14 Ways You Wouldn't Have Thought To Use Maple Syrup

If you love dousing your pancakes and waffles with the sweet, liquid-y goodness of maple syrup, you aren't alone. Grand View Research data projects a 6.2% increase in the U.S. maple syrup market through 2028 after steadily increasing by millions of dollars since 2019. According to Bloomberg, Canada's maple syrup production is on the rise due to odd weather patterns causing trees to produce sap earlier than usual. Perhaps, then, a boosted supply of maple syrup is on the way for us to do with as we please.

But is there anything else to do with maple syrup besides using it on breakfast foods? Absolutely! From sweetening butter to using it as a marinade ingredient for meat, maple syrup is actually much more versatile than you think. In fact, we've started stocking up more maple syrup in our pantries to keep experimenting with this mouth-watering ingredient. Follow along as we list multiple ways to get that well-known maple flavor into your favorite breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (and desserts, of course).

1. Use it to Sweeten Soup

Before you think there's no way you'd ever add your beloved maple syrup to a pot of soup, just hear us out. Maple-sweetened soup is a comforting, delicious way to enjoy maple syrup in a new light. Maple pairs extremely well with many vegetables, including sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash, many of which can easily be turned into a creamy soup that's full of flavor.

But, making a whole soup out of savory vegetables and herbs can make the end result a bit too, well, savory. However, adding sugar to the soup can be a dangerous game because it doesn't take much of it to turn your soup into more of a dessert than warming comfort food. Instead, drizzle a little maple syrup into the pot as the soup warms, doing a quick taste test as you go. The syrup brightens the flavor just enough while also adding the tell-tale aroma of maple. Balance the taste with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a fresh herb, like rosemary or thyme.

2. Make Maple Popcorn

Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks to experiment with because you can add so many different toppings and flavors in order to make it taste completely different each time. Feeling salty? Make salt and vinegar popcorn. Want to go sweeter? Try a caramel apple popcorn recipe that makes you feel like you're a kid again, watching TV in your grandma's living room.

And, if you're a maple syrup fan, there's no better way to enjoy it than by drizzling it on top of a bowl of popcorn. After all, Disney World has maple popcorn on its snack menu in Epcot's Canada region, and the item is a complete hit. A reviewer for WDW Magazine tried it for herself, stating, "It was the perfect balance of flavor. The popcorn was crunchy and salty, but the maple flavor completely balanced it out and wasn't too sweet." Try it in your kitchen by bringing maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla extract to a low boil in a saucepan. While warm, drizzle the mixture over popped popcorn. Allow to dry for 2-3 minutes, and enjoy.

3. Mix it into your Cocktails

Here's something you definitely haven't tried yet with maple syrup: Mixing it into your usual alcoholic drinks. One Twitter user posted a picture of their drink with bitters, maple syrup, and bacon. Yes, bacon. This drink may not be for everyone, but the good news is that there are loads of cocktails and liquor out there to experiment with in order to make a pairing you love.

For example, you can combine tequila with maple syrup and fresh berries for a bold, sweet, and colorful drink. Or, blend maple syrup with your favorite creamy coffee liqueur to make a cafe-inspired cocktail. One Twitter user tweeted their concoction used to celebrate Canada Day: "I'm celebrating with a little cocktail of whiskey, maple syrup, homemade ginger kombucha, nasturtium, and orange ice ball."

Maple syrup can work especially well with harvest-inspired drinks typically consumed in the fall, like a hot toddy, spiced hard cider, or a pumpkin pie martini.

4. Make Maple Ice Cream

Picture this: You're curled up on the couch with a bowl of your favorite creamy, sweet vanilla ice cream. Now, imagine it with the taste of maple syrup blended throughout, adding a little bit of extra flavor to each spoonful. If you haven't tried maple syrup ice cream yet, you're missing out on possibly one of the best sweet treats to snack on.

Fans make this ice cream in lots of combinations, like this Redditor who made a batch of strawberry chocolate maple syrup ice cream with chocolate flakes and pieces of Belgian waffles. And then there's this tweet that mentions putting maple syrup in a raspberry-lemon raw dairy ice cream. Maple syrup would also be a good addition to pumpkin, pecan, or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Oh, and don't forget to top your dessert waffles with your newly made maple ice cream!

If you don't want to make your own ice cream batch, you can use maple syrup as a topping instead, just like you would chocolate syrup or a caramel drizzle. Pour a little over the top in a zig-zag pattern to make sure you get a little bit of maple syrup in each bite. 

5. Brighten up your Veggie Sides

Vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, but there are no rules saying that you can't make them a little sweeter for your palate. You'll still get all their good-for-you vitamins and nutrients, after all.

One of our favorite ways to roast vegetables is by mixing them with maple syrup before setting them to bake. The maple syrup caramelizes the veggies as they roast, tenderizing them to an ideal consistency while adding just the right amount of sweetness. As an example of how you can transform your vegetable-based side dishes with maple syrup, consider this tweet, which shows a drool-worthy dish of spring onions and Brussels sprouts tossed with some maple syrup and spices before roasting.

Maple syrup also pairs well with roasted squash, carrots, asparagus, and broccoli. If you're making breakfast, stir a couple of tablespoons into home fries as you cook them to serve alongside eggs and bacon.

6. Add it to Pumpkin Pie

We know that pumpkin and maple are two flavors that were meant to be together, both reminding us of the crisp fall air and Thanksgiving meals. However, we never thought to add maple syrup to pumpkin pie until we came across a Reddit comment suggesting this very pairing: "For the past few years, I've been making pumpkin pie from [an] America's Test Kitchen recipe. It calls for a quarter cup of maple syrup, among other things. Hands-down the best pumpkin pie recipe ever."

We admit that since we started making pumpkin pie this way, it's taken our love for the dessert to a new level. We simply use a little less sugar and substitute it with maple syrup to get both the necessary sweetness and the extra maple flavor. However, be aware that the addition can sometimes make the mixture's consistency thinner. If that happens, add one or two teaspoons of cornstarch to the pie filling to help it set up.

7. Sweeten Tuna Salads

This is another idea you might just need to trust us on until you try it, but we promise it's a good one if you're a fan of sweeter tuna salad. With some creativity, you can even make it suit your taste buds if you like a more savory tuna salad. For example, this Twitter user makes tuna salad with maple syrup but adds salty and savory elements, too, like pickles, Dijon mustard, and mashed chickpeas.

The next time you need to contribute to a potluck lunch at work or a family get-together, consider wowing other guests with a maple syrup tuna salad. Just a little bit of maple syrup goes a long way and can take the place of a sprinkle of sugar or sweet relish. Add celery and onion for texture along with other flavoring ingredients you typically use, like mustard or mayo. Serve it in a bowl with chips, crackers, or pita pockets, and wait for everyone to ask who made the best tuna salad they've ever tried.

8. Enjoy it with your Favorite Steak

Steak goes well with steak sauce, steak rubs, garlic herb butter, gravy, and multiple other toppings and flavoring agents. But basting a steak with maple syrup is probably something you haven't tried, yet it's something that some steak fans swear by, as evidenced by this simple tweet stating, "Filet mignon & maple syrup." The person behind the tweet mentions that they use maple syrup as a dip for their filet mignon, but we've also used it while cooking the meat on the grill or in a pan, helping add a tasty glaze to your steak.

To try it yourself, by brushing a thin layer of maple syrup on all sides of the steak. Then, add your seasonings, like salt, black pepper, or a touch of garlic powder. Coat your grill racks or cast iron skillet with a drizzle of olive oil or place the steak on a grill pan to prevent it from sticking. Then, sear or grill it as usual. The maple syrup helps crisp up the outer edges while transforming into a glaze, resulting in the perfect sear with loads of flavor.

9. Use it in Chicken Marinades

Another way to get your fill of maple syrup without dousing your breakfast foods in it is to add some as a flavoring agent to a chicken marinade. To make a marinade that soaks into meat, tenderizes it, and adds flavor, you typically need a fat like oil, an acid like lemon or soy sauce, and flavoring ingredients like herbs, spices, or sauces. Maple syrup can be an excellent alternative for other sweet flavorings typically added to chicken marinades, like sweet chili sauce, honey, molasses, or brown sugar.

One Twitter user shared their maple syrup-based chicken marinade idea, which includes bourbon, soy sauce, garlic, Dijon mustard, and Italian seasoning. But, there are loads of ways that you can experiment with flavors to match whatever chicken meal you're making. For example, make a Hawaiian-inspired chicken dish by adding mango, pineapple, and chili pepper to your maple syrup marinade. Or, go more Asian-inspired take with teriyaki sauce, ginger, and sesame oil alongside maple syrup and your choice of herbs and spices. Then, top the chicken with diced scallions for crunch.

10. Bring Flavor to Plain Butter

What's better than a pat of butter and a drizzle of syrup on warm pancakes or waffles? Butter that's mixed with maple syrup, of course! Similar to brown sugar or cinnamon butter, maple syrup butter is a twist on regular butter that you can use for breakfasts or baked treats. It's even good to add on dinner rolls or biscuits in place of traditional honey butter.

You can also use maple butter to glaze chicken or turkey with, like this Redditor did before roasting their turkey in the oven. Another Redditor uses maple butter to glaze pan-roasted carrots. We've used maple syrup-infused butter to make everything from donuts and cake to cookies and cobbler. When you work a little syrup into softened butter, it doesn't affect the butter's consistency, so your baked goods won't be compromised by runny batters or fillings that don't set up properly. Soften a stick of butter at room temperature for a couple of hours before mixing in a few tablespoons of maple syrup.

11. Make Sweet Biscuits

If you've ever added honey butter to a biscuit or roll, you know how mouth-watering a little bit of sweetness on bread can be. Maple syrup is one of our favorite alternatives for honey. It's a natural ingredient and adds a sweetness that's not overwhelming, just like honey. However, its flavor brings something different to the table, and that unique flavor makes sweet biscuits with maple syrup a staple in our homes.

Although you can certainly drizzle your favorite maple syrup on top of regular biscuits with butter, we like to make homemade biscuits infused with maple syrup. They end up moister than regular biscuits and give just a hint of maple flavor. You can use any homemade biscuit recipe you'd like to get started, but swap out a quarter cup of milk or buttermilk the recipe calls for with a quarter cup of maple syrup. If needed, add a small amount of flour as you mix the dough until you get the right consistency.

12. Brush it on your Pork

Pork is one of the best meats to marinade or pair with sauces and glazes, and maple syrup is an excellent base ingredient to start with. Think about any pork glazes you've used in the past. They're usually sweetened with brown sugar and balanced with savory flavors like soy sauce, garlic, or cayenne pepper. Maple syrup can be an alternative for brown sugar or added to your usual marinade for pork.

One Reddit user posted a thread with a recipe for a sauce they use with pork chops. Its main ingredient is maple syrup, which gets mixed with ginger, cider vinegar, and mustard. Adding some brown sugar can thicken it enough to use a glaze before roasting or grilling pork shops or a pork loin. Or, for an easy, no-fuss dinner, make a slow-cooker pork roast by pouring your maple syrup concoction over the meat and letting it cook for 6-8 hours on the low setting.

13. Add it to Frosting

Are cinnamon rolls, cake, or cookies in your baking future? If so, grab some maple syrup and don't hesitate to add a drizzle to your homemade or premade frosting. As an example, one Twitter user made a maple cream cheese frosting for their sourdough cinnamon rolls, and we couldn't possibly want to try something more.

Just be sure not to overdo it with maple syrup, or you might end up with frosting that doesn't set up and becomes too runny to top cupcakes with. If you do end up accidentally going overboard with syrup, you can usually add a little more powdered sugar into homemade frosting, whipping the mixture until it reaches the right consistency. Or, if you're worried about using too much, consider using a few drops of maple extract instead. You can always play it safe and drizzle thin lines of maple syrup on top of frosted cookies, cakes, or cupcakes, too, rather than add it directly to frosting.

14. Use it as a Coffee Sweetener

Arguably one of the best flavor pairings ever is coffee and maple. Coffee manufacturers know it's true, too, which is why they make ground coffee and coffee pods in flavors like maple pecan and maple toffee. But you don't need to buy a new bag of coffee to enjoy these maple flavor in this morning's coffee. As this tweet states, "Add maple syrup in your coffee today. Thank me later." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Instead of using sugar or creamer as you usually do to make your coffee, try a teaspoon of maple syrup mixed in a brewed cup. Stir it well before adding milk or cream. Mix it up and try a sip first. Then, decide if it still needs sugar for sweetness. We also like making a spiced version of maple coffee by adding nutmeg and cinnamon to the mix. If you're feeling bold, try a pinch of allspice or pumpkin pie spice. Want a cappuccino version? Whip steamed milk with a frother to add to your maple coffee.