Maple Syrup vs Golden Syrup: The Same?

Written By Acacia Crossley


Depending on how often you have visited America, golden syrup will likely be your go-to syrup on your morning pancake or waffles. But maple syrup is also a popular option. So, how different is it from the very British golden syrup? 

The most significant difference between maple syrup and golden syrup is the ingredients they use to develop their sweetness. Maple syrup relies on maple tree sap which is naturally sweet, and golden syrup uses refined cane or beet sugar. 

What is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is a sweetener naturally made using the sap of (unsurprisingly) the maple tree. The sap is boiled and cooked until 1/3 of the water has evaporated, and the natural sweetness of the sap forms a syrup. 

The vast majority of maple syrup is made in Canada, as Canada has an endless supply of sugar maple trees. Other countries can make maple syrup artificially or use substitute tree species, but this is not considered pure maple syrup. 

Maple Trees in Canada

Real maple syrup has an unmistakable maple taste comparable to a nutty flavour. The syrup is naturally sweet and tastes like caramel when cooked. 

How Do You Use Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is traditionally enjoyed on pancakes, waffles, or other sweet breakfast treats. However, it can also be used like honey in meat marinades or sauces. 

What is Golden Syrup?

Golden syrup, also called light treacle in some parts of the world, is an extremely thick sugar syrup made using refined sugar cane or beet sugar. 

Technically golden syrup is a by-product of inverting sugar, but it is undoubtedly a delicious coincidence. 

Water and citric acid are also added to the syrup. This stops the sugar in the syrup from crystallising as quickly, creating a silky smooth syrup. 

Golden syrup is one of the most British sweeteners. It was created in Britain in 1883 and has since found its way into various sweet treat recipes. 

How Do You Use Golden Syrup?

Usually, golden syrup is too sweet for most people to eat by itself. Instead, it is incorporated into flapjacks, gingerbreads or drizzled as a sweet topping on waffles. 

Golden Syrup in a Bowl

Differences Between Maple Syrup and Golden Syrup

Just because they are both a type of sweet syrup does not mean that golden syrup and maple syrup are interchangeable. In fact, if you tried to swap out one for the other in a recipe, you will undoubtedly notice the difference.

Here is every difference of note between maple syrup and golden syrup: 

  • Location of Origin – Because maple syrup requires maple trees to be made, only a couple of countries can produce pure maple syrup (though mainly Canada). Golden syrup is a very British concoction rarely found outside of Britain. 
  • Distinct Tastes – The maple aspect of maple syrup gives the syrup a unique, woody, nutty flavour that is too rich to overlook. Golden syrup is a mellow, generally sweet flavour with a buttery aftertaste. 
  • Thickness – Golden syrup is actually a treacle, which is why it is often marketed as light treacle. Treacle is notoriously thick, and golden syrup is no different. On the other hand, pure maple syrup is thin and runny, making for an easier pouring condiment. If your maple syrup is thick like golden syrup, it is likely artificially made. 
  • Amount of Sugar – Maple sap is naturally sweet enough to need any added sugar rarely. Comparably, golden syrup is made entirely from sugar, so it has a significantly higher sugar content. 
  • Sweetness – As golden syrup is made from sugar, it is considerably sweeter than maple syrup. This is something to be aware of when measuring how much syrup to use on your pancakes
  • Shelf Life – When sugar is inverted to create golden syrup, the natural sucrose becomes glucose and fructose. This change means that golden syrup can last up to 2 years in your pantry and can also help to extend the shelf life of other commercially sweet treats like flapjacks. Maple syrup does not go through the same inversion, so it will only last a year in your pantry. 

Similarities Between Maple Syrup and Golden Syrup

For all the differences between maple syrup and golden syrup, there are a couple of reasons that people from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean still find it difficult to separate the two syrups at first glance: 

  • Appearance – Though maple syrup can come in various hues, most commercial maple syrups share a similar golden/ amber colour as golden syrup. When used in baked goods, you won’t be able to tell which syrup was used by appearance alone. 
  • Caramel-Like Taste – While the two syrups have their unique flavours, both maple and golden syrup develop a flavour similar to caramel. This happens when the syrups are cooked, creating a more decadent caramel taste the longer they are cooked. 
  • Uses – Despite their differences, golden syrup and maple syrup are the perfect toppers for an array of breakfast foods. They can also be used as sweeteners for baked goods, though they will provide their own tastes, as detailed above. 

Maple Syrup vs Golden Syrup: Which Wins?

It’s time for you to have your say! Which do you prefer? It’s maple syrup vs golden syrup! Are you going to put your vote behind natural, Canadian maple syrup or sticky, British golden syrup?

Do You Prefer Maple Syrup or Golden Syrup?

Maple Syrup and Golden Syrup FAQs

Do you still have questions about how maple and golden syrup compare? Then check these additional FAQs out:

Can You Substitute Golden Syrup for Maple Syrup?

Although they are both syrups, they have a different flavours and consistency. This is why we would not substitute golden syrup for maple syrup or vice versa.

Is Maple Syrup or Golden Syrup Healthier?

Maple syrup is the healthier of the two products. Golden syrup contains a high level of sugar. Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index.

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