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

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