The Best Substitutes For Maple Extract in Baking & Dessert Making

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Don’t have maple extract but a recipe you’re making calls for it? No problem! I show you where you can buy it, how to make it at home, and 10 substitutions.

If you don’t have maple extract in your cupboard but are making a recipe that calls for it, don’t panic!

In this article I share easy substitutions you probably have in your pantry. But first, since using real maple extract is better than using an alternative, I show you where you can buy or order it and how to make homemade maple extract in your own kitchen.

First, What Exactly Is Maple Extract?

Maple extract is a delicious liquid food flavoring (like vanilla or almond extract) made out of the sap of maple trees. It lends a strong maple flavor when used in cooking and baking and is often a great substitute for pure maple syrup or maple sugar in food recipes. Maple extract is often used to create or boost the flavor profile of homemade maple syrup.

Maple extract can come in two forms: imitation and pure maple extract. It’s often a great alternative to vanilla extract in dessert recipes such as cookies.

You can use maple extract in various baked goods, desserts, and sweets including cakes, ice cream, waffles, and french toast.

If you don’t have maple extract but are making a recipe that calls for it, keep reading for substitutions you can use instead.

What Does Maple Extract Taste Like?

The flavor of maple extract is…well, maple! If you’ve ever had maple syrup, it’s the closest thing to the flavor of this extract. Maple extract is often used to boost the flavor of maple syrup.

Warning: like all extracts, if you pour a little on a spoon and taste it, it won’t taste good by itself!

Where Can I Buy Maple Extract?

Depending on where you live, real maple extract might be pretty hard to find in grocery stores but specialty stores and some large supermarkets like Target or Walmart may stock it.

McCormick, an extract brand that’s easily found in grocery stores in the US, does make real maple extract, it’s worth looking for it at your local grocery store. If you don’t find it, McCormick real maple extract is available here on Amazon.

You can also order maple extract on Amazon!

You’ll find Watkins maple extract here (along with a whole bunch of other tasty flavors) and Cooks maple extract here.

When shopping for maple extract, it is important to bear in mind that there is a difference between pure and artificial flavors. Imitation flavors may not contain the actual flavor but would be a combination of various ingredients to create a flavor that matches the real flavor.

Always double check if the maple extract you’re buying is imitation maple flavoring, imitation maple extract or actual pure maple extract. You might also want to check if it has any added sugar.

How Can I Use Maple Extract in Cooking, Baking and Dessert-Making?

Maple extract is a very common ingredient in dessert syrups such as pancake syrup, maple flavored simple syrup, and many other desserts that have a maple taste.

As maple extract can be used in place of vanilla extract, it’s no surprise that many sweet treats made with vanilla extract can also be made with maple extract.

Some of the recipes that can benefit from maple extract’s flavor include whipped cream, ice cream, maple candy, maple coffee creamer, maple honey, maple frosting, maple butter, and maple cream.

Maple extract can also be used in things like pancake, waffle, and french toast recipes by adding a teaspoon of maple extract to the batter for sweetness and flavor.

Can I Make Maple Extract At Home?

Yes! Maple extract can be made at home either by using fenugreek seeds or maple syrup.

To make maple extract with fenugreek seeds, you need ½ cup of fenugreek seeds, one cup of water, one cup of vodka. An electric pressure cooker is also recommended.

An easier way to make maple extract is from maple syrup. Here’s an easy recipe: 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1/2 cup of vodka to a jar with a tight fitting lid.

Let the mixture stand at room temperature in a cool, dark cupboard for at least three days.

Best Maple Extract Substitutes

If you don’t have maple extract, can’t find it at the store, can’t order it, and don’t have time to make it at home, try one of these alternatives. There are various maple products you can use in place of extract.

The best substitute for your recipe depends on the type of recipe you’re making, how strong of a maple flavor you desire, and how much liquid your recipe can incorporate.

Maple Syrup

You can use real maple syrup in place of maple extract by adding natural maple syrup to your recipe. You will need to use real maple syrup and not imitation or artificial maple syrup.

The maple flavor is not as strong in maple syrup as it is in maple extract, and it has a different consistency, so you will need to bear that in mind when making your substitution.

Depending on the recipe, you can add more maple syrup to get a stronger flavor. This may work for simple recipes such as pancakes and waffles batters but may give a very different result in a baking recipe where liquid to dry ratio needs to be precise.


If you have molasses in your pantry you could try adding a small amount to your recipe.

While molasses doesn’t taste the same as maple, it does have a strong flavor that will deepen the flavor of your baked good in the same way maple extract or maple syrup will.

Maple Butter or Maple Cream

Another common alternative to maple extract is maple butter or thick maple cream.

You can substitute maple extract with maple butter by replacing any regular butter in the recipe with maple butter. The maple flavor may not be as strong as if you used maple extract but maple butter provides a close substitute.

Almond, Vanilla or Rum Extract

You can also use almond extract, vanilla extract or rum extract as substitutes for maple extract in recipes.

While these two extracts cannot be called exact substitutes for maple extract, since they have a different flavor, they are common pantry staples that can be used as a quick alternative, especially in baking.

If you use almond or vanilla extract in place of maple extract in recipes, consider adding walnuts or pecans to give your recipe that nutty, warm flavor.

Maple Sugar

You can also substitute maple extract with maple sugar in recipes especially if the amount to be substituted is very little. Simply replace some or all of the sugar for maple sugar in your recipe.

Maple Candy or Maple Creamer

In a pinch, if you have maple candy or maple creamer, you might be able to use one or both as a substitute. If your recipe calls for milk or cream, you could replace it with maple cream. If you can mash up the maple candy, you could use it instead of some or all of the sugar in a recipe.

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