These Maple Syrup Recipes Are Pure Maple Magic | Yummly

These Maple Syrup Recipes Are Pure Maple Magic

Sure, maple syrup is a must on your flapjacks. But these maple syrup recipes prove that the pancake’s BFF is surprisingly versatile.

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Maple Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze from Well Plated

Bare-branched maple trees may look depressingly dormant, but come midwinter, there's a lot going on beneath the surface. That's when the sap starts running to help fuel the tree's growth — and when maple sugaring season gets underway. 

North America’s Indigenous peoples were the first to discover maple sap and the sweet liquid’s utility as a vital source of energy and nutrients. By sharing their centuries-old knowledge of sustainable sap harvesting and maple sugar processing with European settlers, Native Americans and First Nations peoples likely bolstered the odds that the new arrivals would survive harsh winters, when food was scarce. 

Whether it’s transformed into maple syrup or evaporated further to maple sugar, the finished product is precious stuff. Sap runs best when the nighttime temperature dips below freezing, but the days reach about 40°F, so depending on the weather conditions, the fleeting season typically lasts only about 4 to 6 weeks. Boiling sap into syrup is often a round-the-clock process, since it has to happen shortly after harvest. And it takes about 40 gallons of sap to yield a single gallon of maple syrup, which is why the real stuff is pricier than maple-flavored pancake syrup. 

Unlike its amber-hued imposter, real maple syrup contains several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant polyphenols. And as a natural alternative to table sugar, it boasts nuanced flavor that’s an excellent enhancement to all sorts of sweet and savory recipes. 

I first fell hard for maple syrup at a juried crafts festival, of all places. (This was before “artisanal food” was a common catchphrase … ). Nestled among the potters, jewelers, glass blowers, and painters, the Berkshire Sweet Gold booth displayed gorgeous glass bottles of maple syrup in a range of hues. Tiny cups held sips of elixir-like syrup, arranged in flights from light to black amber. I was enthralled as the owner explained that his family tapped their trees on just four days during the season, for a little under an hour. This single-batch, single-crop approach was very unusual, but it meant that each bottle held an utterly unique culinary snapshot of a very specific moment during the maple sugaring season. My everyday maple syrup (and I do use it nearly every day) isn’t so ephemerally crafted. But pure maple syrup — whether it’s artisanally produced or pooled from a farm collective — always seems to capture a little forest magic, and you can infuse it into your cooking with these tips and recipes. 

Jump ahead to:

Maple FAQs >>

Traditional maple recipes >>

Maple mornings >>

Veggies >>

Sweet sips >>

Simple and savory maple snacks >>

Maple mains >>

Maple treats >>

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Maple FAQs

Wondering what Grade A maple syrup refers to? Or how to store it? We've got answers.

What’s the difference between pancake syrup and maple syrup? 

Pancake syrup is usually made with high fructose corn syrup, water, thickening agents, artificial maple flavoring, and preservatives. The only thing in a bottle of pure maple syrup is … maple syrup. That’s the stuff you want.  

What’s the deal with maple syrup grades? 

If you’re confused by the grading system, you’re not alone! Until 2015, grading terms weren’t standardized and varied by country and region or state. Canada, for example, used numbers, the US used letters, and both also described maple syrup by color and flavor. Vermont had its own system. Now, nearly all syrup is labeled Grade A, along with a color and taste classification: golden (delicate), amber (rich), dark (robust), and very dark (strong). The darker the color, the richer the flavor. 

You’ll still find plenty of recipes that recommend Grade B syrup, which officially no longer exists (and was never inferior to Grade A); opt for a dark, robust syrup, and you’ll get the same deep, nuanced flavor so loved by Grade B aficionados. 

Where can I buy real maple syrup? 

Pure maple syrup used to be a gourmet shop or farmstand find, but now you can pick it up everywhere from supermarkets to the local Target. Many producers pool their syrup, so as delicious as it may be, you won’t get a picture of the place or moment the syrup was made. If you’re fascinated by maple syrup (or need a really cool gift for a brunch lover), look for artisan single-batch syrups, like those from Berkshire Sweet Gold. (Though it recently changed hands, it will remain a small, family-run business).

Want to support Indigenous maple producers and help preserve tribal lands? Check out Passamaquoddy Maple, which sells sustainably harvested maple syrup, maple sugar, and candies. (In Canada, Wabanaki is a good source.)   

How should I store maple syrup? 

Unopened, maple syrup will keep in a cool, dark pantry for at least a year. Once opened, it must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage. (An accidental overnight stint at room temperature isn't generally a big deal, but don't leave opened syrup out for an extended period, and do check for mold before returning it to the fridge.)

Traditional maple recipes

These old-school recipes have some modern technique tweaks, but echo the foods of pre-colonial and colonial North America 

Maple Syrup Snow

You’ll need a little cooperation from Mother Nature for this recipe, but if a snowfall is in the forecast, you can try out this old-fashioned candy-making technique. 

Mixed Berry Wojapi

As a child, Sean Sherman, the James Beard Award-winning founder of The Sioux Chef, gathered chokeberries for his family’s wojapi. This version of the maple-sweetened sauce uses blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. 

Quick and Easy Maple Baked Beans

While the “quick and easy” aspect isn’t traditional, the beans-cooked-with-maple motif is an example of how Native American foodways influenced cooks in Colonial New England. This recipe starts with canned beans, so it’s ready in just 20 minutes. The beans make a great toast topper or side dish.

Maple mornings

These recipes prove that pancakes aren’t the only breakfast fare with an affinity for sweet maple syrup  

Polentina with Bananas and Maple Syrup

This comforting cornmeal porridge is topped with bananas and a generous swirl of maple syrup. 

Maple Goat Cheese & Jam Stuffed Brioche French Toast Rolls  

Tangy goat cheese is the perfect foil for maple’s sweetness in this seriously upgraded take on French toast. 

Jalapeno Corn Waffles with Sriracha Maple Syrup

If you like a little heat with your sweet, these jalapeño-flecked waffles are the answer. 

Cinnamon Maple Granola

Cinnamon lends warmth to this simple, nut-free granola recipe. Enjoy it as-is, or mix in your favorite dried fruits, nuts, or seeds.  


Sometimes, a little hit of maple’s complex (but not cloying) sweetness is all it takes to turn folks on to veggies they supposedly hate. Now that’s magic.  

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple

Roasting mellows Brussels sprouts’ bitterness; sticky maple amps up the caramelization, rendering them irresistibly crispy, sweet, and nutty.

Spaghetti Squash with Maple Syrup and Shallots

Imagine Buddy the Elf with a culinary degree, set him loose at the farmer’s market, and maybe his famous spaghetti + syrup would have looked a bit like this. 

Maple Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Maple’s umami notes enhance the earthy sweetness in these roasted roots. 

Sweet sips

Maple is fluid enough to blend into both hot and cold beverages seamlessly and marries well with other robust flavors

Maple Syrup Milkshake

This ultra-easy recipe blends vanilla ice cream, vanilla extract, and maple syrup into a creamy, rich treat with butterscotch notes. 

Maple Syrup Old Fashioned

Maple syrup pairs beautifully with bourbon, so it’s an ideal swap for the simple syrup in this classic cocktail.

Maple Lemonade

Ginger adds a kick to this maple-sweetened lemonade. Sip it solo, add it to iced tea, or use it as a cocktail mixer. 

Simple and savory maple snacks

Unlike most sweeteners, maple syrup has umami notes that up the satisfaction factor of these scrumptious snacks 

Baked Brie with Figs and Maple Syrup

Whether you’re serving it as an appetizer or slathering it on a baguette for an ultra-simple supper, this baked brie is a lush treat that’s perfect with wine. 

Spicy Maple-Sriracha Beef Jerky

Yes, you can make your own protein-rich jerky. Maple lends flavor and helps preserve the beef. 

Spicy Maple Portabella Mushroom Jerky

Vegetarians can get in on the jerky action, too. Toothsome portabella mushrooms take on a satisfying chewy texture in this spicy-sweet snack.  

Maple mains

As a marinade, vinaigrette, and sauce enhancement, dark, robust maple syrup deserves a permanent spot in your ingredient arsenal 

Foolproof Maple-Dijon Chicken Thighs

Yummly Original

This kid-pleasing recipe features a maple mustard marinade that's a cinch to whip up, and it's ready in just 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights.

Easy Maple Turkey Chili

Reviewers have high praise for the addition of maple syrup (one called it a “game changer”) to this homey and satisfying turkey chili. 

Maple Salmon

It doesn’t get much easier than this maple and soy sauce-burnished salmon. Try doubling the marinade and setting some aside to spoon over steamed asparagus, bok choy, or broccoli.

Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout

If you tend to lean on salmon or tuna, expand your horizons with this tasty trout recipe. The maple balsamic treatment works well on other fish too, like Arctic char and mahi mahi. 

Turkey Burgers with Maple Caramelized Onions

Consider this recipe a 2-for-1: You can whip up a batch of the maple caramelized onions whether turkey burgers are on the menu or not. 

Maple treats

Where white sugar adds straight-up sweetness, maple syrup lends deep, dimensional flavor. Elevate your desserts with its caramel-like warmth. 

Apple Maple Snack Cake

This unfussy snack cake is relatively wholesome, thanks to the use of white whole wheat flour and a generous quantity of apples. 

Maple Ginger Rice Pudding

Creamy arborio rice, warming spices, and crumbled gingersnaps turn this maple-drizzled comfort fare lush and sophisticated.  

Maple Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze

Winter squashes like butternut and kabocha are fabulous with maple, so if you’ve got leftover roasted squash (or even sweet potato) on hand, you can sub it for the canned pumpkin in these scones. Pecans lend crunch, but you can omit them if you’re allergic. 

More wondrous ingredients to explore

Maple is the star ingredient in the recipe roundup above. Find out what other versatile ingredients you should be considering while you plan your meals.

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