Homemade Pancake Syrup: Still Not Right


Homemade pancake syrup is one of those DIY recipes that I gave a try a few years back and didn’t much care for it.  My batch turned out VERY sweet and VERY thin.  I decided it was a recipe that needed more work but then never gave it a try again.

This past week, however, I decided to give it another shot when I came across something I had jotted down a few years back.  It was a strategy for homemade syrup that instead of just using plain water in the mixture like most recipes, instead used water reserved from boiling potatoes. The thought was the water would have some residual potato starch and that would help to thicken up your syrup mixture.

What the heck, I thought ~ Let’s give it another try ~ Let’s see what some potato water can do.

homemade pancake syrup

I mixed together 1-1/2 cups of reserved potato water, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup white sugar and boiled it on the stove for about 5 minutes.  I then added 1 teaspoon of maple extract and let it cool.

And the result . . . was still just so-so.

On a positive note, the syrup did not taste like potatoes 🙂  It was also not as sweet as the first version I tried and that was better too.

BUT, it was still very thin and wasn’t all that tasty either.

So it’s back to the drawing board again on this one I think.   I love my homemade pancakes but the homemade syrup has proved a little trickier for me (or maybe I’m just too finicky).  There seem to be several things that play into getting this recipe right including the water to sugar ratio, the length of time you boil the mixture, AND apparently lots of people feel that Mapleline extract is the very best one to use in a homemade pancake syrup recipe too.

How about you?  Do you have a strategy for making homemade pancake syrup that works for you?

Feel free to leave a comment below – I’d love to learn!



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  1. The water should have been reserved from boiling new potatoes with their skins on. You shouldn’t need a commercial maple extract; the Pennsylvania Dutch people who invented this recipe wouldn’t have had any in their larders. I recommend one part water to one part white sugar to one part brown sugar.

  2. Start with the caramel: (melt sugar in a pan until its brown.)
    Try boiling some citrus rinds in the potato water with a pinch of salt and pepper to balance the sweetness and add depth of flavor. Then add the caramel.
    __ or __
    If you’re feeling really bold:
    Caramelize a sweet onion and the citrus rinds, then add it to the boiling potato water.
    Reduce, strain, then sweeten with honey or caramel to taste.
    Add a few drops of almond oil as an emulsifier.
    (mapeline, vanilla, or blueberries optional.)

  3. Hi I think that if you were to boil it longer to evaporate some of the liquids this would work. Like they do when they make maple syrup.

  4. I’ve never made pancake syrup before, but I read your recipe and can see that it’s mainly a version of simple syrup. You could try a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water for your simple syrup and see if that turns out thick enough to suit you. Then again, it might end up too sweet for your taste again. On the other hand, this is the only way I know of that will thicken simple syrup.

    Real honey is the only ingredient I know that can compete with corn syrup, the main ingredient in commercial pancake syrups, for the thickness or viscosity of the syrup that you’re looking for. And, naturally, it’s actually much too thick and sweet for what you’re looking for, too.

    1. Yup, that seems to be my dilemma – I like it a little less sweet, but you need that 1:1 ratio to get it a little bit thicker.

      1. a touch of salt can cut the sweetness I do it with frosting and have had raves that it isn’t sweet like most.