How to Make Maple Sugar

Learn how to make maple sugar at home and you’ll never again wonder where to buy maple sugar or pay an obscene amount for it.

How To Make Maple Sugar Recipe

Here’s how to make maple sugar at home. You can use it in recipes in place of crazy-expensive, paleo-friendly, store-bought maple sugar. Or you can swap maple sugar for granulated sugar 1:1 in just about any recipe. Making it’s not difficult or tricky or fearsome in any way. It’s actually ridiculously simple. All you need is maple syrup, a pan, and a little patience.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Why Learn How To Make Maple Sugar?

There’s no denying that store-bought maple sugar is pretty pricey, but then so is the maple syrup that’s necessary to make it. We see the value of this recipe not just in financial terms but rather that part of the beauty is you can still use maple sugar in recipes even when it’s not always possible to find it locally seeing as maple syrup is far more accessible than maple sugar. The other part of the beauty? The simple satisfaction derived from making maple sugar on your own just because you can.

Special Equipment: Candy thermometer

How To Make Maple Sugar Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes about 1 1/2 cups


  • 2 cups (16 ounces/475 milliliters) pure maple syrup (opt for a light, not dark, maple syrup)


  • 1. Pour the maple syrup into a sorta high-sided, heavy-bottomed saucepan and crank the heat to medium-high. As the syrup heats, it will begin to bubble vigorously. If the hot, sticky, bubbling syrup gets perilously close to the edge of the pan, stir with a long-handled wooden spoon and the bubbling will subside. Boil until the syrup reduces to about half its original volume and turns darker in color and thicker in consistency and reaches 257°F to 262°F (125°C to 128°C) on a candy thermometer or deep-fry thermometer, which is the hard ball stage in candy making. This should take about 20 minutes. As the syrup cooks down, you may have to tip the pan periodically to fully immerse the bulb of your thermometer in the syrup to get an accurate temperature reading.
  • 2. Once the syrup reaches the requisite temperature, remove the pan from the heat and start stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until the syrup lightens and thickens in texture and eventually becomes granulated and similar in look and feel to light brown sugar, about 5 minutes. The transformation from liquid to granulated sugar happens really quite quickly. (You could opt to use your stand mixer or a hand mixer, but it goes surprisingly quickly when you beat it by hand. Trust us. And just think how toned your arms will be if you switch back and forth between right and left!)
  • 3. Sift the maple sugar through a strainer to remove the larger clumps, then toss those larger clumps into your food processor and whir until they become granulated. Then mix this back into the other maple sugar. Store the maple sugar in an airtight container at room temperature and use it 1:1 in place of granulated white sugar in almost any baking recipe. (And, because we know you’re staring at the dirty pot and dreading having to wash it, here’s an easy technique for cleaning up. Simply fill the pan with water and set it over medium heat. The warm water will turn the sugar back into its liquid state, making cleanup a cinch.)

Big Batch Maple Sugar Variation

  • To make a super big batch of maple sugar, follow the recipe above but use a 32-ounce (950-milliliter) bottle of maple syrup and a stock pot. You’ll end up with about 3 cups (420 grams) maple sugar.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Sarah Heend

Jan 21, 2016

I've been intrigued by maple sugar since I read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods as a child. I reread the book often—obsessively—as a child and loved the chapters about making maple syrup and maple sugar. After using my modern stove, I marvel that they made maple syrup over an open fire and then cooked the syrup down to sugar on a wood stove. We are so spoiled by modern conveniences! After making maple sugar once, I won’t hesitate to make it again. I boiled the syrup while I was making dinner. It only required a stir every so often and an eye on the thermometer. Most of the time was really hands-off while the syrup boiled away. But it had to be attentive hands-off time, to make sure the syrup didn’t burn, or boil over. It took 35 minutes to get the syrup to my target temperature. I probably could have had the heat higher in the beginning to bring the syrup to a boil faster, but I was afraid of burning it. I started out at just under medium-high and lowered the heat gradually as the syrup boiled down. I’m not sure if I had to reduce the heat, but the syrup was getting darker, and I wasn’t sure if it was starting to burn (it wasn’t). Probably a less hesitant cook (or one more experienced with candymaking and hot sugar syrup) would've used higher heat and reached the target temperature sooner than I did. Once it reached the proper temperature, it took just about 5 minutes to stir the hot syrup until it granulated. The syrup filled the kitchen with luscious, toasty maple scents while it was boiling. And the maple sugar tastes just like it smelled—darker and more concentrated than its parent syrup. I am busy thinking of ways to use my stash of maple sugar. For now I am settling for eating a lump every time I walk by the bowl—I have not taken the time to grind the sugar in the food processor yet. I’m enjoying the lumps too much to change them in any way!

Testers Choice
Adrienne Lee

Jan 21, 2016

This recipe works. First, I really was able to get the maple syrup to become maple sugar. Second, it looked just like the maple sugar in the bag I purchased. A lot of the granules were too large. I put the larger clumps in the food processor twice and then ground some using a mortar and pestle. The timing for when it becomes sugar was about 5 minutes. As you stir, it looks like nothing is happening, then suddenly it gets thicker and changes color. As with all sugar work, don't leave the kitchen once you start this recipe. It will get bubbly up to the top of the pan, and if you stir immediately when you see it, it will go down. But if you aren't watching, you might have a mess. (I learned my lesson a long time ago.) Would I make it again? Yes, if I'm in a pinch and can't make it to the store because I always have maple syrup around.

  1. Ann says:

    Which grade of maple syrup should you use: grade A or B? I’ve heard grade B is cheaper and has a more pronounced maple flavor than the more expensive grade A.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Ann, grade B is indeed more intensely maple-y than grade A. As for the price, I’m not certain whether one is appreciably less expensive than the other, but in terms of which maple syrup to use, it depends on your personal preference as well as your intended use for the sugar. A lot of baked goods for which you want a subtle maple flavor would work will with maple sugar made from grade A syrup. Conversely, if you crave a robust and dominant maple flavor, then grade B is your ticket. Also, please note that the labeling for maple syrup has recently changed the government has done away with the official distinctions of “grade A” and “grade B” although we’ve noticed that most packaging has remained the same thus far.

  2. Rick Thomas says:

    I am trying to change lifestyle. maple sugar is one of the foods. thanks for the recipe.

  3. Tom says:

    I needed 21 ounces of maple sugar for a cake recipe and had an 8-ounce package at home. So I found this recipe and tried it. It works well — probably 2/3 of the batch had to be ground up in the food processor, and it’s not as fine a texture as the maple sugar I bought from King Arthur, but it made a lovely cake.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      That’s terrific, Tom! Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience. Am so glad it worked out as well for you as it did for our home testers.

  4. Brandon Spence says:

    Will definitely try this! We can’t get this in New Zealand. Does this sugar keep well food safety-wise?

  5. Brandon Spence says:

    Yep, it’s a pretty good flavor :) … Nice! just tried it. … It does however stubbornly stick to the pan a little bit … need a chisel to get it out lol. Any tips for this?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Brandon, so glad this recipe appealed to you! We, too, love the flavor. Several of our testers tried this with just minimal sticking of the sugar to the pan. May I inquire, did you remove the sugar from the pan immediately after pulling the pan from the heat? That will help tremendously. Otherwise, next time keep careful watch on the maple sugar as it develops and remove the pan from the heat a touch earlier than you did this time. It sounds like there was just a touch too much heat going on that solidified the sugar to the pan.

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