What is the green syrup called?

The green syrup that many people enjoy pouring over pancakes and waffles in the morning goes by a few different common names. While there are some regional differences in what people call this sweet, maple-flavored topping, the most widely used terms for it are “maple syrup” and “maple flavored syrup.”

Maple Syrup

The term “maple syrup” refers to syrup made directly from the sap of maple trees. This type of syrup gets its distinctive flavor from the natural maple sap and is produced by boiling down sap collected straight from maple trees. Real maple syrup contains no artificial flavors or coloring and is made exclusively from maple sap.

True maple syrup goes through an intensive process to reach the final product. First, during the spring maple sap run, holes are drilled into maple trees and the sap flows out through a tap. The sap is then collected and boiled down to evaporate much of the water, leaving the sugary syrup behind. This requires about 40 gallons of maple sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. It takes considerable time and energy to produce real maple syrup, which is why it tends to be more expensive than imitation maple syrups.

Due to the natural source and production process, real maple syrup is considered a gourmet specialty product by many. The rich flavor and color make it a popular topping, especially for breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles. Maple syrup is also sometimes used as an ingredient in cooking to add sweetness and depth of flavor to recipes.

Grade A vs Grade B

There are two main grades of real maple syrup, Grade A and Grade B. Grade A is lighter in color and milder in flavor, while Grade B is much darker with a more pronounced maple flavor. Grade A is the most commonly produced grade of maple syrup. It comes in several color variations, from light golden to dark amber. Grade B maple syrup is less common but prized for its robust maple taste.

Maple Syrup Nutrition

Maple syrup contains some beneficial nutrients and minerals, though the exact nutritional profile can vary slightly depending on the specific grade and production batch. Compared to white sugar, maple syrup provides small amounts of minerals like calcium, potassium, and manganese. It also contains antioxidants and phytochemicals that may help protect against disease. However, maple syrup is still high in sugar, so it should be enjoyed in moderation.

Maple Flavored Syrup

The other common term for the ubiquitous green-capped syrup is “maple flavored syrup.” This type of syrup mimics the taste of real maple syrup but is made quite differently. Maple flavored syrup starts with a simple sugar syrup base, typically made from corn syrup, and has maple flavoring and coloring added. The maple taste comes strictly from artificial flavor, without using any real maple sap.

Maple flavored syrup costs significantly less to produce than real maple syrup, which is why it is a much more affordable option. Many diners and restaurants serve maple flavored syrup instead of real maple syrup to save on costs. This syrup looks similar to the real thing but lacks the complex flavor and does not offer the same nutritional benefits. The ingredients are primarily just sugar and added flavors designed to imitate maple.

Common Brands

Common brands of maple flavored syrup include Log Cabin, Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Hungry Jack. These are ubiquitous and readily available in grocery stores across the United States. The familiar green plastic jugs can be found in the pancake syrup aisle, often next to the real maple syrup options which are sold in glass bottles.

While these maple flavored syrup brands try to imitate real maple, they do not actually contain any real maple sap. They are artificially flavored using maple extract or concentrate along with caramel coloring to create the familiar maple-like appearance. But the base is a simple sugary syrup made from corn.

Regional Names

While “maple syrup” and “maple flavored syrup” are the most common nationwide terms, some regional names are also used for maple syrup in different parts of the United States and Canada.

Maple Sirup

“Maple sirup” with an extra “i” is sometimes used, particularly in the Northeastern United States. This variant spelling comes from the French spelling sirop. In some areas where French influence was strong in early maple sugaring methods, sirup remains the preferred spelling for maple syrup labels and descriptions.

Tree Syrup

In Appalachia, the term “tree syrup” or “sweet tree syrup” is sometimes used as another name for maple syrup. This comes from the process of gathering sap directly from sugar maple trees to make maple syrup.

Sugar Bush

In parts of the Midwest, primarily Wisconsin and Michigan, one common term used is “sugar bush.” This refers to the sugar maple trees tapped for their sap, from which maple syrup is made. Sugar bush is not often used outside of these states.


Some Indigenous communities have their own names for maple syrup from Native American languages. One example is ta-pa-ta-wa from the Anishinaabe tribe, which refers to maple sap boiled down to syrup.

Other Types of Flavored Syrup

While maple is by far the most popular type of pancake/waffle syrup, there are some other flavored syrups that are less common:

Fruit Syrups

Syrups flavored with fruit like strawberry, blueberry, or cherry provide a sweet fruity topping for breakfast foods and desserts. Like maple, these are usually made from a sugar syrup base with added natural and artificial fruit flavors.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Chocolate-hazelnut spreads like Nutella are sometimes drizzled over pancakes and waffles for a sweet, nutty chocolate taste.


Pure honey can also substitute for maple syrup as a natural sweetener. It is thinner than maple syrup and provides its own distinct flavor.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a mildly flavored liquid sweetener that comes from the agave plant. It can be used in small amounts on pancakes and waffles instead of traditional syrup.


While real maple syrup tapped straight from trees is still considered the gourmet standard, the more common green-capped syrup found on American tables is maple flavored syrup. This budget-friendly imitation maple syrup approximates the taste and appearance of real maple but is made quite differently using sugar syrup and artificial maple flavoring. So when asking “what is the green syrup called?”, the answers are “maple flavored syrup”, “maple syrup”, or simply “pancake syrup”.

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