The Ultimate Quick and Tasty Guide to Maple Syrup Substitutes

Maple syrup is a beloved natural sweetener cherished for its rich flavor and unique taste. However, sometimes we find ourselves without a bottle of this delicious liquid gold on hand, or perhaps we’re looking for more budget-friendly maple syrup substitutes.

Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives available that can closely replicate the taste and texture of maple syrup, allowing you to continue enjoying your favorite recipes without missing out on that essential sweetness.

Learn how this maple syrup alternative is used in this recipe: French Toast with Caramel Sauce.

Pancake with blueberry and Maple Syrup

Substituting maple syrup doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are various options ranging from store-bought alternatives to homemade substitutes, each with its own unique flavor profile and culinary benefits.

With a little experimentation, you can find the perfect match to suit your preferences and dietary requirements, making it easy to create delightful dishes without sacrificing taste or quality.

A bottle of maple syrup.

If you want to explore more ingredient alternatives and enhance your cooking basics, don’t miss out on other substitute articles like Sweetened Condensed Milk, Vanilla Extract Substitutes and our popular tutorials like How To Cut Tomatoes and How To Reheat A Casserole In The Oven.

Maple Syrup Overview

Derived from sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, pure maple syrup reigns as a favored natural sweetener. Its intricate flavor profile has won hearts worldwide.

Crafting this syrup involves tapping a sugar maple tree to collect the sap. Afterward, the sap is reduced by a boiling process to intensify sweetness.

Various grades distinguish maple syrup, factoring in color, taste, and sugar content. Grade A boasts a light amber hue and a gentle taste, while Grade B brings a deeper, robust flavor with its darker hue.

However, the labor-intensive process and tree availability render maple syrup pricey. This prompted exploration into substitutes for pure maple syrup, including:

  • Honey: An easy 1:1 swap for maple syrup with similar consistency and sweetness.
  • Molasses: A smoky, sweet alternative, particularly light molasses.
  • Brown sugar syrup: Created by melting ½ cup of brown sugar with ½ cup water, to replicate the consistency of maple syrup.

Shelf Life

When considering syrup substitutes, it’s important to take into account their shelf life.

For example, honey and molasses can both last for years if stored properly. Keeping them in a cool, dark place and sealed tightly will help preserve their quality, making them reliable alternatives to maple syrup.

Additional alternatives encompass white sugar, simple syrup, corn syrup, coconut nectar, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, and golden syrup. Each varies in flavor, texture, and nutrition.

Experimenting with these substitutes unveils the ideal match for your recipe or taste vision. Here is a list to help you discover the best maple syrup substitute for you.

Before we dive in, check out these Starbucks Syrup Flavors to add to your shelf.

bottles of maple syrup substitutes

Types of Syrup Substitutes


Molasses is a popular substitute for maple syrup, often used for its warm, sweet, and slightly smoky flavor. It works well as a 1:1 swap with maple syrup, especially when using light molasses.

This syrup can be found in various forms – light, dark, and blackstrap – with lighter options providing a milder taste.

Molasses on a bowl


Honey is a pure maple syrup substitute, as they share similar properties in taste and texture.

Easily found in most households, honey can be swapped at a 1:1 ratio with maple syrup, making it a convenient option for sweetening various dishes or as a topping.

maple syrup substitutes: Jar of Honey

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is a cost-effective and easily prepared maple syrup substitute. Made by dissolving equal parts sugar and water over low heat, it offers a neutral sweetness that can be used in various recipes.

While this syrup doesn’t offer the distinct flavor of maple syrup, simple syrup can still be a suitable alternative when needed.

Simple Syrup on a bottle

Date Syrup

Date syrup, made from the concentrated juice of dates, is another option for replacing maple syrup. It has a rich, caramel-like flavor and works well as a sweetener in baking or as a topping.

To make date syrup, simply blend soaked, pitted dates with water and strain the mixture to remove any solids.

maple syrup substitutes: Date Syrup on a glass and bottle with dates on wooden board

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar comes from the agave plant and is a popular maple syrup substitute due to its similar consistency and sweetness.

Though it has a different flavor profile, agave nectar can be used as a 1:1 substitute in various recipes, making it a flexible option for those seeking a best maple syrup alternative.

Agave Nectar on a bowl

Coconut Nectar

Coconut nectar is derived from the sap of coconut palm trees and is a consistent sweetener with a similar texture to pure maple syrup. Its unique, slightly nutty flavor pairs well with many recipes and can be used as a 1:1 substitute for maple syrup.

Users should note that its distinct taste may slightly alter the flavor of the dish.

maple syrup substitutes: Coconut Nectar on a bottle

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup can be found in most grocery stores and is commonly used as a sweetener in various recipes.

Though it lacks the distinct flavor of maple syrup, it can still serve as a suitable substitute in dishes where only the sweetness or consistency of maple syrup is essential.

Corn Syrup on a bottle

Golden Syrup

Golden syrup is a light treacle made from sugar cane.

It is pale and sweeter compared to its counterpart, black treacle or molasses, which is bittersweet. This thick syrup does not crystalize, giving it a smooth consistency that is perfect to use as a substitute.

maple syrup substitutes: A bowl of golden syrup

Homemade Substitutes

When you find yourself lacking this unique golden syrup, know that you are in good hands with whatever you have in your pantry.

Here are some quick recipes to help you whip up your own homemade maple syrup. The ingredients are simple and available to you.

These recipes will provide the sweet consistency of real maple syrup that will pair well with any dish. Have fun discovering the best maple syrup substitute that is perfect for you.

DIY Fruit Syrup

Creating a homemade fruit syrup is a great maple syrup substitute. Start by selecting a fruit, such as berries or peaches.

To make this sweet syrup, follow these simple steps:

  1. Chop the fruit into small pieces and place in a saucepan.
  2. Add equal parts sugar, or adjust to taste, and water to the saucepan.
  3. Heat the mixture on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the fruit softens.
  4. Once the ingredients have combined, strain the syrup to remove solids and store the liquid in a container to cool.

Using this DIY fruit syrup as a maple syrup substitute provides a unique and flavorful addition to dishes such as pancakes, waffles, and desserts.

A bottle of Raspberry Syrup

Homemade Brown Sugar Syrup

Another option for substituting maple syrup is creating a homemade brown sugar syrup.

This syrup can be made using only a few ingredients:

  • Brown sugar: Provides the sweetness and color for the syrup.
  • Water: The base of the syrup that dissolves the sugar.
  • Vanilla extract (optional): Adds a hint of flavor to the sugar syrup.

To make this brown sugar syrup, follow these steps:

  1. Combine equal parts brown sugar and water in a saucepan (e.g., 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup water).
  2. Place the saucepan on medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes so the mixture thickens.
  4. If desired, add a splash of vanilla extract for additional flavor.
  5. Remove the syrup from heat and let it cool before using.

This homemade brown sugar syrup is a quick and budget-friendly way to replace maple syrup, with a rich and sweet taste that pairs well with various dishes.

Brown sugar simple syrup on the table with bowl of brown sugar next to it

Cooking With Substitutes

Maple syrup is a popular ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes. Sometimes, you might not have it on hand, or you may be looking for a healthier alternative.

In this section, we’ll explore some suitable maple syrup substitutes and the adjustments you need to make while using them in any maple syrup recipe. You will be well-equipped to create your own homemade maple syrup.

maple syrup substitutes: Brown Rice Syrup

For Baking Adjustments

When substituting maple syrup in baking, consider the following alternatives:

  • Honey: This is the most common substitute, and it works well for pancakes, cookies, and muffins. Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing maple syrup with honey for baking recipes.
  • Agave Nectar: This agave syrup has a mild flavor and can be used in a 1:1 ratio. Agave nectar can make baked goods slightly more moist, so you may need to adjust the baking time or temperature if using this substitute.
  • Brown Sugar: To use brown sugar, combine it with water in a 1:1 ratio to create a syrup. This alternative can affect the texture of baked goods, so be cautious with dense batters.
Pancakes with syrup close up

For Savory Dishes

Pure maple syrup is often used in glazes, marinades, and sauces for a touch of sweetness. Here are some maple syrup substitutes for those applications:

  • Molasses: With its robust flavor, molasses can be a great substitute for maple syrup in savory dishes. Use a 1:1 ratio, but consider reducing the amount if the flavor is too strong for your taste.
  • Coconut Nectar: For a slightly more exotic taste, try using coconut nectar instead of maple syrup in your recipe. It works well in Asian-inspired dishes and can be used in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Golden Syrup: This syrup has a similar consistency to maple syrup and adds a rich flavor to savory dishes. Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting it into your recipes.
Syrup being poured into a bowl of ingredients

Selection and Storage Tips

Brown Rice Syrup

When selecting a maple syrup alternative, brown rice syrup is a good option to consider. It has a mild, sweet flavor that can work well in some recipes and is a healthy maple syrup substitute.

To choose the best quality brown rice syrup, look for a product that is organic and has minimal added ingredients. This will ensure that you are getting a natural, unrefined sweetener.

Storing brown rice syrup is relatively simple. This syrup can be kept at room temperature in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Once opened, it is a good practice to keep the container tightly sealed to maintain freshness. Typically, brown rice syrup has a shelf life of up to a year if stored properly.

Ideal Storage Conditions

Just like brown rice syrup, most maple syrup substitutes can benefit from proper storage techniques. The following tips can help extend the shelf life of your chosen sweetener:

  • Use airtight containers or well-sealed jars to store your syrup substitute. This will keep out any contaminants or moisture, preserving the quality and flavor.
  • Keep your sweetener away from sources of heat and direct sunlight, as these can affect its consistency and taste.
  • Store your syrup substitute in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard. Avoid storing it near any sources of moisture, such as a sink or dishwasher.

By following these storage tips for your maple syrup substitute, you can maintain its quality and flavor for future use in recipes and enjoy a delicious sweetener without relying on maple syrup.

Jars of maple syrup substitutes


Maple syrup is a fantastic sweetener, perfect for pancakes, waffles, and more. There are numerous options available whenever you find this ingredient out of stock. With limited resources, such as maple trees, you must know how to replicate your own homemade maple syrup.

Whether you opt for honey, molasses, or corn syrup, experimenting with different alternatives will enhance your culinary experience. The options vary in texture, flavor, and nutrition. You can customize any sweet maple syrup substitute to work in your recipe and to your liking.

Any sweet maple syrup substitute has its own charm, taste, and benefits. Choosing one depends on your preferences and the recipe’s requirements. By trying these alternatives, you’ll keep enjoying your favorites and uncover new culinary adventures.


What can I use instead of maple syrup in pancakes?

If you’re looking for an alternative to maple syrup for your pancakes, honey makes a great substitute. It has a similar consistency, flavor, and moisture content. However, since honey is slightly sweeter than maple syrup, you may want to use a little less. Keep in mind that honey is not considered vegan-friendly.

Another pancake syrup to consider is golden syrup. It has a sweet just like real maple syrup. The process of making this light brown sugar syrup is to prevent it from crystallizing, which makes it a perfect companion for pancakes.

Are there any low-calorie substitutes for maple syrup?

For a low-calorie alternative to maple syrup, consider using a sugar-free syrup made with a calorie-free sweetener like stevia or erythritol. These syrups can be used in the same way as maple syrup but have fewer calories and less impact on blood sugar levels.

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