Pancake Syrup

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Make your own three-ingredient Pancake Syrup — you’ll be amazed how quick and easy it is! Plus, when you make it yourself, you don’t have to worry about any artificial ingredients or corn syrup.

Love syrup? Us too! We’ve created some other favorites — try our Buttermilk Syrup, Vanilla Sauce, or Blueberry Syrup next! 

Overhead image of Pancake Syrup

Making Your Own Pancake Syrup Just Makes Sense!

While most will agree homemade always tastes best, a lot of time the convenience is not worth the trade-off. Trust me, I love to cook and bake, but you’ll find me using store-bought short-cuts all the time (did you ever catch this series of 30 Quick and Easy Meals?)

But while the store-bought syrup is convenient, I don’t find the trade-off to be worth it. Store-bought syrup is made primarily with corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and imitation maple flavoring. Ick!

But homemade pancake syrup’s got only three main ingredients and a prep time of 10 minutes (or less). It has real ingredients and tastes so much better! It’s ridiculously convenient to whip together while you’re waiting on Pancake or Waffle batter to rest. 

Or, if you just happen to be out of store-bought syrup and need a quick recipe to whip up instead of making a grocery run, this is one you’ve likely got the ingredients for. 

Overhead image of the maple extract used in this recipe

Pancake Syrup Vs. Maple Syrup

Pure maple syrup is the sap from maple trees that has been boiled down to a thicker consistency. Just one ingredient!

Pancake syrup from the store is made with corn syrup and maple extract. Pure maple syrup is quite expensive because it is so labor-intensive to make (you can read more of the process here).

What Is In Pancake Syrup?

  1. Brown sugar. Light brown sugar makes up the base of the syrup. Syrups are intended to be sweet and this one is no exception — it is very sweet! We did test this recipe with dark brown sugar and found the flavor a tad overpowering.
  2. Butter. Butter gives this syrup a nice flavor and great thickness. As the syrup cools, it thickens nicely so it isn’t watery like a lot of homemade pancakes syrups tend to be.
  3. Maple extract. While it may sound fancy, this extract is just as readily available as vanilla or almond extract! Check among the other baking extracts in the grocery store. I recommend McCormick’s® pure maple extract for the best and purest flavor (not sponsored). Imitation extract won’t give you the same results. While alcohol is present in the maple extract, you’re using such small quantities (1/4 teaspoon) that the overall alcohol content is negligible. 

Beyond those three main ingredients, there are two others that you won’t need to shop for since you’ve likely got both  — water and salt. (If you don’t have salt, it’s fine to leave it out!)

Make no mistake, both maple syrup and pancake syrup are very sweet and contain lots of sugar. However, the sugars in pure maple syrup aren’t refined and contain no artificial ingredients. To me, that makes pure maple syrup a much better choice. Most of the time we use pure maple syrup for pancakes. But when I’m going to use pancake syrup, I’d much rather make it myself so I know what’s in it. And in my book, brown sugar is a much better choice than corn syrup.

QUICK TIP

What’s the difference between a pure and imitation extract? Most imitation extracts are either a weaker solution of naturally derived or are derived artificially (synthesized in a lab).

Process shots-- images of the butter, brown sugar, salt, and hot water being added and it all being melted together, then it being removed from heat and the maple extract being added

How To Make Pancake Syrup

  • Add all the ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes and then stir in extract. Serve over your favorite breakfast recipes (this is the best pancake syrup on a Dutch Baby or Crepes!) or let cool and store for future uses.

How Do You Thicken Syrup?

This syrup may seem thin right off the stovetop, but as it cools, it will thicken up nicely. To thin it out, warm in the microwave or on the stovetop and add a splash of water if it is too thick for your liking.

Pancake Syrup FAQs

1Does Pancake Syrup need to be refrigerated?

Yes. Once fully cooled, transfer the syrup to an airtight container or jar and store in the fridge.

2Does Pancake Syrup go bad?

Homemade pancake syrup lasts 1-2 months in the fridge. Store-bought closed syrups won’t spoil unless they aren’t stored in a cool, dark area (or there are major temperature fluctuations). Properly stored, store-bought pancake syrup generally stays at best quality anywhere from 18-24 months.

3Which syrup is best for pancakes?

If you like a traditional-tasting syrup, homemade Pancake Syrup is the one to try! If you’re feeling more adventurous, browse through the other homemade syrup recipes on the site.

4What is a substitute for Pancake Syrup?

If you don’t have Pancake Syrup or the ingredients to make this recipe, try mixing some jam (or fruit preserves) with a splash of water and whisking in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth adding more water as needed until you get a nice syrup consistency! (We love making a quick strawberry pancake syrup using this method with strawberry jam!)

5Is Pancake Syrup the same as maple syrup?

Nope! Maple syrup is made from actual maple tree sap that has been boiled down to concentrate the sugars, while pancake syrup is made from store-bought ingredients!

Overhead image of Pancake Syrup being poured over the pancakes

Ways To Use Homemade Pancake Syrup

There are so many ways to use this recipe, below are some of our favorites:

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Pancake Syrup

5 from 2 votes
Make your own three-ingredient Pancake Syrup -- you'll be amazed how quick and easy it is! Plus, when you make it yourself, you don't have to worry about any artificial ingredients or corn syrup.
Print Recipe

Pancake Syrup

5 from 2 votes
Make your own three-ingredient Pancake Syrup -- you'll be amazed how quick and easy it is! Plus, when you make it yourself, you don't have to worry about any artificial ingredients or corn syrup.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Pancake Syrup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 -1/4 cup syrup (20 servings)
Calories 59kcal
Cost $1.00

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • Tiny pinch (1/16) fine sea salt, optional
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 up to 1-1/2 teaspoons pure maple extract (Note 1)

Instructions

  • COMBINE: Add the butter, sugar, salt, and water to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Once boiling, cook for 1 full minute while stirring frequently.
  • BOIL: After 1 minute, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes and then stir in extract, adding to taste (Add slowly, starting with 1 teaspoon -- it's always easy to add more!).
  • STORAGE: Serve over your favorite breakfast recipes or let cool and store for future uses. Syrup will store well for 1-2 months in an airtight container in the fridge.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Maple extract: This extract is just as readily available as vanilla or almond extract! Check among the other baking extracts in the grocery store. I recommend McCormick’s® pure maple extract for the best and purest flavor (not sponsored). Add maple extract to taste; intensity will vary depending on the brand you use.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 59kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.8g | Fat: 2.3g | Cholesterol: 6.1mg | Sodium: 3.1mg | Sugar: 9.7g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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