Barley malt syrup is a sweetener made from malted barley grain. In the last few decades, it was becoming more popular as a lot of people prefer to use natural sweeteners instead of white sugar. It is a very healthy alternative as a sweetener in many desserts. Besides its sweetness, it also gives our food a nice nutty flavor.
If you haven’t seen and tasted barley malt syrup yet, it is dark, very thick, and sticky. It is normally less sweet than other syrups in the market. You can also buy it in powdered form.
Barley malt syrup can be used in many recipes. It is a very common ingredient in baked goods like dark bread, spice cakes, and gingerbread.
It is also used as a glaze on baked vegetables like squash or sweet potatoes. Also, barley malt syrup gives a special flavor to some types of beer.
Despite all of its benefits, there is a high chance that you won’t find barley malt syrup in stores. If you want to buy it, it is better to go to natural food stores or order it online. Or of course, the simplest solution is just to find something else to replace it with.
There are many alternatives for barley malt syrup you can choose from. If your recipe calls for it, you can substitute it with honey, molasses, brown rice syrup, Korean rice syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, golden syrup, coconut syrup, sugar, or maltose.
This article will guide you through these substitutes and show you how and when to use them.
Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes
If you don’t have barley malt syrup at home you can easily find something else to use instead. Go through this list to find the best barley malt syrup substitute for your recipe.
Honey is probably the best alternative for barley malt syrup. It is one of the oldest sweeteners in the world and is available almost everywhere.
You can even buy it much cheaper than barley malt syrup. Besides its sweetness honey also has a very similar consistency to barley malt syrup. It is also a great substitute if you are looking for a gluten-free alternative as barley malt syrup contains gluten.
You can use honey mostly in baked desserts like cookies or cakes. You can also put it into your tea to give some sweetness to it.
However, honey is twice as sweet as barley malt syrup, so when using it in a recipe remember to cut the amount of malt syrup in half to know how much honey you can use.
Molasses has a lot in common with barley malt syrup and the two sweeteners are often compared to each other. Despite what many people think, barley malt syrup is not the same as molasses, but you can exchange them in many recipes. They have a similar color and viscosity with a strong sweet flavor.
There are three main varieties of molasses: light molasses, dark molasses, and blackstrap molasses. As a barley malt syrup substitute, the best choice is blackstrap molasses. Among the three types, it is the thickest and has the less sweet flavor.
However, it is still sweeter than barley malt syrup, which means you may need to use less of it to avoid overpowering your dishes. Molasses is a great substitute for bagels and other baked goods.
3. Brown rice syrup
Besides honey and molasses, you can substitute barley malt syrup with different types of syrups. You can use brown rice syrup which is a great vegan and gluten-free alternative. It is a very healthy option as it can sweeten your dishes without adding too many calories to them.
Brown rice syrup can be used as a table sweetener but also in cooking or baking. It is quite popular in Asian recipes, like adzuki beans. When you use it as a barley malt syrup substitute, you can add a little bit more as brown rice syrup is a bit less sweet.
4. Korean rice syrup
Another rice syrup to substitute barley malt syrup with is Korean rice syrup. This is very close to barley malt syrup because it is made of barley malt powder and rice. It is viscous and thick and has a rich, earthy and sweet flavor.
It is a common ingredient in Korean cuisine. You can use it as a natural sweetener or add a finishing glaze to foods. As a substitute, you don’t have to make any adjustments, just use the amount recommended in your recipe.
5. Maple syrup
Maple syrup is the sap of the maple tree reduced to syrup. It is a great substitute for barley malt syrup in many recipes, especially in baked desserts.
It has a similar sweet flavor to barley malt syrup with a rich, deep nuttiness. Regarding its consistency, it is less thick than barley malt syrup, but adding the same amount will work well in many recipes.
6. Agave syrup
Agave syrup is very common mostly in vegan cuisine. Nowadays it is becoming more and more popular so sometimes you can even find it in supermarkets and smaller shops.
It is mostly used as a table sweetener. However, you can also use it in baked desserts as a barley malt syrup substitute. Just like at maple syrup, use the amount your recipe with barley malt syrup requires.
7. Golden syrup
Golden syrup is a buttery caramel flavored syrup that is most popular in the UK. You can even make it at home with sugar, water, and lemon juice. It is a key ingredient in many dessert recipes like pies, tarts, or cookies.
If you use it as a barley malt syrup replacement it will give your desserts an extra caramel flavor besides the sweetness. Golden syrup is sweeter than barley malt syrup so be careful not to add too much of it.
8. Coconut syrup
If you don’t find barley malt syrup in your area, most likely you won’t find coconut syrup either, but in case you do, you can use it as a substitute. It gives a sweet and nutty flavor to cakes, ice creams, and pancakes and it is also a good table sweetener.
The most obvious, most common, and easiest barley malt syrup alternative is sugar. If you are out of fancy sweeteners, sugar is an ingredient that is ever-present in the kitchen.
Both brown and white sugar are good substitutes for this syrup. You can use it in any sweet recipe but reduce the amount of it by half when using it as a replacement.
When you are out of options, maltose can also be a great barley malt syrup substitute. Just like regular sugar, you can use it in most desserts and sweet treats.
It tends to be healthier than sugar as it doesn’t have any fructose in it. It is less sweet, but you still have to decrease the amount of it when you use it instead of barley malt syrup. Besides desserts, maltose is also a good alternative for bread, bagels, and beer.
Can you make bagels without barley malt syrup?
Just by removing barley malt syrup, you won’t get the same result. It is better to look for a good alternative to replace it. For bagels the best choice is molasses.
How is barley malt syrup made?
It is made by sprouting the barley heating the sprouts slowly to make syrup.
Can barley malt syrup be a part of a vegan gluten-free diet?
Barley malt syrup is vegan but it contains gluten. If you are looking for a gluten-free alternative, replace it with honey or coconut syrup.