The study of antioxidant activity of the hydrolysates is necessary during its processing in which Maillard reaction would often occur. To understand the effect of Maillard reaction on antioxidant activity of silver carp protein hydrolysates (SPH), the Maillard reaction products (MRPs) were prepared at different ratios between SPH and glucose by Maillard reaction in powdered state, respectively. MRPs possessed a strong 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity and reducing power (P<0.05). The hydrolysate and glucose heated with the ratio of 2:1 at 60 °C showed high browning intensity and good antioxidant properties (P<0.05). According to the correlation coefficients of variables included in the hydrolysate–glucose system, good correlations were observed among the antioxidant activities, the absorbance at 294 nm and the loss of free amino groups. The results suggested that Maillard reaction has a good potential to improve the antioxidant activity of SPH.