I tried 6 different brands of syrup, and it's totally worth paying a little extra for the big names

·8 min read
six pancake syrups from the grocery store lined up in a row
I tried six different brands of pancake syrup.Paige Bennett
  • I tried store-bought pancake syrup from 6 brands to see which provided the best taste and value.

  • I found the Target brand to be bland, and I didn't like how sweet the Kroger-brand syrup was.

  • Pearl Milling Company and Log Cabin ended up being my favorites of the bunch.

I've never been picky about pancake syrup, but there are certainly plenty to choose from at the store.

six bottles of pancake syrup and one bottle of real maple syrup lined up on a counter
I also wanted to compare the pancake syrups to real maple syrup.Paige Bennett

I've never given much thought to the different varieties of pancake syrup at the grocery store — I typically grab whatever's on sale, and if I'm feeling fancy, maybe I'll get a butter-flavored variety.

For baking, I only use real maple syrup made without high-fructose corn syrup or corn syrup. But pancake syrup definitely has its place on the breakfast table.

I bought six brands — Mrs. Butterworth's, Kroger, Target's Market Pantry, Pearl Milling Company, Hungry Jack, and Log Cabin — to compare the taste, texture, and price of each product.

I tried each one on a plain waffle for the full effect.

At the end of the taste test, I decided to give the same treatment to a low-cost bottle of real maple syrup for a final comparison.

Here's how everything stacked up.

Mrs. Butterworth's had a rich flavor, but a thinner texture.

hand pouring white ramekin of mrs butterworth's syrup over a frozen waffle
I wasn't wowed by Mrs. Butterworth's.Paige Bennett

I first sampled Mrs. Butterworth's.

The color was a medium brown and was neither the darkest nor lightest syrup I tested.

As I poured, I noticed a thinner consistency that left long, stringy drips as I pulled the bottle away — despite the label promising a "thick 'n' rich" syrup.

I thought it had a really rich, indulgent flavor — pretty sweet but not overly so. Even though it wasn't butter-flavored, there were buttery notes.

This syrup was just fine for me.

bottle of mrs. butterworths syrup next to a ramekin filled with the syrup
Mrs. Butterworth's syrup was a bit pricey for what it was.Paige Bennett

I didn't hate Mrs. Butterworth's, but it didn't end up being my favorite either.

I liked the taste, even if it was just slightly too rich, but the texture was a little thinner than I'd like.

At $0.20 an ounce, it was also more expensive than the store-brand syrups.

Kroger's maple syrup was the sweetest I tried.

hand pouring white ramekin filled with kroger syrup over a frozen waffle
The sweet syrup was also one of the cheapest.Paige Bennett

I typically prefer generic or store-brand products because the quality is often still good without a huge markup in price.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with the pancake syrup I tried from Kroger.

It had a dark color and a very thin consistency.

The syrup wasn't bad, necessarily, but it was extremely sweet. There just wasn't any depth to the flavor.

The syrup was affordable, but ultimately I think it's too sweet.

bottle of kroger pancake syrup next to a white ramekin filled with the syrup
I probably won't buy the Kroger syrup again.Paige Bennett

At $0.10 an ounce, this syrup is definitely affordable. But there are no interesting notes to the flavor.

It doesn't have any depth or richness to it. Instead, it just tasted very sweet, and I wasn't a fan of the thin consistency.

But if you're looking for a sugar rush, you might be a bigger fan of Kroger's syrup.

I thought the Market Pantry pancake syrup from Target was pretty bland.

hand pouring white ramekin filled with market pantry syrup onto a frozen waffle
Market Pantry is one of Target's generic brands.Paige Bennett

Target has tons of great-tasting store-brand products, but it had my least favorite pancake syrup.

The thin consistency was similar to Kroger's, but it was slightly lighter in color.

The taste wasn't as sweet, thankfully, but it was also just bland, in my opinion. Plus, there was something almost bitter about the aftertaste.

I love Target, but this syrup was my least favorite.

bottle of market pantry syrup from target next to a white ramekin filled with the syrup
There was very little I liked about the Target syrup.Paige Bennett

The Target brand was a little more expensive than Kroger's at $0.11 an ounce.

Although I'm glad it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet, it also lacked the flavor I was craving.

Pearl Milling Company nailed the texture and taste.

hand pouring white ramekin of pearl milling company syrup onto a frozen waffle
Pearl Milling Company is formerly known as Aunt Jemima.Paige Bennett

Pearl Milling Company (formerly known as Aunt Jemima) was the most expensive pancake syrup I tested at $0.25 an ounce — just $2 less than a bottle of real maple syrup at the same store.

It was thick but still poured quickly, and the flavor was great. It had depth and richness without being too sweet.

I was also surprised that this syrup was one of the lower-sugar options. It had 15 grams, only slightly more than the Log Cabin syrup and less than all the others I tried, including the real maple syrup.

Although it's pretty expensive, this syrup was really good.

bottle of pearl milling company syrup next to a white ramekin filled with the syrup
I really liked this pancake syrup.Paige Bennett

I loved the rich, almost buttery flavor of the Pearl Milling Company pancake syrup. Plus, it wasn't sickeningly sweet.

Despite its thicker consistency, it was still quick and easy to pour on my breakfast. The only downside is that it can be pretty expensive at $0.25 an ounce.

Hungry Jack's pancake syrup comes in a unique, and somewhat inconvenient, microwavable bottle.

hand pouring white ramekin of hungry jack syrup over a frozen waffle
The spout of the Hungry Jack syrup is cut into a smiley-face shape.Paige Bennett

There was only one type of Hungry Jack syrup available at my store: A wide, 27-ounce bottle designed to be microwavable.

I skipped warming it up though, not wanting to give any syrup an unfair advantage.

The design of the bottle was interesting, but it ultimately just took up more space in my pantry. When I opened it, I also noticed a cute smiley-face spout, but unfortunately, it ended up making pouring a little messy.

The texture was very thick and really dark brown.

The flavor wasn't bad, just sweet. It wasn't as overpowering as the Kroger syrup, but it had an aftertaste, which I didn't love.

I didn't hate it, but I probably wouldn't buy it again.

bottle of hungry jack pancake syrup next to a white ramekin filled with the syrup
I wasn't blown away by Hungry Jack.Paige Bennett

Hungry Jack had a midrange price of $0.20 an ounce.

I didn't hate the syrup, but it wasn't as good as some of the lower-cost alternatives I tested.

I also found the bottle inconveniently shaped, but kids might get a kick out of the smiley face.

Unlike the other pancake syrups, Log Cabin's doesn't contain high-fructose corn syrup.

hand pouring white ramekin of log cabin syrup over a frozen waffle
The bottle is shaped like a log cabin.Paige Bennett

The first thing I noticed about the Log Cabin pancake syrup is that it boasts "no high fructose corn syrup" on the label. But the ingredients do include regular corn syrup.

The other syrups I tried had both, so I was curious how that would impact the flavor. According to the FDA, corn syrup is essentially 100% glucose, and high-fructose corn syrup is the result of added enzymes in corn syrup that turn some of the glucose into fructose, which is naturally found in berries and other fruits.

Likely because it only had corn syrup, Log Cabin had the least amount of sugar (11 grams).

It had a very light color and a thinner texture. I prefer a thicker syrup, but the flavor was one of my favorites.

It was the least sweet of the bunch, but it wasn't bland, and it didn't leave any aftertaste.

This was definitely one of my top picks.

bottle of log cabin syrup next to a white ramekin filled with the syrup
I really enjoyed the Log Cabin syrup.Paige Bennett

I really liked the Log Cabin syrup.

Although it wasn't quite as delicious as the Pearl Milling Company syrup, I liked that it was a little lower in sugar.

Plus, it was more affordable at $0.20 an ounce.

BONUS: I wanted to throw a real maple syrup in the mix to round out the taste test.

hand pouring white ramekin of real maple syrup from kroger over a frozen waffle
The real maple syrup didn't hold up as well on the waffle.Paige Bennett

After trying all the pancake syrups, I wanted to compare them to a budget-friendly brand of real maple syrup. The Kroger Private Selection brand was the cheapest I could find at $0.67 an ounce.

It was much lighter in color compared to the pancake syrups. But at first bite, it was a no for me.

I usually like maple syrup, but this one had a flavor that was hard to describe.

I'd definitely save this for baking or making dressings rather than for pouring over pancakes or waffles.

And, now, for my winning syrups ...

For pancakes and waffles, I'd go with Pearl Milling Company or Log Cabin.

frozen waffle with pearl milling company syrup and frozen waffle with log cabin syrup
There were a few clear winners.Paige Bennett

After tasting all the popular pancake syrups, I'd opt for Pearl Milling Company the next time I want a stack of pancakes or waffles for breakfast.

The flavor was rich and sweet, but not too sweet, and almost buttery.

The only drawback is the high price, which is why the cheaper Log Cabin syrup is my second choice.

I liked that Log Cabin had a more subtle flavor without being bland or leaving an unpleasant taste in my mouth.

Read the original article on Insider