How much maple syrup does it take to replace 1 tablespoon of honey?

Honey and maple syrup are two popular natural sweeteners that share some similarities but also have distinct differences. Both contain sugars like glucose and fructose, but in different proportions. When substituting maple syrup for honey, the main considerations are flavor, texture, and nutrition.

Key Questions

How do the flavors of honey and maple syrup compare? Honey has a floral, delicate flavor that varies based on the flowers bees collect nectar from. Maple syrup has a richer, more pronounced sweetness with subtle maple notes. Maple can overpower lighter flavors.

Do they have the same texture and consistency? Honey is thicker and more viscous than maple syrup. Maple syrup tends to be thinner, pours more easily, and incorporates more smoothly into recipes.

How do their nutritional profiles compare? Honey has slightly more calories and carbohydrates per tablespoon. Maple syrup provides more minerals like manganese and zinc. Both are high in sugar with minimal protein, fat, fiber or nutrients.

What’s the conversion ratio for substituting maple for honey? Use 3/4 tablespoon of maple syrup for every 1 tablespoon of honey. Reduce liquid in the recipe by 1/4 tablespoon to account for maple syrup’s thinner consistency.

Flavors and Tastes

Honey and maple syrup both contain glucose and fructose, which provide a sweet flavor. However, the specific proportions of these sugars differ between the two sweeteners, resulting in distinctive tastes:

  • Honey is made up of roughly 39% fructose, 31% glucose, 7% maltose, and 1-2% sucrose.
  • Maple syrup contains 35% water and about 60% sucrose, with lower amounts of glucose and fructose.

Additionally, the flavors in honey and maple syrup come from other plant components:

  • Honey gets its flavor from flower nectar collected by bees. The specific flowers determine the taste, ranging from dark, robust flavors to light, delicate ones.
  • Maple syrup gets its signature flavor from the xylem sap of maple trees. Processing and grades impact the color and maple taste.

So while both add sweetness, honey provides lighter floral notes while maple syrup has a more pronounced maple flavor. Maple can overpower delicate honey flavors in some recipes, so think about desired taste when substituting.

Honey Flavor Profiles

There are over 300 unique varieties of honey in the United States alone. The nectar collected by bees determines the flavor. Common honey varieties include:

  • Clover honey – Sweet, mild flavor. Light color.
  • Orange blossom honey – Citrusy, fruity flavors. Light color.
  • Wildflower honey – Varies based on available flowers. Generally light.
  • Buckwheat honey – Heartier, more molasses-like. Dark color.
  • Sage honey – Herbal flavor. Light to amber color.

In general, lighter honeys like orange blossom and clover have delicate, nuanced flavors. Darker honeys like buckwheat have bolder, richer flavors.

Maple Syrup Grades

Maple syrup is graded based on color, which impacts flavor:

  • Grade A Light Amber – Delicate flavor. Ideal for drizzling.
  • Grade A Amber – Richer maple flavor. All-purpose use.
  • Grade A Dark Amber – Robust, caramelized flavor. Better for baking.
  • Grade B – Very strong maple flavor. Used for cooking.

Lighter maple syrup has a subtler maple taste. Darker syrup is bolder with a pronounced maple flavor. Consider taste preferences when using maple in place of honey.

Texture and Consistency

Honey and maple syrup differ in their thickness and viscosity:

  • Honey is thicker, more viscous, and stickier. It can crystallize over time.
  • Maple syrup has a thinner, more fluid texture. It tastes smooth and silky.

These texture differences come from their composition. Honey contains more glucose molecules, which interact readily and form thick gels. Maple syrup has more water content and fewer glucose molecules, lending a thinner consistency.

The thicker texture of honey means that it can help with binding and moisture retention in baked goods. Maple syrup’s thinner texture makes it easier to blend into drinks or dressings. Consider texture when substituting in recipes.

Dealing with Crystallization

The glucose in honey can cause it to crystallize and turn solid over time. To liquify crystallized honey:

  • Place the container in warm water until the honey turns to liquid.
  • Use a gentle heat source like a double boiler.
  • Do not microwave crystallized honey or bring it to a full boil.

Maple syrup does not tend to crystallize like honey. Store it in the refrigerator after opening to maintain its flowing texture.


Honey and maple syrup are both high in sugar with lower amounts of other nutrients:

Nutrition Facts Per Tbsp Honey Maple Syrup
Calories 64 52
Carbohydrates 17g 13g
Sugars 17g 12g
Protein 0g 0g
Fat 0g 0g
Manganese 0% DV 18% DV
Zinc 0% DV 9% DV

Honey has slightly more calories and carbohydrates than maple syrup. Maple syrup has more minerals like manganese and zinc.

Neither contains significant protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, or minerals. Maple syrup has small amounts of calcium, potassium, and antioxidants.

Overall, both should be viewed as sweet treats and enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Maple Syrup Substitution Ratios

When substituting maple syrup for honey, use the following guidelines:

  • Use 3/4 tablespoon of maple syrup for every 1 tablespoon of honey called for.
  • Reduce the total liquid in the recipe by 1/4 tablespoon to account for maple syrup’s thinner consistency.
  • For baked goods, reduce oven temperature by 25°F to prevent over-browning.

Here are some sample maple syrup substitutions:

  • 1 cup honey = 3/4 cup maple syrup and reduce liquid by 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup honey = 6 tablespoons maple syrup and reduce liquid by 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup honey = 3 tablespoons maple syrup and reduce liquid by 1 tablespoon

Taste the dish after substituting to ensure you have achieved the desired sweetness and flavor.

Tips for Using Maple Syrup

Follow these tips when using maple syrup in place of honey:

  • Reduce oven temperature slightly – Maple syrup causes more browning, so lower oven temp by 25°F.
  • Use Grade A Amber or Dark Amber – Provides stronger maple flavor to stand up to honey.
  • Watch for crystallization – Can occur if maple syrup ratio is too high in stored goods.
  • Add a touch of maple extract – Boosts maple flavor if needed.
  • Skip it in light, delicate dishes – Maple can overwhelm subtle flavors.

Baking and Cooking

Maple syrup works well in place of honey in many baked goods recipes, though some adjustments may be needed:

  • Cookies – Soften for chewier texture. Lower oven temp.
  • Muffins and quick breads – May need extra leavening. Watch sweetness.
  • Cakes – Lower oven temp and watch for browning.
  • Granola and cereal – Use sparingly. Maple is thinner and absorbs differently.

For savory glazes and sauces, maple’s flavor may overpower. Stick with honey or try brown sugar instead.

Maple syrup works well in dressings, marinades, and drizzled over foods like waffles, pancakes, yogurt, and oatmeal.

Baking Adjustments

When baking with maple syrup instead of honey, keep these adjustments in mind:

  • Reduce oven temperature by 25°F
  • Use 3/4 tablespoon maple syrup for every 1 tablespoon honey
  • Reduce liquid ingredients by 1/4 tablespoon for each tablespoon honey replaced
  • Add a touch more leavening like baking soda/powder
  • Reduce maple syrup if recipe turns out overly sweet

Make adjustments gradually until you achieve the ideal texture and flavor.

Is Maple or Honey Healthier?

Maple syrup and honey are comparable in terms of health:

  • Both are high in sugar and calories. Use sparingly.
  • Neither provides much protein, fat, fiber, vitamins or minerals.
  • Maple syrup has small amounts of minerals like manganese and zinc.
  • Honey has slightly more antioxidants, but minimal overall.
  • Maple syrup has a slightly lower glycemic index.

While promoter’s claim one is superior, the differences are minor. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar, including both honey and maple syrup.

For a healthy diet, use modest amounts of either to replace white sugar. Rely on whole foods for nutrition versus sweeteners.

Cost Differences

Maple syrup tends to be more expensive than honey. Some average costs are:

  • Honey: $3 to $7 per 8 oz jar
  • Maple syrup: $12 to $25 per 8 oz jar

Factors impacting the price of maple syrup include:

  • Grade – Darker syrups are produced later in season and cost more.
  • Production method – Small batched artisanal syrup costs more than commercial.
  • Region – Syrup from Canada (world’s top producer) is pricier.
  • Season – Supply lower out of peak production season.

Honey pricing depends on the floral source and whether local or specialty varieties.

While maple syrup is pricier ounce per ounce, the substitution ratio reduces the volume needed. The cost difference may be negligible in many recipes.

Storing Maple Syrup and Honey

Proper storage preserves freshness and prevents crystallization:

  • Maple syrup – Refrigerate after opening. Will keep for 1 year.
  • Honey – No refrigeration needed. Will keep for 2 years.

For both:

  • Store in airtight containers.
  • Keep away from heat and light.
  • Watch for signs of mold or fermentation.


Maple syrup can work well as a substitute for honey in many recipes, with a few adjustments to account for differences in flavor, texture, and sweetness.

Use a 3:4 ratio of maple syrup to honey, reduce liquid slightly, and lower oven temperature in baked goods. Consider the impact on taste and texture.

While both sweeteners should be used sparingly, they can add flavor and texture when used judiciously in cooking and baking.

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