Do This With Maple Syrup: 7 Inspired (If Slightly Weird) Ideas

Rachel Tepper Paley
December 11, 2013

Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes any more, kids. This sticky stuff is fantastically versatile, and we love it in savory and sweet dishes—including cocktails, thank you very much!—alike. 

Still skeptical? Here are seven reasons to stop pigeonholing maple syrup.

1. Maple Syrup Burgers

Photo credit: Food52

Um, heck yes we’ll mix some maple syrup into our burger patties. The visionaries over at Food52 take things a step further and drizzle syrup on to the patties as they cook. Genius.

2. Maple Syrup Salad Dressing

Photo credit: Everyday Food

Maple syrup + salad may seem like an odd formula, but the equation works thanks to the tangy mustard and cider vinegar in this Everyday Food vinaigrette.

3. Maple Syrup Barbecue Sauce

Photo credit: Getty

Think about all the sweet things you see in BBQ sauces: honey, molasses, sugar. Maple syrup totally belongs on this list—if you’re OK with your ribs tasting more Canadian than Texan. We like the looks of this recipe, which gets a kick of heat from smoky chipotle peppers, and another more involved recipe from the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association that includes Asian staples like ginger and soy sauce.

4. Maple Syrup–Glazed Root Vegetables

Photo credit: Everyday Food

When roasted, root vegetables gain a wonderful candied note that practically cries out for maple syrup. We especially dig these glazed rutabagas, turnips and carrots from Food & Wine, in which sherry vinegar acts as a tart foil to the sugary elements. (Everyday Food here gives a similar treatment to glazed turnips and parsnips.) 

5. Maple Syrup Grilled Cheese

Photo credit: Getty

This flavor combo hopefully isn’t news to you—we’ve previously extolled the virtues of maple syrup in grilled cheese—but here’s a refresher. Rachael Ray does a version with sharp cheddar, and Serious Eats brings us a scrumptious-looking recipe from the Di Bruno Bros. cheese cookbook using Cabot clothbound cheddar and bacon.

6. Maple Syrup Iced Tea

Photo credit: Food52

We’re grateful that crash diet drinks aren’t the only way to serve maple syrup in a beverage. Case in point: this refreshing mint tea with maple syrup and honey from Food52, a fine reason to drink iced tea all year long.

7. Maple Syrup Cocktail

Photo credit: Yensa Werth

Black Jack, a cocktail bar in Washington, D.C., serves up a popular (and potent!) libation called the Maple Derby made using a mix of maple simple syrup, grapefruit, lime, and ginger. (Here’s the recipe.) 

Food & Wine also has a maple-tinged riff on the Old Fashioned, and Serious Eats presents 12 more ways to incorporate maple syrup in cocktails.

Maple syrup— in edible and potable form alike—sure seems to be ready for its closeup.