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How to Substitute Maple Syrup for White Sugar

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While there are plenty of recipes created specifically for maple syrup, I’ve taken up the challenge of learning how to substitute maple syrup for white sugar in other recipes.

Cookies on plates with maple syrup and sugar in pitchers.

I’ve taken this challenge because we’re blessed with an abundance of maple syrup after having tapped our own trees. Maple syrup isn’t necessarily a frugal option for baking but it can be a tasty and easy thing to use instead of white sugar.

Is it healthier?

Maybe. Maple syrup has minerals, antioxidants, and other benefits that white sugar does not. However, cookies and baked goods are still treats and should not likely be a regular part of our eating habits.

Is it Difficult?

No. Turns out it’s pretty easy to substitute maple syrup for sugar in baked goods.   You won’t need a special calculator or do any kind of complicated formulations to substitute maple syrup for white sugar in your favorite recipes.

Step 1: Use Less – Maple Syrup is Sweeter

It’s not a one-to-one substitution, use a quarter less syrup than sugar.  For example, for every 1 Cup of White Sugar use 3/4 Cup Maple Syrup.

Dried apple cookies on a plate with maple syrup.

Step 2: Reduce Overall Liquid

Because maple syrup is liquid, use less other liquid in the recipe.  Reduce the other liquid by 3 Tablespoons, for example if the recipe calls for 1/4 Cup milk, you would only use 1 Tablespoon when using maple syrup instead of sugar.

Step 3: Reduce Oven Temperature

Turn the oven down 25 degrees. This is because maple syrup caramelizes differently and the higher temperatures might cause burning and even bitterness in flavor.

Dried apple cookies on plates with pitchers of maple syrup and sugar.

Step 4: Everything Else Stays the Same

There’s no need to change any other ingredients or the cooking time in the recipe.  The cooking time in my trials remained the same even at the lower temperature, but do check individual recipes to be sure.

Texture Differences

Cookies made with sugar are likely to be crispier than cookies made with maple syrup. In muffins or breads, it won’t likely be as noticeable.

Dried apple cookies on a plate with container of sugar.

When Maple Syrup Can’t be Substituted

Now in the interest of being completely honest, there are going to be some things where the substitution just isn’t going to work, like those delightful sugar cookies that are nothing but butter, sugar, flour, and egg.  Maple syrup isn’t going to work there with great results, though maple sugar would and that wouldn’t need any kind of fancy substitution plan.

That’s it, truly.  I tested this method in soft cookies, muffins, and breads with stellar results.  Don’t be afraid to remake those favorite recipes with maple syrup.

Want to see a recipe adapted for maple syrup from white sugar in action? Sign up for our newsletter and get the recipe for the dried apple cookies featured in the photos here delivered to your inbox. You’ll get the original white sugar recipe right alongside the adapted maple syrup recipe for your own use.

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Shannon

Saturday 23rd of March 2019

Thinking about trying maple syrup or honey in biscotti instead of sugar. Anyone try this with success?

Kathie Lapcevic

Monday 25th of March 2019

I would go for the maple sugar for Biscotti... it needs to be dry and the extra moisture from the honey or maple syrup might make it soft and longer cooking even at a lower temperature may result in too dark of a final product.

Thom

Friday 12th of January 2018

If I may, I just found this page while finding how to substitute Maple Syrup in recipes. We have found a good supply of syrup from both Costco and Trader Joe's. We prefer the Trader Joe's here because it's from Vermont. Also, it's less than $20 a quart. Hope this helps.

Erica

Sunday 8th of February 2015

Awesome article. I know about reducing the amount of maple syrup but didn't know about the others. . .that would explain a lot. Thank you.

Diana Auerhammer

Monday 22nd of December 2014

I don't bake a lot and I don't have precise measurements for using honey. But when I do bake I use honey exclusively (no sugars). I think Kathie's recommended changes sound about like what I have done. How things come out for me seems to depend a lot on the flour, and whole wheat can handle more honey than white can since it's heavier. Also, I don't bake the fancy things that Kathie does! She puts me to shame!

Teresa

Saturday 20th of December 2014

Do you know if the rules are the same with honey? We've found a source for raw honey (local to my mom, if not to us) at a reasonable price.

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