Can you add vanilla extract to maple syrup?

Adding vanilla extract to maple syrup is a popular way to enhance the maple flavor and add a subtle vanilla note. While pure maple syrup on its own has a delicious, rich flavor, sometimes you want to mix things up and create your own signature maple syrup blend. Using vanilla extract is an easy way to do this at home.

Quick Answer

Yes, you can absolutely add vanilla extract to maple syrup. Vanilla extract will complement the maple flavor nicely and give it extra depth and character. When added in moderation, vanilla won’t overpower the maple taste but will instead round it out.

How Much Vanilla to Add

When adding vanilla extract to maple syrup, you’ll want to use a delicate hand and add it slowly, tasting as you go. Here are some general guidelines for how much to use:

  • For a 16 oz bottle of maple syrup, start with 1⁄4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • For a 32 oz bottle, use 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla.
  • For a 1 gallon jug, add 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Keep in mind that these are just starting points—you may want to add more or less vanilla depending on your personal taste preferences. The key is adding the vanilla slowly and tasting frequently so you don’t overdo it. A light vanilla accent usually works best.

Why Add Vanilla to Maple Syrup?

There are a few reasons why adding vanilla extract can enhance maple syrup:

  • Complementary flavors – Maple syrup and vanilla are both warm, sweet flavors that simply go well together. Vanilla brings out subtle vanilla undertones already present in maple syrup for a more robust, layered flavor.
  • Smoothness – Vanilla helps mellow out the acidic bite that can sometimes be present in maple syrup, smoothing out the flavor.
  • Aromatic qualities – Pure vanilla extract boasts an incredible aroma that helps maple syrup smell even more enticing.
  • Versatility – Vanilla maple syrup can be used as a topping on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, oatmeal, etc. The options are endless.

The vanilla flavor is largely subtle, but it makes a noticeable difference in creating a more complex, tasty maple syrup profile.

What Type of Maple Syrup to Use

You can add vanilla extract to any grade of maple syrup, whether it’s delicate, light amber Grade A or robust, dark Grade B. However, medium or dark maple syrups work especially well with vanilla. The bolder maple flavors stand up well to the vanilla and balance each other out. Lighter syrups can get overpowered.

Here’s how different maple syrup grades complement vanilla:

  • Grade A Light Amber – Very mild maple flavor lets the vanilla make its presence known.
  • Grade A Medium Amber – The right balance of pronounced maple notes and vanilla aroma.
  • Grade A Dark Amber – Strong maple stands up to the vanilla for a good flavor balance.
  • Grade B – Rich, molasses-like maple pairs nicely with the vanilla’s smoothness.

Any real, 100% pure maple syrup will become even more tasty with a dash of vanilla. Stay away from pancake syrup, as the imitation flavors won’t blend as nicely.

What Type of Vanilla Extract to Use

When adding vanilla to maple syrup, it’s important to use pure vanilla extract. Imitation vanilla made from vanillin won’t provide the same flavor depth. Check the bottle to make sure you’re buying real vanilla extract. The ingredients should only be vanilla beans and alcohol.

You can use regular vanilla extract or splurge on fancier gourmet varieties like Madagascar bourbon vanilla. Feel free to experiment with vanilla bean paste as well. Just adjust the amount used, as the paste will provide stronger vanilla flavor.

How to Add Vanilla Extract to Maple Syrup

Stirring vanilla into maple syrup is a very simple process. Here are two easy methods:

  1. Remove a half cup or so of maple syrup from the bottle and stir or whisk in your desired amount of vanilla extract until fully blended.
  2. Then pour the vanilla-infused syrup back into the bottle and stir or shake to distribute throughout.
  3. Open the maple syrup bottle and add small splashes of vanilla extract directly in the bottle. Start with 1⁄4 teaspoon at a time. Stir and taste until it reaches your preferred vanilla level.

Ensure the vanilla is fully incorporated so you don’t end up with inconsistent flavor when pouring the syrup. Once mixed, the vanilla maple syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months.

Vanilla Maple Syrup Recipe

This simple recipe will show you how to make vanilla maple syrup from scratch:


  • 2 cups (16 oz) pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Pour maple syrup into a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Stir in vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Transfer to an airtight jar or bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
  5. Shake or stir before use.

Feel free to adjust the amount of vanilla to suit your taste. Start with a smaller amount and add more slowly as needed. Enjoy your homemade vanilla maple syrup on pancakes, waffles, ice cream and more!

What Does Vanilla Maple Syrup Taste Like?

Adding vanilla extract gives maple syrup a more nuanced, complex flavor. You’ll still taste the sweet, rich maple flavors, but with extra aromatic vanilla in the background. The vanilla provides subtle floral and woody notes while smoothing out any harshness in the maple.

The end result is a syrup with warmth, sweetness and layers of flavor. You may pick up hints of vanilla, brown sugar, oak and cloves in the blend. The vanilla is noticeable but still allows the maple to be the star. When paired with pancakes or other foods, the vanilla adds extra depth and interest.

Substitute for Vanilla Extract in Maple Syrup

If you don’t have vanilla extract, here are some substitutions you can use:

  • Vanilla bean paste – This provides intense vanilla flavor. Use half the amount of paste as you would extract.
  • Vanilla powder – Use same amount as extract. Whisk well as powder can clump.
  • Vanilla sugar – Mix with maple syrup and strain out sugar grains after.
  • Bourbon – Adds boozy vanilla notes. Use 1-2 tsp per cup of syrup.

For alcohol-free options, you can use vanilla syrup or vanilla bean seeds scraped directly into the maple syrup. Start with small amounts of any substitute and adjust to your preferred taste.

How to Store Vanilla Maple Syrup

Stored properly in an airtight container, vanilla maple syrup will keep for approximately 6 months in the refrigerator. The cool temperature helps maintain freshness and prevents mold growth. Make sure to label the container with the date so you remember when it was made.

If you notice any mold, off smells or a change in consistency, it’s best to discard the syrup. For longer term storage, vanilla maple syrup can be frozen for up to a year. Thaw in the refrigerator before using again.

Uses for Vanilla Maple Syrup

Vanilla maple syrup isn’t just for pouring over pancakes and waffles. Get creative with these delicious ways to use your homemade syrup:

  • Drizzle on top of oatmeal, yogurt or toast
  • Mix into coffee, tea or milk for flavoring
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Stir into baking recipes like muffins, breads and cakes
  • Brush on meats before grilling or roasting
  • Use to glaze vegetables
  • Whisk into salad dressings and marinades
  • Swirl into ice cream, milkshakes or cheesecake
  • Top pancakes, French toast, crepes
  • Sweeten cocktails, hot chocolate

Let your imagination run wild with ways to incorporate your homemade vanilla maple deliciousness into all kinds of foods and drinks!

Benefits of Adding Vanilla to Maple Syrup

Beyond just enhancing flavor, there are some great benefits to adding vanilla to maple syrup:

  • Antioxidants – Vanilla contains antioxidants that can help neutralize free radicals in the body.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Compounds in vanilla have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation.
  • Fiber – Vanilla beans provide a small dose of dietary fiber.
  • Reduced glycemic response – Studies show combining vanilla with high-glycemic foods like maple syrup can slow sugar absorption.

By adding antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vanilla, you can make maple syrup, which is already rich in manganese and zinc, even healthier. The vanilla also lowers the overall glycemic index of the syrup.

Risks or Downsides to Adding Vanilla

There are minimal risks to adding vanilla extract to maple syrup. A couple things to keep in mind:

  • Using poor quality or imitation vanilla can negatively impact flavor.
  • Adding too much vanilla extract can make the maple flavor seem muted or unbalanced.
  • Those with vanilla allergies may react, though this is quite rare.
  • Vanilla maple syrup has a somewhat higher calorie content than regular maple syrup.

As long as you use pure vanilla extract sparingly and taste as you go, there should be no downsides to enjoy this flavored maple syrup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is vanilla maple syrup good?

Yes, vanilla maple syrup is delicious! The vanilla provides aromatic flavor and mellows out the maple for a very tasty, complex syrup perfect for pancakes, baking and more.

Does maple syrup go bad if you add vanilla?

No, adding vanilla extract does not make maple syrup go bad any faster. As long as it is stored properly in the refrigerator, vanilla maple syrup has roughly a 6 month shelf life before quality declines.

Can you add vanilla to maple syrup to make vanilla syrup?

Yes, adding vanilla extract to maple syrup makes a simple homemade vanilla syrup. Use a 2:1 ratio of maple syrup to vanilla extract for robust vanilla flavor. Adjust amounts to taste preference.

What maple syrup is best for adding vanilla?

Medium amber Grade A or dark amber Grade B maple syrups work best when adding vanilla. The stronger maple flavors hold up well against the vanilla. Very light maple syrup may get overpowered.

Does vanilla change the consistency of maple syrup?

No, adding small amounts of vanilla extract does not change the consistency of maple syrup. It remains thick and pourable like normal. Vanilla is diluted in alcohol, so it incorporates seamlessly.


Adding vanilla extract to maple syrup is an easy way to take maple flavor to the next level. The vanilla provides aromatic, woody notes while smoothing out the maple for a more complex, delicious syrup. Use about 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp of vanilla per 16 oz bottle of maple syrup. Pure extract is best for maximizing flavor.

Store vanilla maple syrup in the fridge and use it to top waffles, swirl into yogurt or bake into all kinds of treats. With its sweet layered flavors and health benefits, homemade vanilla maple syrup makes the perfect pancake topper and so much more!

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