Which Artificial Maple Syrup Is the Best? We Found Out!

We Tried It 8

maple syrupWe all love to drizzle maple syrup over pancakes and waffles, but the real stuff can be awfully expensive in normal years. This year, thanks to an early spring and record high summer temperatures, there was a smaller maple syrup harvest -- and that means even higher prices for us, like $20 for a pint. Ouch!

So we decided to check out some alternatives: Maple-flavored syrups. We lined up seven different syrups plus a homemade maple-flavored syrup for a taste test here at the CafeMom office. And just for fun, we threw in some real maple syrup to see if people could tell the difference. The results will reassure those of you who've been buying the imitation maple syrup -- looks like you're not really missing out on much.

Out of all the syrups, including real maple syrup, the top three are: Aunt Jemima original, Aunt Jemima butter lite, and Eggo original. Those three were tied for first. The real maple syrup was just one point behind as the second favorite. But yeah ... people seemed to like the fake stuff better. Folks do love their high fructose corn syrup (first ingredient listed for those top three).

And don't bother making your own syrup from scratch. Apparently no one was impressed with that stuff. Perfectly easy to make, but it's just not as good.

I'm floored by these results. I buy the real stuff -- I have a good source, let's just put it that way -- and haven't bought fake syrup since college. But I only have one kid so the expense is manageable. Plus, maple syrup has all kinds of health benefits. And if you get Grade B, it's a lot less expensive. So I'm ignoring these results and sticking with the real maple syrup!

And here's why: I had my son do a taste test with real and fake maple syrup, and not only could he tell which one was real, he prefers it. So we're stuck! But that's fine with me. 

Meanwhile, can we talk about what people HATE? I included a maple-flavored agave syrup (brand shall go unnamed) and the consensus on that was YUCK. A few people said it tasted like fish. Others mentioned it had a bitter or alcoholic taste. One person simply asked, "What the hell was that?"

So now you know the three syrups that pass the CafeMom test, and the one syrup you should definitely avoid. Here's to many happy morning pancake breakfasts this season!

Do you buy artificial maple syrup or real maple syrup?

Image via frostnova/Flickr

breakfast, grocery shopping


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tuffy... tuffymama

We don't eat fake food, PERIOD, but good luck growing people who realize their full physical potential on that crap. My favorite maple syrup so far is Anderson's grade B from Wisconsin. It's better than the Vermont or Canadian maple syrups we've tried.

Lynette Lynette

Only the real stuff in our house.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I buy real maple syrup. It's really not that expensive if you stick to grade B which tastes best anyway. The only time I've seen expensive stuff outside of a tourist trap (the $5 for a tiny bottle that wouldn't do one pancake places) is at a local place that uses traditional wood burning methods. I don't care how much it is there, it would be worth $200 a pint but it's nowhere close.

Meghan Roark

Where is everyone getting their grade B maple syrup? I've heard it's cheaper and even more maple-y tasting that grade A, but at every store I go to all I can ever find is grade A!

amazz... amazzonia

I've been living in the us for 6 years now, and for 5 I've been using the fake syrup not knowing that it was fake, when I found out I was so mad! It makes me so mad that you can sell something that is not, maple syrup, olive oil, peanut butter....since I've been reading the labels my life has changed...in better I have to say, but it still makes me soooo angry that you need to read labels in this country, is just absurd that ingenually I've been eating corn syrup in different forms for years....oh and maple syrup wins every time over the fake one

Survi... Survivingthe2nd

I make my own maple syrup. Easy and takes at LEAST 1000 times better :)

GlowW... GlowWorm889

No WAY! Only the real stuff! Accept no substitutes! ;)

nonmember avatar Vived

One that should be on this list is a new discovery at Trader Joe's... Short Stack Pancake Syrup. No GMO crud,or corn syrup and it's naturally flavored. It's worth a try. :)

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