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Grade A Maple Syrup vs Grade B

Maple Syrup Labels

Glance down the syrup aisle at the grocery store and you’re likely to see what seems like a sea of options for syrups. There are tons of “pancake syrups” as well as real maple syrups to choose from. Pancake syrups are usually flavored corn syrup – not the real deal in terms of flavor or consistency, and usually not worth the price even if they’re on sale. Maple syrup is all natural and possesses lots of that maple flavor that the pancake syrups try so hard to imitate.

There are two varieties of maple syrup to choose from, USDA Grade A and Grade B. Grade A is the most popular, with a light maple flavor and a relatively thin consistency. It’s a good choice for pancakes, and can make a great topping for desserts and other foods. Grade A is usually made from the maple sap collected at the beginning of the mapling season.

Grade B maple syrup is much darker and has a stronger flavor. It also is a bit thicker, tending towards the consistency of pancake syrup rather than the runnier Grade A. Grade B is often recommended for baking because its stronger flavor comes through more readily, but it can be a better choice for pancakes or waffles than Grade A if you, like me, are a fan of the flavor of maple in general. The two are interchangeable as far as what will work in a recipe that calls for maple syrup. For those of you looking for Grade C maple syrup, it is now called Grade B. In other words, Grade B & C are the same.

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19 Comments
  • FashionablyEvil
    February 13, 2009

    The rumor I heard was that Vermonters so named the Grade B so they could keep it all for themselves. I find this to be totally plausible. 🙂

  • Patricia Kramer
    February 13, 2009

    Thank you so much for that information, all this time I’ve been thinking I don’t like pure maple syrup, preferring the thicker imitations. I’ve only had the grade A syrup! I’m putting maple syrup on the shopping list!

  • Shannon
    February 13, 2009

    Great info..Thanks!

  • Anonymous
    February 13, 2009

    Can one use maple syrup instead of honey in any recipe?
    Ashanti

  • CookiePie
    February 13, 2009

    I agree about grade B — it’s so much more maple-y!

  • Danielle
    February 13, 2009

    I don’t care which flavor I have as long as it’s on top of those glorious pancakes in your picture! Seriously, how much baking soda did you use to make them that thick?! They look yummy.

  • Linda
    February 13, 2009

    A woman after my own heart. I loathe pancake syrup. It’s so fake and feels so unnatural to the tongue after developing a taste for real maple syrup–no comparison in flavor and depth. And I also agree about Grade B. Definitely my preference. I also use it when maple flavoring is called for. It’s better. Fake maple has always tasted nasty to me–even before I knew it was fake!

  • ChefBliss
    February 13, 2009

    What a great picture!! We swear by maple syrup and I can’t remember the last time I had the fake stuff!! We only buy Grade B because we love the flavor too, but it also has more nutrients in it because it’s one less step of refining or straining or something. I just know it’s GOOD!! Great post!

  • Josh
    January 16, 2010

    I cant find grade B anywhere…Ive looked in all the local stores and nothing…any ideas?

  • Robert
    March 8, 2010

    I actually prefer grade A medium and dark syrup for most uses although I tend to use grade B for cooking. Think really awesome although maple glaze for ham.

    For those that can’t find grade b, there are many good online sources. Just do a search. Or click on my name and check out my site for some ideas.

  • I am not so sure about Grade B myself. I am seriously thinking about making my own.

  • What a great picture!! We swear by maple syrup and I can’t remember the last time I had the fake stuff!! We only buy Grade B because we love the flavor too, but it also has more nutrients in it because it’s one less step of refining or straining or something. I just know it’s GOOD!! Great post!

  • I actually prefer grade A medium and dark syrup for most uses although I tend to use grade B for cooking. Think really awesome although maple glaze for ham.

  • Juegos
    October 27, 2010

    Thanks for the explanation Nicole, I love the maple syrup, is one of my favorites.

  • Scott
    February 15, 2012

    Grade A maple syrup sucks. What’s the point? Where’s the flavor? The flavor and maple experience is in Grade B, which is the true Grade A. The conventional grade A is window cleaner in comparison. That’d be some sticky windows though.

  • Dilbert Doe
    February 24, 2013

    I don’t like maple syrup. I prefer “pancake syrup”… Log Cabin please.

  • Debbie
    October 28, 2014

    I love grade B maple syrup – more nutrition!

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