Pure maple syrup is made by harvesting sap from sugar maple trees and, through a combination of heat and evaporation, concentrating that sap down to create a deliciously smooth sweetener. Remarkably, it can take 40 gallons of sap to make a single gallon of pure maple syrup. As you can imagine, the process takes a lot of dedication and care.
Fortunately, the sugar makers on this list have found a way to perfect that process. The result is options ranging from lighter and thinner to thicker and sweeter syrups, fun flavors like bourbon or fruity, and other options like sugar-free or organic. We tapped through the best varieties out there, and here are some of the most delicious maple syrups money can buy.
Anderson's Maple Syrup, Inc. Very Dark 32 oz.
The Anderson family has been making maple syrup since 1928, and their expertise and dedication are apparent in its grade A very dark amber maple syrup. The Wisconsin-sourced maple syrup has a perfectly balanced flavor that’s robust, somewhat smoky, and full, making a little bit ideal for all uses from a pancake or oatmeal topping to a sweetener for your yogurt or savory dishes.
Some pure maple syrup can be an investment, and Anderson syrup is no exception. Some call it “a luxury that is worth having.” If you’re looking for darker maple syrup, Anderson’s has you covered.
Price at time of publish: $25
Weight: 32 ounces | Grade: Grade A Very Dark | Made in: Wisconsin
"Different states and Canada grade their syrup differently but it's all about depth of flavor and depth of color, not a variation on quality. The lighter syrups have a lighter flavor. Deeper colors, deeper maple flavor." — Gesine Bullock-Prado, pastry chef and author of My Vermont Table: Recipes for all (Six) Seasons and other books
Ackermann Maple Farm Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
Each bottle is packaged by hand
Smooth, sweet flavor profile
Aged and infused syrup flavors also available
Vermont is a leading producer of maple syrup, and the Ackermann Maple Farm does the state proud with its pure maple syrup. The maple syrup, which is boiled using a natural wood fire, comes from over 6,400 trees on a family farm in Cabot, Vermont. Each bottle of syrup is poured and personally sealed by the co-owners, Caitlin and Ian Ackermann, to ensure strict quality control.
Their original maple syrup comes in amber rich, dark robust, and golden delicate grade A varieties, and each one has a smooth and perfectly sweet flavor that can please a crowd. They also offer aged and infused maple syrups, like bourbon-aged and cinnamon-infused which contains real cinnamon sticks.
Price at time of publish: $25
Weight: 33.8 ounces | Grade: Grade A Dark Robust | Made in: Vermont
Escuminac Pure Canadian Organic Maple Syrup, Grade A
Smooth, delicate flavor
Pure syrup with no artificial ingredients
Comes in a beautiful jug
The extra-rare maple syrup is Escuminac’s best-selling flavor, and it’s easy to see (or taste) why. The organic maple syrup, which has a light delicate flavor that makes you want to drink it straight from the bottle, comes from a single forest and is harvested and bottled at a maple farm in Escuminac, Quebec. It’s truly pure and never blended with any other maple syrup or any artificial ingredients.
If you like darker maple syrup, Escuminac also offers Great Harvest, which is harvested in the same way but later in the year to give it a richer, more robust flavor.
Price at time of publish: $24
Weight: 16.9 ounces | Grade: Grade A Amber Rich | Made in: Quebec, Canada
Best for Pancakes
Butternut Mountain Farm 100% Pure Organic Vermont Maple Syrup
Rich maple flavor
Comes in a squeezable bottle
Flavor may be too light
There’s no doubt that pure maple syrup is delicious, but some of the higher-end options can be cost-prohibitive, especially if you’re someone who likes to drench your pancakes every Sunday. That’s where Butternut Mountain Farm’s maple syrup comes in.
Located in Vermont, the Marvin family has been producing and selling local syrup for forty years. Butternut Mountain found a way to provide the rich taste of its 100 percent pure Vermont amber-color maple syrup that won't ruin any kind of flapjack—without sacrificing quality. It also comes in a convenient squeeze bottle so any and/or every inch of pancakes are covered, and there won't be any huge messes to clean up.
Price at time of publish: $8
Weight: 12 ounces | Grade: Grade A Amber Rich | Made in: Vermont
"For pancakes, the lighter varieties are perfect but for really getting maple flavor in baking (or on the pancake), go dark. It's my favorite." — Gesine Bullock-Prado, pastry chef and author of My Vermont Table: Recipes for all (Six) Seasons and other books
Maple Grove Farms Organic Maple Syrup
Comes in a sturdy glass bottle
Consistency pours easily
May take a lot to get a strong flavor
Since it takes so much sap to make pure maple syrup, it's no surprise that some options come with a hefty price tag. For a high-quality, inexpensive option, try Maple Grove Farms Organic Maple Syrup. It's not as thick as very dark varieties but still has a strong maple flavor. It also comes in a glass bottle with a screw top and pours easily—but can be runny if you are not paying attention.
The company has been tapping into Vermont maple trees for a century, and it has since started offering companions to its syrup, like pancake and waffle mixes.
Price at time of publish: $7
Weight: 8.5 ounces | Grade: Grade A Amber | Made in: Vermont
"Grade is about the color and flavor depth in the syrup. Earlier in the sugaring season, the syrup is a lighter golden to amber and imparts a very delicate and light flavor. As the season progresses, the syrup gets darker and has a more and more robust maple flavor." — Gesine Bullock-Prado, pastry chef and author of My Vermont Table: Recipes for all (Six) Seasons and other books
Crown Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Organic Maple Syrup
Smooth, rich, multilayered flavor
Bourbon flavor is highlighted
A little goes a long way
If you like your maple syrup like you like your bourbon—aged—then you’re in luck. Two worlds collide with this Crown Maple bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, which is aged in oak bourbon barrels; as the organic syrup sits, it soaks up all of the different flavor profiles. The end result, which comes from a sugar house in Dover Plains, New York, is a multilayered, rich maple syrup that’s infused with flavors of bourbon, oak, graham cracker, brown butter, and vanilla.
In addition to its aged syrup, which can contain up to 2 percent of alcohol, Crown Maple also offers other organic syrups, including applewood smoked, cinnamon-infused, and Madagascar vanilla.
Price at time of publish: $10
Weight: 12.7 ounces | Grade: Grade A Robust | Made in: New York
Now Foods Certified Organic Maple Syrup
Organic and non-GMO certified
Delicate, versatile flavor
Affordable for the quality
Flip-top is a bit flimsy
NOW Foods is a leader in the organic food market, and it lives up to its name with its certified organic maple syrup. The grade A amber maple syrup is distilled from the sap of sugar maple trees to create a light, delicate flavor that’s truly versatile and can be used on pancakes, in coffee, or as part of a grilling marinade. In addition to being organic, the maple syrup is also non-GMO certified.
If you’re looking for a darker maple syrup that’s a little more robust, NOW Foods also offers an organic grade B maple syrup that has a deeper, richer flavor.
Price at time of publish: $24
Weight: 32 ounces | Grade: Grade A Amber | Made in: Illinois
"I use it as seasoning. I have salt, vinegar, and maple always at the ready to round out the flavor in my savory dishes." — Gesine Bullock-Prado, pastry chef and author of My Vermont Table: Recipes for all (Six) Seasons and other books
Stonewall Kitchen Maple Blueberry Syrup
Made with local Maine blueberries
Adds a unique flavor to foods
Maple is a very distinct flavor in and of itself but still pairs well with savory things like bacon and other meats, as well as sweet things like fruit. Stonewall Kitchen, which is known for all kinds of treat mixes and sauces, took the idea of combining its maple syrup with something fruity to a whole new level with fresh blueberries grown in Maine. Although it comes in a small bottle, the flavor is strong and the consistency is thick, making it a perfect topping for pancakes, French toast, yogurt, or ingredient in baking, lattes, or marinades.
Price at time of publish: $11
Weight: 8.5 ounces | Grade: Not indicated | Made in: Maine
Livlo Sugar Free Keto Maple Syrup
Only two ingredients
15 calories per serving
Strong maple flavor
Pure maple syrup doesn't contain any added sugar, so to get sugar-free maple syrup you'll have to settle for an option that is less natural. This one from Livlo only contains two ingredients, though, while others use quite a few to mimic the original taste. Two tablespoons of the allulose and natural maple flavor mixture has 15 calories and 1 gram of net carbs for anyone following a keto diet. This sugar-free maple syrup isn't as thick as the real thing, but certainly gets the job done if 0 grams of sugar is the target.
Price at time of publish: $5
Weight: 8 ounces | Grade: Not indicated | Made in: Not indicated
Best Sampler Set
Runamok Maple Pantry Favorites Pairing Collection
Varied selection of flavors
Great for gifting
If you’re not really sure what kind of maple syrup you like—or you’re looking for a great gift for someone—your search ends with the Runamok Maple Pantry Favorites Collection. The set includes four 2-ounce bottles of Runamok’s best-selling organic Vermont maple syrups: ginger root–infused, bourbon barrel-aged, cinnamon- and vanilla-infused, and its traditional amber color syrup, which is called Sugarmaker’s Cut.
The company also offers more outside-the-box sets that include flavors like coffee-infused, hibiscus flower, and elderberry-infused. As an added bonus, Runamok is big on sustainability; all of its syrups are certified organic by the Northeastern Organic Farmers Association and bird-friendly by the National Audubon Society.
Price at time of publish: $24
Weight: 8 ounces (4 2-ounce bottles) | Grade: Grade A Amber | Made in: Vermont
Best Maple Butter
Nova Maple Syrup Maple Cream
Company uses solar-powered equipment
Can be runny
You can make your own maple butter at home, but this one from Nova Maple Syrup is made with Grade-A syrup from Northwest Pennsylvania that has not touched any herbicides, pesticides, or artificial preservatives. Once the sap is harvested, it is boiled and then stirred by environmentally friendly solar-powered equipment. It is then bottled in plastic tubs that are 100 percent BPA-free.
There is no dairy or other additives, and you can spread this smooth maple butter on pancakes, toast, or on things like sweet potatoes or pork. Although it is thicker than regular maple syrup, it still is a bit runny, so keep that in mind when adding it to recipes and more.
Price at time of publish: $19
Weight: 1 pound | Grade: Grade A | Made in: Pennsylvania
Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup checks all the boxes when it comes to both taste and price. It's bold, balanced, and just the right amount of sweet. If you want something more unique, go with the Crown Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Organic Maple Syrup. It is aged in oak bourbon barrels, and the result is a rich, multilayered syrup you'll want to use on more than pancakes.
What to Look For in Maple Syrups
There may be confusion when it comes to syrup grades, and this is because the system has recently changed. According to Caitlin and Ian Ackermann, Owners of Ackermann Maple Farm in Cabot, Vermont, “The new grading system is all called Grade A, with different levels within the Grade that better describe the taste and color."
The grades are now: Grade A Golden Delicate, Grade A Amber Rich, Grade A Dark Robust, and Grade A Very Dark Strong Taste. Previously, there was a Grade A, Grade B, and Grade C, but this system was misleading and consumers could interpret "that there was a quality difference and that some were inferior to others," when this was not the case, says Ackermann. Note that if you find a flavored syrup, this does not impact the grade because "grading is done as soon as the syrup is made during sugaring season, so adding infusions later on won't affect the grade," says Ackermann.
What is so unique about maple syrup is how much it can vary from bottle to bottle. According to Ackermann, "factors like soil, the type of equipment that's used, and tree variety help to determine the differences of what each syrup tastes like. Believe it or not, our syrup actually tastes different from syrup that's made only 10 miles away." The weather can also play a huge role in the grade of syrup; according to Ackermann, "a cold stretch will give you a higher sugar content in the sap, while a long stretch of warm weather will cause the sugar content in the sap to be lower." So if you’re a maple syrup fan, don’t be surprised if the bottle you have from one farm varies greatly from another; embrace the differences!
According to Ackermann, when shopping for maple syrup, you should look for a label that says "100% Pure Maple Syrup" not "Pancake Syrup" or "Sugar Free Syrup" (sugar free real maple syrup doesn't exist, Ackermann notes). Additionally, there should only be one ingredient, just maple syrup. Ackermann warns that, while some companies might use "Vermont" on their label, the product may be made with high fructose corn syrup instead of the real stuff.
Other creative culinary uses
Maple syrup is so much more than just a pancake topping (of course, we love it on pancakes–nothing wrong with that!). "Think beyond the pancakes and add maple syrup as a sweetener to your coffee, or when baking, marinating, or glazed on sweet potatoes, salmon, or Brussels sprouts," suggests Ackermann. Uses range from maple syrup baked beans, to maple whipped cream, to fruity cocktails or sour cocktails. You can make a maple latte with premium syrup, as well as a slightly sweet barbecue sauce, moist maple syrup bread, or everyone's favorite—classic maple leaves.
Does maple syrup go bad?
Maple syrup is shelf-stable when unopened (as long as it's in a dry environment at room temperature or lower), although it may begin to discolor and lose its flavor after two years. Glass bottles keep best, plastic bottles aren't recommended after 18 months, and tin should be tossed after six months. Once maple syrup is opened, you must store it in the fridge, where it will keep for several months. As always, make sure to monitor the "use by" date.
How is maple syrup made?
It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, and Vermont produces roughly 50 percent of the country's supply. The process begins during sugaring season—the freezing four to six weeks leading up to spring. The first step is drilling a hole into the tree and inserting a spout, which guides the sap into a bucket, or using the more complex tubing system connected to a collection tank in a sugar house or other facility by way of a vacuum pump. From there, the sap is sometimes filtered through a reverse osmosis machine to remove water before boiling. Once the temperature reaches 219 degrees, it's taken off the fire, filtered, adjusted for density, and graded for flavor and color.
Is maple syrup vegan?
Maple syrup is completely plant-based, as long as it's 100 percent pure with no additives. Many commercial products, on the other hand, contain additional ingredients that may not be suitable for a vegan diet. To be safe, always check the ingredients list.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best maple syrups on the market, evaluating their key features—like grade, origin, and price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive nutrition knowledge and food and beverage testing experience. She’s developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the healthiest, best-tasting options and ingredients across all food and drink categories.
Amanda McDonald is an editor at The Spruce Eats and has over seven years of experience researching, writing, and editing about all things food — from what new products are at the grocery store to chef-approved hacks that keep tricky leftovers fresh for days. She updated this article to include the most up-to-date information.
Maple Syrup Grades & Standards. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2015
Labeling organic products. U.S. Department of Agriculture
How GMOs are regulated for food and plant safety in the United States. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2020
Snyder SA, Kilgore MA, Emery MR, Schmitz M. Maple Syrup Producers of the Lake States, USA: Attitudes Towards and Adaptation to Social, Ecological, and Climate Conditions. Environ Manage. 2019;63(2):185-199. doi:10.1007/s00267-018-1121-7
Maple Syrup Grades & Standards. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2015