Having a list of corn syrup substitutes on hand isn’t a bad idea. You probably don’t use corn syrup that often if you’re anything like me.
I break it out when making pecan pie and occasionally when making fudge.
Sometimes, I’ll even mix it with butter for an easy-to-prepare biscuit spread.
So why make a list of substitutes for something I use so infrequently?
Simple. Because pecan pie isn’t too good without corn syrup.
And 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. That’s where these corn syrup substitutes come in handy.
The Best Corn Syrup Substitutes
The best corn syrup substitutes include the following:
- A combination of sugar and water
- Agave syrup
- Golden syrup
- Maple syrup
Let’s examine each of these in more detail below.
1. Sugar and Water
One of the most convenient corn syrup substitutes is a mixture of sugar and water.
It may require a bit of kitchen alchemy, but everyone has sugar and water on hand.
That means you’ll have a readily available substitute 9 times out of 10. Here are the steps for replacing one cup of light corn syrup:
- Start with 1/4 cup of warm water.
- Add one cup of granulated sugar to the water.
- Combine the mixture and wait until the sugar fully dissolves.
That’s all it takes! You do the same thing to substitute for dark corn syrup. Only, in that recipe, you use packed brown sugar instead.
Just remember: Sugar will crystallize if you’re working with high temperatures.
That means this mixture isn’t ideal for making candy. (It’s just fine for pecan pie and fudge, though!)
2. Agave Syrup
Agave syrup, or agave nectar, is another excellent option for baked goods. Like the mixture above, it’s not optimal for making candy.
Agave nectar doesn’t have a strong flavor. Instead, it’s pretty neutral, however, it’s extremely sweet. Yes, even sweeter than corn syrup!
Therefore, you might want to cut the amount you use when substituting it for corn syrup.
If a recipe needs a cup of corn syrup, use 3/4 cups of agave nectar.
You can always add more if you find the dish isn’t sweet enough. Another thing to remember is that agave nectar isn’t thick.
Its viscosity is quite a bit thinner than corn syrup.
So your recipes may come out with a slightly different texture than you’re expecting.
The more you add, the more noticeable this discrepancy will be.
Cut back on other liquids if it becomes a problem.
3. Golden Syrup
So what if you’re making candy instead of pies? Grab some golden syrup! Also called light treacle, this sticky sweet treat is popular in the UK.
Therefore, it may not be a practical substitute in the US. If you have some, though, it works wonderfully as a corn syrup alternative.
It’s much like corn syrup, with a similarly sweet, buttery taste. You can swap it out for corn syrup using a one-to-one ratio.
Use it in baked goods or candy, as it doesn’t crystallize easily.
Honey is another one-to-one replacement for corn syrup.
Unfortunately, it has a distinct flavor that will likely alter your dish’s taste. Even so, it’ll work in a pinch.
Additionally, if your honey is super light, it might not be too noticeable.
On the other hand, dark honey’s flavor is sure to come through in whatever you’re making.
Like sugar, it’ll crystallize in high heat. So stick to pies and other baked goods, and avoid making candy with honey.
Are you looking for a substitute that’s a bit healthier? Try Stevia. As you probably know, it’s calorie-free, carb-free, and sugar-free.
That makes it pretty healthy in my book!
As with most alternatives here, you can’t use it for candy.
However, it’ll taste fantastic (and be much healthier) in an old-fashioned pecan pie!
It has a concentrated dose of sweetness, though, so start slow. I usually add a half-cup of Stevia for every required cup of corn syrup.
Then, I slowly add more until it tastes right.
You can usually use molasses at a one-to-one ratio for corn syrup.
However, you may not like the result if you’re using dark or blackstrap molasses.
The darker the molasses, the healthier it is. (At least as far as having a low glycemic index goes.)
However, darker molasses has a more robust flavor and isn’t all that sweet.
If I were you, I’d stick with 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.
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