Are you out of honey? Or have no time to drive down to the mart and grab some? Read through to find easy alternatives for honey. This article will also reveal a substitute for honey in recipes that do not require cooking. So are you ready to find out the honey substitute you’re looking for?
The easiest and basic of all alternatives is the use of brown sugar.
Brown sugar can be easily alternated for honey, in its raw natural state, in most places such as baking, cooking, etc. However, when using in recipes where no cooking is required, raw brown sugar won’t work as effectively.
But don’t worry; we have a perfect solution for that as well! Here’s an extremely simple, 2-ingredient, and 2-step recipe, which is all you need to follow, to make one full cup of substitute for honey.
- 6 cups of Brown sugar
- 1 cup of Water
- In a non-stick saucepan, add the brown sugar and water together.
- Wait till the brown sugar dissolves and let it simmer on low heat for two minutes.
- Take it off the heat and let cool.
This recipe makes a perfect alternative for honey in terms of both sweetness and consistency. Even the color matches that of honey. However, in taste, honey has a strong and raw flavor that the brown sugar might not be able to achieve. Nonetheless, it tastes good.
A good thing about this recipe is that you can easily store it in your fridge for later use. So you don’t have to go through the hassle of cutting down on the recipe when you need to substitute only one or two tbsp of honey.
Instead, make a cup of this brown sugar syrup and store it in an airtight container in your fridge for later use.
However, if you want to substitute more than one cup of honey, then remember one thing, it is a 1:6 ratio recipe. This means, one cup of water to 6 cups of brown sugar, will make one perfect cup of a honey substitute.
Multiply this ratio by the number of cups required, and you are good to go.
Is There Any Harmful Effect of Using Honey Substitute?
Well, while there may not be any harmful effects of using brown sugar, there are quite a few benefits of using honey, for example:
- Honey helps lower cholesterol.
- It also lowers blood pressure.
- It may have a higher calorie count than brown sugar, but it is sweeter, so less is more.
Health Benefits of This Honey Substitute:
- As compared to white sugar, brown sugar has a few minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
- The molasses present in brown sugar helps boost one’s metabolism.
- When brewed with ginger, it also helps soothe menstrual cramps.
- Like sugar, it gives one an instant boost of energy, which can sometimes be good to kick start the day.
- Last but not least, it also helps in nurturing the skin. Many organic brands use brown sugar as a key ingredient in their scrubs.
If you don’t have brown sugar then you can use these 20 substitutes for brown sugar and create the recipe.
15 Best Substitutes for Honey
Apart from brown sugar, there are several other ingredients, usually easily found in one’s pantry, which can work as substitutes for honey in recipes or as general alternatives for honey.
After a lot of hard work and research, here are 15 fool-proof ingredients that can easily be substituted for honey:
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Nectar
- Yacon Root Syrup
- Date Paste
- Liquid Stevia
- Apple Sauce
- Ripened Banana
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Golden Syrup
- Maple Sugar
- Barley Malt Syrup
- Agave Nectar
1. Maple Syrup
So the question is, can you use maple syrup as a substitute for honey?
Yes, you can use maple syrup as a substitute for honey in recipes where baking and cooking is required. But it is important to keep in mind the impact maple syrup will make on the overall taste of the dish.
Maple syrup has a distinct flavor of the maple tree, from which it is made. Nonetheless, even honey tastes different, depending on which plant’s nectar was used by the bees.
That being said, make sure you use a 100% natural maple syrup, as that matches the consistency of honey far better than the ones with more water content.
How Much Can I Substitute Maple Syrup for Honey?
You can use the 1:1 ratio, when cooking a savory dish, such as barbecue ribs. But when using maple syrup as a honey substitute in dessert, such as honey lemon tarts, make sure to add ½ a cup of sugar with ¾ cup of maple syrup, to substitute one cup of honey.
Well, because honey is sweeter than maple syrup. While it may not make much of a difference in a savory dish, a dessert will turn out less sweet. Hence, the extra bit of sugar.
Health Benefits of Maple Syrup:
Maple syrup is one of the many superfoods, and here are its top benefits:
- It has antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce the risk of cancer and type 2 – diabetes.
- It has good amounts of manganese, which works as an energy booster.
- Magnesium traces help to fight heart diseases.
- It also has calcium, which helps with bone strengthening.
- Potassium in maple syrup helps keep the blood pressure in check.
Drawbacks of Using Maple Syrup as a Honey Substitute:
One main drawback of using maple syrup instead of honey is that you will have to use extra amounts of sugar along with it if using to make dessert. Sugar, of course, is not as healthy as the other alternatives, honey, and maple syrup.
Also Read: 5 Best Maple Syrup Substitutes
2. Coconut Nectar
Coconut Nectar is a natural sweetener derived from the flowers of the coconut tree.
It can easily be used as a substitute for honey in recipes where cooking is not involved, such as granola bars. It has the right amount of sweetness and consistency to bring the dish together, and it’s all-natural, so not too bad for health either.
How Much Can I Substitute Coconut Nectar for Honey?
Coconut nectar has a similar consistency to honey. Hence it can be used at a 1:1 ratio. This means if a recipe calls for 2 cups of honey, 2 cups of coconut nectar will do the job.
Health Benefits of Coconut Nectar:
There are many alternatives to honey, but I like Coconut Nectar the best, and here’s why:
- It has far too many minerals than sugar.
- It has a low glycemic index, which means it dissolves slower in the blood, which means it can provide energy for long, unlike honey.
- It is a good source of various vitamins, especially vitamin B.
- Their low fructoses levels help prevent high cholesterol and other heart diseases.
- It doesn’t give you an instant sugar high and keeps the sugar levels in check, hence can also be consumed by people with diabetes.
Drawbacks of Using Coconut Nectar as a Honey Substitute:
Despite most pros, one con that Coconut nectar has is the high amounts of sucrose levels it contains.
So basically, coconut nectar is as bad as normal table sugar, with some added benefits. Hence, not a good, daily alternative.
Also Read: 5 Best Coconut Nectar Substitutes.
3. Apple Sauce
Yes, applesauce is one of the most astonishing alternatives for honey. However, it cannot be used as a substitute for honey in recipes where cooking and baking are not involved.
Applesauce surprisingly substitutes, incredibly well for honey.
Whether you are making something sweet or savory, it gives the right amount of flavor required. Though it has more water content than sugar, it can still be used as a honey substitute, perfectly well.
How Much Can I Substitute Apple Sauce for Honey?
Surprisingly applesauce can be used at a 1:1 ratio when substituting for honey. Though, you will have to make a few simple changes to the recipe.
For example, if you are making cookies that require one cup of honey. Substitute the honey with one cup of applesauce. But since applesauce has more water content than honey, you will also need to deduct ¾ cup of any other liquid ingredient, such as milk, eggs, butter, etc., from the original recipe.
Health Benefits of Apple Sauce:
- Applesauce promotes the growth of probiotics in the body.
- The good fiber content in applesauce helps in better digestion.
- It is a good substitute for not only honey but also butter and oil; hence, it can promote healthy eating.
Drawbacks of Using Apple Sauce as a Honey Substitute:
Well, the drawback of using applesauce in place of honey is that you can’t use it in recipes where no cooking is required. For example, honey mustard sauce. You can’t use applesauce here; that would be too weird, both in taste and texture.
Molasses is the byproduct of the process of refining sugar. It is a sticky syrup that is generally used as a sweetener.
Yes, molasses can, therefore, be a good honey substitute, as its consistency and sweetness match a lot to that of honey.
How Much Can I Substitute Molasses for Honey?
Honey and molasses can be used at a 1:1 ratio quite easily. Though, the end dish’s taste might differ a little, due to the distinct flavor of molasses.
Health Benefits of Molasses:
- It is packed with antioxidants.
- An amazing source of calcium, which helps prevents bone degeneration.
- Also, molasses is rich in iron.
- Molasses also has polyphenols, which studies suggest, help burning fat.
- Molasses also contains lactic acid, which helps tone down acne and its inflammation.
Drawbacks of Using Molasses as a Honey Substitute:
The only drawback is that molasses are sometimes heavy on the digestive system. If taken too much, it can cause diarrhea.
People with sensitive digestive systems are to avoid molasses.
5. Yacon Root Syrup
Yacon root syrup is a sticky, honey-like, natural sweetener. Extracted from the roots of a yacon plant, it can work amazingly well as a honey substitute.
It is all-natural, so vegan approved. It is, however, a little less sweet than honey, but as tasteful.
How Much Can I Substitute Yacon Root Syrup for Honey?
You can use one cup of yacon root syrup as a substitute for honey in recipes, where one cup of honey is required. It has almost the same consistency and stickiness as honey.
However, in case of making a dessert, you will have to add in about ½ a cup of sugar per cup of yacon root syrup to balance the sweetness.
Health Benefits of Yacon Root Syrup:
- Yacon syrup helps lower blood sugar levels.
- It also helps lowers cholesterol levels, especially the bad ones.
- Yacon root syrup also helps reduce insulin resistance.
- It also aids in better digestion and relieves constipation.
- Last but not least, it is also known for its mineral contents, which get absorbed in the bones and help strengthen them.
Drawbacks of Using Yacon Root Syrup as a Honey Substitute:
Despite all the amazing benefits of yacon root syrup, there is one major drawback.
We cannot cook or bake yacon root syrup. High heats break down the complex sugar in it, which renders the purpose of this sweetener.
The complex sugar is what keeps the yacon root syrup, from spiking our blood sugar levels and making anything made with yacon root syrup, guilt-free.
If you don’t have yacon at home, you can use these yacon syrup substitutes.
Well, yes, you can use sugar as a substitute for honey. Though they both have different states, one is liquid while the other is granules, but they can very well provide the same results, especially in terms of sweetness.
|Sr. No||Fun Fact|
|1||The people of New Guinea were the first to produce sugar can around 8000 B.C and it is one of the world’s oldest ingredients|
|2||A teaspoon of sugar cost the equivalent to $5 in London in the 16th century|
|3||The only taste that humans are born craving is sugar|
|4||Only 12 oz can of soda a day adds enough sugar to your diet to speed up the chances of developing heart disease by one-third|
|5||A single 12 oz can of Coke has 10 teaspoons of sugar|
How Much Can I Substitute Sugar for Honey?
In case of baking or cooking, use a 2:1 ratio. That means, add double the amount of sugar than the amount of honey required in the recipe.
Also, to balance the level of liquids, add half a cup of a liquid agent as well, such as milk, eggs, or water, for every one cup of honey that you substitute.
In case of a cold dessert, drink or smoothie, where cooking is not required, you will have to boil down sugar with some water to get the desired sweetness and consistency, like that of honey.
For that, use the 5:1 ratio. This means 5 cups of sugar in 1 cup of water. Boil till all the sugar dissolves. Cool and use. This will make about 1 cup of substitute honey.
Health Benefits of Sugar:
Well, the refined sugar we eat has no benefits at all. It is, however, malleable and can be used in almost any food, hence the popularity.
Drawbacks of Using Sugar as a Honey Substitute:
- Sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike.
- It can carve paths to heart diseases.
- The most obvious damage it can do is tooth decay.
- Too much sugar can also result in premature aging
- The number one contributor to obesity is also none other than sugar.
7. Date Paste
One of my favorite alternatives for honey is none other than date paste.
Like most alternatives, this, too, is vegan and tastes amazing. It isn’t as common, though, especially in the form of paste/syrup. But it is an easy recipe that hardly takes 10 minutes.
You will need:
- A cup of dates, around 250 grams, pitless, of course.
- 1 ½ to 2 cups of water.
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
In a blender, add the dates, 1 ½ cup of water and lemon juice and blend till it forms a smooth paste.
If it is not smooth enough, add more water little by little, until it has the right consistency.
How Much Can I Substitute Date Paste for Honey?
Like honey, dates are also extremely sweet; hence, you can use it in place of honey as a 1:1 ratio.
The consistency may differ a little as the date paste has a pastier, chunky consistency as compared to honey, which is stickier and syrup-like.
Health Benefits of Date Paste:
- Dates are full of micronutrients that are essential for a healthy diet.
- Dates, surprisingly, aid weight loss.
- Dates help keep the heart healthy and the cholesterol levels in check.
- Dates also help fight anemia, as they are loaded with iron.
- Last but not least, dates aid better digestion.
Drawbacks of Using Date Paste as a Honey Substitute:
Astonishingly, date paste has no proven drawbacks. It is, in fact, the most underrated superfood.
It has almost every nutrient that aids a healthy lifestyle. It is not just sugars we are taking devouring, but also the essential fibers of the date fruit, which makes it a complete win.
8. Ripened Bananas
If you are finding an alternative for honey in recipes, because you want to cut down on processed sugars yet enjoy your meals, ripened bananas are the way to go.
Not only do they provide the perfect amount of sweet to fulfill your cravings, but just like date paste, several other nutrients make it a healthier and guilt-free option.
How Much Can I Substitute Ripened Bananas for Honey?
The sweetness of the banana depends on how ripe it is. Usually half a cup of ripened, mashed, banana can suffice for one whole cup of honey.
So you use a 1:2 ratio. Which means 1 tbsp of ripened, mashed, banana makes 2 tbsp of honey.
Health Benefits of Ripened Bananas:
- Bananas are an impeccable source of vitamins, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B. Both of which are essential for our body.
- Bananas also provide good amounts of potassium, which maintains heart health.
- They also have the right amounts of dietary fibers that aid better digestion.
- Bananas are a source of good energy, without the added fats.
- Last but not least, bananas also have manganese, which promotes skin health and bone health.
Drawbacks of Using Ripened Bananas as a Honey Substitute:
I don’t see any drawbacks of using bananas. However, one thing that might put one-off is the texture of the resultant dish.
For example, if you are baking a cake with banana, it might turn out a little dense than usual. There are ways to fix this, of course, such as adding more rising agent or a liquid agent such as eggs, but that requires trial and error.
In layman’s terms, jaggery is a mix of sugar and molasses. It is attained by heating clear sugar cane or palm tree juice to the point that the water has evaporated and you are left with a golden pasty liquid. This pasty liquid cools to make jaggery, which looks and feels similar to soft stone.
Jaggery can quite easily be used as a substitute for honey in recipes. Though, it has its own particular, caramelized taste.
How Much Can I Substitute Jaggery for Honey?
Jaggery has a distinct flavor, and like honey is pretty sweet. A 1:1 ratio shall work here.
However, changes in the recipe will have to be made. Such as adding more liquid agents, like water, milk, or egg whites.
Health Benefits of Jaggery:
Jaggery has been in use in the Asian subcontinent, for decades, for its astounding benefits:
- A small piece of jaggery after every meal aids better digestion.
- It works as a detox and helps the body get rid of toxins.
- The iron content in it helps fight anemia.
- It helps the liver function promptly.
- And last but not least, it helps build immunity.
Drawbacks of Using Jaggery as a Honey Substitute:
If taken excessively, jaggery can cause constipation and sometimes also cause reactions and allergies.
10. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar, also known as agave syrup, is extracted from different types of cacti plants, which are called agave.
The honey water from under the cacti plant is collected and heated until it turns into a nice sticky syrup, which makes it an easy substitute for honey.
How Much Can I Substitute Agave Nectar for Honey?
Since the consistency and sweetness of both honey and agave syrup are almost similar, they can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio.
Health Benefits of Agave Nectar:
- Agave nectar is vegan-friendly.
- Agave nectar is known for its low GI, which is almost 17, compared to the high 70 GI of honey.
- It also provides trace amounts of magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
- Agave is also sweeter than sugar, hence used less, which means lesser calories.
Drawbacks of Using Agave Nectar as a Honey Substitute:
Despite having a low ranking on GI, agave nectar can be very troublesome for the blood sugar levels.
It is supposed as a diabetic-friendly sweetener, but the truth is it’s not.
It should be treated like any other sweetener.
Because Agave nectar is high in fructose, which may not affect the glycemic index (GI), but it turns into fatty acids. And as studies, carried by the American Diabetes Association, suggest fatty acids are a known cause for diabetes.
11. Barley Malt Syrup
Barley malt is a type of unrefined sweetener, which is extracted from barley that has been soaked and sprouted.
It can work great as an alternative to honey if you are looking for a healthier option. However, it isn’t as sweet as honey.
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How Much Can I Substitute Barley Malt Syrup for Honey?
Honey and barley malt syrup have a very similar consistency; hence, you can use a cup for a cup.
You can swap the honey for the exact amount of barley malt syrup without making much difference in the dish.
Barley malt syrup is, however, not too sweet, so you might have to add some sugar according to your taste.
Health Benefits of Barley Malt Syrup:
Apart from having some micronutrients and dietary fibers, barley malt syrup is also a vegan-friendly sweetener.
And that is the only benefit of it.
Drawbacks of Using Barley Malt Syrup as a Honey Substitute:
Barley malt syrup is high in maltose, which has a high ranking on the GI index. This makes it a troublesome sweetener as it can hike and plummet the blood sugar levels more than table sugar.
12. Brown Rice Syrup
As the name suggests, it is a sweetener derived from breaking down the complex carbohydrates in brown rice.
The consistency and color are pretty similar to that of honey; hence, it is one of the best alternatives for honey.
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How Much Can I Substitute Brown Rice Syrup for Honey?
One cup of honey can easily be substituted by 1 cup of brown rice syrup, as they have almost the same sort of consistency as well as sweetness.
Health Benefits of Brown Rice Syrup:
Though brown rice is full of nutrients, brown rice syrup is far from that. It’s just all the carbs derived out of the rice and turned to simple sugars.
It has no benefits over honey at all!
Drawbacks of Using Brown Rice Syrup as a Honey Substitute:
Brown rice syrup is high in calories and ranks higher in the GI index as well. Which means it’s not a healthy choice at all.
13. Golden Syrup
Golden syrup is a sweetener derived from refined sugar. It has a similar consistency and color to honey, which is why it can easily be substituted for honey.
However, honey has a distinct taste, which golden syrup doesn’t. So, it might affect the overall taste of the dish by some margin.
How Much Can I Substitute Golden Syrup for Honey?
Golden syrup is though a little thicker in consistency than honey, but that doesn’t make much of a difference when used as a substitute for honey in recipes.
You can use a 1:1 ratio, whether you are using golden syrup to make a sweet or savory dish.
Health Benefits of Golden Syrup:
Just like brown rice sugar, golden syrup also has no dietary benefits. It is a good alternative for honey, but with no nutritional values.
Drawbacks of Using Golden Syrup as a Honey Substitute:
The main Drawback of using golden syrup over honey is that golden syrup is high in calories plus has no additional benefits.
14. Liquid Stevia
Stevia is a plant-based sweetener. It is the leaves of the stevia plant that are crushed and used as a sweetener.
It is a lot sweeter than sugar but has a bitter after taste. It may vary the taste a little bit, as it doesn’t have the distinct taste of honey, but as a substitute for honey, in terms of sweetness, it’s perfect!
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How Much Can I Substitute Liquid Stevia for Honey?
Since liquid stevia is 200 times sweeter than the usual sugar, you only need like a tiny drop. For example, 15 drops of stevia liquid are used as a substitute for one whole cup of honey.
Health Benefits of Liquid Stevia:
- Stevia is a zero-calorie, 200 times sweeter than sugar. Which means it can pave some way to weight loss.
- Studies suggest, stevia also has the potential of fighting away cancer, specifically breast and gastrointestinal cancer.
- Stevia also aids in lowering insulin and blood sugars in the body, which is a win-win for people with diabetes.
- Studies also suggest stevia can help lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Last but not the least, it also helps lower high blood pressure.
Drawbacks of Using Liquid Stevia as a Honey Substitute:
Despite the many benefits, stevia has a great drawback, which is also a benefit for some.
It significantly lowers blood pressure. This means anyone with low blood pressure or anyone taking blood pressure medicines should not risk taking stevia.
15. Maple Sugar
Maple sugar is a type of sugar derived from the sap of maple trees. The sap is set to boil, till all water evaporates and we are left with only the residue. This residue is called maple sugar.
Or you can also say that it is more like evaporated Maple syrup.
How Much Can I Substitute Maple Sugar for Honey?
Use a 1:1 ratio to use maple sugar as a substitute for honey. This means a cup of honey can be substituted with 1 cup or 150 grams of maple sugar.
Health Benefits of Maple Sugar:
Apart from a few micronutrients, there is nothing beneficial about maple sugar.
Yes, it is better than the conventional table sugar, but at the end of the day, this too is sugar, which is bad for health.
Drawbacks of Using Maple Sugar as a Honey Substitute:
Like every sweetener, this too, if eaten in excess, will not cause any good. Instead, it will cause the same amount of damage as regular sugar.
What Is The Best Substitute for Honey?
The best substitute for honey, in terms of nutrients, is date paste. Out of all the alternatives, date paste is the only alternative for honey, which has numerous benefits but no drawbacks, what so ever.
The most amazing benefit is, of course, the magnificent amounts of nutrients that are present in the date paste.
While honey can’t be replaced, given its distinct, amazing flavor but it can very well be substituted. So if you are ever looking for a vegan-friendly honey substitute or want to cut down on your sugar intake or make healthier choices, you now know what to do.
What alternatives for honey would you pick, tell us in the comments below!
For the past three years, I have been consciously making efforts for a healthy lifestyle, and I must say it has done wonders! From the better appearance, energized body to a peaceful soul, It has helped me attain it all and Now I am here at foodiideas with all my expertise and experiences. Read More…
great analysis thank you. I have several of the options you listed on hand, but no honey. I want to make an oatmeal bed this morning and since the pandemic have made the days of running to the grocery store for one ingredient kind of stupid, it’s nice to have confirmation that I picked the right one. Thx Please don’t use my information
Thank you Lynne for liking this article. Stay safe
How does Silan (date syrup) stack up against honey?
Foodi Ideas says
Do you know Silan is popularly known as date honey in most Middle Eastern countries?
It has the right sweetness and consistency and makes an amazing Honey Substitute!
Let us know if you have ever used Silan in place of honey. How did the end product turn out?
That’s a very detailed and meaningful analysis. I could imagine and understand how much effort you would have put for summing this up. Great work. It was very useful to me as one of my recipe calls for honey but I am running short of it right now.
Marie Bradley says
Can you use date sugar to replace honey
Foodi Ideas says
Yes, you can definitely use it.