Appetizing as it might seem, maple syrup is not the product for the masses since it’s pretty pricey. Thus, the need for maple syrup substitutes is sky-rocketing. But, choosing one is not simple because there are thousands of sweeteners on the market.
Luckily, in this article, you’ll find the 10 best replacements for maple syrup that are suitable for various recipes. Besides that, there’s information about making maple syrup yourself.
Curious already? Then, let’s get started!
My Hand-Picked Ingredients To Substitute Maple Syrup
Those options below are not only as delicious as maple syrup, but they also bring other flavors to your dishes.
- Corn Syrup
- Brown Rice Syrup
- White/Brown Sugar
- Brown Sugar Syrup
- Agave Nectar
- Coconut Oil
- Caramel Syrup
- Buttermilk Syrup
Is this all? No, not at all. There is more exciting information right down below!
Overview About Maple Syrup
Unnecessary as it may seem, this part plays a vital role in helping you find the best maple syrup substitute. Why? You can’t replace this syrup unless you know about it thoroughly, right?
What Is Maple Syrup?
As its name indicates, maple syrup is made from maple. To be precise, people use the sap from several maple trees (sugar, red, or black maple) to make it. This sap is boiled and concentrated until it thickens with enough sweetness.
Since it takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, this liquid obviously comes at a high price.
Here, you may want to retort, “But my pancake syrup is nowhere near expensive”. That’s because pancake syrup is not actual maple syrup at all. It’s mostly corn syrup mixed with maple extract for a similar taste.
However, the genuine maple syrup will taste unique and complex with its layers of flavor. Maple syrup matches the best with pancakes, toasts, and other breakfast dishes as a condiment. You can also use it for your baked desserts or drinks. (1)
Watch this video to know more:
4 Different Grades Of Maple Syrup
Maple syrup isn’t always the same. In fact, it comes with different colors and flavors that people even divide this syrup into several groups. Let’s discover what they are and how they are different from each other.
Golden Color With Delicate Taste
Produced at the start of the maple season, Golden maple syrup is famous for its lightest color and most delicate flavor. You can even taste a bit of vanilla in this syrup.
As its taste isn’t too robust, you can use this type in traditional ways, with pancakes or waffles. It’s also suitable to go with dairy foods like yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
Amber Color With Rich Taste
If you want something with a more maple flavor, don’t miss this Amber type. It’s made in mid-season, its color is a bit darker, and the taste is more pronounced.
This one has more uses than the Golden type. Aside from combining it with pancakes or waffles, you can use it in salads, cocktails, and teas. You can even glaze your food with this maple syrup before baking or grilling it.
Dark Color With Robust Taste
This maple syrup is one step higher in flavor. Some even compare it with brown sugar syrup for its dark color and deep taste.
Thanks to these features, this type is more fitting with savory dishes. Use it to make BBQ sauce or glaze your meat. It can even go with strong-flavored ingredients like cheese or coffee.
Very Dark Color With Strong Taste
Since this one is the product of the end of maple season, it’s 100% opposite to the Golden type. This maple syrup’s flavor is the strongest among the four, thus making it a preferred choice for sweet factories or candy makers.
You can also add it to your bread, cookies, or BBQ sauce. But be careful with the amount as it can throw your dish off balance. (2)
If you feel a bit confused with this knowledge, this table below will make things simpler for you.
|Maple Syrup Grades||Color||Flavor||Uses|
|Golden type||Lightest color||Most delicate taste, with a hint of vanilla||Drizzle over pancakes or waffles; Glaze meat|
|Amber type||Amber color, darker than; Golden||Pronounce maple flavor||Use with pancakes or waffles; Glaze meat; Mix with salads, cocktails, and drinks|
|Dark type||Dark color, just like brown sugar syrup||Deep flavor||Glaze meat; Make BBQ sauce; Use with cheese or coffee|
|Very Dark type||Darkest color||Strongest flavor||Make candies; Combine with bread, cookies; Make BBQ sauce|
Maple Syrup Substitutes Conversion Chart
Even if you know about these maple syrup substitutes, you can’t use them without a proper ratio. Then, let me introduce to you this conversion table. With just one glance, you’ll know how to replace maple syrup with these ingredients.
|Maple Syrup Substitutes||Proportion|
|Honey||1 cup maple syrup = 1 cup honey|
|Molasses||1 cup maple syrup = 1 cup molasses|
|Corn Syrup||1 cup maple syrup = 1 cup corn syrup|
|Brown Rice Syrup||1 cup maple syrup = 1 cup brown rice syrup|
|White/Brown Sugar||2/3 cup maple syrup = 1 cup white/brown sugar|
|Brown Sugar Syrup||1 cup maple syrup = 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/4 cup water + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract|
|Agave Nectar||1 cup maple syrup = 1 cup agave nectar|
|Coconut Oil||Depending on your palates|
|Caramel Syrup||Depending on your palates|
|Buttermilk Syrup||1 cup maple syrup = 1 quart buttermilk + 1 cup sugar|
10 Fantastic Maple Syrup Substitutes That You May Not Know
Don’t search too hard for the solution. Sometimes, the answer is so close to you, or in this case, right in your kitchen. Surprise? With these ingredients below, you don’t have to pay a fortune for maple syrup.
Even a cooking beginner would think of honey to replace maple syrup as they share quite the same appearance and taste. Although honey can be a bit thicker and sweeter, you can still use it with the same amount as maple syrup.
Honey is the best option to garnish your breakfast pancakes or as a sweetener for these baked desserts, such as muffins or cookies. That way, it can’t change the dish’s flavor or flavor too much.
If you have some maple sugar in your pantry, you can combine honey with it for a more similar taste. However, remember that honey isn’t a vegan product, so leave it aside when making vegan recipes.
Just like honey, molasses is the ideal alternative for maple syrup when it comes to baking. Since molasses is a secondary product born from the sugar-making process, it has the sweetness that you’re looking for.
Not to mention, molasses also tastes somewhat caramel, just like maple syrup. But not molasses is the same. You can find either light or dark types on the market, with the latter being much sweeter. That’s why you should use the light one instead with the 1:1 ratio.
However, molasses has one minor setback: Its color is darker than maple syrup, so you should refrain from using this substitute if you want to recreate the color of maple syrup.
After knowing these benefits, you’ll want to try molasses right away.
3. Corn Syrup
While some people don’t really prefer corn syrup since it seems inferior to other products, corn syrup is still a decent replacement for maple syrup, especially when you’re running low on money.
If you are worried corn syrup is not sweet enough, you can go to the dark version as its flavor is on par with molasses. As for the light corn syrup, it’s more suitable to make candy than maple syrup.
No matter what type you choose, use this option with a ratio of 1:1 for the best outcome. You can find corn syrup in almost any supermarket.
4. Brown Rice Syrup
Don’t know what brown rice syrup is? Well, let me explain it to you. Simply put, brown rice syrup is the result of cooking brown rice and exposing it to enzymes.
While other options above are chosen to replace maple syrup in baked dishes or as a garnish, brown rice syrup goes best with various drinks like rice milk. Its mild sweetness makes this syrup perfect for other dishes as well.
Also, brown rice syrup is a perfect choice for people concerned about their health as it doesn’t contain any fructose or gluten.
Make this brown rice syrup, and you won’t be disappointed!
5. White/Brown Sugar
This option seems obvious, but not many people realize it since sugar is totally different from maple syrup in terms of texture. Therefore, you can’t use it for dishes that need a bit of syrup’s liquidy texture.
However, as a sweetener, nothing’s better than sugar as it’s always available in your kitchen. And you can freely adjust its amount until you’re satisfied. Typically, one cup of sugar can replace 2/3 cup of maple syrup, but it’s all up to your palate.
6. Brown Sugar Syrup
Like I’ve said above, sugar alone is enough to swap for maple syrup. But if you want something with a more similar texture, this brown sugar syrup is an exceptional candidate.
And don’t fret yet! This sugar syrup doesn’t require any advanced skills. Just mix your brown sugar with water and cook them at medium heat. You can add vanilla for a caramel taste, just like maple syrup.
The best thing is, you can make this syrup way ahead and store it in the fridge for later use. Make sure you cool it before refrigerating. With proper storage, your brown sugar syrup can last for even one month.
Here is a detailed instruction for you to make brown sugar syrup.
7. Agave Nectar
It’d be a waste if I didn’t mention agave nectar in this list. Almost similar to honey, this nectar can replace maple syrup in nearly any dish.
You can choose either light or dark agave syrup. The former doesn’t experience much heating, making it milder and more neutral. In contrast, dark nectar has a more robust flavor. If you go with the latter, you can use less of it compared to the required amount.
One more thing to remember: Though agave nectar can be as sweet as honey, it also provides you with a bitter aftertaste. So, be careful when using it, especially when you don’t want your dish full of bitterness.
8. Coconut Oil
I bet some of you already wonder, why coconut oil? There are other coconut products that you may deem more suitable, such as coconut nectar or sugar. But for me, this is the best choice possible.
The first reason is that coconut oil is healthier than other coconut options. If your well-being is your priority, use this with your pancakes instead of maple syrup. Also, this oil doesn’t feel sticky at all, making it a perfect ingredient for desserts.
Besides, coconut oil is not too sweet, which might be its plus or minus. Due to this feature, you can easily use coconut oil without fearing it can change your dish’s flavor. However, it also means this ingredient won’t bring you the distinctive sweetness of maple syrup.
9. Caramel Syrup
Don’t confuse this syrup with the brown sugar one! While you can make caramel syrup with brown sugar, people also use other ingredients for this substitute: condensed milk, vanilla, butter, and even corn syrup.
Since it’s named “caramel syrup”, it obviously has a caramel flavor that many people like in maple syrup. That’s why even though it doesn’t taste 100% similar to maple syrup, many still choose it for various dishes as a substitute.
10. Buttermilk Syrup
What’s a better ending note than this buttermilk syrup? This option can cost you a bit more than others, but its quality is really worth the price.
Once you try this syrup, its richness will leave you breathless, and there’s no way you can come back to maple syrup after that.
And if you’re worried about its cost, you can easily make this substitute right in your kitchen with sugar and buttermilk. Mix them in a saucepan and stir the mixture at medium heat until it thickens as you’re pleased.
What’s Better Than Making Maple Syrup Yourself
These replacements above seem lovely, but they can only replicate the maple syrup’s flavor to an extent. So, if you want the exact taste of maple syrup, what should you do? Well, the answer is clear: Make one yourself!
Don’t get scared! Follow my instructions, and your maple syrup will turn out even more beautiful than those store-bought ones.
Regularly, maple syrup is born through boiling maple tree sap. However, in this recipe, you won’t need anything like that. These essential ingredients are already available right in your kitchen.
- Granulated sugar: 1/2 cup
- Brown sugar: 1 cup
- Butter: 1 teaspoon
- Maple extract (Vanilla extract): 1/2 – 1 teaspoon (depending on your palate)
- Boiling water: 1 cup
Got them all? Ok, let’s get to the real deal!
These steps are no more challenging than eating a cake. With a bit of caution, you’ll perfect them on your first try.
- Step 1: Caramelize your granulated sugar
Spread your white sugar evenly on a skillet. Place the skillet on a stove at medium heat and gently stir the sugar until it melts and turns into an amber color.
- Step 2: Melt the brown sugar
Use another saucepan for your brown sugar. Pour the boiling water into the pan with the brown sugar. However, this time, don’t stir it. Just let the brown sugar dissolve in boiling water over medium heat.
- Step 3: Mix two sugar
Combine the caramelized sugar with brown sugar. Simmer the mixture and stir until it becomes syrupy.
- Step 4: Add butter and maple extract
Take your pan off the heat and whisk in butter and maple extract.
You can use this syrup right away or let it cool to room temperature before storing it. This homemade maple syrup can last for about a month in the fridge.
Overall, the cooking process is straightforward. But, since it involves cooking sugar, you can hurt yourself without knowing why. Here are some tips to reduce injury risks. So, don’t skip it!
- Pay close attention when caramelizing sugar. One glance away, and you can ruin the whole batch.
- Wear oven mitts, especially when boiling brown sugar. It’s crazily hot and can burn your hand if you aren’t careful.
- Wear your shoes. You can’t know when the boiling sugar drops, so it’s better to wear some shoes or slippers to protect your feet.
You can also make this pancake syrup for a fun change in your breakfast!
Even with all this knowledge above, there are always some questions left unanswered. That’s why we have this part. Here, I’ll write down some of the most common problems and solve them for you.
Are You Ready To Switch Out Your Maple Syrup?
Even at this point, some may still feel dissatisfied as they want a distinct maple flavor in their dishes. However, you can combine these substitutes with maple sugar or maple extract to create your desired result.
I hope now you don’t have to wreck your mind thinking about replacing maple syrup for your breakfast anymore. If this article is helpful to you, don’t hesitate to introduce it to other friends. Also, feel free to share your ideas about this topic via comment.
- Anon, 2021. Maple Syrup. Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup
- Specialist, S.R.E.S., 2019. Making the grade-the color and flavor of maple syrup. Extension. Available at: https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2019/02/making-grade-color-flavor-maple-syrup
- Anon, Honey vs. maple syrup – health impact and nutrition comparison. Food Struct. Available at: https://foodstruct.com/compare/honey-vs-syrups-maple