Is Lyles golden syrup the same as maple syrup?

Lyles golden syrup and maple syrup are both popular pancake syrups. However, they are made from different ingredients and have distinct flavors and textures. This article will examine the key differences between Lyles golden syrup and maple syrup to help consumers understand if they can be used interchangeably.

What is Lyles Golden Syrup?

Lyles golden syrup is a sweet, thick syrup made from refining sugar cane or sugar beet juice into a golden syrup. It was first produced in 1885 by Abram Lyle in London, England. The Lyle’s brand is now owned by Tate & Lyle PLC.

Some key facts about Lyles golden syrup:

  • Made from sugar cane or sugar beet juice that is boiled down into a syrup
  • Has a golden color and thick, smooth texture
  • Tastes extremely sweet with subtle butterscotch and caramel flavors
  • Does not crystallize easily like regular white sugar
  • Used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, porridge and other breakfast foods

Lyles golden syrup has a very high sugar content, containing approximately 60% sucrose. It also contains other sugars like glucose and fructose which prevent crystallization.

The ingredient list for Lyles golden syrup is relatively simple: sugar, water, citric acid, and preservative (E202). It does not contain any maple syrup or maple flavorings.

What is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup comes from the sap or ‘tree water’ of maple trees, primarily the sugar maple species. Originating in Eastern Canada, it’s now produced throughout North America.

Here are some key facts about maple syrup:

  • Made by boiling down the sap of maple trees
  • Has a brown color and thick, viscous texture
  • Natural sweetness comes from high concentration of sucrose sugar in the sap
  • Maple flavor comes from organic compounds like esters and phenolic acids
  • Used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt and more

Maple syrup is separated into grades based on color and flavor:

  • Grade A Light Amber – Delicate maple flavor
  • Grade A Medium Amber – Richer maple flavor
  • Grade A Dark Amber – Robust maple flavor
  • Grade B – Very strong maple flavor

100% pure maple syrup contains no added sugars or artificial flavors. It’s made entirely from maple sap, water and sometimes a small amount of other ingredients like salt, citric acid or manganese dioxide as coloring.

Nutrition Comparison

Lyles golden syrup and maple syrup have very different nutritional profiles:

Nutrition Facts Lyles Golden Syrup Maple Syrup
Calories per serving 200 217
Total Carbohydrates 60g 57g
Sugars 60g 53g
Protein 0g 0g
Fat 0g 0g
Fiber 0g 0g
Sodium 20mg 12mg
Vitamin A 0% 0%
Calcium 2% 4%
Iron 2% 7%

As you can see, Lyles golden syrup is almost entirely made up of simple carbohydrates from sugar. It has trace amounts of calcium and iron but no other vitamins or minerals.

Maple syrup has fewer overall grams of sugar compared to golden syrup. It also provides small amounts of important minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.

So while both are high in sugar and calories, maple syrup does offer slightly more nutritional value.

Flavour and Texture

The flavors and textures of Lyles golden syrup versus maple syrup are noticeably different:

  • Lyles golden syrup is very sweet with a buttery, toffee-like flavor. It tastes similar to light corn syrup.
  • Maple syrup has a rich, complex flavor with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and smoke. The grade or darkness affects the intensity of maple flavor.
  • Golden syrup has a smooth, thick texture that is easy to pour and mix into recipes.
  • Maple syrup also has a viscous, smooth texture, but can be classified as thinner or thicker bodied.
  • When heated, maple syrup will retain more of its flavor compared to golden syrup.

So while Lyles golden syrup tastes predominantly sweet, maple syrup offers a more nuanced flavor with qualities that vary by grade. Maple syrup is better able to retain its signature maple taste when cooked.

Cost Comparison

There is a significant price difference between Lyles golden syrup and maple syrup:

  • Lyles golden syrup costs approximately $3 to $4 for a 400 gram bottle.
  • Maple syrup costs around $12 to $20 for a 375-500 mL bottle.
  • So Lyles golden syrup is around 3-5 times cheaper per ounce compared to pure maple syrup.
  • Maple syrup’s higher cost is due to more difficult production methods and limited seasonality.

The lower cost of Lyles golden syrup makes it more affordable for everyday use. Maple syrup is viewed more as a specialty ingredient for occasional use by most consumers.

Cooking Uses

Lyles golden syrup and maple syrup can both be used as sweeteners and toppings, but are not always interchangeable when cooking or baking:

  • Golden syrup can replace maple syrup as a topping for pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
  • Maple syrup provides richer flavor for many recipes and is preferred for its taste.
  • Golden syrup is often used in baking because it blends easily with fats like butter or oils.
  • Maple syrup may crystallize in some baked goods. Golden syrup helps inhibit crystallization.
  • Maple syrup caramelizes well for making maple candy brittles and sugaring off recipes.
  • Golden syrup won’t work well as a maple syrup substitute in candy recipes due to flavor differences.

So while golden syrup can be swapped in for maple syrup as a topping, it may not achieve the right texture or flavor in baked goods or candy that rely on maple’s unique properties.


Lyles golden syrup and maple syrup differ in their availability:

  • Lyles golden syrup can be found year-round in most grocery stores and online markets.
  • Maple syrup is stocked seasonally, with limited quantities often selling out until the next sap harvesting season.
  • Golden syrup is widely accessible whereas maple syrup tends to sell out quickly.
  • Specialty stores or farmers markets may have maple syrup when it’s out of season in regular grocery stores.
  • Mail order options exist for buying maple syrup online even when it’s out of season locally.

The constant availability of Lyles golden syrup makes it the easier choice when maple syrup is hard to find outside of season. Planning ahead helps ensure you can stock up on maple syrup when it’s available.

Environmental Sustainability

There are some important distinctions between golden syrup and maple syrup when it comes to environmental sustainability:

  • Golden syrup production relies heavily on sugarcane or sugar beet farming, which can deplete soil nutrients if not properly managed.
  • Maple syrup production relies on the health of native maple forests, providing incentive to preserve woodlands.
  • Maple syrup production has a shorter supply chain with minimal processing from tree to bottle.
  • Golden syrup is made in large factories and must be shipped farther distances to consumers after extensive refining.
  • Organic and sustainably harvested maple syrup options exist to support environmentally responsible production.
  • Some golden syrup manufacturers are improving sustainability by using renewable energy, reducing waste, and sourcing sugar beets locally.

While neither is perfect, maple syrup’s dependency on healthy forests aligns it more closely with environmental preservation. Conscientious consumers can look for organic maple syrup and responsibly made golden syrup to reduce environmental impacts.

Health Benefits

Maple syrup offers more potential health benefits compared to regular golden syrup:

  • Maple syrup contains higher levels of manganese, zinc and antioxidants compared to golden syrup.
  • The antioxidants in maple syrup include phenolic compounds like quebecol, which can help reduce oxidative stress in the body.
  • Research suggests pure maple syrup extracts may help defend against Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, and bacterial infections.
  • Golden syrup does not contain significant amounts of vitamins, minerals or beneficial plant compounds.
  • Maple syrup has a slightly lower glycemic index, meaning it impacts blood sugar less drastically.
  • Moderate portions of maple syrup can be healthier for people with diabetes or metabolic disorders compared to golden syrup.

Maple syrup’s phytochemical content gives it an edge over regular golden syrup when it comes to potential therapeutic effects. More research is still needed, but maple syrup shows promise for health benefits beyond basic nutrition.

Organic and Flavored Options

Both maple syrup and Lyles golden syrup come in organic and flavored varieties:

  • Organic maple syrup is made from sap harvested from maple trees grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
  • Organic Lyles golden syrup is produced without conventional pesticide use but few other differences from regular golden syrup.
  • Maple syrup flavors include cinnamon, vanilla, smoked, walnut, hazelnut, coconut, and chili pepper.
  • Lyles golden syrup flavors include vanilla, gingerbread, chocolate, and salted caramel.
  • Flavored maple syrups try to complement maple’s natural taste while flavored golden syrups tend to overpower it.
  • Flavored versions of both tend to contain added preservatives and artificial colors/flavors.

Those concerned about food purity may want to choose organic and stick to plain, unflavored varieties of each syrup. But flavored options allow consumers to get more creative with their breakfasts and desserts.


Maple syrup and golden syrup adhere to different regulations regarding adulteration and quality standards:

  • In Canada and the US, maple syrup must meet legally defined purity and quality standards to be sold as maple syrup.
  • Golden syrup does not have regulated definitions or production methods.
  • Additives in maple syrup are restricted – it must be 100% pure sap with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Golden syrup can legally contain undeclared additives and added sugars.
  • Only maple syrup is legally required to be graded by color and purity.
  • Maple syrup must be produced within the current calendar year while golden syrup has a longer shelf life.

These stricter regulations help ensure authentic, high-quality maple syrup reaches consumers. Golden syrup comes with fewer guarantees about its production methods or shelf life.

Is Maple Syrup Healthier than Golden Syrup?

When comparing Lyles golden syrup to maple syrup, maple syrup has a slight health advantage:

  • Maple syrup contains more beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and minerals compared to golden syrup.
  • Maple syrup has been studied for anti-inflammatory, anticancer and brain cell protecting effects.
  • The compounds in maple syrup may help manage blood sugar levels.
  • Maple syrup is less processed than refined golden syrup.
  • But maple syrup still has high sugar content – moderate intake is key.
  • Those with diabetes should be mindful of portions when using either syrup.

Overall, maple syrup offers more micronutrients, unique plant chemicals and potential health benefits. But both should be used sparingly as part of a balanced diet.


In conclusion, Lyles golden syrup and maple syrup have distinct differences in terms of production methods, nutrition, taste, uses, cost and availability. While golden syrup is cheaper and easier to find year-round, maple syrup provides a richer flavor experience and more potential health benefits. When substituting in recipes, golden syrup won’t always replicate the flavor or texture maple syrup provides. Knowing their unique properties allows consumers to decide which option fits their needs and preferences best. For those able to access it seasonally, maple syrup stands out as the more distinctive choice for taste and nutrition. But Lyles golden syrup serves as an affordable pantry staple available at any time of year.

Leave a Comment