Maple Syrup Substitute

Maple Syrup Substitute

The Spruce

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 16 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
70 Calories
0g Fat
17g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 70
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 16mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you're out of maple syrup, nothing can really replace the rich flavor of pure syrup. But you can turn some pantry staples into a tasty and less expensive substitute to achieve the sweet goodness of a moist bite of pancakes and syrup. Our quick and easy recipe can be used on waffles, French toast, or fruit salads, and it keeps well on the fridge for two weeks. Before serving, warm the sauce to room temperature, as it will be too thick to pour straight from the refrigerator.

Maple syrup starts as the sap of maple trees. This sap is boiled to concentrate the sweetness and to thicken it to syrupy consistency—around 40 gallons of sap are needed to make a gallon of maple syrup. This labor-intensive process partly accounts for the high price of pure maple syrup. Our recipe won't break your bank, however, and it's a great substitute that you can use to sweeten beverages and at breakfast.

Be mindful that our recipe uses butter, so it's not a vegan alternative unless you use plant-based margarine instead.

1:07

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)

  • 1 cup water (boiling)

  • 1 teaspoon butter

  • 1 teaspoon maple extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Maple Syrup Substitute recipe
     The Spruce
  2. In a heavy skillet, spread the sugar in an even layer.

    white sugar in a skillet
     The Spruce
  3. Cook it over medium heat until it starts to melt and turn brown. Slowly swirl the pan or use a silicone or wooden spatula to gently fold the liquifying sugar from the edges into the center.

    sugar caramelizing in a pan
     The Spruce
  4. Remove the pan off the heat as soon as the sugar becomes an amber liquid. Reserve.

    caramelized sugar in a skillet
     The Spruce
  5. Add the brown sugar to a heavy saucepan.

    brown sugar in a sauce pan
     The Spruce
  6. Pour the boiling water over it and let it dissolve without stirring.

    brown sugar and water in a sauce pan
    The Spruce 
  7. Add the caramelized sugar to the melted brown sugar in the saucepan. Simmer, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency.

    mixing sugar mixture
     The Spruce
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and maple or vanilla extract.

    whisking sugar mixture
     The Spruce
  9. Use immediately, or let cool before storing in an airtight container.

  10. Enjoy!

Can I Use This Maple Syrup Substitute in Baked Goods?

In baking, maple syrup adds both sweetness and moisture to doughs and batters. Although you cannot use this substitute in place of maple syrup in baking recipes, you can make some adjustments to your baked good recipe to mimic the taste and effects of maple syrup:

  • Use 1 cup of sugar for every 3/4 cup of maple syrup called for in the recipe.
  • Add an extra 3 tablespoons of liquid for each cup of sugar you end up using.
  • Baking soda should be decreased by 1/4 teaspoon for each cup of sugar as well, as sugar is less acidic than maple syrup.


There are other maple syrup substitutes that you can use when baking in a 1:1 correspondence. Use honey, molasses, corn syrup, or agave nectar. The flavor of the bad goods will be different but because of the texture of these products, the result will be as moist as it would have been with maple syrup. If using honey, be mindful that vegans might not feel comfortable eating it, as it is ultimately an animal-derived product.

Careful When Cooking With Sugar

Although this is a basic recipe, there are a few things to keep in mind when caramelizing the sugar:

  • You need to watch the caramelizing sugar carefully because it can go from desirably browned to irretrievably burned in a matter of seconds.
  • You should also wear oven mitts when you work with boiling sugar to avoid especially painful burns.
  • Use shoes when cooking sugar, and keep kids and pets out of the kitchen.

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