Try these corn syrup substitutes when you run out or need a healthy swap.
They’re not all healthy, of course, but they’ll work well in most recipes.
The Best Corn Syrup Substitutes
Even if you don’t use it that much, it’s always good to know some corn syrup substitutes.
After all, you can’t make pecan pie without it!
When I want to make something, I want to make it right away.
I don’t want to stop and run to the store for a missing key ingredient. And that’s where these corn syrup substitutes come in handy.
From agave and golden syrup to molasses, they won’t all work in every single recipe. But you should be able to find one to fit your needs.
1. Brown Rice Syrup
You may never have used (or heard of) brown rice syrup, but it’s probably one of the best corn syrup swaps there is.
It’s readily available, thick and sticky, and just as sweet.
Actually, while it is sweet, it’s got less sugar overall than corn syrup. So it’s ideal for anyone managing their blood sugar.
The flavor is warm and slightly nutty, and it does have a light golden hue. But you won’t really notice that in most recipes.
And it’s great in everything from salad dressings and cakes to fudge and candies.
How to Substitute: Swap 1/2 cup of corn syrup with 1/2 cup of brown rice syrup.
2. Golden Syrup
If you’ve never heard of golden syrup, chances are you don’t live in the UK or Australia.
It’s a very typical baking ingredient in those countries. In fact, you won’t really find corn syrup on the shelves – instead, it’ll be golden syrup.
It’s got more or less the same texture as corn syrup and can be used interchangeably in baking and candy making.
The two things that set it apart are the color and flavor.
Where corn syrup is clear and sweet, golden syrup is – you guessed it – golden. It’s also got a light buttery caramel flavor, which I adore.
As a substitute, it’s my go-to. There are very few recipes that don’t benefit from the flavor.
The only reason it’s not at the top spot is because you’ll need to order it online.
How to Substitute: Swap 1/2 cup of corn syrup with 1/2 cup of golden syrup.
3. Sugar + Water
One of the most convenient corn syrup substitutes is a mixture of sugar and water.
It’s not the best swap because you can’t use it for candy-making. Plus, it’s not as thick, and it involves cooking and cooling hot sugar syrup before you can use it.
So, it’s not super convenient as a last-minute alternative.
Still, everyone has sugar and water on hand, right? That means you’ll have a readily available substitute 9 times out of 10.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Pour 1/4 cup of warm water into a pot.
- Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and gently stir.
- Heat on medium-high until the sugar dissolves.
That’s all it takes! And you can even use brown sugar if you need to swap out dark corn syrup.
Just remember: Sugar crystallizes at high temperatures. So don’t let it heat over 235 degrees Fahrenheit.
That’s why it’s not great for making candy. But it’s just fine for pecan pie and fudge.
How to Substitute: Swap 1/2 cup of corn syrup with 1/2 cup of cooked sugar syrup.
4. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar (agave syrup) is excellent for baked goods because it doesn’t have a strong flavor like the options above.
Instead, it’s quite neutral, so you won’t notice it in recipes with fewer bold ingredients.
It is sweet, though – sweeter even than corn syrup. So you’ll need to reduce any other sugar in the recipe by about half.
Unfortunately, it’s not great for making candy. Where a recipe made with corn syrup will stay hard, anything made with agave with soften pretty quickly.
That said, it does work in fudge, which is soft anyway.
Finally, it’s not quite as thick as corn syrup, so you’ll use a little less.
You may notice a slight change in texture in the final product, but it won’t be anything too crazy.
How to Substitute: Swap 1 cup of corn syrup with 3/4 cup of agave nectar.
Honey is another one-to-one replacement for corn syrup.
Unfortunately, it has a distinct flavor that will likely alter the taste of your recipes.
Even so, it’ll work in a pinch.
Honey is super light, so it might not be too noticeable in pale bakes. And you can use it in salad dressings and savory recipes, too.
Like sugar, it’ll crystallize in high heat. So stick to pies and other baked goods, and avoid making candy.
How to Substitute: Swap 1/2 cup of corn syrup with 1/2 cup of honey.
You can usually use molasses at a one-to-one ratio for corn syrup. However, unless you’re substituting dark corn syrup, you may not like the result.
The darker the molasses, the healthier it is. At least as far as having a low glycemic index goes.
But darker molasses has a robust flavor and isn’t sweet like corn syrup. So it’s best in recipes that only need a small amount.
Or, of course, dark recipes like gingerbread. Also, it will be okay for candy-making if you find a recipe that plays well with the flavor.
Either way, stick to light molasses.
How to Substitute: Swap 1/2 cup of corn syrup with 1/2 cup of light molasses.
7. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a lot like honey when substituted for corn syrup.
It works incredibly well, the texture is perfect, and you can swap it out using a one-to-one ratio.
Unfortunately, like honey, maple syrup will alter the flavor of your recipe.
The good news is that most things don’t taste bad with a bit of maple flavoring.
Just be aware of the potential for altered taste beforehand. That way, you won’t be surprised by the result.
Also, be sure to get good-quality maple syrup for a thicker texture. And don’t try using it in candy-making!
How to Substitute: Swap 1/2 cup of corn syrup with 1/2 cup of maple syrup.
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