What do you do if you find out that you’re all out of maple syrup? Canada keeps a strategic reserve of maple syrup to make sure this doesn’t happen (yes, the country actually keeps an emergency maple syrup reserve). The rest of us have to depend on finding the right substitute for maple syrup.
There are several sugary sweeteners and syrups to use for this purpose. They can work as substitutes in a pinch. But it is rather tough to beat the original maple syrup flavor. Well, let’s see what’s on offer.
Top Maple Syrup Substitutes To Look For
What’s sweet, syrupy, nutritious, delicious, and substitutes maple syrup? Honey.
Honey is a global favorite and can take on this role without any issue. It has a different flavor, but it is nearly as good as maple syrup when used as a substitute. I mean, honey stands its ground as a delicacy pretty well and it’s versatile enough to take the place of maple syrup.
This is the best choice if you don’t have the syrup. I swap honey for syrup on pancakes occasionally and it tastes wonderful. Obviously, this isn’t a vegan substitute (or if you prefer not to have hone), it’s time to look at other options.
2. White Sugar Syrup
Find yourself all out of options? Sugar can get you out of this fix. White sugar syrup is pretty much sugar dissolved in water. If you’re making one at home, remember to heat the water and reduce the solution to get the consistency right.
In any case, white sugar syrup will be thinner than maple syrup and be less sweet. You may want to add more sugar syrup to get the same sweetness. But, also watch out for the extra liquid being added, so things don’t get soggy. This is especially relevant to baking, where the extra sogginess won’t go unnoticed (or be forgiven)!
3. Brown Sugar Syrup
Brown sugar syrup is pretty much the same as white sugar syrup. Except this time, with brown sugar! You could probably add a touch of vanilla to this to make it more flavorful.
One advantage of this approach is the color of the syrup is more like maple syrup. Brown sugar syrup will still be lighter in color, but it feels more “authentic” thanks to that splash of color.
4. Buttermilk Syrup
Buttermilk syrup is criminally underrated. On that note, even buttermilk is underrated, but that’s a story for a different time. If you haven’t had either of these, make it a point to give it a try. You can even make buttermilk syrup at home.
The syrup is milky, creamy, and has a good texture and consistency. It tastes absolutely divine with pancakes. I think this is a very good alternative and something to try for the occasional flavor change as well.
But it’s not that commonly available. Besides, buttermilk and buttermilk syrup tend to be slightly more expensive than other options.
Molasses is produced during the manufacture of sugar. It has a warm and smoky flavor and is pretty sweet. Plus, the color is very similar to that of maple syrup, so you won’t be missing the visual or appearance. Molasses is available in two options, light and dark. There is a slight difference between the flavor and sweetness of both options.
6. Agave Nectar
Using agave nectar is an acceptable option. It has a color and appearance quite similar to honey. Also, it is deliciously sweet and works great with most recipes that need maple syrup. Interestingly, agave nectar comes from the agave plant. The plant offers another famous product – tequila!
Agave nectar matches the syrup in most considerations. The difference lies in color. Another point to note is that the sweet nectar has a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Usually, it speaks to the flavorfulness of the nectar, but it’s something to keep in mind when you’re using it as a substitute.
7. Brown Rice Syrup
Going with brown rice syrup can be a good option when you want a vegan, gluten-free choice for a sweetener. It also has an interesting flavor and texture, so the pick promises to be a good one. Its mild, nutty, and sweet taste usually goes well with most requirements and especially well with beverages.
8. Caramel Syrup
Like the taste of caramel? Well, who doesn’t! Using caramel syrup is another viable option for substitution. It’s sweet, mild, has a good texture, and offers a familiar and much loved flavor. It goes well with most maple syrup uses (and replacements). Plus, it’s absolutely divine when used for baking treats.
9. Coconut Nectar
Coconut nectar is an interesting choice. This nectar is produced using the sap of the coconut flower so it’s also known as Coconut Flower Nectar. It’s mild, sweet, and enjoyable. It works with most recipes that call for maple syrup.
However, it has a very different consistency, so there is a need to carefully consider the quantity when adding coconut syrup to a recipe. Although this is an excellent sweetener, it’s a bit of a niche item that’s not readily available. It also tends to be more expensive than several other choices that work as well (or better) for replacing maple syrup.
10. Corn Syrup
Corn syrup is a rather popular sweetener that finds application everywhere from home use to commercial use. It’s pretty sweet, has a mild taste, offers a good consistency, and works with pretty much all recipes that call for maple syrup.
If color is important to you, know that it’s available in light and dark variations. The light variation of corn syrup veers towards being colorless. Its dark option takes a look more like maple syrup.
Keep in mind, corn syrup is different from its notorious cousin, the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). When you buy corn syrup, it’s best to carefully look at the ingredients so you don’t choose HFCS instead.
11. Golden Syrup
Here’s another well-known sweetener that can be a maple syrup replacement in a pinch. Golden syrup has a different color and taste as compared to maple syrup. It’s made from a combination of sugar, water, and citric acid.
While it doesn’t quite work well on pancakes, it can be useful with some baked goods. There will be a distinct change in flavor and texture when using golden syrup. It still tastes fairly good, but it’s best to have an idea beforehand how a recipe will taste, rather than finding out after the fact.
12. Stevia Syrup
Want a low-calorie option? Using stevia syrup can do the job. Many brands offer this syrup, with several changing the color and texture to match its use on pancakes or similar foods. Though offerings vary by brand, stevia syrups are available in several flavor and taste options.
13. Chocolate Syrup
The flavor, aroma, and taste of chocolate syrup make it fairly different from maple syrup. However, it can be a quick replacement when you find yourself all out of options. Ran out of maple syrup for a dessert? Well, who doesn’t love chocolate!
Chocolate syrup is incredibly versatile and can take on most responsibilities of maple syrup in food, desserts, baking, and more.
Homemade Maple Syrup – Here’s A Quick Way To Make Your Own
To be clear, this homemade maple syrup is a recipe to make an acceptable syrup version at home. Why? Because I don’t think it’s possible for us to go around tapping sap from the sugar maple or other trees.
So, we’ll have to make do with a flavored extract. This synthetic maple syrup is good enough, but it is no match for the original, natural version. Here are the ingredients you need:
- Water: 1 cup
- White sugar: ¾ cup
- Brown sugar: 1 cup
- Maple flavored extract: Slightly more than a tablespoon
Mix the water and sugars in a saucepan and bring them to boil over medium heat. Keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved in the water. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, give it a few seconds and lower the heat on the pan.
Add the maple flavored extract at this point. Keep the heat at medium-low and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Your homemade maple syrup is ready!
Maple Syrup FAQs And More
Does Maple Syrup Contain Any Nutrients?
Natural maple syrup is actually rich in minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients. It also has a relatively lower calorie count than similar options, like honey. Some of the important ingredients in maple syrup are riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Additionally, maple syrup has a glycemic index of 19. This is lower than that of table sugar, so it doesn’t spike blood sugar as quickly.
What Are The Important Things To Know When Buying Maple Syrup?
When you’re out to buy maple syrup, start with checking the label. You want a syrup that’s made from natural maple syrup. If the label lists addition of fructose or HFCS, maple flavor, or similar things, look at another option.
It’s important to check the label because some sellers will proudly list on the front of the bottle that it is “made from 100% maple syrup”. In truth, that hundred per cent syrup may have been used for barely 40% of the syrup bottle! It’s a marketing loophole to avoid for buyers.
Pure maple syrup is worth the extra effort (and price). Be sure to check the label!
The Right Alternative To The Delicious Maple Syrup
The deliciousness of maple syrup is inviting and livens up several of our favorite foods. However, there might be times when the need for a substitute for maple syrup comes up. Honey is usually the first choice, there are many other viable and tasty alternatives available as well. Choose and experiment to see what tickles your taste buds!