7 Best Maple Extract Substitutes

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Maple extract is a popular ingredient used to bake cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, and it is also commonly used to flavor various toppings and syrups.

The extract obviously adds a maple flavor to the ingredient or recipe it is added to, and this is often an important part of the baked good or dessert. However, you might not have any maple extract on hand to use.

What are the best maple extract substitutes? The best maple extract substitutes would help to still give the recipe a maple flavor, or close to it, and it would hopefully not change the texture or consistency of the recipe too much either. Some of the best substitutes include maple syrup, maple butter, molasses, vanilla extract, and more.

We’ve listed 7 of the best maple extract substitutes, all of which work well to replace maple extract in various recipes, depending on what you are making and the flavor and textures you are looking for.

What Is Maple Extract?

Maple extract is similar to vanilla or almond extract, which is a concentrated liquid made from maple syrup.

It has a strong maple flavor that can be used in baked goods and desserts and is often used in place of pure maple syrup or maple sugar. It does a great job at replacing the flavor, and only a few drops are all that is needed for a strong maple flavor.

The best type of maple extract is pure maple extract, but this can sometimes be expensive or hard to come by, so there are imitation maple extracts available, but these are not as great.

The 7 Best Maple Extract Substitutes

Take a look at the below maple extract substitutes to find the best one for you to use. Which is suited for you will depend on what you are making, as well as the flavor and texture you do not mind your baked good or dessert having.

1. Maple Syrup

Maple extract is made to give food the flavor of maple syrup, so it makes sense that the best substitute for it would be maple syrup.

Maple syrup is usually more readily available than maple extract, so it might even be easier for you to find.

It has the exact same flavor and will be easy enough to add to a recipe.

The flavor of maple syrup will not be as intense as maple extract, but a small amount will still give a baked good or dessert that maple flavor.

You need to just make sure that the maple syrup you are using is pure, and that it does not contain chemicals or added ingredients.

To use maple syrup in place of maple extract, use double the amount of maple syrup that you would have used of maple extract.

If possible, taste the mix after this, and add in more maple syrup if you feel like it needs a stronger flavor.

Maple syrup will give you as close to the flavor as possible, so it makes for a good substitute where the flavor is what you are after.

2. Maple Butter

Maple butter is a good substitute to use for certain recipes, as it has the maple flavor to it, and the creamy, rich flavor of the butter as well.

When using maple butter in place of maple extract, you should melt it first to release the maple flavor, to better incorporate it into a dish. 

As maple butter is richer in fats compared to maple extract, it is a suitable substitute to use to make cookie dough. The issue is however that the maple flavor will be less potent, but it will still be present.

You can use the maple butter in a similar ratio to how much maple extract you would have used, as you do not want to add too much butter and fats into a dish that doesn’t call for it. The maple flavor will be weaker, but it will definitely still be noticeable.

You could also use maple butter in place of regular butter in cookie recipes, which is a good way to incorporate the maple flavor into the dish without altering the ingredients too much.

3. Molasses

Molasses is used in many different baking recipes, and it can often be used in place of maple syrup as a more affordable substitute.

Molasses can be compared to maple syrup, but it is thicker in consistency, darker in color, and more potent in flavor. For this reason, it can be used in the same ratio as maple extract, and it will add a sweet, rich flavor to the dish it is added to.

Before using molasses in place of maple syrup, you need to have a small taste first and make sure you actually enjoy the flavor of molasses, as it is slightly different from maple extract, and being so strong in flavor, it will be noticeable in the dessert.

You could also use less molasses in place of maple extract to have a milder flavor.

4. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is possibly the most common extract used in baking recipes and desserts, and you likely have some sitting in your pantry already.

The consistency of vanilla extract is usually thinner than maple extract, but as you are using such a small amount, this should not be such a problem.

The flavor of vanilla extract is also obviously different to the flavor of maple extract, but it does have warm, rich notes that work well to replace the maple flavor.

You can use the same amount of vanilla extract that you would have used maple extract, and if you notice that it adds too much liquid to the dish, you can add in a little flour to counteract it.

5. Honey

Honey is a popular sweetener for many different recipes and beverages, so it makes a good substitute for maple extract when you want something sweet and rich.

The texture of honey is also very similar to the texture of maple extract, so it will not alter the recipe too much.

When using honey in a recipe to replace maple extract, you will have to use around double the amount of honey.

The flavor of honey is not as potent as maple extract, so using more will give it more of a stronger flavor.

6. Almond Extract

Almond extract is another popular extract used in baking and making desserts, and the almond flavor it gives really does add so much flavor and warmth to recipes.

The flavor of almond extract is obviously different to maple extract, but if you are not worried about matching the flavor exactly, then it does make for a good substitute.

The sweet and nutty flavor it adds to a baked pastry or dessert will definitely taste great, and you won’t necessarily miss the maple flavor. You might even find that you prefer using almond extract to make baked goods!

Agave Syrup

Agave syrup might not be the first substitute you think of to use in place of maple extract, but if you have some to use, then it is definitely worth trying.

You will need to use around double the amount of agave syrup than you would have used maple extract, to achieve the same strength of flavor.

This will add more liquid to the dessert or baked goods, so you might have to add in some dry ingredients to make up for this.

Agave syrup makes a good substitute for maple extract to use as a topping for a baked good, breakfast oats, or pastry, and to use to flavor icing and frosting as well.

It also does a great job at flavoring hot beverages, when you want a sweetener with more depth of flavor to it as well. The consistency of agave syrup is similar to maple extract, so you can also just use as much as you prefer to flavor your food or drink.

The Best Maple Extract Substitutes

There are some great substitutes you can use in place of maple extract in many different desserts, baked goods, and beverages.

The one you choose to use will depend on the flavor you want in your recipe, and whether or not you mind there being a change in texture too.

Above, we have listed 7 of the best substitutes to use in place of maple extract, so take a read through the list to find the one that will work best for you.

Related Questions

What ingredients are in maple extract?

Maple extract is made using water, alcohol, maple syrup, and natural flavors. This allows it to be concentrated and full of maple flavor.

What is imitation maple extract made with?

Imitation maple extract is made with a blend of flavors to mimic the maple flavor. These include vanilla bean extract, molasses solids, corn syrup solids, as well as other natural and artificial flavors.

What are the flavors of maple?

Maple flavor can be described as sweet and caramel-like, with some nutty, burnt, and rich notes. The sweetness of maple syrup makes it a popular ingredient in many different recipes.

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