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Pancake Syrup VS Maple Syrup

Pancake Syrup VS Maple Syrup debate. What about the age-old debate between choosing pancake syrup or maple syrup for your stack? Both are delicious and could make a great accompaniment to your favorite pancake recipe, but which one should you choose?

As any home cook knows, a stack of pancakes has nearly endless possibilities when it comes to topping them off with a delicious syrup. When it comes to topping pancakes, everyone has their personal preference. Some swear by the classic butter and syrup combo while others like going outside the box with alternative drizzles of honey or jam.

However, these syrups are not just for pancake as a topper. They can be used as a sweetener for beverages, French toast, on top of yogurt, in a marinade, in salad dressings, or as a sweetener in cooking and baking.

Pancake Syrup VS Maple Syrup

Are There Differences Between Pancake Syrup and Maple Syrup?

Have you ever stopped and thought about the differences between pancake syrup and maple syrup? It might be easy to simply reach for your bottle of Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin, but do you actually know what sets real maple syrup apart from its mass-marketed counterpart?

Are there benefits of one over the other in terms of nutrition and taste? Read on as we explore the world of pancake syrups and try to find out which is better suited for cooking up those perfect flapjacks.

Pouring Syrup over Stack of Hotcakes

Pancake Syrup Versus Maple Syrup

The main difference is one has natural sugars and that’s it, the other has natural sugars and artificial additives. Let’s dive into the differences between these two common breakfast condiments together.

In a nutshell, Pancake Syrup is often made from corn syrup as the main ingredients list. Then the list continues with artificial flavors, cellulose gum, salt, caramel color, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, and sodium hexametaphosphate. Corn syrup often listed as high fructose corn syrup on ingredient labels is made by processing corn and separating the sugars glucose and fructose, leaving behind a highly concentrated fructose syrup.

Whereas Maple Syrup is a natural sweetener and is made from the sap of maple trees. Syrup farmers are busy in the spring of the year collecting sap from the Sugar Maple Tree. The nights should be cool and the days warm for the sap to run. The processing consists of boiling the sap to release moisture and concentrate the sugar. The color naturally turns a golden brown to a dark brown in color due to the caramelization of the sugars. Cooking the sap longer causes it to be thicker and darker color with a more robust flavor. This is maple sap is the real thing.

While one is a natural product and the other is fake maple syrup, they are both tasty and they both contain high levels of sugars. Therefore, it is wise to use them sparingly, especially if you are watching your sugar intake. However, because there are health benefits from maple syrup, it is the better choice healthwise.

Which Syrup is Healthier?

The pancake syrup made with the high-fructose corn syrup is not as healthy. This is because your body processes fructose than other sugars. Additionally, the list of ingredients that I am not even able to pronounce just can’t be good for you.

Maple syrup is made from just one ingredient, the sap of the Sugar Maple Tree. Smart Fact: it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of pure maple syrup.

While both pancake syrup and maple syrup contain high amounts of sugars, only one of them contain just one ingredient with no artificial flavorings.

Lightest color and flavor

Maple Syrup Grades

Have you ever heard of maple syrup grades or standards if you will? You will find maple syrup in large grocery stores, as well as family owned businesses. Were we live, we can purchase maple syrup right from our neighbors. It comes in all types and sizes of containers and the colors range from a light golden to a very dark brown in color.

No matter where the syrup is made or what type of container it is in, this product has grades made up of two components: color and flavor.

In general, the darker the color, the stronger the flavor of the maple syrup and the lighter the color, the more delicate the flavor will be.

There are color standards from the United States Department of Agriculture for maple producers across North America that are used to grade syrup based on the Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup regulations. 

For a syrup to make the grade, it must fall within the color range for that grade and have the proper flavor to match.

All Grade A syrups consist of two components, color, and flavor. A syrup must fall within strict color and flavor guidelines for labeling purposes. This helps consumers know what they are purchasing.

The secondary grade is for processing. Syrup requirements use this method too just as you find for dairy products. This does not mean that the syrup is not safe for consumption, it just means that it did not meet the color and flavor standards. When the color and flavor grades are not net, it is still safe to use. Therefore, it is used as an additive to other products rather than being sold on its own.

Syrup Color and Flavoring Grades

Syrup Color and Flavoring Grades

Golden color. This is the lightest color, and the flavor should have a delicate and subtle maple flavor.

Amber color. This is slightly darker than the golden color and the flavor is more of a full-bodied rich flavor. More of the classic maple syrup you are used to finding at your local grocery store.

Dark color. A dark amber color syrup with an intense and robust maple flavor.

Very Dark color. This is the darkest of all the grades and the intense flavor matches the expectations of a strong maple flavor.

Does Pancake Syrup go Bad?

According to pancake syrup or sometimes referred to as table syrup or golden syrup manufacturers, refrigeration is not required. Therefore, it is safe to store on the shelf at room temperature rather than the refrigerator without worrying about spoilage. The shelf life is almost indefinite due to the preservatives and additivities.

Does Maple Syrup go Bad?

Maple syrup that has been properly canned can safely be stored in without refrigeration in a cool, dark place. However, once opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator as it will spoil and mold.

Simple Pancake Syrup Recipe

Make your Own Pancake Syrup Recipe

You can make your own syrup to top your stack of hotcakes from ingredients you probably have right in your pantry. It’s an easy recipe that takes less than 15 minutes to make.

  • Brown Sugar
  • Water
  • Butter
  • Vanilla Extract, or Maple Extract

No brown sugar? That’s okay, just substitute granulated sugar and add a little molasses. See the notes section in the recipe card for more details on how much to add.

Just add the sugar and water to a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat stirring constantly. When the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is boiling, turn down the heat and continue cooking 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract or maple extract.

Is Maple Syrup Gluten Free?

Yes, maple syrup is gluten-free as long as the container is 100% pure maple syrup.

Can You Freeze Pancake Syrup?

Yes, you storing pancake syrup in the freezer is a great way to keep it fresh for a few years. While freezing maple syrup will not change the consistency once it is thawed out, there are a few things to be aware of when freezing it.

  • Once frozen, the color of frozen maple syrup will be darker due to the cold temperatures.
  • When frozen, maple syrup will be thick and hard to pour out. However, it will not be frozen solid like water.
  • Thawing the syrup will allow it to be poured again.
  • In fact, this is one of those foods that you can remove from the freezer, thaw, use, and place back in the freezer.

How to Freeze Maple Syrup?

Remove from the glass container that is comes in. Since the bottle will most likely be full, when the contents expands due to freezing, the glass can break. Therefore, place in a mason jar, or other airtight freezer-safe container and make sure that there is at least 1 to 2 inches of space between the contents and the top of the container. This will assure room for expansion.

A plastic freezer bag is a good option. However, when using this method, make sure that the bag is in the upright position, not laying flat.

Simple Pancake Syrup Recipe
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Simple Pancake Syrup Recipe

Make this homemade pancake syrup with simple ingredients from your pantry. It takes less than 15 minutes to make a great tasting topping. A delicious syrup for pancakes, waffles, and anything else you would normally add your pancake syrup.
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30 minute meal, sauce recipe, syrup recipe
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 1244kcal

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  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Butter
  • ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Maple Extract


  • Add the brown sugar and water to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook stirring continuously until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil.
  • Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and summer the syrup for 4 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Stir it in until it is melted.
  • Serve while still warm.

Your Own Private Notes


Serving Size

This recipe makes 2 cups of syrup. The portion size should be approximately 2 or 3 tablespoons. 

Storing Simple Pancake Syrup Recipe

Leftover syrup should be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep up to two months. A quick way to reheat is the microwave. Just heat in 2 second intervals stirring between until it is the temperature that you desire.

Homemade Pancake Syrup with White Sugar

No brown sugar? No problem. Make this easy syrup with white sugar.
  • 2 Cups White Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Molasses
  • ½ Cup Butter
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract, or Maple Extract
Add the white sugar, water, and molasses to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook stirring continuously until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil.
Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and summer the syrup for 4 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Stir it in until it is melted.
Serve while still warm.


Calories: 1244kcal | Carbohydrates: 216g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 432mg | Potassium: 307mg | Sugar: 214g | Vitamin A: 1418IU | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 2mg


You can find Victoria crocheting, quilting, and creating recipes. She has cooked in restaurants for over 20 years, including many larger parties. In her professional career, she has worked in management in a wide variety of businesses including higher education as a dean of a division. All the while attending college part-time to achieve her doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in e-learning.

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