If you're looking to save money on groceries, cutting back on syrups, sauces, toppings, and condiments could force you to pick between delicious flavors and your wallet. Here's how to whip up a fast and cheap maple syrup substitute with a few pantry ingredients so that you can still enjoy your pancakes, waffles, and other tasty kitchen creations with that all-important maple syrup flavor on top.
You can make this substitute for maple syrup three ways. For the first, you need maple flavoring, sugar, corn syrup, and water. For the second, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, and water. And if you choose the third option, you'll need honey, corn syrup, and molasses or agave.
Making this maple syrup substitute is easy and quick: It takes just seven minutes.
If you want really thick syrup, combine 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1/2 cup sugar (brown or granulated), 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 tsp maple flavoring. Heat until the sugar dissolves and all of the ingredients are warmed through. The Mapeline brand of flavoring seems to have a more concentrated flavor than most. If you’re using another brand, you might need to increase the amount of maple flavoring used.
If you don’t want to use corn syrup, make a simple syrup by combining equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan (one cup of sugar and one cup of water works well). Stir over medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Then, add 1/2 tsp of maple flavoring or more to taste. For the best flavor, use brown sugar (but don’t sweat it if you only have granulated sugar on hand). This recipe will result in a thinner pancake syrup than you’re probably used to. If you want it to be as thick as real pancake syrup, double the sugar content in your simple syrup.
If you don’t have maple flavoring, make a simple syrup with dark brown sugar and water. Then add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. This won’t taste “mapley,” but it’ll still taste great on your pancakes.
How to Substitute Other Sweeteners for Maple Syrup
If you're working on a recipe that’s sweetened with maple syrup and you don’t like the taste of maple or you’d prefer to use something more affordable, it’s easy enough to make a switch. According to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers’ website, you can replace the maple syrup called for with an equal amount of another liquid sweetener— honey, corn syrup, molasses, or agave.
To swap in a granulated sweetener, like sugar or brown sugar, use 1 cup of sugar in place of 2/3 cup of maple syrup; then, add 1/4 cup of liquid to the recipe and increase the baking temperature by 25 F. If you want to use a sugar replacement, stick to one that’s designed to replace sugar measure for measure.
Bear in mind that replacing the maple syrup called for with another sweetener will change the flavor of your recipe and could also impact the texture. Consider tweaking the spices or adding a flavoring extract to make up for any flavor loss.