Have you ever been in the middle of a recipe only to realize you were out of maple syrup? Same. Save yourself a trip to the grocery store with one of these healthy maple syrup substitutes.
Honey can be used in place of maple syrup in a 1:1 ratio. So, for every 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, substitute in 1 tablespoon of honey.
Many people wonder, can I use honey instead of maple syrup in a recipe?
Yes. Although the flavour is slightly different, honey has a similar texture, so it makes a good substitute for maple syrup in baking or as a topping to your Sunday morning waffles.
Like maple syrup, raw honey is as a natural sweetener. That means it provides nutritional advantages and health benefits that refined sweeteners do not.
Honey, in particular, is rich in anti-oxidants, B vitamins, beneficial enzymes, amino acids and immune-boosting properties. That's exactly why you've been offered honey in your tea when you're sick!
One thing to note is that honey loses some of its nutritional benefits when heated. So, if you're using honey for the health advantages, it's best to use it as a topping.
Molasses can be used in place of maple syrup in a 1:1 ratio. So, for every 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, substitute in 1 tablespoon of molasses.
Molasses is the second best replacement for maple syrup. It works well in baking and on top of pancakes because it has a sweet, warm flavour that's somewhat similar to maple syrup.
Similar to maple syrup and honey, molasses is a natural sweetener. That means it's free of added sugars and provides some nutritional benefits. It also means that our blood sugar spikes less rapidly after consumption.
Molasses is a good source of iron, selenium, and copper, all of which help us maintain healthy bones.
3. Coconut nectar
Coconut nectar can be used in place of maple syrup in a 1:1 ratio. So, for every 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, substitute in 1 tablespoon of coconut nectar.
Coconut nectar is the syrup derived from the flowers of the coconut palm. It's texture is similar to maple syrup, making it a suitable maple syrup alternative for baking and drizzling.
Its flavour profile is quite similar to maple syrup, being particular rich in caramel notes.
Like most of my recommendations, this is another natural sweetener. It's free from chemical processing and has a low glycemic index score compared to most sweeteners.
4. Brown rice syrup
Brown rice syrup (also known as maltose syrup) is a liquid sweetener that works well as a maple syrup replacement in baking and in condiments. Its sticky texture also makes it ideal for recipes that need a binding agent, like granola bars.
It's flavour profile is significantly less sweet than maple syrup. Instead, it has a nutty flavour that is reminiscent of butterscotch.
While it's a less healthy choice than honey or molasses due to its high glycemic index, it is still a natural sweetener that is both fructose and gluten free.
5. Agave nectar
Agave can be used in place of maple syrup at a 1:1 ratio. So, for every 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, substitute 1 tablespoon of agave nectar.
Agave syrup is another suitable sub for maple syrup. It's close in texture to maple syrup and has a sweet flavour profile that's similar to honey, with a slightly flowery aftertaste.
While at one point considered the best healthy sweetener, agave nectar has run into some controversy as of late. Newer research suggests that its extra high fructose content may reduce insulin sensitivity and be problematic for our livers. It is also a higher-calorie sweetener than table sugar.
Here's a good article that compares the health advantages of maple syrup vs agave.
So, use agave nectar in moderation if at all.
6. Corn syrup
Corn Syrup can be used in place of maple syrup at a 1:1 ratio. So, for every 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, substitute 1 tablespoon of corn syrup.
Corn syrup is another popular substitute for syrup. It's caramel flavour works well in baked goods and for drizzling.
That said, from a health point of view, I wouldn't recommend corn syrup. Why? Let me break it down.
High fructose corn syrup is abundant in the modern diet. Food manufacturers prefer it because it's cheaper and sweeter than table sugar. But, it's also more quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. Consuming too much corn syrup can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
So, my advice is to stick with one of the healthier alternatives on this list or make your way to the grocery store for good old maple syrup.
Fruit can be used in place of maple syrup on top of pancakes or waffles. The serving size is all up to you.
The most natural sweetener you can opt for is fruit. So, if you're only looking for a healthy maple syrup alternative for pancakes or waffles, berries are the perfect option.
Choose fruits that are lower in sugar like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. All of these are also high in fibre and loaded with health-boosting antioxidants.
If you want a more syrup like consistency that's closer to maple syrup, consider turning your berries into a healthy compote or chia seed jam. You can find my recipe for raspberry chia seed jam below.
8. Nut Butter
Nut butter can be used in place of maple syrup on top of pancakes or waffles. The serving size is all up to you.
Sometimes it's hard to imagine waffles without syrup. But I promise if you try them topped with 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter, you'll be blown away.
The flavour is a little bit sweet, and a lot savoury.
My favourite choice is almond butter, but you can use any nut butter from peanut to walnut to hazelnut. Whatever your heart desires.
The best part is that this topping will not only help you feel totally satiated thanks to the healthy dose of protein and good fat, but is also free of added sugars.
If you don't have any in your cupboard, check out my recipe for homemade almond butter below:
9. Coconut Butter
Coconut butter can be used in place of maple syrup on top of pancakes or waffles. The serving size is all up to you.
Another savoury maple syrup substitute for topping pancakes is coconut butter. I recommend starting with 1-2 tablespoons and letting it melt over your stack.
Coconut butter comes from the meat of the coconut and is full of healthy fat and protein. This makes it a far more blood sugar balancing option than other pancake toppings. It will also keep you full for long after breakfast is finished.
10. Date syrup
Date syrup can be used in place of maple syrup at a 1:1 ratio. So, for every 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, substitute 1 tablespoon of date syrup.
If you're looking for a natural maple syrup substitute, turn to dates. They'll be sure to boost your fibre and antioxidant intake too.
If you want a syrup like consistency that's closer to maple syrup, you'll need to reduce your dates using my recipe below. Alternatively, you can buy this syrup in middle eastern stores.
Have you ever been in the middle of a recipe only to realize you were out of the sweetener you needed? Same. Save yourself a trip to the grocery store with this healthy date syrup swap.
- 0.5 lb Medjool dates
- 2 cups of water
- Chop and remove the pit from the dates.
- Add dates to sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for one hour.
- Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for one minute, or until smooth.
- Pour the mixture through a nut milk bag or a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth. Press out as much date syrup as possible.
- Add back to stove top and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes to reduce further. Be careful not to burn during this stage.
- Cool and transfer to airtight container in fridge for up to three weeks.
- It's easier to chop the dates using kitchen shears
Keywords: healthy condiments, easy recipes
How to choose a healthy store bought pancake syrup
Okay, so now you know how to find a healthy maple syrup replacement in a pinch. And, with all these options hiding in your pantry, I won't be surprised if you never go back to maple syrup.
That said, I think you should.
Maple syrup is one of the healthiest sweeteners for baking, drizzling and making condiments.
But, not all store bought syrup is equal.
Aunt Jemima is not real maple syrup. I'm sorry. It, along with many syrup alternatives found on grocery store shelves, is a mix of high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, and artificial flavours. They generally have less than 5% pure maple in them. Not cool.
On the other hand, 100% pure maple syrup comes directly from the sap of a maple tree. Because of this, it offers up some powerful health benefits.
So, always read the label and buy the good stuff.
How to use maple syrup
Here are some of my favourite recipes that use maple syrup or a maple syrup alternative:
I want to hear from you!
Have you tried any of these subs for maple syrup? Do you have any of your own?Please take a minute to leave a comment below.