There are several options if you’re all out of maple syrup! Here’s the best maple syrup substitute for pancakes or baking.

Substitute for Maple Syrup

Ready to top your pancakes and your cupboard is bare? Or in the middle of making a recipe and don’t have maple syrup on hand? We’ve got your back. Maple syrup is a natural sweetener with a nuanced flavor; it is an obvious topping for pancakes and adds gentle sweetness to baked recipes.

No refined sugar recipes have become quite popular, so you’ll find many online recipes that use maple syrup. In fact, many of our dessert recipes use maple syrup! Alex and I also use maple syrup as a substitute for simple syrup in our cocktail recipes. But if you’re fresh out: here are your best options.

Best maple syrup substitute

Note that how these options work depend on the type of recipe and how the maple syrup is used.

1. Honey (for pancakes or baking).

The best maple syrup substitute? Honey. Honey has a similar texture to maple, and it’s perfect for topping pancakes. The flavor is slightly different, but it also works with sweets or baking recipes like no bake cookies or banana blueberry muffins. Use honey as a 1 for 1 substitute for maple syrup, though it will taste slightly different.

Note: Honey is not vegan, so take note if you’re cooking for someone with a vegan diet.

2. Brown sugar syrup (pancakes).

Need a breakfast syrup for pancakes? The next best maple syrup substitute is making your own brown sugar syrup. Here’s what to do:

  • Add ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup water to saucepan and heat over medium heat.
  • Stir until the sugar is dissolved (don’t simmer) for 1 to 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature before using. Stores in the refrigerator for 1 month.

Here are some pancake recipes that use maple syrup, and a few sweets where you could substitute honey:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. I am so grateful I found this website it gives me so many good recipes then I can incorporate with my new business I’m trying to start up of dog treats and dog food if you have any suggestions on how to make dog treats and food with healthy ingredients let me know

  2. Thanks for the suggestion of honey or brown sugar, I need maple syrup as part of a sauce to marinate pork tenderloin, an expensive option right now.!! Will give honey a try first. Again thanks for the tip.

  3. Had “Iron Chef” on last night, but in another room. As I entered, a chef was finishing
    a sentence with ” . . . a syrup I use when seeking a deeper flavor profile than maple
    syrup.” Do you have any ideas about what he may have been suggesting?

    1. Well, you have us intrigued! We’ve racked our brains but not sure what he could have been referring to! Let us know if you’re ever able to track it down.

  4. thank you for publishing this! i am wondering if you can weigh in.

    another site uses maple syrup or dates (neither of which i can tolerate) for teriyaki sauce & blueberry smoothies. can you suggest another option? i love honey! cane sugar’s good too. judiciously.

    (& while youre at it, I’m wondering if you have a vegan idea for worstershire (sp) sauce?)

    thank you so much.

    cynthia frm calif

    1. Honey would be perfect in both cases! We don’t have a vegan Worcestershire sauce recipe, but there are lots of great options on the market these days: either in stores or you can find them online. Good luck!

  5. This brown sugar syrup recipe worked great in a pinch. My kiddo asked for pancakes and while making them, I realized we were out of milk. Found a no-milk recipe that turned out great but just as we were sitting down to eat, realized we didn’t have enough syrup! Found this recipe online and is was a hit! Thanks so much!