Best Maple Syrup: 7 Best Maple Syrups for the Most Important Meal of the Day

This best maple syrup taste test was the most surprising one to date. After trying many, many brands of syrup, we learned that, in general, the Sporked staff prefers fake maple syrup to the real deal.

“Everything tastes like ham!” Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling cried out halfway through the ranking process. She was right. All the real maple syrups we tried had a shocking and upsetting pork flavor and smell. When it comes to maple syrup, we wanted something fake. Something that tastes like butter and sugar and has absolutely no qualities of pig. While that might anger the citizens of Vermont, it’s the truth. Fake syrup reigns supreme. Here are the best maple syrups we tasted.

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Pearl Milling Company Original Syrup

Best of the Best

Pearl Milling Company Original Syrup

The moment the Pearl Milling Company Original Syrup touched my tongue, I started craving pancakes. This is the syrup. It smelled like breakfast the moment you opened the bottle. The flavor was buttery and sweet and a little salty. The level of maple was powerful without being overwhelming. Sure, it isn’t pure, authentic, straight from the tree maple syrup, but nothing about it tastes artificial. It was perfect. I have no notes.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

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Market Pantry Original Syrup

Best Budget

Market Pantry Original Syrup

The Market Pantry Original Syrup (part of Target’s in-house product line) is the closest you can get to perfection on a budget. It tastes almost as good as the Pearl Milling Company syrup. Almost. It is sickeningly sweet in the best way possible and has undertones of buttery goodness. The price point and nationwide availability of this syrup also push it way up on our list. Market Pantry syrup is approachable, accessible, and undeniably delicious. This is the syrup I keep stocked at my house.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Target

Rating:

9.5/10

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Michele’s Gourmet Maple Creme Syrup

Best Splurge

Michele’s Gourmet Maple Creme Syrup

This syrup is so decadent it is practically a dessert. I probably would not put Michele’s Gourmet Maple Creme Syrup on a toaster waffle on a Wednesday morning before work. I would, however, pour it on top of Nashville hot chicken and waffles during a lavish weekend brunch at a bougie restaurant. Then I would immediately take a multi-hour nap. This syrup is so sweet and full of maple flavor. Plus, I feel fancy when they use the word “creme” instead of “cream.”

Credit: Ryan Martin / Target

Rating:

9/10

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Log Cabin Original Pancake Syrup

Best Packaging

Log Cabin Original Pancake Syrup

This is the best packaging…ever? The log cabin-shaped bottle is so cute. I would buy Log Cabin Pancake Syrup for the presentation alone. I think all foods should be sold in containers that look like other objects. Luckily, Log Cabin has the taste to back up its charming marketing ploy. The syrup had sweetness and creaminess like others we loved on the list, but it also had an unexpected hint of citrus. I never knew I wanted citrus in my maple syrup, but it turns out I very much do. I can’t wait to get a bottle of this and pour it over lemon ricotta pancakes.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

8/10

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Shady Maple Farms Organic Maple Syrup

Best Multipurpose

Shady Maple Farms Organic Maple Syrup

The Shady Maple Farms Organic Maple Syrup was on the less porky end of the spectrum among pure maple syrups. There was just a tasteful hint of porcine smokiness that I actually liked. While it wasn’t our favorite syrup for pancakes or waffles, we all agreed that this would be great for cooking and baking. I could easily see using this to make a salad dressing or maple cake. Justine, our resident cocktail expert, pointed out that this would make an incredible Old Fashioned.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

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Great Value Original Syrup

Best Budget Runner-Up

Great Value Original Syrup

The Great Value Original Syrup (Walmart’s alternative to Target’s Market Pantry) is another excellent cost-conscious option for the sweet breakfast lover on a budget. It had a nice thick consistency that wasn’t too drippy. The flavor scratched the itch for that buttery, fake maple taste that you want from a store-bought, non-maple labeled syrup. It wasn’t quite as good as the Market Pantry syrup, but it was very, very close. If you live closer to Walmart than Target, just buy this one.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart

Rating:

7.5/10

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Cary's Sugar Free Syrup

Best Sugar-Free

Cary’s Sugar Free Syrup

I was shocked when I tried Cary’s Sugar Free Syrup. It is maybe the only sugar-free product I’ve ever had that didn’t have a truly hellish aftertaste. There was not a hint of Splenda flavor to be found. Its texture is similar to Pearl Milling and Great Value, so this is a great option if you like a thicker, stickier syrup. If you find yourself in need of a sugar-free version of syrup, this, in my opinion, is your only option.

Credit: Ryan Martin / Amazon

Rating:

6.5/10

Sporks

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About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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  • Please don’t call these maple syrup because have of these aren’t actually maple syrup it’s just syrup

    Reply
  • haha oh wow, this is a surprising list! I really do think real maple syrups are miles above.

    Reply
  • And once again a bunch of brands I’ve never heard of and can’t buy locally, except for Log Cabin of course. Where the heck are you getting your real maple syrup from that it tastes like pork? Are you getting a kind that’s dark and has a concentrated maple flavor? Stonewall Kitchen makes a delicious real maple syrup.

    Reply
  • Just because I like real maple syrup does not make me elitist! I heard your comments on “A Hot Dog is a Sandwich”. You followed on by saying you support local farms and grocery. I find blindly supporting fake syrup is supporting large multi-national corporations. Try cooking with this stuff.

    Reply
    • Hi Colin! Local maple syrup isn’t available in most parts of the world (including anywhere I’ve ever lived) because maple syrup isn’t produced in most parts of the world. Having limited access due to where you live and “blindly supporting” are not the same thing. If you’re buying expensive, non-local maple syrup, you’re probably also buying it from a company that’s owned by a bigger company or you’re having “local” maple syrup shipped to you, which has a negative environmental impact. Plus, food deserts exists. My point is: I think it is elitist to looks down on others for using the more affordable option without thinking about why they might prefer the more affordable option. Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Jordan,
        Thanks for the reply. First I wouldn’t have thought you or anyone would respond. I understand about locally sourced versus global. On the maple syrup front I fully understand that I live in an area where local maple syrup is readily found and I think it tastes soooo good. On the other side I don’t like our Avocados we get here. It is very random that we get a good one.

        Finally, as someone who grew up on log cabin I have no elitist tendencies for those who use it/like it. I still find it delicious.

  • Fortunate to have grown up in NY State eating the real stuff! Still go home for a maple leaf candy! Thank you guys! Love your reviews!

    Reply
  • That Cary’s Sugar Free is SO good! We were served it in a restaurant once, and I had a 3-pack of it ordered from Amazon before we left the restaurant!

    Reply
    • Thank you for that comment because I was deciding if I wanted to save the article just because of the sugar free one. You made my decision for me 😂

      Reply
  • Deeply disagree with this. Real maple syrup is miles above table syrup. This is actually a little baffling that there was a consensus, and makes me worried for other taste tests.

    Reply
  • Wanted to be excited about this website but I keep coming back to this list. Seeing this review nearly invalidates any food opinions from you guys. “After trying many, many brands of maple syrup, we learned that everyone on the Sporked staff hates actual, authentic maple syrup”. Hope you guys consider a re-do on this one. Respectfully, you got it wrong.

    Reply
    • Hi Brandon! What are some real maple syrups you enjoy that we can taste? Thanks!

      Reply