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6 Best Maple Syrup Substitute Options

This naturally sweet syrup is well-loved around the world as the perfect topping to warm, fresh-from-the-skillet pancakes or even as a delicious pork chop sauce. But this syrup can be quite expensive or unavailable. This is why you’ll need some substitutes for maple syrup. You can substitute maple syrup with honey, molasses, agave nectar, maple candy, corn syrup + maple extract, and homemade maple syrup. I’ll cover each substitute for maple syrup with tips, uses, and ratios. Let’s jump in!

A bowl of maple syrup with a bottle of it next to it.

🤷 What is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from the sap of sugar maple trees (Acer saccharum). The sap is boiled down in evaporators, and the final product is the sweet, amber-colored syrup with a rich, complex taste. Maple syrup is commonly used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast foods, but it also adds a unique sweetness to various dishes and recipes.

🧑‍⚕️ Maple Syrup Health Benefits

Here are some of the health benefits of consuming maple syrup:

  • Antioxidants: Maple syrup is a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants can also help reduce inflammation in your body.
  •  Minerals: Maple syrup contains several important minerals, including calcium, iron, and zinc. These minerals are essential for maintaining healthy bones, blood, and immune system.
  •  Vitamins: Maple syrup also contains small amounts of vitamins, including vitamins B2, B5, and niacin. These vitamins are important for maintaining healthy skin, eyes, and nervous system.

🧑‍🍳 How to Make Maple Syrup

If you wanna create your own maple syrup, combine 1 cup of light corn syrup, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of maple extract, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture comes to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes to achieve the desired thickness. Adjust the ratio of brown sugar and corn syrup to customize the sweetness.

📌 How to Use Maple Syrup

Here are some great recipes to include more maple syrup in your cooking:

Bottles of golden, amber, dark and very dark maple syrup.
different colors of maple syrup—golden, amber, dark, and very dark

💡 6 Best Maple Extract Substitutes


Refined sugar cane or sugar beet juice that has been turned into crystallized sugar is extracted to form molasses (treacle). This thick, syrupy, dark liquid is a viable stand-in for maple syrup despite the fact that it’s still much darker and has a stronger caramel flavor. Try this in a 1:1 ratio.

DIY Maple Syrup

This is a quick, easy, and less expensive alternative to maple syrup. Making your own homemade maple syrup is great as it combines common household ingredients like brown sugar, water, and maple or vanilla extract. The overall taste will be different, but there is also a dark, rich taste from the brown sugar and the extract that will make this a pleasurable alternative for your pancakes or baked goods. Use it in a 1:1 ratio. 

A bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup.
oatmeal with maple syrup


While honey can be used in many of the same ways, it will not give the same maple flavor. But honey’s neutral-tasting flavor is especially good in baked goods like muffins, cakes, and cookies. It has the same dark to light amber hue and is thick in consistency, sometimes a little thicker than maple syrup. Honey also has a distinct sweet taste with mild floral notes, coming from the flower species that many bees pollinate.

Corn Syrup + Maple Extract

This is another easy and quick way to substitute for maple syrup. If you have corn syrup at home, use it on a 1:1 ratio, and you’re good to go. Even with no additional ingredients, this tastes great on pancakes. If you want to bring it closer to the flavor of maple syrup and you have maple extract on hand, add a teaspoon to every cup of the syrup. You can also use maple extract substitutes instead if you don’t have any around.

A borosilicate glass of corn syrup with a corn cob on the side.
corn syrup

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a favorable alternative to maple extract, with a comparable level of sweetness and flavor. This nectar also has its own unique sweetness with subtle notes of caramel. It’s perfect for those who want to avoid or reduce their consumption of refined sugars or those with dietary restrictions, such as vegans. If you can’t find any, you can use some agave nectar substitutes instead.

Maple Candy

Maple candy is a sugar candy made by boiling sugar maple sap past the syrup point. The liquid is then poured onto clean snow to harden, turning it into candy. Some maple confections contain high amounts of maple syrup or maple flavoring, which makes them a good substitute for maple syrup. Make sure to taste first to gauge use, then utilize in a 1:5 ratio. Just melt the candy in a skillet over low heat, mix in a bit of water, and then add it to your recipe and follow the directions accordingly.

🧐 FAQs

What is the difference between maple flavoring and maple extract?

Maple extract is made by boiling down maple syrup until it becomes a concentrated liquid, while maple flavoring is usually made from artificial ingredients that mimic the taste of maple.

Does maple syrup go bad?

Maple syrup can go bad if it’s not stored properly. So, the best way to store maple syrup is in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard.

How long does maple syrup last?

The shelf life of maple syrup depends on how it is stored. Unopened maple syrup can last for several years if it is stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, maple syrup should be refrigerated and will last for up to a year.

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