Brown Sugar Butter Pancake and Waffle Syrup | Make Ahead Mondays

Brown Sugar and Butter Pancake and Waffle Syrup

I polled you wonderful people who are part of the Foodie with Family community on facebook about whether you prefer pancakes or waffles. Waffles took it by a nose, but there was still major representation for the pancake camp. Here in the FwF household, we are also divided. My husband and one kid are waving the pancake flag, while the rest of the kids and I are part of Team Waffle, but none of us would kick either pancakes or waffles out of bed. One thing is for certain and that is that pretty much everyone loves one of them madly.

We eat one or the other nearly weekly during the cold weather months. When the boys have friends over for the night, pancakes are my go-to breakfast for the zombie teen boys in the morning.  It’s an easy way to fill up a crowd of boys who were up far too late playing Minecraft and watching movies. The last mega sleepover my boys had saw five EXTRA boys added to my usual five. I stumbled down the stairs in the morning and mixed up a double batch of my usual pancake batter. (Be kind when looking at that pancake batter link. It’s from way-back-when while I was in my creative formatting phase as a blogger.)

As I waited for the griddle to heat up, I had a horrible realization; I was out of maple syrup. What to do, what to do? It hit me like  bolt; I remembered there was a syrup my dad used to mix up for campers when the camp kitchen ran out of pancake syrup and also remembered that it tasted good. I sent an SOS text to dad asking him how they  made the syrup. He texted back, “We mixed brown sugar and water together and boiled it.” Was it really that easy?

Yes. It was.

I mixed two parts brown sugar to one part water and stirred it until it came to a boil. I boiled it for 4 minutes, then started dropping little pats of butter into it, stirring until each butter pat melted completely. I poured the hot syrup into a little pitcher. The syrup was done before the first batch of pancakes came off of the griddle. The real test of the syrup (and my memory) came when I topped the first kid’s stack of flapjacks. They dipped a finger into the syrup (because what self-respecting kid doesn’t?) and made a happy “mmmmm” sound.

Brown Sugar and Butter Pancake and Waffle Syrup | #comfortfood

Nine more kids lined up behind the first ready for pancakes and my syrup. I counted, “Nine, eight, seven, six,” as I filled plates and poured syrup, “five, four, three, two, one, another one… Wait. How many of you are there? Oh, you’re back in line already?”

Brown Sugar and Butter Pancake Syrup #comfort food #easyrecipes

I am NOT telling you this tastes like maple syrup. Only maple syrup is maple syrup. I AM, however, telling you that it tastes darned good and is absolutely worthy of being on any pancake or waffle that you might make. It is buttery, brown sugary, thick, and smooth. It is best served warm which lends a little extra luxury to your plate whether it’s piled high with pancakes or waffles.

Cooking Notes:

  • Make with salted butter or unsalted butter. If you use unsalted butter, you will want to add a bit of salt to the syrup at the end when you add in the butter. You always want a bit of salt in something so sweet.
  • You can serve this syrup as is in all it’s brown sugar and butter glory, or you can add a little quarter teaspoon of maple extract or vanilla extract. It is great alone, but charming in other ways with the extract. Since it’s wicked cheap, you don’t need to worry about being generous with the servings.
  • Bonus: This is better than just good on vanilla ice cream when you want a little something extra or hot biscuits when you’re out of honey!
  • This will never replace maple syrup in your pantry because maple syrup is wonderful not only for topping things but for cooking, too. It’s not intended to fully replace maple syrup in your life, but it’s darned good for a stand-in when you’re out and using this on pancakes and waffles can stretch a meagre maple syrup supply much further!

Brown Sugar and Butter Pancake and Waffle Syrup thick

5 from 1 reviews
Brown Sugar Butter Pancake and Waffle Syrup
Out of maple or pancake syrup? Never fear! Smooth, thick, and rich, this Brown Sugar and Butter Pancake and Waffle Syrup is simply delicious. It comes together quicker than quick and tastes so good you may find yourself never buying pancake syrup again!
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, salted or unsalted, well chilled cut into 8 pats.
  • Optional:
  • ½ teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla or maple extract
  1. Stir the water and brown sugar together in a heavy-bottomed 2 to 2½ quart saucepan with high sides. Place the pan over medium high heat and stir until the sugar is melted and the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and allow it to boil for 4 minutes. When the time is up, gently drop one pat of butter into the mixture and stir until the butter is melted completely. Repeat the process with one pat of butter at a time, until all the butter has been melted and incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat. If using the extract, add it and stir it in now. Take care, as it will bubble up enthusiastically.
  2. Let the syrup stand in the pan for five minutes before pouring into a heat-proof pitcher (for immediate use) or into a clean canning jar (for longer storage.) Serve warm to hot. Store leftover syrup in a tightly closed canning jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.
To Reheat Leftover Syrup:
  1. Remove the lid from the jar and microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring after each burst, OR place the jar, still lidded, on a folded dishcloth in a saucepan with simmering water, using an oven mitt or canning tongs to lift and swirl the jar from time to time until it flows freely and is warm through.



  1. Lisa says

    One of our favorite Irish restaurants make this with Jameson Irish Whiskey replacing half of the water (2/3 cup br. sugar, 2 2/3 tbsp. whiskey and water,which equals 1/3 cup, with a dash of cinnamon.) You’re still boiling it but it gives it a nice zing!! For when those kids grow up!

  2. Anna says

    I grew up on this syrup. The best with buckeye wheat pancakes. My brother sneaks a little into the pancake batter when he fixes pancakes!

  3. Marie says

    This is what I grew up on minus the butter. My boys still like it better than other syrup. They are always happy when I make it. Without the butter it is very thin (runny) and soaks right into the pancake/waffle. Of course they like butter or peanut butter spread over the pancake before pouring the syrup on. I’ll have to try it with butter. You’re right about po’ folks food. There were 9 of us children growing up and we didn’t have a lot. It is also healthier in my opinion than the pancake syrup you can buy. (Not real maple syrup which beats them all hollow.)

  4. Laura says

    I take 2 c white sugar, a tsp. maple extract, 1/2 c dark Karo and 1c boiling water. Stir until all sugar is dissolved. Butter would probably be good in this.

  5. Naomi says

    Just the recipe I was looking for, thanks for sharing!I don’t have access to any kind of syrup in the country I live, and we are getting a little tired of honey on our pancakes (although it’s definitely the healthier option–if it’s not enjoyable, why bother?). Thanks again!

  6. says

    I made this today as a gift for my daughter. I sent her a text telling her that she had better come visit soon, or it will be gone! I can’t stop tasting it – Wow, is it good! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us! :)

  7. says

    So glad I came across this simple and delicious recipe, was outta syrup and making buckwheat pancakes… Saying OMG isn’t good enough it’s so yummy. I will never buy store bought again especially with the availability of quality ingredients out there this recipe has so many variations! I zested a bit of lemon in to give a zing. So good! Thanks so much!

  8. Deanna says

    A mother of five picky kids, I ran out of syrup after making a large batch of pancakes so I tried this recipe. My kids LOVED it! I was told I’m not allowed to buy store syrup again! We used the vanilla, but didn’t add the salt, and I thought it came out perfect. Thank you for the recipe, we all thought it was amazing, and I love that it’s all basic baking ingredients almost anyone would have in their cabinet.

  9. Kayla Morrison says

    I have just came across this post and it’s wonderful. My hubby loves pancakes on the weekends and we are constantly buying more syrup, …. x2 because I’m allergic to maple and an seriously to afraid to even try the fake stuff.

    Can this syrup be stored? And if so for how long, Freez?
    It’s usually just the two of us so I wouldn’t want to make a big heap and have to toss it after!

    Thank you

    • says

      Hi Kayla- I’ve never tried freezing the syrup, so I’m afraid I don’t know. I’d love to know how it works out for you if you stash it in the freezer. A single batch as made here should be good for two weeks in the refrigerator, though!

  10. Carole says

    This syrup is seriously amazing. The butter gives it such a smooth tongue feel. We ran out of maple syrup which we usually use, and I’ve never taken to the store-bought table syrup. This is so delicious! Thank you!

    • says

      I would officially recommend that you refrigerate it from a food safety standpoint. Of course, I’ve accidentally left it out, eaten it anyway, and not died, but officially, the word is to refrigerate it. 😀

  11. kaala says

    This is fantastic! Made it last night with the vanilla, and the official vote of the house is that im not allowed to buy store bought anymore!

  12. Chef Red says

    A pinch of cinnamon, ground ginger, and cayenne pepper (just a pinch) and a splash of heavy cream when you take the syrup off the heat take it to the next level. Don’t skip the salt. And for the record, sugar syrups are safe at room temperature for up to 2 months. The high sugar environment is hostile to the bacteria that might otherwise spoil it!

  13. Cat says

    Made this and everyone absolutely loves it!

    My only question is about the thickness. Is it supposed to be like typical maple syrup thickness? Mine was pretty much water consistency. Is there something I can put in it to make it more of a syrup consitency?

    Thank you so much for the recipe!

  14. Victoria says

    Just made this, along with pancakes from scratch. Man oh man!! This tastes just like toffee!! The butter made it phenomenal! I don’t think I want anymore store bought syrup. Ever!!! Thanks for the recipe!

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