Are you in need of a honey substitute for your recipe? Maybe you're allergic to honey, on a restricted diet, or just want to watch your sugar intake.
No matter what your reason is, there are plenty of great substitutes available. In this post, we will discuss 21 different ways to substitute for honey!
While there are many other alternatives, this list is what we consider the best. You may need to reference this list if you're making my Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips or my Honey Ginger Chicken Thighs!
- Why are ingredient substitutions important?
- Barley Malt Syrup
- Greek Yogurt
- Artificial Honey
- Corn syrup
- Agave nectar
- Golden syrup
- Coconut nectar
- Maple syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Yacon Root Syrup
- Mashed Bananas
- Liquid stevia
- Monk fruit
- Date paste
- Dandelion syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Ingredient Substitutions
Why are ingredient substitutions important?
As mentioned above, there are many reasons why you might be in need of an easy ingredient substitution. It is important that you are able to find the right substitution that maintains the taste and presentation of your recipe as well as meeting any dietary requirements.
Whether you are looking for a substitute for beef broth for your soup, tomato paste substitute for your pasta recipe, a low carb or keto friendly substitute for coconut flour, or easy cream cheese substitute for your dessert, my selection of ingredient substitutions can help you out in a pinch.
White sugar and brown sugar make great honey substitutes. Both dissolve very easily into all types of cooking and are often used as an easy flavor enhancer or condiment.
Since regular sugar isn't in a liquid form, you will want to make sure you add some water, milk, or eggs as your liquid. Sugar will dissolve particularly well in hot water.
When substituting for honey with sugar, you will want to make sure you taste test as you go. This will help prevent your recipe from being too sweet.
Barley Malt Syrup
Barley malt syrup is another great substitute. This vegan alternative to honey is similar in flavor and sweetness. You can also add it to your tea or coffee.
Barley malt syrup is also a good source of fiber and protein. If you're looking for a healthy substitute for honey, barley malt syrup is a good option.
The substitution ratio is 1:1.
A substitute that has great health benefits, is low in calories, and high in protein is Greek yogurt.
It has a slightly sour taste and will not be as sweet as honey, but still a great option.
When substituting for honey, you will want to use about ½ cup of Greek yogurt for every 1 cup of honey.
Artificial honey is made with sugar and corn syrup and has a similar taste to real honey.
While artificial honey is a viable substitute, the downside is that it contains little to none of the health benefits of real honey.
You can substitute on a 1:1 ratio.
Corn syrup has a high sugar content and is one of the more commonly used honey substitutes. It has a very similar consistency but tends to be less sweet.
Many chefs find that light corn syrup is better when a sweeter taste is desired.
Dark corn syrup is more like molasses and is better suited for baked goods.
Substitute light corn syrup for honey on a 1:1 ratio, but ½:1 for the dark corn syrup.
Agave nectar (or agave syrup) is a good vegan substitute. It comes from the agave plant and has a high fructose content. Agave nectar also has a sweet, caramel-like flavor that's similar to honey.
When using agave nectar, you can use a 1:1 ratio, but be sure to taste test it.
Golden syrup, which is as common in the UK as maple syrup is in the United States, is one of the great honey substitutes. It gives a subtler taste than maple and has a similar taste to caramel.
This substitute works in most sweet dishes and is suitable in all kinds of cakes and biscuit recipes. Marinades, dressings, and sauces are also very good uses. Just make sure to use the same quantity called for in the recipe.
You can substitute golden syrup for honey on a 1:1 ratio.
Molasses (made from the juice of sugar cane) is a very good substitution for honey. This natural syrup has a sweet, caramel-like flavor that's similar to honey.
Substitute molasses for honey on a 1:1 ratio.
Be aware that blackstrap molasses is a more refined form of molasses and has a bit of a bitter aftertaste.
If you are looking for a substitute for honey, this is a great option. It has a similar honey-like flavor and is definitely sweet enough to substitute for honey.
Substitution with light molasses on a 1:1 ratio.
Dark molasses is made from the boiled-down juice of sugar cane. It has a robust, earthy flavor and is commonly used in gingerbread, baked beans, and stews.
Dark molasses is high in iron, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. It also contains antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage.
In recipes that call for one cup of honey, use ¾ cup of dark molasses.
Coconut nectar is a vegan and gluten-free substitute that's made from the sap of the coconut tree blossoms and makes for a great honey substitute.
It has a sweet, caramel-like flavor that's similar to honey. It can be used as a substitute for honey in recipes or you can use it as a substitute for sugar and other sweeteners.
Substitute with coconut nectar on a ratio of 1:1.
If you're looking for a substitute that's vegan and gluten-free, try using maple syrup.
Maple syrup, made from the sap of maple trees, is a vegan and gluten-free substitute for honey.
It has a sweet, caramel-like flavor that's similar to honey, and it can substitute for honey in recipes or you can use it as a substitute for sugar and other sweeteners.
You can use much maple syrup at the same ratio as honey.
Benefits to using Maple Syrup over honey
- Pure maple syrup is vegan while honey is not
- Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index than honey, meaning it doesn't spike blood sugar levels as much
- Contains antioxidants that are beneficial for health, whereas honey does not
- Maple syrup is less viscous (thicker) than honey, so it's a good substitute when your recipe calls for liquid sweeteners
- Has less likely to crystallize than honey, so it lasts longer in storage.
Brown rice syrup
Brown rice syrup, also called rice malt syrup or brown rice sugar, is an alternative to honey that many vegans use as one of their go-to honey substitutes.
It is not quite as sweet as honey, but still one of the better honey alternatives.
With this honey alternative, you can substitute ½:1 or 1:1. Just be sure to taste test as you go.
Another honey substitute is applesauce. However, apple sauce may not be suitable as a substitute in baked recipes.
Substitute for applesauce 1:1 ratio, but your recipe may require some slight modifications due to the liquid content of applesauce.
Problems with using Applesauce as a Honey substitute
There is a downside to using applesauce instead of honey because of the high water content of apple sauce. You will need to reduce the amount of other liquids in your recipe.
Yacon Root Syrup
Yacon Root syrup can be a sticky, honey-like sweetener.
Root syrup, which is extrapolated from the roots of Yacon plants, is a very effective honey alternative and is 100% vegan approved.
The substitution ratio for Yacon root syrup is 1:1.
Mashed Bananas are a great substitute for honey and just as sweet. Replace honey on a 1:1 ratio.
If your recipe calls for one cup of honey, substitute with one cup of mashed bananas.
If you're looking for a substitute that's low in calories, try using Stevia.
Stevia liquid is a natural sweetener. It has zero calories and is made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It's available in liquid and granulated powder.
As a general rule, replace 1 cup of honey with 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia. Stevia is sweeter than honey, so you will want to be careful not to add too much.
As with some of our other substitutes, you will want to make sure you taste test.
One of the best honey substitutes is jaggery.
Jaggery is an unrefined sugar produced from palms and sugar cane.
Because of its caramel flavor, many feel that it is ideally suited for use in coffee and tea. It is also great for baking recipes like desserts and bread.
Replace honey with jaggery on a 1:1 ratio.
Erythritol is often found in low-sugar and low-calorie foods. It is also used in dessert cakes, chocolate drinks, low-calorie meals, and more.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol containing fermented glucose from wheat or corn. It can add flavor to sweet recipes without calories or carbs.
For a substitute of 3 cups of honey, add a third cup of Erythritol.
One of my favorite substitutes for honey is monk fruit.
Monk fruit is a green small melon that is native to China and Thailand. This fruit juice has more sweetness than honey and makes for a very good substitute.
If you are looking for particular uses, monk fruit can be a substitute in salad dressings, sauces, beverages, or baked goods.
You can buy monk fruit sweeteners in liquid and powder forms.
Because of its sweetness, replace 1 cup of honey with 1 teaspoon of monk juice.
Another substitute for honey that's vegan and gluten-free is date syrup.
Date paste is made from crushed dates. It is very sweet and can make a great substitute in sweet and savory dishes.
If you can't find it in your local grocery store, you can easily make your own date paste.
Simply soak 1-ounce dates in water and add 1 cup lemon juice. Allow to soak for a few hours then mash the dates up into a paste.
You can use this paste to substitute honey on a 1:1 ratio.
Made from the petals of dandelions, dandelion syrup is a great and often unknown way to substitute honey.
Dandelion syrup has an identical color to honey with a very similar taste. The sweet flavor makes it one of the best honey substitutes.
Replace 1 cup honey and 1 cup dandelion syrup.
Derived from sorghum grain, sorghum syrup has a taste and consistency very similar to molasses.
The natural sweetener can be poured onto pancakes, biscuits, or waffles.
The substitution rule of thumb for honey with sorghum is 1:1.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use sugar instead of honey but be aware of some important details when switching. Honey is a liquid; therefore, you have to add some liquids to the recipe to compensate for the substitution.
The taste and texture may be a little different from honey, but that doesn't mean the result wouldn't be great.
As referenced above, there are better substitutes than sugar.
Although honey has been made from natural ingredients that are more nutritious and more flavorful, other healthy alternative ingredients are to be found.
Maple syrups are a natural sweetener sourced from the maple tree. They are also a good honey substitute for many different types of recipes. If you enjoy pancakes or waffles it is easy for you.
Making beeless honey at home is pretty simple. All you need is water, sugar, and some clover and rose petals. Here is a great YouTube on how to make your own beeless honey at home.
More Ingredient Substitutions
As you can see, there are many great substitutes for honey.
Honey alternatives like brown rice syrup, agave nectar, coconut nectar, and rice malt syrup are not very well known, but offer health benefits and are a great way to maintain your healthy eating.
If you replacing honey in your diet, the above list offers some great options that are sure to meet your needs.
Choosing the best honey substitute will depend on what you have available and your need at the time.