What is butter flavored syrup made of?

Butter flavored syrup is a popular topping for waffles, pancakes, French toast and other breakfast foods and desserts. The rich, buttery taste makes these foods even more delicious. But what exactly gives butter flavored syrup its signature flavor? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients commonly used to make this syrup.

The Main Ingredients

There are two primary ingredients that give butter flavored syrup its rich taste:

  • Butter extract or butter flavoring
  • Vegetable oil

Butter extract, also sometimes called butter flavoring, is made by distilling real butter into a concentrated liquid form. This imparts an intensely buttery, creamy flavor without containing actual butter. It is combined with vegetable oils like canola, corn, or soybean oil to create the smooth, pourable syrup consistency.

Some producers use real butter in their syrups, but most commercial brands rely on more affordable butter extracts and oils. Using pure butter extract allows them to maximize the butter taste people expect without the high cost of using large amounts of real butter.

Other Common Ingredients

In addition to butter extract and vegetable oil, some other ingredients are frequently added to butter flavored syrups, including:

  • Sugar – Granulated white sugar or corn syrup helps sweeten the syrup.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt balances out the sweetness and enhances flavor.
  • Natural and artificial flavors – These replicate subtle notes like buttermilk, vanilla or maple for a more complex taste.
  • Food coloring – Coloring like yellow #5 or yellow #6 provides an appetizing golden hue.
  • Preservatives – Preservatives allow the syrup to retain quality and prevent mold and bacterial growth.

The ratios of these additional ingredients are adjusted to create the ideal sweetness, color, texture and shelf life.

How it’s Made

Butter flavored syrup production involves just a few key steps:

  1. First, the vegetable oil, often soybean or canola oil, is combined with butter extract in large vats and blended until smooth.
  2. Sugar or corn syrup is then added to reach the desired sweetness along with a small amount of salt.
  3. Natural and artificial butter flavors, food colorings and preservatives are also stirred in.
  4. The flavored syrup blend is heated gently to dissolve the ingredients and develop the flavors.
  5. Finally, the mixture is bottled while still hot to sterilize the packaging.

The entire process is highly automated to allow efficient mass production. Facilities follow detailed recipes and strict quality control guidelines. The bottled syrup is shipped to grocery stores, restaurants and other retailers for use as a breakfast topping or baking ingredient.


While most butter flavored syrups follow a similar formula, some brands offer unique twists:

  • Natural butter flavor – Made purely with vegetable oil, butter extract, sugar and salt, without artificial colors or flavors.
  • Salted butter flavor – Uses extra salt for a more savory profile.
  • Maple butter flavor – Maple extract adds hints of sweet maple syrup flavor.
  • Honey butter flavor – Features notes of honey for a caramel-like taste.
  • Cinnamon butter flavor – Warm cinnamon spices up the classic butter flavor.

Gourmet producers also experiment with ingredients like brown sugar, bourbon, roasted nuts and vanilla to put unique spins on butter flavored syrup.

Nutrition Facts

Butter flavored syrup is high in calories and sugar compared to plain syrups. A typical 1⁄4 cup serving provides:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 180
Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 45g
Sugar 42g
Protein 0g

As you can see, a 1⁄4 cup serving provides over 40 grams of sugar. The syrup has minimal fat and no protein.

The main nutrients in butter flavored syrup come from:

  • Vegetable oil – Provides some vitamin E
  • Sugar – Major source of carbohydrates and calories
  • Food coloring – Contributes to daily recommended value of some B vitamins like riboflavin, though amounts are minimal

Keep in mind that the exact nutrition profile can vary depending on the specific ingredients and ratios used in a particular product.

Health Concerns

Butter flavored syrup is considered safe to consume in moderation, but there are some health considerations to keep in mind:

  • High in sugar and calories – The main concern is the high sugar content, with over 40 grams per 1⁄4 cup serving. Consuming too much added sugar can lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other problems.
  • Artificial ingredients – Most butter flavored syrups contain artificial colors and flavors. Studies on the health effects of these additives have had mixed results.
  • Allergies – The syrup may contain common allergens like soy, dairy and corn. Those with food allergies should read labels carefully.
  • GMO oils – Many syrups are made with GMO oils like canola and soybean oil. Those wishing to avoid GMOs will need to choose organic or non-GMO verified options.

Overall, butter flavored syrup can be enjoyed in moderation by most people but is best limited by those concerned about sugar intake or artificial additives.

Storing Butter Flavored Syrup

Properly stored butter flavored syrup will maintain optimal flavor and texture for months past the printed best buy date. Here are some storage tips:

  • Keep refrigerated after opening to maximize freshness.
  • Store in an airtight container to prevent moisture loss and ice crystals.
  • If syrup separates, simply stir or shake before using.
  • Look for mold or strange odors before using old syrup.
  • For long term storage, keep butter flavored syrup in the freezer.
  • Syrup may last for a year or more frozen.

With proper refrigeration or freezing, an unopened bottle of butter flavored syrup will stay fresh for 1-2 years past its printed expiration date.

Making Your Own

It’s easy to whip up homemade butter flavored syrup using just a few ingredients:

Basic Homemade Butter Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter extract
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon yellow food coloring (optional)
  1. Combine sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in butter extract and food coloring if using.
  3. Let cool completely then transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Gourmet Brown Sugar Butter Syrup

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Combine brown sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter extract, maple extract and cinnamon.
  3. Cool completely then refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-4 weeks.

Get creative with extracts, sugars, spices and other flavors to make your own signature butter syrup. Reduce the sugar for a healthier version.

Uses for Butter Flavored Syrup

Butter flavored syrup can be used in a variety of sweet and savory recipes, beyond just topping waffles and pancakes. Some tasty ways to use butter syrup include:

  • Drizzling over French toast, crepes and bread pudding
  • Adding flavor to oatmeal or grits
  • Using in place of honey or maple syrup on biscuits and muffins
  • Stirring into coffee drinks and milkshakes for a buttery flavor
  • Making candies, fudge and other confections
  • Brushing on grilled corn, Brussels sprouts or asparagus
  • Adding to glazes and sauces for chicken, pork and more
  • Using in cookie and cake recipes for extra moisture and flavor

A little butter flavored syrup can go a long way in both sweet and savory cooking. Keep a bottle on hand to add a hit of rich, buttery taste anytime.

Popular Brands

Some of the top national brands of butter flavored syrup include:

  • Log Cabin – The most popular brand, made by Pinnacle Foods.
  • Mrs. Butterworth’s – Also from Pinnacle Foods, comes in original and sugar-free.
  • Aunt Jemima – Offers liquid and rich & creamy versions.
  • Hungry Jack – Comes in original, light and sugar-free types.
  • Kraft – Made by food giant Kraft Heinz.
  • Nature’s Hollow – Sugar-free and low calorie option.
  • Walden Farms – Another popular zero calorie product.

Grocery store brands like Great Value and Kirkland along with smaller specialty brands offer lower cost alternatives. Pick your favorite or try a few different kinds.


Butter flavored syrup costs between $2-$6 USD for a 24 oz. bottle. Here are some average prices:

  • Great Value or store brand: $2-$3
  • Mrs. Butterworth’s or Hungry Jack: $3-$4
  • Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima: $4-$5
  • Small batch and organic: $5-$6
  • Sugar free or low calorie: $4-$6

Larger sizes like 48-64 oz. are available for bulk purchasing. Watch for sales, coupons and store promotions to save.

Where to Buy

Butter flavored syrup can be found at most supermarkets, usually in the syrup, jam or pancake mix aisle. Major retailers include:

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • Publix
  • HEB
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Amazon
  • Costco

Natural food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts offer organic and gourmet brands. Check at warehouse clubs for bulk options. Convenience stores and gas stations often carry butter flavored syrup as well.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about butter flavored syrup:

Is butter flavored syrup dairy free?

Yes, most butter flavored syrups are dairy free as they are made with vegetable oils and natural or artificial butter flavoring rather than actual butter.

Can you make homemade butter syrup with real butter?

Yes, you can substitute melted butter for a portion or all of the vegetable oil in homemade recipes. However, this increases the risk of the syrup separating and needing to be reheated and emulsified again before use.

Is butter flavored syrup gluten free?

Butter flavored syrups that don’t contain malt or grain-derived ingredients are generally considered gluten free. Check labels to confirm.

Is butter flavored syrup keto friendly?

Butter syrup is not keto friendly as it is high in sugar and carbohydrates. There are some sugar-free varieties that contain minimal carbs for keto diets.

Does butter flavored syrup need to be refrigerated?

Refrigeration extends shelf life after opening but isn’t strictly required. The high sugar content prevents microbial growth at room temperature. Refrigerating will maintain best flavor.


Butter flavored syrup provides the rich, creamy taste of butter without any actual dairy. Most commercial brands are made from vegetable oils combined with natural and artificial butter extracts, sugar, salt and other flavorings. While delicious on waffles and pancakes, butter syrup can also be used to add flavor to coffee, oatmeal, cornbread and many other foods. While it may not be the healthiest choice, butter flavored syrup offers a tasty indulgence for breakfasts, baked goods and other treats when enjoyed in moderation.

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