You may need a maple syrup substitute if it is out of season, too expensive, or simply because you dislike the taste. Fortunately, there are plenty of sweet and delicious options to replace maple syrup in most recipes.
What is Maple Syrup?
Maple syrup is a thick condiment that is derived from the sap of maple trees. This sap is cooked down into a sweet syrup that is ideal to use in food or drinks.
Why You May Need a Maple Syrup Substitute
Maple syrup is not always readily available, especially during certain seasons. Therefore, you may require an alternative that you can easily get a hold of.
Not everyone enjoys the flavor of maple syrup. So you may look for a neutral sweetener as an alternative to maple syrup.
Maple syrup is one of the more expensive sweeteners available. In fact, it becomes more costly the less available it is in your region, particularly if it needs to be imported. So having some substitutes can be better and more cost-effective to use.
Common Uses for Maple Syrup
- Sweetener – Maple syrup can be used to sweeten recipes and dishes.
- Flavor – Maple syrup has a distinct flavor that may be desirable to use in certain dishes.
- Glaze – Maple syrup is often used to glaze meats, veggies, and baked goods.
- Topping – syrup is used as a topping on a lot of different desserts, oats, pancakes, and other baked goods.
How to Choose a Substitute for Maple Syrup
To choose a substitute for maple syrup, you need to identify what purpose it is serving in your recipe. If you simply need it as a maple flavor, you can use maple extracts to flavor your dish. In addition, if you need maple syrup as a sweetener, there are plenty of other sweeteners to use instead.
13 Best Maple Syrup Substitute Options
Honey is a natural sweetener that can be used as a substitute for maple syrup. It has a similar viscosity and adds a distinct sweetness to your dishes.
Keep in mind that honey has its own unique flavor profile, so it may slightly alter the taste of your recipe. Sugar Spun Run uses honey to make honey-flavored cookies.
Although molasses has a strong flavor distinct from maple syrup, it can be used as a substitute in certain recipes where the rich flavors complement the recipe. Light molasses has the closest taste, similar to maple syrup. So try that first before using dark molasses.
Thrive Market explains the main differences between the two syrups.
3. White Sugar
Sugar is a common household ingredient, thus making it simple to use white sugar to replace maple syrup. According to Cleveland Clinic, maple syrup is sweeter than white sugar.
So you will need to taste your recipe as you go to ensure the end results are the same.
4. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is white sugar with some molasses added back into it. This makes for a great maple syrup substitute since the caramel flavors found in brown sugar can make your recipe taste similar to what it would have been if you used maple syrup.
Parker’s Maple explains the difference in the flavor profiles between the two ingredients.
5. Simple Syrup
If you are hesitant to use white sugar as a direct replacement for maple syrup due to the differences in textures, you can make a quick, simple syrup to replace maple syrup without needing to adjust the moisture in your recipe. All Recipes has the easiest simple syrup recipe.
6. Corn Syrup
Corn syrup can be used as a substitute for maple syrup, although it has a neutral flavor. Dark corn syrup will add a more complex flavor to your recipe, whereas light corn syrup will add only some sweetness. Food Struct compares the nutritional information of both ingredients.
7. Coconut Nectar
Coconut nectar is derived from the sap of coconut blossoms and is ideal to use if you want to use an all-natural sweetener that isn’t as processed. It is low on the glycemic index and contains some nutrients, making it a healthier alternative for those looking for a natural sweetener.
Maxine’s Heavenly notes it has no coconut flavor.
8. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is a popular vegan alternative to honey and replaces maple syrup. It has a similar consistency and sweetness, making it a suitable substitute in most recipes. Taste.com shows you some ways how to use agave nectar.
9. Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is made from brown rice, and some people use this if they want to watch their sugar intake. It is less sweet than maple syrup, so you will need to add a bit more to your recipe to achieve the same sweetness. Healthline gives you an insightful look at brown rice syrup and its health benefits.
10. Golden Syrup
Golden syrup is a thick, amber-colored syrup with a rich and caramel-like flavor. It can be used as a substitute for maple syrup, especially in baking recipes, or drizzled over pancakes and waffles. According to Ragus, golden syrup is not as strong in flavor as maple syrup.
11. Date Syrup
Date syrup is made from pureed dates and offers a natural sweetness similar to maple syrup. It has a thick consistency and can be used as a 1:1 substitute in most recipes. Date syrup adds a delicious caramel-like flavor and pairs well with desserts, smoothies, and oatmeal. Food Network explains how to use it.
12. Maple Extract
If the primary reason for using maple syrup is to add the maple flavor to your recipe, you can consider using maple extract instead. Although it won’t provide the sweetness or texture of maple syrup, a few drops of maple extract can add the desired maple flavor to your dishes.
If you want to make quick maple syrup, you can follow Fav Family Recipe’s guide to making some.
Fenugreek seeds, when soaked in hot water, smell and resemble the taste of maple syrup. Tidbits uses fenugreek seeds, water, and vodka to make a fenugreek extract that you can use as a maple flavoring in your dishes.
Tips for Maple Syrup Substitution
- Dietary restrictions – if you are using honey to replace maple syrup, it is important to note that it is not vegan.
- Adjust the amounts – some substitutes for maple syrup are more or less sweet than the maple syrup. So adjust your ingredients accordingly to ensure it has the same end results.
- Dry vs wet – if you are using dry ingredients such as granulated sugar to replace maple syrup, you might need to adjust the temperature of your oven or stove since dry sugar caramelizes and burns much quicker than maple syrup.