10 Best Substitutes for Maple Syrup in Cooking and Baking

Maple syrup is a deliciously rich and tasty natural sweetener that is enjoyed in a variety of recipes like pancakes, waffles, and glazed over meats and vegetables. However, if you find yourself running low and need a similar alternative for your recipes, these top 10 substitutes will be a helpful replacement.

What is Maple Syrup?

Pure maple syrup is a deliciously sweet liquid made from the sap of sugar maple trees. It’s a natural treat that starts with tapping the trees in the early spring, collecting the sap, and then boiling it down to create a thick, sweet syrup. Maple syrup is often used as a topping for pancakes and waffles, but it can also be used in cooking and baking to add a unique and delightful maple flavor to various desserts and main dishes. It is commonly found in local grocery stores in the breakfast foods aisle. I do notice it is often next to the pancake syrup- which looks identical to maple syrup but is made from corn syrup instead of maple.

Replacing Maple Syrup for Sugar in Baking and Cooking

Pies, cookies, muffins, and cakes often include granulated or brown sugar as the main ingredient in the recipe. A few of the reasons why sugar is used is because it not only acts as a sweetener but also creates structure and texture to the recipe (Imperial Sugar). Sugar is a powerhouse of flavor that makes a recipe go from bland to deliciously sweet and tasty.

Maple syrup can often give a similar taste and structure to a recipe as granulated sugar. To replace maple syrup with sugar in baking and cooking, you can use this simple guideline: For every cup of sugar that a recipe calls for, you can substitute about 3/4 cup of maple syrup. However, it’s important to remember that maple syrup is a liquid, so you’ll also want to reduce the overall liquid in your recipe by about 3 tablespoons for each cup of syrup used. Additionally, because maple syrup has a distinct flavor, keep in mind that your dish will have a delightful maple taste. So, adjust your choice based on whether you want that maple flavor in your final creation or if you prefer a more neutral sweetener substitute.

stack of pancakes with maple syrup being poured over the top.

Substitution List

Maple syrup tastes fantastic in many recipes but is often more costly than similar sweeteners and can be harder to find. So if you’re in need of an alternative, here are 10 options to choose from.


One of the best maple syrup substitutes is honey. It is a versatile alternative to maple syrup that has a natural sweetness with a distinct floral flavor. While it has a different taste, it can replace maple syrup in a 1:1 ratio with similar consistency, making it an easy swap in most recipes like cakes or pies.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a great option that is derived from the agave plant and is sweeter than maple syrup, so for this alternative, I recommend using less. Begin with 3/4 cup of agave nectar for every 1 cup of maple syrup, adjusting to taste. Its mild, neutral flavor complements various dishes.

Golden Syrup

Golden syrup is a good substitute since it is a thick syrup similar to maple syrup in consistency and has an amber color and caramel flavor. Plus it is easy to use since it has a 1:1 ratio substitute with maple syrup.

Corn Syrup

Light corn syrup is a common substitution in place of maple syrup with a similar texture, though it lacks the maple flavor. This would be a good choice for recipes where the maple flavor isn’t crucial but texture is more important. Use this as a 1:1 substitute, but add a little sugar or sweetener alternative if you need more sweetness.

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup, a less sweet option, adds subtle sweetness and depth to recipes. It’s thicker than maple syrup, so when replacing it, use a 1:1 ratio and adjust the recipe’s liquid content accordingly.

two slices of french toast with maple syrup pouring over the top.

Date Syrup

Date syrup, which comes from dates, boasts a rich, caramel-like taste. A good alternative to maple syrup, it often maintains a 1:1 ratio and introduces a unique, naturally sweet flavor to recipes like pies or protein balls.


Molasses, with its robust, distinctive flavor, can be a flavorful match for maple syrup in certain recipes. It is a thick liquid that is less sweet and should be paired with another sweetener like sugar to give a similar flavor when needing the sweetness. To substitute, use 3/4 cup of molasses for every 1 cup of maple syrup.

Brown Sugar Syrup

A very common sweetener and great substitute is brown sugar, which can be made into an easy syrup. To create a maple syrup substitute, dissolve 1 cup of brown sugar in 1/4 cup of water, gently heating over medium heat until fully dissolved. Add a little cornstarch to thicken if needed. This syrup has a caramelized sweet taste that is popular in many recipes like cakes or cookies.

Fruit Syrup

Fruit syrups, like raspberry or blueberry, offer fun and different flavor twists. Substituting them for maple syrup in a 1:1 ratio can give your recipes a fruity flavor. This is an excellent alternative that would taste delicious on pancakes or on French toast.

Maple Extract

If you need the maple scent without necessarily the flavor, a few drops of maple extract can be one of the best substitutes. Combine this with any sweetener alternative like sugar for a more similar result for sweet treats like cookies or cakes.

Recipes with Maple Syrup

bottle of maple syrup with breakfast foods in the background.

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