Best Maple Syrup Substitute

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 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to saucepan and heat over medium heat.
  • Stir until sugar is dissolved (don’t bring to simmer) for 1 to 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature before using. Keeps in the refrigerator for 1 month.

Related recipes

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

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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