Syrup comes in many thicknesses and flavors. Store-bought pancake syrup often has too many preservatives and not enough flavor. Making your own syrup from natural ingredients allows you to know exactly what’s in it. You can also adjust the intensity of the flavor and the thickness to suit your personal preferences. Although making natural maple syrup from scratch at home is not practical for most people, an acceptable substitute can be made in about 20 minutes using readily available ingredients.

Things You'll Need

Place the brown sugar in the saucepan. Slowly add the water. Stir gently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Place over medium heat and stir frequently.

Add the granulated sugar when the brown sugar mixture is warm but not hot, stirring constantly as it is added. Continue to stir after all of the sugar is added. Make sure there is no sugar on the bottom of the pan that has not dissolved.

Stir in the vanilla and maple extracts when the sugar mixture begins to simmer. Stir gently until the flavors are completely mixed in.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and hold it there for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer the syrup for about 15 minutes. If you cook it longer the syrup will be thicker; if you cook it less it will be thinner.

Remove from heat and serve immediately over pancakes, waffles, or French toast. Store any leftover, cooled syrup in a covered jar, an old syrup bottle that has been cleaned or a mason jar. It will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.


  • If you don’t have brown sugar, double the amount of granulated sugar. If you don’t have granulated sugar, double the amount of brown sugar. These substitutions will change the taste and texture of the syrup somewhat. For a richer flavor use dark brown sugar instead of light brown. You can also experiment with replacing some or all of the granulated sugar with corn syrup. Use ½ cup corn syrup to replace 1 cup granulated sugar. For a buttery flavor add ½ stick of butter to the syrup as it is cooking and stir until it is melted. You can also try using different flavorings in place of the maple extract.