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Is there a perfect maple syrup substitute?

Maple syrup is one of the world's culinary wonders. With its rich, robust and complex flavor, nothing can quite compare to it. The great taste and textural versatility of maple syrup have allowed it to be used in a wide variety of culinary dishes. From barbecue sauce and rubs to brownies, ice cream, oatmeal and pudding, maple syrup has a crucial role in providing an unbeatable and unbelievably unique taste to just about any food and seasoning. Could there be any maple syrup substitute?

Vermont Maple Syrup in decorative clear glass leaf bottles

Maple syrup's sought-after and delicious taste, paired with its versatility in the kitchen, makes it a household ingredient for most families. Today, many online and book recipes call for maple syrup because of its ability to be a great and healthy alternative to sugar. But since no alternitive or imitation product can stack up in taste and health benefits, seeking a substitute for maple syrup for those who don't have a bottle can be tricky. 

Substitutes for maple syrup

When trying to find a maple syrup substitute, some options immediately come to mind: 

  • Honey 
  • Table syrup 
  • Molasses 
  • Corn syrup 
  • Fruit jam
  • Date syrup 

These options might seem valid to someone in search of a maple syrup substitute, but some are better than others. When searching for a maple syrup alternative, health, taste and texture should all be considerations in any alternative product. 


Honey is our top pick for a maple syrup alternative. Honey has a similar texture in viscosity to maple syrup and with only a slightly sweeter taste. However, honey lacks the caramel or dark, robust flavor that maple syrup has. Honey can also be used in a 1:1 ratio in any maple syrup recipe, making it a very convenient and quick substitute.

The good thing about using honey as a maple syrup substitute is that honey is a healthy and natural sweetener. Honey has a potential therapeutic role in the treatment of disease through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties (1).

Table syrup 

Table syrup or imitation syrup ranks as one of the lowest substitutes for maple syrup. Table syrup uses synthetic ingredients like caramel color, natural and artificial flavoring, added sugar, and preservatives to imitate the taste and texture of real maple syrup. These artificial ingredients pose numerous health risks, as certain compounds in artificial colors have been found to be potential carcinogens (2), and added sugars can contribute to obesity and heart disease.


Molasses is a naturally derived sweetener making it an ideal maple syrup substitute. Naturally derived sweeteners lack artificial sweeteners and provide some nutritional benefits. Molasses is the byproduct of refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. Because it is natural, it also contains beneficial minerals like iron and copper and manganese. Molasses can also be used in a 1:1 ratio in maple syrup recipes. 

Corn syrup

Corn syrup, like table syrup, ranks as one of the worst maple syrup substitutes. Corn syrup is an inexpensive, highly processed derivative of corn starch that works well for baking and drizzling due to its sweetness and texture. 

We do not recommend corn syrup as a maple syrup substitute because excessive corn syrup intake may lead to serious health issues, including obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome (3). 

Fruit jam 

Fruit jam is a great and healthy natural sweetener that can be used to substitute maple syrup. Jams have a similar consistency to maple syrup and, depending on the type of jam, allows for creativity in any cooking process. 

However, when using fruit jam as a maple syrup alternative, make sure to purchase jams that are natural and low in artificial ingredients and sugars. 

Date syrup

Similar to fruit jam, date syrup offers a unique-tasting maple syrup alternative. Most date syrups can be used as a 1:1 ratio alternative in recipes that call for maple syrup as a sweetener. 

Dates are powerful and healthy food, rich in fiber and antioxidants. The only downside of using date syrup is that it has a strong and deep fruity taste that might not pair well as a substitute for the light flavor of maple syrup.

What maple syrup substitute should you choose? 

Ideally, maple syrup shouldn't be needed to be substituted at all. There is no perfect maple syrup alternative because of its unparalleled taste, versatility and health benefits. However, selecting natural sweeteners like honey, fruit jam, molasses and dates make for a healthy substitute when searching for a maple syrup alternative. 


Vermont Maple Syrup makes the best organic Vermont maple syrup, maple sugar, and maple candy you will taste. In classy, nostalgic packaging that puts Vermont first. Organic, pure small-batch maple syrup and maple sugar — tapped, collected, and made available from our 1,200-acre farm in the small town of Guilford, Vermont, USA.

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Cook with the less processed, more sustainable and flavorful alternative to cane sugar with subtle notes of maple.

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