Guide to Pancake and Waffle Syrups


    Pancakes and waffles are usually bland on their own, and a drench of sweet and tasty syrup can make them more enjoyable to eat. Both these breakfast delights are easy to pair with syrup, but you might be wondering what choices you have. Here’s a guide that will help you broaden your breakfast choices.

    Different Types of Syrups to Pair with Pancakes and Waffles

    Maple syrup is probably the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to syrup paired with pancakes or waffles, but there are many other yummy options in case you want to change your breakfast routine a little bit. Get to know the different syrups here.

    Maple syrup


    Let’s start with the classic. Maple syrup is one of the most common syrups for pancakes and waffles. Authentic maple syrup comes from the sap of the maple tree that is boiled down until it is thick and sweet. As the sap boils, the amount of syrup significantly decreases. On average, you need 40 parts of maple sap to generate 1 part of syrup. This is why maple syrup can be really pricey.

    Artificial maple syrup is more common because they are much cheaper than the real ones, but they don’t have the same nutritional value as pure maple syrup. The USDA also grades pure maple syrups.


    Waffle with honey

    Honey is a natural syrup that is made by none other than bees and other related insects. If you’re looking for a quick and easy substitute for maple syrup that is comparable in texture and sweetness, a drizzle of honey will do the trick. It’s a simple and exotic sweetener, and the tastes differ depending on the flowers that the bees get the nectar. Raw honey contains antioxidants and other nutritious properties not present in sugar, like iron, vitamin C, protein, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

    Usually, light-colored honey is mild-tasting, and dark-colored honey often has stronger flavors. But like maple syrup, not all honey you can find in the supermarket is the real thing. If you want to be sure that you’re buying raw honey, you will most likely find it at a farmer’s market, natural foods shop, or a local co-op of people who produce products from bee farms.

    Sugar syrup

    bowl of sugar syrup

    Sugar syrup, which is also called bar syrup or simple syrup, is made by dissolving sugar in water over medium heat. While under heat, the mixture is stirred continually until sugar dissolves completely, making a sticky concoction. Bartenders often use sugar syrup to sweeten drinks because granulated sugar doesn’t easily dissolve in cold drinks. Some people prefer to use sugar syrup to sweeten their fluffy goodies.

    Chocolate syrup

    Pancakes with chocolate sauce

    Chocolate is a crowd favorite and pouring chocolate syrup over your pancake or waffle makes a perfect breakfast or dessert. Chocolate syrup is made up of cocoa powder, corn syrup, and flavorings. The usual chocolate syrup variety is milk chocolate, but you can also find dark chocolate or white chocolate syrups, among others. If you want, you can melt some chocolate chips or chocolate bars to make your own syrup that’s richer and more chocolate-y in flavor. When drizzled with pancakes or waffles, it’s best paired with fresh fruit like bananas or ice cream.

    Caramel syrup


    Besides chocolate, caramel is another syrup that allows you to indulge your sweet tooth. It gives a smooth, delicate flavor that’s perfect for blending with pancakes and waffles. Caramel is made of sugar, butter, and cream, among other additional ingredients, and is melted and mixed over heat. Its sweet buttery notes are a delight to top your fluffy goodies and can also be added to your coffee and other desserts. Store-bought varieties taste great, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own caramel sauce.

    Corn syrup

    Pancakes or fritters with blueberries and honey syrup

    Whether you’re aware of it or not, corn syrup is one of the staple ingredients in common food products like ketchup, soda, ice cream, and other food items we buy at the store. It’s made from corn starch that has been processed to convert some glucose to fructose. It’s also used as a base to make other kinds of syrups. When corn syrup is used as a baking ingredient, it makes the finished product moister and has a better texture. Corn syrup can work as a great stand-in for maple syrup; however, it lacks the depth of flavor that maple can offer.

    Cane syrup

    Cane syrup is an aromatic syrup perfect for drizzling over hot pancakes or waffles. It consists of sugar cane juice boiled down into thick syrup. It’s made by simmering sugar cane juice in open kettles until it forms a thick, dark-colored syrup that looks like molasses. It has a lighter, milder flavor than molasses and does not contain sulfur. Cane syrup is part of the Southern food tradition in the US.

    Agave syrup

    Raw Organic Sweet Light Agave Syrup

    Also known as agave nectar, agave syrup comes from the sap of mature agave succulents. It has a thinner consistency than cane syrup, and its flavor is close to mild honey. This type of syrup is extracted from different species of the agave plant, which is a succulent that grows mainly in Mexico and South Africa. It’s easily dissolvable and often used as a vegan substitute for honey. It’s sold in bottles and is available in different shades – the darker the color, the stronger the flavor gets.

    Golden syrup

    Golden syrup is a thick, golden-colored syrup made from cane sugar. It has a unique buttery scent and light caramel flavor that’s less sweet than corn syrup. Also known as light treacle, golden syrup is made of sugar, water, and citric acid. The process involves refining sugar cane or sugar beet juice into sugar or treating a sugar solution with acid like lemon juice. Golden syrup is used in various baking recipes and desserts, and you can drizzle them on pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt, and tarts or be added to your barbeque sauce.


    Organic Black Cane Sugar Molasses

    Molasses is a thick syrup that is also used as a sweetener. It’s a by-product of the sugar-making process. After cane sugar crystals and sugar beets have gone through the refining process and no sugar can be crystalized anymore. Also known as black treacle, molasses is known as a healthy alternative sweetener. It contains essential minerals the body needs, like potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, sodium, and vitamins B3 and B6.

    Molasses is made by crushing sugar cane or sugar beets to extract juice, then boiling the juice to form sugar crystals. The thick brown syrup left after removing the crystals is the molasses. Manufacturers repeat this several times to produce different types of molasses. There are light molasses (results from the first boiling), dark molasses (from the second boiling), blackstrap molasses (from the third boiling), and sulfured molasses (with added sulfur dioxide as a preservative). Light molasses is typically used in baking, while blackstrap molasses is the most concentrated and contains the most vitamins and minerals.

    Barley malt syrup

    Barley malt syrup is an unrefined sweetener that extracts sprouted and dried malted barley. Barley is soaked, sprouted, and then dried and cooked to make a thick syrup. It has a sticky, dark-brown color that looks and tastes a bit like molasses. It’s not as sweet as honey or sugar and gives off a strong, distinctive malty flavor. It has a significant amount of antioxidants and is rich in carbohydrates. However, barley malt syrup can make calories add up faster than sugar, which is not advisable for those on a strict, gluten-free diet.

    Brown rice syrup

    Rice syrup and rice panicles

    Brown rice syrup is a vegan and gluten-free liquid sugar substitute made from brown rice. It’s produced by fermenting the starch in cooked rice starch, and then the liquid is removed and heated until it reaches a thick, syrup-like consistency. Brown rice syrup is mainly produced in Asia, Europe, and the United States, but it is traditionally used in Asian recipes. It can also be used as an alternative to maple syrup or honey for pancakes and waffles.

    Fruit syrups

    Delicious pancakes with red sweet strawberry syrup

    Fruit syrups are concentrated fruit juices used as sweeteners and flavorings. Fruit syrups like strawberry and blueberry syrups are often drizzled on pancakes and waffles, as well as other breakfast goodies like crepes, French toast, and bread. Fruit syrups can also be made from other berries like raspberry, wild berry, and blackberry, and other types of fruits like orange, lemon, mango, peach, passion fruit, pineapple, guava, and more. Whatever flavor they come in, fruit syrups give off a distinct fruity flavor to any pancakes and waffles. To make fruit syrups, cook the fruit with water and sugar until viscous. 


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