeling off the membranes but overall pretty easy. I use this cheong for my hot teas and also with sparkling water. 10/10 experience 🥰🥰🥰🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼

  37. joorijulie

    5 stars
    A recipe I desperately needed! I love cheong but was always scared to make it. This recipe and your video on how to make this makes it seem so simple. I can’t wait to try this out.

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Hi, I'm Stella!

I come from a multicultural background, and cooking has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. My recipes are tried and tested, many of them passed down through family. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

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