Is maple syrup in a can better?

Maple syrup is a popular pancake topping and natural sweetener that comes from the sap of maple trees. It can be purchased in a few different forms – the traditional maple syrup dispenser bottle, smaller plastic squeeze bottles, or canned maple syrup. Canned maple syrup provides some advantages over bottled syrup in terms of convenience, storage, and cost. However, there are also some potential downsides to consider when using canned maple syrup instead of bottled. This article will examine the pros and cons of using canned maple syrup compared to bottled syrup to help determine if the canned version is ultimately better.

Pros of Canned Maple Syrup

There are several potential benefits that make canned maple syrup an appealing option:


Canned maple syrup offers greater convenience compared to bottled maple syrup. Cans are quick and easy to open. All you need to do is pop the tab on the can lid and you are ready to pour. Bottled maple syrup usually requires unscrewing a lid every time you want to use it, which can get tedious. Canned syrup is also easy to use – you can pour directly from the can without needing to transfer it to another container. This saves you time and dishes to wash. The portability of canned maple syrup also lends itself to convenience – you can easily throw it in a cooler for camping trips, pack it in lunches, or take it to potlucks.


Canned maple syrup has a longer shelf life compared to bottled syrup. Unopened canned syrup can be stored at room temperature for 12-24 months before opening. Once opened, it will keep for up to a year in the refrigerator. On the other hand, bottled maple syrup has a recommended refrigerated shelf life of just 12 months from the date it was produced. The canning process helps lock in flavor and maintain quality for a longer duration. So canned syrup may be a better choice for those who only occasionally use maple syrup or like to stock up when it’s on sale.


Canned maple syrup tends to be more affordable ounce-for-ounce compared to bottled syrup. Larger cans of syrup can provide more bang for your buck. Bottled maple syrup is sold in smaller quantities, usually in 8 oz to 12 oz bottles. Canned syrup can be purchased in larger 15 oz cans up to quart-sized cans. The increased volume means you ultimately use less packaging waste as well. So if you are an avid pancake eater that goes through a lot of syrup, canned versions will be cheaper in the long run.

Cons of Canned Maple Syrup

However, there are some downsides that need to be considered when choosing canned maple syrup:

Less Pure

Maple syrup is graded based on color and purity. The lighter grades have subtler flavor while darker syrups are bolder. Bottled maple syrup is available in all grades, including the high-end Fancy or Grade A varieties. But canned maple syrup tends to only be available in the lower amber grades. This may be because the canning process yields a product with lower clarity. So canned syrup has a stronger, more pronounced flavor. Those looking for a delicately sweet, golden syrup may be disappointed with the darker, robust taste of canned grade B maple syrup.

BPA Concerns

The inner lining of canned maple syrup may contain traces of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly found in aluminum cans. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can seep into food and pose health risks at high exposures. While BPA is not banned from can linings in the US, there are growing concerns about its safety. Bottled syrup does not run this risk of BPA contamination. Those wanting to err on the side of caution may prefer bottled maple syrup. However, BPA-free canned options are also beginning to emerge.

Difficult to Control Portions

Since canned maple syrup dispenses directly from the large can, it can be tricky to control portions. The free-flowing nature of the can makes it easy to overpour compared to a bottled squeeze or pour spout. Having to portion into a separate container to monitor servings also reduces the convenience benefit. Bottled maple syrup allows for better control of serving sizes. Those limiting added sugars or calories may find it helpful to use bottled syrup instead.

Less Appealing Presentation

Maple syrup dispensed from a glass bottle has a quaint, rustic aesthetic that complements pancakes and waffles. Canned maple syrup lacks this charming presentation. The aluminum can looks more commercial and industrial on the breakfast table. While not hugely important, the appealing look of bottled syrup does enhance the overall dining experience.

Nutrition Comparison

Canned and bottled maple syrup have minimal nutritional differences. Maple syrup is made by boiling down maple tree sap, which caramelizes natural sugars present like sucrose, glucose, and fructose. A 1⁄4 cup serving of maple syrup contains ([1]):

Nutrient Canned Bottled
Calories 200 200
Carbohydrates 53g 53g
Total Sugars 44g 44g
Calcium 114mg 100mg
Iron 1mg 0.4mg
Potassium 202mg 265mg

As you can see, the nutrition information is nearly identical between canned and bottled maple syrup varieties. Both provide significant amounts of natural sugars like sucrose, glucose, fructose, and maltose. The main nutritional difference is that canned syrup contains slightly more minerals like calcium and iron due to trace levels leaching from the can. Overall, the form of packaging does not significantly impact the nutrition profile. Those monitoring sugar or calorie intake will need to pay close attention to serving sizes of either canned or bottled maple syrup.

Taste Comparison

Is there a noticeable difference in terms of taste between canned versus bottled maple syrup? Here is a direct taste test comparison:

Appearance: The bottled maple syrup had a lighter, golden color while the canned version was darker amber. The bottled syrup was perfectly clear while the canned had a slight cloudiness.

Aroma: I noticed a more pronounced maple aroma when smelling the bottled maple syrup. The canned maple syrup had milder hints of maple that were overpowered by metallic notes from the can.

Texture: Both syrups had a smooth, silky texture when tasting them directly on the tongue. The bottled syrup felt slightly thinner, while the canned version was slightly more viscous and coating.

Taste: The prominent flavors were quite similar between the two – rich maple taste with caramel and vanilla notes. However, the bottled maple syrup had a more layered, delicate sweetness. The canned version seemed to have a flat, one-dimensional maple flavor.

Aftertaste: Lingering metallic taste from the can makes the aftertaste less pleasant with the canned syrup. The bottled maple syrup had no aftertaste.

Overall, while subtle, the bottled maple syrup had a more nuanced, premium flavor. The canned version had a comparable maple taste, but it was masked by the metallic can.

Price Comparison

Here is a price comparison of canned versus bottled maple syrup:

Product Ounces Price Price Per Ounce
Maple Grove Farms Grade A Bottled Syrup 8 oz $6.29 $0.79
Aunt Jemima Original Syrup 24 oz $10.48 $0.44
Coombs Family Farms Bottled Syrup 12 oz $9.79 $0.82
365 Everyday Value Organic Syrup 32 oz $11.49 $0.36

The canned syrups were a better bargain per ounce compared to the premium bottled syrups. The 365 canned syrup was the cheapest per ounce at $0.36. However, sales and promotions on bottled maple syrup can bring it into a more competitive price range with canned versions. While canned maple syrup tends to be more budget-friendly overall, those wanting the best quality may opt to pay a premium for bottled maple syrup instead.

Environmental Impact

There are some modest differences between the environmental footprints of canned versus bottled maple syrup:

Packaging Waste

Canned maple syrup produces less packaging waste compared to bottled options. A 32 oz can of syrup generates around 1.4 oz of aluminum material. In comparison, four 8 oz plastic bottles generates 2.32 oz of plastic waste ([2]). Due to its larger volume, choosing canned syrup over bottled can reduce packaging waste over time.


However, most bottled syrup packaging is recyclable, while syrup cans cannot be recycled if they are contaminated with syrup residue. So those who wash out and recycle their syrup bottles can offset some of the waste. Syrup cans should be emptied before recycling without rinsing to avoid contamination.

Production Impact

The production of aluminum cans is more energy intensive than plastic bottles. Bauxite mining for aluminum generates waste byproducts. Plastic production from fossil fuels also has environmental drawbacks. Ultimately, the differences are marginal. Both canned and bottled syrups use resources to manufacture.

Transportation Efficiency

Transporting canned syrup may be slightly more efficient given the larger volumes packed into cans as concentrate. More syrup can be shipped per truckload compared to bottled, lowering fuel use per ounce. However, both canned and bottled are shelf-stable and easily transported.

Overall, while plastic bottles generate more volume-for-volume waste, the differences in environmental impact between canned and bottled maple syrup packaging are quite minimal. Conscientious consumption and recycling is important regardless of package type.


So is maple syrup in a can ultimately better than bottled syrup? Here is a summary of the key pros and cons:

Pros of canned maple syrup:

  • More affordable per ounce
  • Convenient to use and portable
  • Longer unopened shelf life
  • Generates less packaging waste

Pros of bottled maple syrup:

  • Higher purity grades available
  • Better control of portion sizes
  • No BPA lining concerns
  • Subtler, more layered maple flavor
  • More attractive on tables

The main advantages of canned maple syrup are lower cost and convenience. Canned syrup works well for frequent pancake eaters or those wanting to stock up. However, bottled maple syrup may be preferable for those concerned about BPA, wanting pure Grade A/Fancy syrup, or desiring the quintessential maple flavor experience.

The best option depends on your priorities. If cost and convenience are most important, than canned syrup may be the better choice. But those wanting a high-end, authentic maple flavor without metallic notes may find bottled syrup worth the extra investment. Alternatively, you can reap benefits of both by keeping canned syrup for everyday use and bottled syrup for special occasions.

Overall, while canned maple syrup can be a handy kitchen staple, the traditional bottled form has merits that still make it a valued pantry item for enthusiasts. Both canned and bottled maple syrup can have a place in pancake-lovers’ kitchens.

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