Traditional Hand Stirred Maple Butter (Maple Cream)

 Maple Butter, Maple Spread, Maple Cream, whatever you want to call it, now that you know it exists you’re doomed.  IT’S deadly DELICIOUS and it only takes one ingredient.  Maple syrup.

Spoon filled with creamy, light maple cream resting on shallow, cream filled mason jar with silver tag reading Maple Cream around its neck.

Skip right to the recipe.

I need you to shut up and listen for once. You need to make this right now.  Right, right now.  People overuse the word miracle all the time because they have no respect for the true meaning of it.  If they can fit in their pants after Christmas they say it’s a miracle. That’s not a miracle, that’s Spandex.

THIS however, is a bona fide, sent from the heavens, sweet baby Jesus/Buddha/Vishnu/the One miracle.

Maple cream. Otherwise known as maple butter or maple spread.  I’ll be using the terms interchangeably in this post ’cause they’re all the same thing.

I may have mentioned I make maple syrup.  Maybe.  So I’ve been trying to figure out a few different ways to use it beyond the standard drinking it through a hose.

Enter Maple Cream. 

What is maple cream?  It’s maple syrup that’s been transformed (miraculously) into a creamy, spreadable, butter-like consistency through a process of crystallization.

It’s meant to be spread on English muffins, or toast or even … on a grilled cheese with bacon and green apples.

I prefer to eat the maple butter by just taping the jar to my head and licking my way to the bottom like an anteater.

So you want to make some?

Like all delicious things it’s kind of complicated.  Here’s what you need to do. Pay close attention to the following instructions:

Boil maple syrup … then stir it.

Sorry – that’s not the complicated part – the complicated part is figuring out ways to trick yourself into not eating it until you’re sick.  So far, I’ve found eating it until I’m *almost* sick isn’t a guarantee that I won’t eat a little bit more until I’m sick.

Let’s do this.

How to Make Maple Cream.

What You Need

Wooden spoon
Maple Syrup
2 pots

Overhead shot of materials needed for making Maple Cream. White bowl, pots, wood spoons, maple syrup and ice. All on marble countertop.


  1. Pour 3 cups of light to medium maple syrup into a pot.

Pouring Maple Syrup into a copper pot sitting on a stainless steel range in front of a painted white brick wall


Do it with flair.

Boiling maple syrup on stove with thermometer in it reading 235.5 degrees F.


2. Boil over medium/low heat WITHOUT STIRRING until the syrup reaches 235 F.

3.  Immediately pour syrup into a pot set in an ice bath.  Let stand WITHOUT STIRRING until the syrup cools to 100 F.  (this will take around 10 minutes)

Pouring boiled maple syrup into pot set in ice water.


Please enjoy this Little House on the Prairie moment … I didn’t have enough ice for an ice bath so I went outside and pulled some frozen sap out of my sap buckets to use as ice.  

Maple syrup filled pot surrounded by chunks of ice taken out of sap buckets.


4. Once the syrup has lowered in temperature to 100 F., remove the pot from the ice bath and start stirring.

Don’t stir like a crazy person, you don’t want to beat air into it.  You just want to stir it.  You will be stirring for a long time.  Like, half an hour. I focused on watching television to get my mind off of my sore arm.

Karen Bertelsen stirring maple syrup in pot while looking off at television set. Wearing an indigo linen apron.

Eventually the syrup will start to lighten (after about 15 minutes of stirring) and then you have to keep stirring.   Once it gets to be this very light colour, you don’t have long to go.

Very light coloured maple cream on a wood spoon resting on a stainless steel pot.

5. Continue to stir the syrup until it goes from shiny to dull and holds its shape as you run the spoon through it.  This means it’s set up, the crystallization process is complete and you can STOP STIRRING!

The last stages of stirring maple cream. The wood spoon leaves trails behind it.


6.  Immediately pour it into your containers before it sets up too much to pour.

Pouring thick maple cream into Weck jars on linen tea towel.


You now have maple cream which you stirred by hand which makes you a badass.

It’s now that I let you know you can also use a stand mixer to do this. But then you won’t be a badass with maple cream you’ll just be some schmo with maple cream.  The choice is yours.

To do it with a stand mixer, instead of stirring it by hand use the stand mixer set to “stir”, or “low” with the paddle attachment. Whichever your stand mixer has as the lowest setting. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides.

Weck jar filled with maple cream draped with silver chain with tag reading "Maple Cream".


Maple Cream will last for 6 months in the refrigerator.  Which is a handy little tip in case you take a blow to the head and forget you own delicious Maple Cream.  (There would be no other explanation for not eating it all in a week.)

Two silver spoons. The one on the left holds a light, thick, maple cream. The one on the right holds dark, thin maple syrup.

The difference in these two forms of maple syrup is amazing.  It is the exact same thing, just the structure of it has changed through the heating and then stirring of it to achieve crystallization.

The crystals are so small your tongue can’t detect them.

Display of mason jars filled with maple cream and bottles of maple syrup on an antique pine counter with a marble top. Sap bucket with wood spoon in background.`

Every person I’ve had taste this has had the same reaction. Their eyes roll into the back of their heads.


Traditional Maple Cream

A spreadable version of maple syrup.
4.2 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: condiment
Cuisine: Indigenous
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Stirring Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 40
Calories: 65kcal



  • Bring the Maple Syrup to a boil in a pot over medium/low heat. Boil until it reaches 235 degrees F. without stirring then remove from heat immediately.  This will take around 15 minutes.
  • While the syrup is boiling get an ice bath ready with a pot set in a bowl of ice.
  • As soon as it has reached 235 degrees F, pour the boiled syrup into the pot set in the ice bath.  Leave it until it the syrup drops in temperature to 100 degrees F.    Don't disturb it at all while it rests.
  • Once at 100 degrees F. remove the pot from the ice bath and start stirring.  Don't stir vigorously ... you don't want to beat air into the syrup ... just stir it.
  • Keep stirring. The syrup will start to lighten.  Keep stirring. After about 30 minutes of stirring the syrup will be very light and resemble tahini but still be glossy with the consistency of cream. KEEP STIRRING.
  • The syrup will now finish crystallizing, set up and be come duller. Once your spoon starts to leave paths in the syrup you can stop stirring.
  • Pour the Maple Cream into your jars right away before it becomes to difficult to pour.


Remember to use only light to medium, Grade A maple syrup.
Do NOT stir while heating or cooling the syrup. Stirring will cause premature large crystals to form and your cream will be grainy not smooth and creamy.  
I even go so far as to leave the thermometer in my syrup as it's cooling so I don't have to stick it in and pull it out for temperature checking.
Maple Cream will last 6 months in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 54mg | Sugar: 14g | Calcium: 26mg

If you’re wondering about that whole grilled cheese thing I mentioned at the beginning, this is the sandwich I’m thinking of trying it on. I realize maple syrup on a grilled cheese sandwich might sound gross, but it’s not.  It’s a miracle.

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Traditional Hand Stirred Maple Butter (Maple Cream)


  1. Heather says:

    Beautiful! The recipe and the photographs. Thanks!

  2. Rose Kruvand says:

    I want to do this but I will have to find light syrup to buy. Do you think it would work the same with honey? I have always wondered how they make creamed honey.

  3. Mary W says:

    I wonder if honey could be altered in a similar way?

  4. Lavada says:

    What about maple pecan ice cream? That sounds like a miracle waiting to happen!

  5. bev out west says:

    Totally a miracle :)

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Mine was a near disaster, although I’m willing to admit that It may be operator error. And it’s possible that I started with maple syrup that was too dark. I made the mistake of leaving the room and when I came back, it had cooled too much to be stirred. Then I tried warming it by setting the bowl in hot water to get it back to 100°. But even then, it was probably too thick. I used my mixer, but it wasn’t getting lighter in color or loosening up, so then I added a tablespoon of butter to loosen it, and this resulted in it turning into something more like caramel. Delicious caramel, but too thick to spread on anything. There was no way I was going to waste it though, so I scraped it into a jar and I’m thinking it might be perfect in oatmeal. The heat of the cereal should melt it and the flavor is out of this world. If I tried it again, I would not leave the room and I would use the hand string method.

  7. Elaine says:

    Even though I’m not a fan of maple flavour, I found this fascinating to read!! It’s incredible to think that just the simple (although tiring) act of stirring the syrup and watching the clock produces an entirely different product! How the heck do you ever know all these amazing facts, Karen?!

  8. Rose says:

    Looks yummy, I need to try this. Try dipping cheddar cheese in maple syrup, that’s my favorite indulgent.

  9. Jane S says:

    I buy maple butter whenever I find it, thank goodness I don’t find it too often. I wouldn’t be able to trust myself with making my own. It would never make it into the jars.

  10. Katie C. says:

    Ohhhhhh… I knew it as maple butter. I haven’t had it in years… I’m drooling. I need this… NOW!

  11. Maryanne says:

    O.M.G. Thank you.

  12. lisa says:

    WECK JARS! (Sigh….i have problems).
    Heading north for Easter and my uncle makes maple syrup, so there will definitely be Maple Cream in my future. Probably the Schmuck version with stand mixer. Or maybe I can con my kids into pretending they’re Laura Ingalls to do the stirring…NM, they can’t be trusted around something this delicious.

  13. Marilyn Meagher says:

    😋 I love maple syrup and I am going to try this to serve at Easter brunch.

  14. Cath says:

    Making maple cream, that is…

  15. Cath says:

    White Meadows, Fonthill, Ont. for farm fresh maple syrup…yum.
    Grilled peanut butter and apple sandwich… yum. Gorilla Cheese… yum. Visiting soon a friend in North Bay and making this together… yum.

  16. cindysjourney67 says:

    Sounds delicious Karen! I make soap and ‘stirring the pot’ is something that goes along with it, so half an hour of stirring is nothin’! I do have a question… where did you find the beautiful canning type jar that you poured the maple cream into? Would love to get some. Also love your ice cube tray. Nice find! I am of a certain age that I have memories of them from my childhood….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy! The tall jar is a Weck jar which you can get on Amazon. And the other squat jar is just a regular preserves jar. I got the nostalgic ice cube tray at a local kitchen store. :) ~ karen!

      • cindysjourney67 says:

        Thanks so much Karen… I know you are incredibly busy and I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to answer! I do have loads of the regular Mason jars but love the look of the Weck style. Will definitely look into getting some. And it’s amazing that you can find the ice cube trays at a local (‘new-age’) kitchen store! Think I will keep my eyes open for those as well.

  17. Sideroad40 says:

    I WILL be doing this on the weekend! Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Amy Greer Cruce says:

    Theoretically, shouldn’t this work with molasses? Because….Alabama?

    • Paula Clark says:

      Do not even suggest that. I am a sorghum molasses addict, so much so that I will sneak spoonfuls of the stuff when hubby isn’t watching. He hates it and likes to laugh at my addiction. This would change everything! Sorghum molasses on a hot buttered piece of corn bread is always calling my name and molasses cream would be heaven.

      • Jacqueline Pare says:

        A little Molasses is great in a glass of milk instead of chocolate! If you get your hands on sap right from the tree it makes delicious oatmeal. Just substitute sap for the water, and make tea with sap instead of water. I love to make flan and use maple sugar instead of white sugar in the bottom of the pan. All that sweet mapley yumminess running down the side of the flan. Mmmmmmm

    • Sarah McDonnell says:

      Bad news; the recipe requires cream since crystallization is different in molasses. Good news; the recipe also contains rum!
      Alabama would have been a perfectly valid reason if the crystallization thing didn’t come into play.

  19. Deb says:

    Hi Karen

    What is the reason for only using light to medium syrup?

  20. Francine Nault says:

    Hi Karen,

    I love Maple syrup so much I buy a case of 12 cans just about every year to a year and a half. I always wondered how to make Maple butter and there you are with the recipe. Thank you so much Karen for sharing. I like to print and save the recipes I want to make and was just wondering why is it that the picture is not included in the print?

    P.S. I love reading your blog you make me laugh!

  21. Robert says:

    I guess I’ll finally have to get a thermometer!
    Fun fact I once kept a jar of caramel chile cream for like 3 years because I couldn’t figure out what to do with it even though I made it.
    It finally filled a chocolate sable tart crust that spent another 3 months in the freezer because it was to indulgent to eat too much of it at once

  22. Jack Barr says:

    Thanks, Karen. On fresh warm, fragrant homemade bread, or buttered toast, or crackers, or right off the spoon or knife, or fingers, or…….. Great timely blog and extra fine pics. Just bought my usual gallon of maple syrup a couple of days ago from a mennonite gal by the side of the road; her horse was hobbled in the woods nearby. 2018 not the best production year- not much snow cover and cold March days means sap runs slowly. However, its still running. Made maple syrup as a lad with my grandfather and his friends at the farm, in a huge cast iron cauldron, later with an old friend- spend all night in the sugar bush shack chatting and keeping the fire going; great atmosphere. Miracle. As a wise sceptic was want to say: evidence is the only reason to believe …… anything. Thanks for supplying the evidence, Karen.

  23. I ordered 3 large bottles of pure dark maple syrup from a Vermont store. It cost me a small fortune for the syrup and the shipping. Please tell me I can use that because I now NEED your maple cream.

    • Karen says:

      It depends on how dark it is Susan. “Grade B” which is the dark stuff normally meant for cooking apparently doesn’t always work. It doesn’t set properly or something. ~ karen!

      • The label says, “VT Grade A Dark Robust Taste.”
        This is the first time I tried this type from Two Pigs Farm, and it definitely isn’t my favorite.
        If you think it will work, I’ll give it a try and let you know how it turned out.
        I will not mix it by hand because if it doesn’t turn out well I’ll be doubly bummed.
        Keep your fingers crossed. I decided to spoil myself and bought 4 big bottles this year….don’t ya know!

      • I just checked my storage…I must have really felt the need to spoil myself. I’ve got 5 bottles of the stuff!
        What else can it go on besides pancakes, waffles, sweet potatoes, chipped ice, or snow that is not yellow…and (I’m praying) turning into miraculously maple cream to die for!
        Please point me in the right maple syrup direction, oh great and wonderous wizard of odd. ☺️💕

      • Karen says:

        You’re just going to have to try Susan. It sounds like it might be too dark, but if you have 5 bottle then go ahead and sacrifice one! Especially if it isn’t your favourite. ~ karen!

  24. Sandra D says:

    Indigenous – cool that this is something learned from the original peoples of Canada.

    • TucsonPatty says:

      That word caught my eye, too. I love it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on a recipe, before now. This sounds amazing, Karen. I would probably eat this on something stupid, like pancakes, because it has “butter” assumed in the title, or texture. It would be wasted on pancakes. It needs something more substantial, such as that Grilled Cheese sandwich. My friend ate her Sweet Potato Fries the other night with Maple Syrup. Maybe that would be good, also.

      • Stephbo says:

        It would be delicious on sweet potato fries! A place near me serves theirs with a maple syrup/butter combo, and it’s divine!

  25. Janet says:

    My eyes have just rolled back into my head just thinking about that sandwich. It never pays to go to bed slightly hungry, then read Karen’s blog before shutting out the light. Now…I REALLY hungry, and I’m indeed in need of that Maple Cream Miracle. Thanks for sharing Karen!

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