Does Maple Syrup Need to Be Refrigerated?

Learn how to store your maple syrup to keep it fresh and flavorful for pancakes, waffles, and any other dish that needs a splash of sweetness.

Maple syrup tends to be typecast, pulled out only when pancakes or waffles are on the table. But it's actually a really versatile ingredient, useful for making savory dishes a little sweeter, giving butter more flavor, or even as a sugar substitute. If the sticky stuff is a new addition to your regular slate of condiments, you might be wondering: Does maple syrup need to be refrigerated?

You've probably noticed the syrup bottles are displayed next to pancake mix at the grocery store (for obvious reasons). But does that tell you how to store this sweet staple at home? The short answer is no. Just as you refrigerate open pasta sauces or condiments like ketchup and mustard, you should stick your opened maple syrup inside the fridge. Read on to learn more about storing maple syrup, as well as its corn syrup-based cousin, table syrup.

bottles of pure maple syrup and mrs butterworth table syrup
Images courtesy of Target

Are You Storing Pure Maple Syrup or Table Syrup?

Start by figuring out which type of syrup you have. Pure maple syrup ($10, Target) is made by concentrating the sap of a sugar maple tree. Straight out of the trunk, the liquid is clear and slightly sweet, but it doesn't stay that way: The sap takes a trip to a sugarhouse, where it's processed through an evaporator, which boils the sap down into syrup. From there, it can be bottled for purchase.

This nature-derived syrup is different than table syrup (also commonly referred to as maple syrup). The considerably less expensive table syrup ($4, Target) stocked next to pure maple syrup has a much different source: This pancake topping is made with corn syrup and/or high fructose corn syrup, along with caramel coloring and maple-like flavorings, giving it a look and taste similar to the pure stuff.

How to Store Maple Syrup

Should your maple syrup go in the pantry or the fridge? It depends on whether you've opened it. According to the pros at Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, pure maple syrup is often hot-packed and therefore shelf-stable. (Syrup that is not hot-packed will not be shelf-stable.) When unopened, you can store hot-packed pure maple syrup for at least a year (or more) in the pantry at room temperature.

Once opened, you'll need to store pure maple syrup in the fridge—since it's a natural product with no preservatives, it can spoil or grow mold. If your syrup is not hot-packed, store it in the fridge (even if it's unopened) and plan to consume it quickly.

For table syrup, follow the manufacturer's instructions listed on the bottle. Depending on its ingredients (which could include pure maple syrup), it may not need to be refrigerated, but always follow the guidelines given.

Looking for maple syrup recipes? Try these delightful mini maple pecan pies to satisfy your dessert cravings, or make a batch of maple-bacon corn muffins as a sweet-and-savory side dish.

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