Five Simple, Natural Recipes for Homemade Pancake Syrup

Pancakes are somewhat of a religion in our household, but contrary to what most people think, we don’t enjoy them exclusively with pure maple syrup. Yes, around here it is easily accessible and somewhat affordable, but I like to change things up for pancake toppings from time to time.

A favorite of ours is fresh yogurt with apple butter, but we get even more creative than that and today I’m showing you some of those variations. Pictured above from left to right: buttery maple, honey-orange, molasses-cinnamon, vanilla-rice syrup, and blueberry syrups!

When I was growing up, we scooped local honey from a big bucket into a small cast iron pot and set it on the wood stove to melt for our pancakes. With store-bought pancake syrups consisting basically of corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavoring, my mother made sure to keep all Aunt Jemima and Log Cabin bottles far from our breakfast table.

Now my children also enjoy all-natural syrups on their pancakes and waffles, their current favorite being the Molasses-Cinnamon. These are recipes that I’ll be teaching them to make before they move out on their own and hopefully the tradition of homemade pancake syrups will be passed down to their children as well.

A few things to note about these recipes:

As much as possible, all ingredients are organic.

For the best flavor and consistency, these syrups are made to be served warm. They will be stiff if you serve them straight from the refrigerator, so set the glass jar in a pan of hot water  and let them warm up. Alternately, scoop out a portion of syrup into a small bowl and warm it for a few seconds in the microwave.

Store all syrups in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, although they probably won’t last that long.

A jar of homemade pancake syrup makes a lovely gift. Perhaps alongside a jar of homemade pancake mix? Sounds like a smashing start to a breakfast basket to me.

Molasses-Cinnamon Syrup

If you like a warm molasses cookie, then you’ll love this dark syrup. The butter adds an irresistible glossy sheen to the syrup while smoothing out the sharp bite of the molasses. Serve over this baked apple gingerbread pancake for a real treat.

  • 1/2 cup demerera sugar (or brown)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 6 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
  1. In a small pot, whisk together sugar, molasses, water, and cinnamon over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a slow boil and continue stirring until ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Cool slightly. Transfer to a jug for serving or a glass jar for storing.

Yields: 3/4 cup syrup

Buttery Maple Syrup

This isn’t anything more than maple syrup and butter melted together, but it’s a favorite when we’re making ‘stacked pancakes’. Inspired by Wilder’s ‘Farmer Boy’, I layer piping hot, 3-inch pancakes with warm buttery maple syrup until they tower tall, then serve them to the kids. Nothing makes them happier.

It’s also a great way to stretch maple syrup.

  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  1. In a small pot, whisk maple syrup and water together and warm over a burner.
  2. When syrup is hot, whisk in butter all at once.
  3. Continue stirring over medium low heat until butter is melted and syrup is hot. Pour into pitcher and serve, or make stacked pancakes.

Yields: 1 1/4 cups syrup

For Stacked Pancakes:
Keep syrup hot on the back of the stove while you fry pancakes. Place pancakes in a 9×13 pan and drench with buttery maple syrup. Keep pan in a low oven while you continue to cook pancakes. Keep adding to the stacks and brushing on syrup after every addition. Serve warm.

Honey-Orange Syrup

This glistening, citrus-infused syrup is like a beam of sunshine in the morning. Absolutely amazing over cornmeal pancakes or a bowl of fresh fruit.

  • 1 cup organic honey
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of one orange
  • (optional: 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier)
  1. Wash an orange and zest completely ( I use a microplane). Juice the orange.
  2. In a small pot, whisk together honey and the freshly squeezed orange juice over medium heat. Continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil and the orange juice is completely incorporated.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Transfer to a jug for serving or a glass jar for storing.

Yields: 1 cup syrup

Blueberry Syrup

Last summer I capitalized on the low prices and abundance of local blueberries and made my own blueberry syrup. I knew it would be good, but not THIS good. We became smitten, pouring it over ice cream sundaes, cheesecake, yogurt, and of course, our pancakes. I bought crates of berries, canned the syrup, and we’ve been enjoying it all winter long.

You should definitely bookmark the recipe for next June, but for now you can use frozen, thawed blueberries for a delicious, tart alternative to the sweeter syrups.

Vanilla-Rice Syrup

Plenty of pure vanilla and rich butter in this recipe transform organic brown rice syrup into a luxurious topping.

  • 1 cup brown rice syrup (I use Lundburg)
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter
  • (optional: 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded)
  1. In a small pot, whisk brown rice syrup and water together and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. When syrup is hot, remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.
  3. Whisk until butter is melted and ingredients are incorporated. Cool slightly. Transfer to a jug for serving or a glass jar for storing.

Yields: 1 cup syrup
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Don’t worry, we’ve got our favorite pancake recipe coming next week!

Pancakes, waffles or French Toast, what is your household favorite?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. This is fantastic. We are definitely fans of the pancake around here, and often eat oat or cornmeal ones. We don’t consume a lot of French toast or waffles, but we do make crepes on the weekend.

  2. My family really dislikes plain maple syrup, so I have given up trying. What I’m using currently to appease all the taste buds is Log Cabin’s All Natural syrup. It’s alright, but I’m grateful to have some new options to try that don’t call for Mapleine. Blech!

    • They do not like maple syrup? I don’t think I have heard of that, but I am Canadian, so even if we didn’t like it (we all love it by the way), I couldn’t say it out loud!

  3. What a wonderful way to liven up simple pancakes or french toast. We eat one of those every Sunday morning (our one family breakfast of the week) and although most of us enjoy plain maple syrup, I love these ideas for making them even more special. I especially like the buttery maple syrup version. So simple, but so yummy sounding. Thanks for some great ideas!
    Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger)’s last post: Cookbook Review- The Essential New York Times Cookbook

  4. Each and every one of these syrups looks mouthwatering. I’d put them on ice cream too!
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Wordless Wednesday – Winter

  5. Oh yum, these all look terrific, especially the buttered maple syrup. One thing we’re doing lately is when I make smoothies (usually kefir/yogurt + frozen berries) we drizzle that over our pancakes of choice and it is a creamy, sweet, fruity treat.

  6. My family loves pancakes and French toast while I am a huge waffle fan. Of course we use pure maple syrup as one of the toppings (other include jam or yogurt). I am certainly going to give all these recipes a try. They sound delicious. Great to offer these toppings at a brunch!

  7. For my family pancakes are the winner, but me, I love french toast. The syrups look delicious!

  8. I love these ideas, especially the molasses-cinnamon syrup which is like gingerbread in a bottle!
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen’s last post: wine liquid memories

  9. These all look so delicious. Can’t wait to try them!

  10. I’d love any of these on my pancakes, but that honey-orange is really calling to me this morning! Yum!

  11. Pancakes, waffles, or french toast … that is a tough call ;-) I love stuffed french toast but can’t imagine a weekend going by without pancakes!

    That honey-orange syrup sounds so good! Can’t wait to give these a try!
    Kara @Simple Kids’s last post: Let’s Talk- Coping During Challenging Seasons of Life

  12. What a great post. Your syrups all look amazing. We are great lovers of the pancake as well and I’m excited to add some variety with your syrups!

  13. I am in LOVE with this post!!! We adore syrup around here but try to buy only organic and its gets pretty spendy! What a brilliant substitution! (And BETTER!)
    Amanda’s last post: Thank You Cookies For Mr Postman

  14. I just made some homemade syrup a few weeks ago but you definitely give a great variety a recipes. I’ll have to try your recipes, the orange honey one sounds amazing.
    This is a perfect alternative to the store bought varieties. They “fake” syrups at the stores are filled with HFCS and artificial coloring and flavorings. Not something I like to feed my family.
    Great recipes, thanks for sharing!
    Lisa {Smart Food & Fit}’s last post: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bowl of Fun

  15. As Buddy The Elf says, “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.” Thanks for kicking it up a notch!

  16. These sound terrific Aimee!! I made cinnamon syrup last fall for my pumpkin pancakes can’t wait to try some of these
    TidyMom’s last post: Low CalThree Cheese Chicken Penne Bake

  17. We rarely make anything other than homemade maple syrup. I’m going to have to shake things up around here!
    Kristen’s last post: Soup-a-Palooza Link Up and Giveaways

  18. Fantastic alternatives to regular ol’ syrup! I’m especially eyeing the vanilla rice syrup, as brown rice syrup is a favorite unrefined sweetener of mine. The blueberry syrup also sounds great – I can’t wait until berries are once again in season!

  19. Great photos and very useful post! We’d love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!

  20. Yum! We loved The bluberry syrup this summer and I think I’m going to have to try each of these yet. Our favourite “vessel” is definitely waffles but we haven’t owned a waffle maker since moving to Norway so pancakes are our go to now. Another fave is crepes. Yay for breakfast foods!
    Cheri’s last post: Pea and Almond Couscous

  21. These all sound so interesting, Aimee! Love that Little House is one of your syrup inspirations!!
    Jamie ~ Simple Homeschool’s last post: Educational Philosophies Defined- Part I

    • There’s apparently a whole cookbook based on the Little House books. I think I’d like it. :)

      • Melissa Canan says:

        I’ve got the Little House cookbook, the apple pie receipe in it is the only one I use. The book gives a lot of historical info and isn’t boring. Any bookstore may have the book or you can order it from the Laura Ingalls Wilder websites.

  22. Wow! I’ve never thought of making syrups like this! These look delicious.
    Alison @ Hospitality Haven’s last post: Peter’s Birthday Recap

  23. This is great, Aimee. I’ll be branching out!
    Jennifer Jo’s last post: The case of the whomping shovel

  24. Love these recipes Aimee! I especially like the Honey Orange Syrup. I’ll be trying that one for sure.
    Diana’s last post: I Am An Urban Homesteader

  25. I LOVE THIS!!! Pancakes or waffles are something we do every weekend. Special breakfast, and ours boys love it. I can’t wait to change it up and use these syrups and waffle/pancake recommendations. (and I haven’t ventured into french toast, or crepes yet…and the idea of stuffed french toast (I think Kara’s comment). Oh my! I need to find a recipe for that. Looks like breakfast for dinner tomorrow!

  26. Oh my gosh, these sound amazing! Especially the blueberry–I’m intrigued. And drooling.
    Elle’s last post: Lobster Egg Rolls with Blood Orange Dipping Sauce

  27. Oh. My. Gosh.

    Normal pancake syrups are forever ruined for me. Which is probably a good thing!!

    YUM.
    Cookbook Queen’s last post: Oatmeal Spice Cookies

  28. I love these flavor syrups. These are perfect with homemade pancakes.
    Sanura at MyLifeRunsOnFood.com’s last post: RedPandora Popcorn Contest- Guess the 2011 Oscar Winners

  29. Oh my goodness, Aimee, these sound amazing! We usually stick to maple for him, agave for me, and sometimes a fruit syrup like blueberry or raspberry depending on what kind of fresh or frozen fruit I have on hand. I can’t wait to to try the buttery maple one and the vanilla rice syrup though! Yum, yum!!

  30. What a bunhc of great ideas….quick question…what exactly is brown rice syrup? I’m not sure i’ve come across it before, Is there an alternative?

  31. These are gorgeous recipes, Aimee! I can’t wait to give them a try to see which one my family prefers. I’m with you on the blueberry syrup. It is a delicious way to enjoy those blueberries all year long!
    Robyn | Add a Pinch’s last post: Shrimp and Grits Bites

  32. I’m with the kids- love the cinnamon molasses one!

  33. This is a fantastic post! I love the variety of flavors and the idea of giving these as gifts. Right up my ally. Thank you!
    Monica’s last post: Honey Teriyaki Hot Wings – An Easy- Finger-Lickin Crowd Pleaser

  34. I made—and posted about (http://bit.ly/dO32Yh)—some of these! Thanks!
    Jennifer Jo’s last post: Sticky sweet- two ways

  35. I love these recipes and your photos are beautiful!
    the urban baker’s last post: Truffle Brownie Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

  36. Aimee, I love this post. Each and every one of these syrups looks amazing. I must try each if them.

  37. I love these ideas! And I’m especially fond of the syrup inspired by Farmer Boy, one of my favorite childhood books! Thanks for all these great ideas :)

  38. Thanks for all these great ideas! We love pure maple syrup but it is so expensive. These look like great alternatives that will be much healthier than store bought “pancake syrup”! Thanks again – LeAnne

  39. I’ve never considered making my own syrup, but you’ve convinced me. These all sound wonderful.

    I’d love for you to share this recipe on my linky for Sweet Tooth Friday. http://alli-n-son.com/2011/03/03/monster-cookies/
    Allison @ Alli ‘n Son’s last post: Sweet Tooth Friday- MONSTER Cookies

  40. What kind of molasses do you use? I haven’t used it much before, but I know there are different kinds.

  41. Also, consider alternatives to syrup. For example, I always top my waffles with banana slices sauteed in a little butter. I also make waffles that have enough character to be interesting without a lot of syrup.

  42. Does the syrup have a shelf life? Does it have to be stored in the frig?

    • Yes, they need to be stored in the refrigerator. I canned and processed the blueberry syrup successfully, so this could be another option.

      • Melanie says:

        Have you tried canning any of the others? And how do you can them? Water-bath? Pressure cooker? What lbs, time, etc? I’d love to try canning some! Thank you!

  43. Christie says:

    I’m so excited to stumble across your site! I’m experimenting with eating all local foods, and one thing I can’t get where I am is maple syrup. I’ve been looking for good homemade alternatives, and will definitely be trying the Honey-Orange syrup soon! Love it, thanks!

  44. Thank you for these wonderful, creative recipes! I have been getting the store-bought syrups for years, especially whatever is the cheapest, but always hated the artificial colorings and HFCS. Just had the thought that I should try a homemade syrup–I didn’t know what was involved but I was sure it could be done. Looks like it can be done, and beautifully! Thank you!

  45. Could I make these and can them to give as gifts for the holidays? I would love to start early, process and can them, so they were ready.

  46. This sounds like a great idea! Is there anyway to make them last for longer than two weeks? Have you ever tried water canning?

  47. Hello, this is a wonderful article! I wondered if you would be interested in posting it on my site for my readers? of course with your information and a link back to this site. Very Well Done!!!

  48. Farrukh@housewifesutopia says:

    I love the honey-orange syrup recipe which I’ll definitely try. All the syrups look so yummy.
    Farrukh@housewifesutopia’s last post: Simple Curry Powder Recipe

  49. These syrups look tasty, but I am on a low/no sugar diet. Any suggestions for pancake toppings that are low sugar? The bananas sautéed in butter I will have to try.

  50. I tried the honey orange syrup and it tastes amazing! I cooked it for a friends birthday here in China. Best thing I’ve ever done! Try it! :)

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