Is Maple Syrup Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Vegan Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is vegan—except when products include sneaky non-vegan ingredients.

is maple syrup vegan two maple leaf-shaped bottles of amber syrup

Treehugger / Catherine Song

In its purest form, maple syrup is indeed vegan. It is often enjoyed as a delicious substitute for other types of sugar as a breakfast food topping or baking ingredient.

While many maple syrups are vegan, some take a different route between the tree and the table. Non-vegan elements can come into play during processing, creating a syrup that's perhaps maple flavored but no longer vegan.

Here, we uncover the truth about our favorite syrup and its vegan status, as well as what to keep an eye for on maple syrup labels.

Why Maple Syrup Is Naturally Vegan

Maple sap is first is extracted, or tapped, from maple trees during the winter months in certain regions like New England and Quebec in North America. Once the sap is harvested, it is sent to a sugarhouse where it gets boiled down. The water is evaporated and the sugar caramelized, resulting in a syrup that's thicker than the sap and ready to use.

Some artisanal producers bottle the boiled-down sap immediately afterward and can have it certified vegan, which helps consumers know for certain that they aren't consuming any animal products.

When Is Maple Syrup Not Vegan?

Some maple syrups go through additional processing before being bottled—sometimes on their way to becoming what we know as "pancake syrup."

Some sugarhouses remove the foam that comes from boiling the sap by using bone char—also used in processing some white and brown sugar products—or animal fat, according to the Press-Herald in Portland, Maine.

Other possible red flags are the absence of a certified-vegan label or phrases like “maple-flavored syrup” instead of “maple syrup." Consumers should also watch out for ingredient lists with several ingredients above and beyond the maple syrup—or lists that lack maple completely.

Additional common culprits are if the product contains added honey or a milk-derived “butter flavor."

Types of Vegan Maple Syrup

These companies fully disclose that their products are vegan, from tree to bottle. Some of these products offer extra unique flavors while still including exclusively plant-based ingredients.

  • Butternut Mountain Farm Maple Syrup
  • Log Cabin Maple Syrup
  • 365 Everyday Value Maple Syrup
  • Purely Canadian Maple Syrup
  • Coombs Family Farms Maple Syrup
  • Maple Grove Farms Maple Syrup
  • Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Syrup
  • Now Real Organic Foods Maple Syrup
  • Kirkland Maple Syrup
  • Bushwick Kitchen Trees Knees Coffee Maple, Organic Maple Syrup Infused with Stumptown Coffee
  • Bushwick Kitchen Trees Knees Spicy Maple, Organic Maple Syrup Infused with Habanero Peppers
  • Award Winning Escuminac Great Harvest Canadian Maple Syrup
  • WildFour Organic Maple Syrup
  • Crown Maple Amber Color Rich Taste organic maple syrup
  • Very Dark, Strong Taste Vermont Maple Syrup - Barred Woods Maple Products 
  • Antonio Park Amber Rich Maple Syrup
  • BERNARD - Pure Organic Maple Syrup
  • Nokomis 100% Pure Canadian Maple Syrup
  • WildFour Organic Maple Syrup
  • Wholesome Maple Syrup (All Varieties)
  • Good & Gather 100% Pure Maple Syrup

Types of Non-Vegan, Maple-Flavored Syrup

From budget brands to high-end gourmet food companies, non-vegan maple syrups and maple-flavored syrups exist. While some products clearly state their main ingredients on the label, others require you to dive a little deeper into the list on the back of the bottle. Here are some types to avoid:

  • Tree Hive Maple Syrup & Honey
  • Vermont Sugar-free Syrup by Maple Grove Farms
  • Fifty 50 Fructose Sweetened Syrup, Maple
  • Market Pantry Sugar Free Syrup
  • Micheles Syrup, Butter Pecan
  • SweetLeaf Stevia Maple Syrup
  • Walden Farms Maple Bacon Syrup
  • Blackberry Patch Maple Praline Flavored Sugar Free Syrup
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Is maple syrup considered plant-based?

    Yes, maple syrup in its purest form is plant-based. However, not every "maple syrup" on the market is vegan. Double-check ingredient lists for animal products and seek out certified-vegan labels.

  • Is butter-flavored maple syrup vegan?

    Probably not. In most cases, the butter flavor comes from dairy-based ingredients added to the maple syrup. Even if the syrup itself is pure and tapped from a tree, it isn't vegan with the inclusion of dairy.

  • Why is maple syrup not raw vegan?

    Maple sap is cooked down into maple syrup. Without any non-vegan additives, this process and the resulting syrup is vegan. But because the sap is boiled, it cannot be considered raw vegan.