Maple Syrup Substitute

This maple syrup substitute is made with only 5 ingredients and is ready in minutes. Serve it over pancakes or use it as a maple syrup replacement in your baked goods. Save money on pure maple syrup and use this substitute instead!

A glass pitcher of maple syrup substitute sits in front of a bowl of fresh blueberries and plates of pancakes.

Maple Syrup Alternatives

I know pure maple syrup is the gold standard, but it can be pricey. Current pricing has it at around $32 per gallon. That’s a lot! Having an affordable substitute is excellent for the pocketbook. Besides, there may be times when your pantry is empty, and you don’t want to make a mad dash to the store. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Agave Nectar — This is my favorite maple syrup replacement because it’s affordable, readily available, and performs similarly to maple syrup in recipes.
  • Molasses — Molasses has a strong flavor that may not make it suitable for drizzling over pancakes, but you can use it in recipes for baking.
  • Dark Corn Syrup — Corn syrup is a nice alternative to maple syrup that you can use on pancakes or even in recipes.
  • Vegan Honey — Honey is a great alternative to maple syrup. if you prefer not to eat honey, vegan honey is a nice option.
  • Homemade — this maple syrup alternative is easy to make!

How to Make Maple Syrup Substitute

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

  1. Reserve one tablespoon of the water.
  2. Add brown sugar and remaining water and bring to a low boil.
    Water is being poured over a saucepan with brown sugar.
  3. Stir the reserved water, cornstarch, extract, and syrup in a small bowl.
  4. Drizzle this into the hot brown sugar syrup and stir to combine.
    A liquid cornstarch mixture is being poured into a saucepan with a brown sugar mixture.
  5. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  6. Let the syrup cool and then pour it into a lidded glass jar and refrigerate.
  7. Serve it over pancakes, waffles, and more.

Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Brown sugar — You can use light or dark brown sugar.
  • Cornstarch — Feel free to substitute arrowroot powder.
  • Extract — I love using real maple syrup extract. Please do not use imitation maple syrup that doesn’t have an authentic flavor. You can substitute vanilla extract.
  • Agave nectar — To prevent the sugar from crystalizing, we’ll add a bit of agave nectar (substitute corn syrup).
Mock maple syrup is in a glass syrup pitcher.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • SIMPLE — You need only 7 ingredients to make this maple syrup substitute.
  • MAGIC — Transform brown sugar into a delicious maple syrup replacement.
  • QUICK — Throw this syrup together in minutes so you can serve that yummy breakfast right on time!

Frequently-Asked Questions

What is maple syrup made of?

Maple syrup is made from the sap of a sugar maple tree. The sap is boiled to reduce the water, leaving behind a sugar concentrate that we refer to as maple syrup. By the way, it takes 40 gallons of tree sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

What is pancake syrup?

Pancake syrup is made by combining syrup, usually corn syrup, with maple syrup extract.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this maple syrup substitute with your favorite pancakes and waffles:

Storage Tips

Transfer syrup to a lidded glass jar. Seal it tightly and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. To serve, let it come to room temperature or microwave it for a few seconds until it resumes a spreadable consistency.

A stack of pancakes without eggs is sitting on a plate. The top one has a pat of melty vegan butter. A glass pitcher is pouring maple syrup and it is dropping down the sides of the pancakes. There are more pancakes in the background.

Maple Syrup Favorites

Here are some tasty recipes that utilize maple syrup either in the recipe itself or drizzled on top:

Mock maple syrup is in a glass syrup pitcher.

Maple Syrup Recipe

Make this sweet maple syrup alternative in minutes! It uses only 5 ingredients and is delicious served over pancakes or waffles.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 141kcal


  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon maple syrup extract (substitute vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar (substitute corn syrup)


  • Reserve one tablespoon of the water. Add brown sugar and remaining water to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring this to a low boil.
  • Stir together the reserved water, cornstarch, extract, and syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle this into the hot brown sugar syrup and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until reduced in volume to 1 cup or for thicker syrup down to ¾ cup.
  • Let the syrup cool and then pour it into a lidded glass jar and refrigerate. Serve it over whole wheat panckes, vegan waffles, and more.

Recommended Equipment

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Use real maple syrup extract for the best flavor.
Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 0.04g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 0.002g | Sugar: 36g | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.3mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

2 Responses to Maple Syrup Substitute

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyIvy Reply

    5 stars
    I made this for waffles last weekend and it was a perfect substitute for maple syrup!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      This maple syrup over waffles? Sign me up, Ivy!

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