Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Which Is the More Flavorful Sweetener?

Maple Syrup vs Sugar

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Which Is the More Flavorful Sweetener?

You can use them both to add a touch of sweetness to your favorite dishes. But one has a significantly more complex flavor, adding more oomph to whatever food or drink you add it to. Learn about six key differences between maple syrup vs. white sugar! Plus, learn how to use each in both sweet and savory dishes!

Which Is the More Flavorful Sweetener: Maple Syrup or White Sugar?

Maple SyrupWhite Sugar
SourceSap from sugar maple treesSugar cane and sugar beets; refined
Nutritional ValueContains antioxidants and mineralsEmpty calories; contains sucrose only
UsesVarious dishes, both sweet and savoryAll-purpose sweetener
ColorLight to dark brownWhite
FlavorRich with caramel/vanilla undertonesSweet and versatile
Glycemic IndexLow glycemic indexHigh glycemic index

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Source

Sugar maple trees are the source of maple syrup. The sap from these trees has a naturally subtle, sweet flavor. But to turn it into maple syrup, it has to be concentrated. White sugar may come from either sugar beets or sugar cane. Before it becomes the granulated sugar you use, it has to be refined.

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Nutritional Value

Maple Syrup vs Sugar Nutritional Facts

One tablespoon of maple syrup contains 52 calories, 13.4 grams of carbohydrates, 0.06 milligrams of iron, and 0.03 milligrams of zinc. A tablespoon of white sugar contains 49 calories, 12.6 grams of carbohydrates, 0.01 milligrams of iron, and 0.01 milligrams of zinc. Pure maple syrup contains antioxidants and minerals whereas white sugar contains only sucrose.

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Uses

You can use white sugar as an all-purpose sweetener, even incorporating it into savory dishes. Maple syrup is similar in that it’s versatile, and used in both sweet and savory meals. However, one has its own distinct flavor while the other allows for incorporation into nearly anything due to its neutral taste.

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Color

The name says it all—white sugar is white! Maple syrup has some color variations, ranging from a light amber color to more of a dark brown.

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Flavor

White sugar offers a sweet, neutral flavor, which is why it’s used as an all-purpose sweetener. Maple syrup has a distinctive flavor reminiscent of vanilla and caramel.

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Glycemic Index

If you’re keeping tabs on your blood sugar, maple syrup is a sounder choice as its glycemic index is lower at 54. White sugar has a higher glycemic index of 65, which means it increases your blood sugar quickly. With maple syrup, your blood sugar increases at a slower rate.

Maple Syrup vs. White Sugar: Can You Substitute One for the Other?

If you’re looking for the most flavorful sweetener, it’s maple syrup all the way! Maple syrup has a deliciously rich and complex flavor profile with hints of caramel and vanilla. White sugar, on the other hand, is more neutral with a heavy emphasis on sweetness.

Maple Syrup Recipes

We promised you sweet and savory recipes that you can enjoy with maple syrup. Check them out below!

Bottle of maple syrup or healthy tincture and spring maple leaf. Bowl of maple syrup and wooden dipper on background.
Maple syrup has a rich, complex flavor profile. You can make it shine in both sweet and savory dishes!

©Chamille White/Shutterstock.com

Make it Sweet

Incorporate maple syrup into your breakfast or brunch by preparing it the night before, making for an effortless breakfast. You get a bit of zest but the maple syrup ties it all together, making for a sweet, unbelievably rich dish. You need the following ingredients:

  • Brioche bread (1 loaf)
  • Maple syrup, pure (3 tablespoons)
  • Eggs, large (8)
  • Half-and-half (2 ½ cups)
  • Vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)
  • Cranberries, fresh (1 cup)
  • Pecans, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • Powdered sugar (sprinkled on top)
  • Orange zest, grated (1 teaspoon)
  • Cinnamon, ground (1/2 teaspoon)

In a saucepan, add your butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup. While it comes to a boil, grab your baking dish, and coat it with cooking spray. Once the mixture has reached a boil, pour it into your baking dish. Take your brioche bread and add slices over the mixture. Instead of setting them side-by-side, overlap them.

Then, in a bowl, whisk your eggs, half-and-half cream, orange zest, vanilla, and cinnamon together. Pour this mixture over the overlapping brioche bread slices in your baking dish. Then, grab your cup of cranberries and sprinkle them on top. Cover the dish and set it in your refrigerator for use in the morning.

When you’re ready to cook your breakfast, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Add the chopped pecans as a final touch to your dish, and place it into your oven, covered, to cook for 20 minutes. Then bake again, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Add your powdered sugar and serve!

Make it Savory

Try a maple mustard marinade with your chicken thighs and serve them alongside a fresh salad for a unique flavor adventure you can enjoy with your friends and family. You need the following ingredients:

  • Maple syrup, pure (1/2 cup)
  • Dijon mustard (1/4 cup)
  • Olive oil (1/4 cup)
  • Whole-grain mustard (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt, kosher (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Allspice, ground (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Chicken thighs, bone-in (3 pounds)
  • Salad of your choice

Start by preparing your marinade. In a mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, olive oil, allspice, salt, and mustard. Scoop ½ cup of the sauce into a large resealable bag. Then, add your chicken thighs and coat them thoroughly. Place them in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Set the rest of the sauce aside for use later.

When you’re ready to cook your chicken thighs, remove them from the resealable bag and discard the used sauce. Grill them on high (475 degrees), making sure to turn them occasionally. Once cooked, serve the chicken thighs alongside a salad of your choice, using the rest of the sauce to pour on top.

White Sugar Recipes

White sugar is all-purpose for a reason. Try the sweet and savory recipes below!

Bowl of white sugar isolated on white background, top view
White sugar is used as an all-purpose sweetener and is a staple in most homes! You can use it to sweeten things up in desserts and to round flavors out in savory dishes!


Make it Sweet

You can turn vegetables into dessert if you have the right ingredients, including a bit of white sugar. Try making sweet potatoes even sweeter with this candied recipe. You need the following ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes, large (6)
  • White sugar (2 cups)
  • Nutmeg, ground (1 teaspoon)
  • Cinnamon, ground (1 teaspoon)
  • Vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
  • Salt (to taste)

Start by peeling and slicing your sweet potatoes into rounds. Then, cook them in butter. Add the white sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt, and keep cooking them until they’re candied. When you remove them from the heat, add the vanilla and carefully stir it in. Let cool before serving!

Make it Savory

How does white sugar play into a savory recipe that calls for fresh tomatoes? Well, you have to try it to appreciate it fully. After putting together this spaghetti sauce recipe, all you need is cooked spaghetti, freshly grated parmesan, and some fresh basil to serve! Here are the ingredients you need for the sauce:

  • Tomatoes, fresh (4 pounds)
  • White sugar (1 tablespoon)
  • Onion, chopped (1)
  • Olive oil (1/4 cup)
  • Garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Basil, dried (1 tablespoon)
  • Parsley, dried (1 tablespoon)
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)

Start by peeling your tomatoes. Once they’ve cooled, dice them, and set them aside. Then, cook your onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes along with the rest of the ingredients and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and wait until your sauce thickens. Serve with cooked spaghetti, grated parmesan, and a bit of fresh basil!

Recipe Card

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Delicious fried salmon fillet, seasonings on blue rustic concrete table. Cooked salmon steak with pepper, herbs, lemon, garlic, olive oil, spoon. Grilled fresh fish. Fish for healthy dinner. Close-up

Maple Glazed Salmon with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com
  • Total Time: 40 minutes


Units Scale

For the Maple Glazed Salmon:

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For Garnish:

  • Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Toss the diced sweet potatoes and halved Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.
  4. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  5. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until they are tender and slightly crispy, tossing halfway through.
  6. Place the salmon fillets on a separate baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Brush the maple glaze over each salmon fillet.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  9. Serve the maple-glazed salmon over the roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
  10. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.
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