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What Is Pecan Syrup?

By Angie Bates
Updated May 16, 2024
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Pecan syrup is a type of syrup made with chopped pecans. Generally used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and other breakfasts foods, pecan syrup can be used as a dessert topping as well. Making pecan syrup may, in fact, be as simple as adding pecans to store-bought maple syrup, or it may be made from scratch. Often found in restaurants, it is occasionally found in groceries stores and can be ordered online.

Particularly popular in southern states in the US where pecans are plentiful, pecan syrup was originally designed to mimic the flavor of pecan pie. The only real requirement for this sauce is that it be made with pecans. Therefore, many versions are simply maple syrup mixed with chopped pecans. Although these versions are acceptable for those who just want to add some nuts to their morning breakfast choice, they generally do not convey the true taste of made-from-scratch pecan syrup.

In addition to pecans, corn syrup, either light or dark, and brown sugar are the key ingredients. To prepare, the nuts may or may not be toasted in butter first. Then, the ingredients are simply boiled together in a pan for five or ten minutes, while stirring. The mixture thickens as an indication that it has finished cooking. Generally served warmed, pecan syrup can be jarred for future use.

Butter pecan is a popular variation on this sticky liquid. When making the butter pecan version, butter, usually unsalted, and vanilla or rum extract are normally included in the mixture as well. The syrup and sugar are added to water, and the sugar is allowed to dissolve before any other ingredients are included. The butter and extract are generally added near the end of the cooking process.

Other variations also exist. For example, adding bananas to the butter pecan mixture creates banana pecan syrup, whereas bourbon pecan syrup adds bourbon to the mix. Mixing maple syrup or maple extract with the basic syrup is often referred to as maple pecan syrup.

Since the syrup uses pecan pieces, it is not simply a smooth liquid. Though it has the typical sticky viscousness of basic syrup, and usually has the familiar caramel coloring of maple syrup, it also usually contains chunks of pecan. Despite the generally obvious inclusion of nuts, people with nut allergies should still be cautious when trying unfamiliar syrups in case the nuts are not apparent in a specific version.

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Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On Oct 27, 2013

@ddljohn-- You don't need the corn syrup, you can leave it out and just add more sugar.

I make pecan syrup with sugar, water, butter, chopped pecans and maple extract. I roast the pecans in butter, add the rest of the ingredients and boil it. It's a simple pecan syrup recipe but it's fast and tastes good.

By ddljohn — On Oct 26, 2013

@SarahGen-- Have you ever had pecan syrup covered bacon? It sounds weird, but it's unbelievably good.

I want to make some pecan pancake syrup at home, but I'm not a fan of corn syrup. Can I substitute it with something else? Maybe honey or agave syrup?

By SarahGen — On Oct 26, 2013

Homemade butter pecan syrup is amazing. My mother-in-law makes some every year and gives me a bottle or two. She makes the real stuff at home, from scratch. We love it on pancakes, waffles, pies and desserts.

I had eaten easy pecan syrup before with just chopped pecans in regular syrup. But now that I've had the real thing, I have no idea how I ate the other stuff. They're not comparable at all. Pecan syrup made from scratch has a beautiful color with a fragrant, earthy pecan scent and taste. You don't need a lot of it as a topping. It's full of flavor so a little goes a long way. When it has butter in it, it's even better.

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