The truth is, there are no real honey substitutes that can compare to its taste and texture on a piece of warm bread.
You just can’t beat the real thing.
However, if you’re using it in a recipe, you can sometimes find a honey alternative that works wonders.
Maybe you’ve run out of honey. Or maybe you need to whip up something for your vegan friend who’s on their way over.
A honey substitute would definitely come in handy, right?
Additionally, honey isn’t the best choice if you’re trying to save the bees! With that in mind, let’s check out 10 honey substitutes – just in case.
1. Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is a sweet and sticky mess. So, if you want something neater and cleaner than honey, this isn’t it.
However, it’s a terrific alternative if you want a more subtle taste.
Unlike honey, brown rice syrup isn’t super sweet. Instead, it’s mild and just sweet enough.
It’s also usually organic and all-natural. Plus, it’s an equal swap which makes things nice and easy.
If you want something new to add to your morning cup ‘o joe, it’s a good choice. (It works well in hot tea, too.)
Many people don’t realize it, but there are five types of molasses. They are:
- Light molasses
- Dark molasses
- Blackstrap molasses
The first two (light and dark) make excellent honey alternatives. And those are what you’ll find in most stores here in the U.S.
You can substitute them both at a one-to-one ratio for honey and it shouldn’t change the texture of your dish at all.
That said, it might make it taste slightly different if honey is a primary ingredient. Otherwise, the difference in taste is barely noticeable.
3. Maple Syrup
We all know that maple syrup and honey don’t taste alike. Still, they both taste phenomenal, so yes, you can swap out maple syrup for honey.
It’ll give your recipe a richer, more maple-like flavor. But in most cases, that’s not a bad thing.
Substitute the ingredients using a one-to-one ratio and enjoy!
Your dish won’t lose any sweetness. However, there will be a subtle difference in flavor.
As long as you enjoy maple syrup, you won’t mind the change.
4. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar has become a very popular sweetener in the last several years.
Many people already use it as a sugar substitute. But you can easily use it instead of honey, too.
It’s a bit sweeter than honey, so consider that when using it. If you’re the kind of person who thinks “the sweeter, the better,” then you’ll be fine.
It’s also runnier and thinner than honey. Therefore, you’ll need to reduce other liquids in a recipe by about 1/4 when substituting agave nectar.
Finally, remember that it cooks much faster than honey or sugar. That may mean you’ll have to lower the temperature of your oven when baking.
Otherwise, things may brown too quickly and appear done before they really are.
5. Coconut Syrup or Nectar
While not as popular as agave, coconut syrup is gaining popularity. It’s an excellent honey substitute for vegans, as it’s entirely plant-based.
It comes from coconut blossoms and has a similar texture to honey. It’s all-natural, contains less sugar, and has a lower glycemic index, too.
All that makes it a good choice for people watching their sugar intake.
Just keep in mind that it’s not as sweet as honey. It also has a bit of a caramel-like taste.
You can swap it out for honey at a one-to-one ratio. However, your recipe may not be as sweet as you’re expecting unless you add a bit extra.
6. Brown Sugar
If you’re using honey solely as a sweetener, brown sugar is a good substitute. It’s also readily available, as most people have it in their cupboards.
Of course, brown sugar isn’t as suitable if you’re using honey as a spread or topping. If you want to mix it with tea or coffee, though, it’s ideal.
It may take a little extra than what the recipe calls for if you’re using it as a honey replacement.
It is still sugar, though, so be mindful of how much you add.
7. Light Corn Syrup
Light corn syrup is probably the best substitute for honey overall. It has a similar taste and texture, and you can swap it out using a one-to-one ratio.
Of course, light corn syrup isn’t the healthiest honey alternative. However, if you’re looking for something as close to honey as possible, it’s perfect.
Dark corn syrup is acceptable in a pinch, as well. Just keep in mind its taste will be stronger and a bit earthier.
It’s more like molasses than honey.
8. Simple Syrup
Any cocktail aficionado will be familiar with simple syrup. Most bakers and chefs should be, too.
If you aren’t, don’t worry. I’ll tell you exactly what it is and how to make it.
It’s a simple homemade mixture of sugar and water. You can use white or brown sugar, though brown sugar works best to replace honey. (It gives the flavor more depth.)
It’s what they add to those coffee drinks we all love. Most smoothie places use it too.
Here’s how to make it:
- Combine a cup of water with five cups of sugar in a saucepan over low heat.
- Allow the mixture to come to a simmer.
- Stir continuously until all the sugar has dissolved.
- After the sugar has dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat.
- Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container.
- Store it in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
That’s all it takes! It’s good to make a batch and keep it on hand if you need it.
I also like to add vanilla to the mix – especially if it’s for coffee.
9. Date Syrup
Homemade date syrup is another excellent alternative to honey. You’ll make it with Medjool dates and water, so it’s 100% natural.
It’s also a good source of antioxidants and fiber.
Follow the same basic steps as you would for simple syrup to make it.
- Combine half a pound of dates with two cups of water (make sure the dates are chopped and pitted).
- Then, simmer, stir, and let the mixture cool.
- Pour it into a blender to make it smooth, and then strain the mixture.
- After you’ve strained it, you’ll want to put it back on the stove for the second round of cooking.
It takes a little time to make, but it’s a nutritious, delicious honey alternative. I think it’s worth it!
10. Barley Malt Syrup
If you’ve never used it, barley malt syrup is like molasses. In fact, people often use it as a molasses substitute.
It also works for honey at a two-to-one ratio.
You’ll double the amount of barley malt syrup in a recipe requiring honey. (i.e., If a recipe needs 1/4 cup of honey, you’ll use 1/2 cup of barley malt syrup.)
It’s thick and not quite as sweet as honey, so doubling the amount might change the texture and taste of your recipe somewhat.
Even so, it’s a suitable alternative if you’re in a bind.
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