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.
4.25 from 4 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. carmen says:

    just made a batch, and I used an electric mixer, sorry, but it’s how I always did it. I had to come back to this recipe to remember the temperatures! It worked beautifully. If I had the stamina to hand-stir, I would, but I’m happy this worked. I always made it for my children, and this batch is for my first grandchild, whose parents sent me the syrup and said “please make us some maple creme!”

  2. Tater says:

    I made this last year while we were tapping and loved it. Went to try this year with a pot of tailings I had from decanting the syrup to separate off the cloudiness/particulates. LOL. Note to self, if your starting “syrup” is _already_ able to reach temps far above 235F, stiring it will be nearly impossible. Just know this and plan for maple taffy, instead. Okay, that is now cooling on a parchment paper. I’ll make more maple cream with tomorrow’s sap.

  3. Kathy Bliss says:

    First-you are a freaking riot! As a fellow maple producer I 10000000% agree on the addictive nature of cream and the drinking syrup through a straw reference!
    Second- have you ever had cream on Ritz chips or crackers? The sweet and salty… yah….oh my gravy!

  4. Debra Claxton says:

    Please help! I live in the mountains, at 5,500 ft. water boils at a lower temperature. How would I adjust the cooking and cooling temps/times?
    I absolutely love maple cream, on anything, and it’s getting expensive to order from Vermont!


    • Tater says:

      Subtract regular sea level boiling temp from the 235 she recommends. Go that much above you boiling. So 235-212=23F, boil to 23F above whatever your elevation boils at. Most accurate is to boil water in a pot, measure that, then add 23F to it and boil your maple syrup to that new number.

  5. Allyssa says:

    This recipe worked perfectly for me and it is so delicious! Definitely a test of patience.

  6. Richard cholette says:

    I did everything like you said. But after a couple of days it started to turn into sugar. What did I do wrong.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Richard. There might be an error with your thermometer. Even overheating by a degree can make it maple sugar instead of butter. You can add a little bit of water and reheat it to try to fix it. ~ karen!

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