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Maple Syrup Substitutes

Ingredient Swaps
Fresh American pancakes being drizzled with maple syrup

Maple syrup is a versatile ingredient; it's most commonly used to drizzle over pancakes and waffles, but also features in delicious puddings, cakes and truffles.

We’ve all been there - you're mid-bake and you've run out of maple syrup. Not to fear - there are plenty of alternatives to maple syrup that you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards. 

What is maple syrup?

Maple syrup is made from the sap of the sugar maple tree. This natural sweetener is cooked down to make this indulgent, sticky, and smooth syrup, perfect for topping your homemade pancakes and waffles.

What is maple syrup used for?

There are lots of ways you can use maple syrup for baking. Its most popular use is as a topping for homemade pancakes, waffles, or even French toast. However, it can also be used to make cake batter, flapjacks, puddings and a glaze or topping on cakes.

Maple syrup alternatives

There are lots of maple syrup replacements to replicate maple syrup's sweetness, smoothness and stickiness.


Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100ml of honey

Honey is sweet, smooth, and has a similar consistency to maple syrup. Although sweet, the flavour profile of honey is slightly different to maple syrup, but it still works well in cakes and topped on pancakes and waffles.

We’d recommend choosing pure, organic honey, as this is better quality and more flavourful. It is worth noting before swapping to honey, that unlike maple syrup, honey isn’t vegan, as it is a product of bees.

Golden syrup

Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100ml of golden syrup

Golden syrup is often referred to as the UK version of molasses. However, it is lighter in colour and a little sweeter, with a flavour similar to butterscotch. Golden syrup works well as a maple syrup replacement, especially when used to bake cookies and cakes. It’s also delicious when drizzled over pancakes, waffles and French toast.

While they're similar ingredients, golden syrup tends to have a higher sugar content than maple syrup, whereas maple is richer and stronger in flavour.

Homemade syrup

Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100ml of homemade syrup

You can also make your own simple syrup, also known as white sugar syrup. This easy-to-make syrup can be used to moisten cake layers and even to sweeten drinks.

To make this recipe, boil together equal parts of white, granulated sugar and water until this mixture reaches a thick consistency like maple syrup. Make sure that you handle it with care and let this mixture cool before using it.

Brown sugar syrup

Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100ml of brown sugar syrup

Making brown sugar syrup follows the same process as making white sugar syrup, using brown sugar. This results in a slightly darker and thicker syrup, with a flavour profile resembling molasses.


Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100ml of molasses

Molasses is a by-product of the sugar-making process. This thick, sticky and dark syrup is made from crushed sugar cane. Molasses is often used as an ingredient when making gingerbread, adding to its characteristic flavour and colour. When using it to replace maple syrup, it works well in cakes and puddings. Bear in mind it may add a slight smokey or burnt caramel flavour.

Although molasses has a similar texture to maple syrup, it isn’t as sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add a little extra sugar to molasses.

Brown rice syrup

Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100ml of brown rice syrup

Brown rice syrup is made from brown rice starch that is cooked down into a syrup. This sweetener works best as a maple syrup replacement in salad dressings, sauces and glazes, as well as for baking recipes.

Brown rice syrup isn’t as sweet as maple syrup, so you can add more to your baking recipe if needed, or add more sugar.

Corn syrup

Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100ml of corn syrup

Corn syrup has a milder, vanilla-like flavour profile than maple syrup. It’s thick, smooth, and works well when used to bake granola bars and similar recipes. You can also buy dark corn syrup, which has a deeper flavour and darker colour as it contains molasses.

Agave syrup

Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100ml of agave syrup

Agave syrup, also known as agave nectar, is a natural sweetener that comes from the agave plant. Agave syrup is available in light, amber and dark. The darker the variety of agave, the bolder and more caramel-like the flavour.

Agave nectar has a more neutral flavour profile than maple syrup and dissolves quickly into other liquids, making it ideal for sweetening drinks, sauces and desserts.


Replacement ratio: Replace 100ml of maple syrup with 100g of sugar

Depending on what you’re making, sugar can be used to replace maple syrup. It won’t make a great replacement drizzled over pancakes or waffles, as sugar on its own is too dry. However, if you were using syrup to make a batter, then using sugar will add the desired sweetness.

If you’re concerned that adding sugar rather than syrup is affecting the consistency of your batter, you can always add a splash of more water or fat to make it more moist. You can use either white or brown sugar to replace maple syrup in batter. Brown sugar can work better, as it has a slight caramel flavour like maple syrup does.