Should You Refrigerate Maple Syrup?

Breakfast wouldn't be complete without the sweet and sticky brown liquid used to top your favorite French toast recipe: maple syrup. Pair it with a side of savory bacon and a glass of fresh orange juice, and you've got yourself the breakfast of champions.

Like many unopened liquids, maple syrup can be stored in a cool, dark place until it is ready to use — typically within a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, what should you do with your maple syrup once it's opened? For many people, putting it in the fridge is only natural, but won't that leave you with cold maple syrup for your fresh, hot pancakes?

Now that you think of it, you may be left with a few questions about that bottle of syrup sitting in your refrigerator, like what's the best way to store it once it's opened, how long does it last in the fridge, and what exactly is the difference between maple syrup and pancake syrup anyway?

Should you put your maple syrup in the fridge?

There is a reason everyone puts their maple syrup in the fridge -– even if it's just out of habit. Epicurious states that if you have pure maple syrup at home, the way to properly store it is in the fridge. This is mostly because leaving your maple syrup out can increase the chances of mold forming, rather than it being a safety issue. 

According to Helen Thomas at the New York Maple Producers Association, "If you leave it sitting out on the table too many times after using it, it's possible it could pick up some mold spores from the air." While this isn't necessarily dangerous, it can affect the overall taste of the syrup. Thomas says that if you suspect your syrup has mold, clean off the top and remove any visible mold. After straining the remaining syrup, reheat it to bring back any flavor that has been lost and rebottle it. Maple syrup can last in the fridge for about two years in a translucent container before it decreases in quality.

On the other hand, artificial pancake syrups can be left at room temperature since they're often made with preservatives. However, you can always store them in the fridge after using unless otherwise stated on the bottle. But how can you store your maple syrup in the fridge and still have warm syrup for your pancakes? Pour what you plan on using into a different bottle and let it sit on the counter to warm. You can even heat it in the microwave if you want to use it immediately.

More on maple syrup

Maple syrup may be delicious, but it is equally just as rich in history and tradition. According to the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, it was Native Americans who first took the sugar from maple tree sap and had it processed to make maple syrup in the 17th century.

Maple syrup may be famous for its love affair with breakfast foods and desserts, but the truth is this unique substance can be stirred into baked beans, drizzled over pork, or whisked into dressing and marinades as well. This sweet and sticky sap also has impressive health benefits despite being high in calories. According to WebMD, maple syrup is a better swap compared to fake pancake syrups on the market (i.e., Pearl Milling Company and Log Cabin) since it's rich in antioxidants and manganese.

Today, maple syrup can be found worldwide, with Quebec, Canada generating most of the world's maple syrup (per Farmers' Almanac).