Honey is a sweetener with a thick texture, very sweet flavor, and golden color.
This natural alternative to sugar is made by the bees which are collecting nectar from different flowering plants. Thus, the flavor, color, texture, and smell of the honey depend on the type of flowers the bees were collecting nectar from.
You can use honey in baked goods, marinades, dressings, sauces, and as a sweetener for beverages. The best part? It is a natural product that doesn’t have an expiration date.
It can only crystallize, but that doesn’t mean it has gone bad. Just put the jar in warm water and mix, and the honey will return to its original state.
Even if honey contains antioxidants good for your health you should use smaller amounts because it has high sugar and calories content.
However, if you are allergic to honey, you are vegan, or just want to try some other ingredient as a substitute for honey there are many options you can choose from.
Substitutes for honey you can use in your recipes are molasses, maple syrup, liquid stevia, corn syrup, coconut nectar, apple sauce, sugar, yacon root syrup, golden syrup, or some of the following ingredients.
Keep on reading to learn more about each substitute!
Best Honey Substitutes
There are a plethora of substitutes for honey you can use in your recipes. Some of them are also suitable for vegans and people allergic to honey.
You only have to choose the right product that works best in your meals to match with the other ingredients for a beautiful final product.
Molasses is sweet and thick juice extracted from the sugar beets or sugar cane during the sugar production process. The juice is boiled and crystallized 3 times. And each time the juice contains less sugar.
Molasses after the first sugar extraction-light molasses contains more sugar than the molasses after the second and the third extraction (dark molasses and blackstrap molasses). They all have different colors, textures, and flavors.
Light molasses is the sweetest and works as a honey substitute. You can use it in baked goods, barbeque sauce, and hot beverages in a 1:1 ratio.
2. Maple syrup
Maple syrup is made from the cooked sap of the maple trees.
The sap is cooked until it contains 66%of sugar and 33% of water. There are variations of maple syrup with different colors and flavors depending on the time when the sap is collected, and the type of the maple tree.
You can use it as a topping for waffles and pancakes, in barbecue sauces, salad dressings, frostings, and beverages. You can use maple syrup as a substitute for honey in cookies, baked goods, meat marinades, and sauces.
High-quality maple syrup is a healthier substitution for honey. You can use maple syrup in a 1:1 ratio in savory dishes, and ½ cup of sugar mixed with ¾ cup of maple syrup to replace 1 cup of honey in sweet dishes.
Maple syrup is one of the substitutes for honey suitable for vegans.
3. Liquid stevia
Stevia is one of the sweeteners made from the plant.
The leaves of the stevia plant are used for the production of this natural sweetener that doesn’t contain calories, carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients.
Stevia is sweeter than sugar about 100-300 times and has a bitter aftertaste. You can buy it in liquid or powder form in the health food section of the store.
To replace ¼ of a cup of honey, add 1/3 teaspoon of liquid stevia. You can use liquid stevia in sauces, salad dressings, smoothies, and beverages.
While you can use stevia in powder form in baked goods together with other sweeteners. Or on its own depending on the recipe you are making.
4. Corn syrup
Corn syrup is made of milled corn. The corn starch from the corn is converted into corn syrup which is 100% glucose. There are two types of corn syrup, dark and light corn syrup.
Dark corn syrup has a stronger flavor and darker color than light corn syrup with a vanilla flavor. They are common ingredients in different fruit drinks, candies, and soft drinks.
Substitute one teaspoon of honey with one teaspoon of light corn syrup in dessert sauces, cookies, baked goods, frostings, and barbeque sauces. But if you have dark corn syrup use ½ teaspoon to substitute one teaspoon of honey.
5. Coconut nectar
Coconut nectar is not a very processed natural sweetener.
The flowers of the palm contain sap which is dehydrated to make coconut sugar but for a liquid sweetener like this one, the sap is heated only a little to evaporate the water and make it thicker.
This nectar has a caramel flavor. However, it is not sweet like honey. You can use it in baking and cooking, as a topping, in bars, or to sweeten up your cup of tea or coffee.
Substitute honey with coconut nectar in a 1:1 ratio.
6. Apple sauce
Apple sauce is a good honey substitute in your cooked or baked recipes.
You can use one cup of apple sauce as a substitute for one cup of honey in muffins, cakes, bread, and other baked goods.
Simply reduce the liquids in your baked recipe because apple sauce has more water than honey. The only bad thing is that you can’t use apple sauce as a substitute for honey in recipes without baking and cooking.
If you don’t have any other sweetener at home you can replace honey with sugar in a 2:1 ratio in the cooked and baked recipes.
The sugar is not in liquid form, so you can use ½ cup of liquids like water, milk, or eggs instead of one cup of honey you will substitute.
You can also substitute honey with sugar in recipes that don’t require cooking if you boil 5 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water to get a thick sweet texture similar to honey. Cool it and use it in the recipe instead of 1 cup of honey.
You can use brown sugar instead of honey in recipes in the same way as white sugar.
8. Yacon root syrup
Yacon root syrup has a dark color, sweet flavor, and thick texture. It comes from the roots of the yacon plant and is a good natural sweetener.
You can use this syrup instead of honey in desserts that don’t need baking like smoothies, salads, and pancakes.
Yacon root syrup is a sweetener suitable for vegans, and it helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Use yacon root syrup in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for honey.
The only bad thing is that you can’t use it in recipes that need baking and cooking because the complex sugars can be easily broken down by the high heat.
9. Golden syrup
Golden syrup is created when the sugar beet or sugar cane is refined into sugar. It has a similar texture and looks like honey but tastes like caramel.
Golden syrup is a cheaper alternative to honey and you can use it in desserts, baked goods, as a topping on pancakes, granola, scones, waffles, fruit salad, and other desserts.
Use the golden syrup in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for honey.
10. Date paste
Date paste is a healthy substitute for honey. Dates are one of the sweetest fruits which makes them a good substitute for honey in some recipes.
You can buy date paste or make it at home. Soak 1 cup of dates for 8 hours, blend them with 1 ½ cups of water, and one tablespoon of lemon juice.
You can use this paste as a substitute for honey in a 1:1 ratio in cakes, cookies, bread, and other baked goods.
11. Brown rice syrup
Brown rice syrup doesn’t contain gluten and fructose and is a vegan substitute for honey. It is less sweet than honey, with a slightly nutty flavor.
You can use this syrup in cooked dishes, baked goods, or as a topping for waffles, pancakes, and other desserts. Use one cup of brown rice sugar to substitute ½ a cup of honey.
12. Barley malt syrup
Barley malt syrup is another vegan sweetener made of soaked and sprouted barley grains. It has a malt flavor and thick texture similar to honey but it is not sweet as honey.
You can use it in baked goods, as a topping, in desserts, and in beverages. Replace honey with barley malt syrup in a 1:1 ratio.
13. Agave nectar
Agave nectar is extracted from the agave plant and is used in many vegan recipes. It has a thinner texture than honey but similar sweetness.
You can use it in beverages, dressings, waffles, pancakes, and baked goods. You can use agave nectar instead of honey in a 1:1 ratio. However, if it is too sweet you can use less.
Made from the palm or sugar cane, jaggery is unrefined sugar. You can use it as a healthy alternative to sugar. You can find it in a liquid and granulated form. Or as a block of sugar.
Jaggery is more nutritious than regular sugar and can be used in the same way as sugar. It has a caramel flavor that pairs well with coffee and tea. But you can also use it in desserts, baked goods, and sauces.
Substitute honey with jaggery in a 1:1 ratio.
15. Monk fruit
Monk fruit is a green small melon native to Thailand and China.
The juice from this fruit is sweeter than sugar and makes a perfect substitute for honey. You can use it in dressings, sauces, beverages, baked and cooked goods.
You can find monk fruit sweeteners in granules, as liquids and powder. As a replacement for ¾ cup of honey use one teaspoon of monk fruit liquid.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol made of fermented glucose from wheat/corn starch. You can use it to give a sweet flavor to your recipes without calories and carbs.
Erythritol is a common ingredient in low-sugar, sugar-free food. You can use it in many desserts, candies, cookies, cakes, pastries, chocolate, dairy drinks, low-calorie beverages, and other meals.
If you want to use erythritol in baked goods don’t use more than ½ cup because it will crystalize and dry out the recipe. To substitute ¾ of honey in the recipe use 1 1/3 cup of erythritol.
17. Sorghum syrup
Sorghum syrup is made of sorghum grain. It has a flavor similar to molasses and a thick texture like honey. This natural sweetener works as a topping for pancakes, biscuits, waffles, cornbread, and any other recipe that asks for honey.
You can substitute sorghum syrup for honey in a 1:1 ratio.
18. Dandelion syrup
The dandelion syrup is made from sugar, the petals of the dandelion flowers, water, and lemon juice. It is thinner than honey with a similar color and flavor.
You can use it in pancakes, biscuits, muffins, drinks, and many other recipes that ask for honey. Substitute one cup of honey with one cup of dandelion syrup in the recipe.
Allulose is sugar alcohol present in raisins, figs, wheat, jackfruit, and other ingredients. It contains fewer calories and is less sweet than sugar.
You can find it as a powder, syrup, and granules, and utilize it as a healthy alternative to sugar in cakes, pastries, sweet sauces, salad dressings, frostings, fillings, and many other recipes.
Use 1 1/3 of a cup of allulose to substitute ¾ of a cup of honey.
20. Inulin syrup
You can find this product in some foods like garlic, onion, agave, chicory root, wheat, and artichokes. Inulin syrup is extracted from the chicory root.
It is a common ingredient in baked goods, different smoothies, beverages, and dressings. You can use it as a substitute for one part of the sugar in the recipe because it is less sweet than sugar and you will need bigger amounts to replace all the sugar with inulin.
If you use more than 20g a day of inulin syrup it can cause gas, diarrhea, and bloating.
Honey Substitute in Baking
For baking, you can use other sweeteners like maple syrup, coconut nectar, golden syrup, apple sauce, monk fruit, molasses, brown sugar, date paste, and agave nectar.
They will make the bake good tender, with beautiful color and flavor.
Honey Substitute in Bread
The best honey substitute in bread is sugar, molasses, date paste, corn syrup, brown sugar, maple syrup, apple sauce, and agave nectar. They will all feed the yeast, boost the flavor and texture and keep the moisture in the bread, keeping it fresh for longer.
Honey Substitute in Marinade
If you need a substitute for honey in the marinade you can use maple syrup, molasses, or brown sugar, instead. They will caramelize the meat, and give it a flavor and crispy texture.
Honey Substitute Vegan
Vegan substitutes for honey include brown rice syrup, maple syrup, molasses, barley malt syrup, date syrup, sorghum syrup, coconut nectar, dandelion syrup, yacon root syrup, and agave nectar.
You can use them in recipes instead of honey to add sweetness and improve the overall flavor.
Honey is a healthier alternative to sugar with more nutritional value. But if you are open to new flavors you can use some of the substitutes in this article and try them in your recipes.