Best Substitutes For Honey

best substitutes for honey

Honey is a natural sweetener that is widely used in cooking, baking, and as a topping for various dishes. However, there are times when you need a substitute for honey, either due to dietary restrictions or simply because you have run out of this golden liquid. Thankfully, there are several alternatives that can mimic the flavor and texture of honey, making them excellent replacements. In this article, we will explore the best substitutes for honey and how to use them in your recipes.

Key Takeaways

  • Honey is a popular sweetener that can be substituted with other natural options.
  • Maple syrup, agave nectar, and molasses are the best substitutes for honey.
  • When choosing a substitute, consider the flavor profile and sweetness level desired.
  • The amount of substitute to use may vary depending on the recipe. Adjust to taste.

Why You Need A Substitute For Honey

There are several reasons why you may need a substitute for honey. Firstly, if you are following a vegan diet, honey is not considered vegan-friendly due to its origin from bees. Secondly, some people may be allergic to honey or may have specific dietary restrictions that prevent them from consuming it. Finally, there may be instances where you simply run out of honey and need a quick alternative for your recipe. Whatever the reason, having alternatives for honey can be incredibly useful in the kitchen.

Types Of Substitutes For Honey

A drizzle of honey golden

When searching for a substitute for honey, it is important to consider options that closely mimic its flavor and texture. Here are some popular alternatives that can be used in place of honey:

1. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from the sap of maple trees. It has a slightly similar flavor profile to honey, offering a rich, sweet taste with hints of caramel. Maple syrup is commonly used as a topping for pancakes and waffles, but it also works well as a substitute for honey in baking recipes. It is important to note that maple syrup has a thinner consistency than honey, so you may need to adjust the liquid ratio in your recipe accordingly.

2. Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is derived from the agave plant and has a similar taste to honey, although slightly milder. It is sweeter than honey, so you may need to use less of it in your recipes. Agave nectar is popular among vegans as it is a plant-based alternative to honey. It has a thinner consistency than honey, and it dissolves easily in both hot and cold liquids, making it a versatile substitute.

3. Molasses

Molasses is a byproduct of the sugar refining process and has a distinctive flavor that is quite different from honey. However, it can be used as a substitute for honey in certain recipes, especially those that call for a darker, richer flavor. Keep in mind that molasses has a stronger taste, so you may want to use it in moderation. It is advisable to choose unsulphured molasses for a more natural option.

4. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is made by fermenting cooked rice and then breaking it down to create a syrupy sweetener. It has a mild, buttery flavor that is similar to honey. Brown rice syrup is a good alternative for those who prefer a less intense sweetness compared to honey or maple syrup. However, it is important to note that brown rice syrup has a thicker consistency, so you may need to adjust the recipe accordingly.

5. Date Syrup

Date syrup is made by blending dates with water to create a naturally sweet syrup. It has a rich, caramel-like flavor that is similar to honey. Date syrup is a popular substitute for honey in vegan baking, as it adds moisture and sweetness to recipes. It has a thick consistency, similar to honey, making it an easy swap in most recipes.

Best Substitutes For Honey

After considering the different alternatives, here are the best substitutes for honey:

  • Maple syrup: It closely mimics the flavor profile of honey and works well in both sweet and savory recipes.
  • Agave nectar: This vegan-friendly option is sweeter than honey and dissolves easily.
  • Molasses: Ideal for recipes that require a rich, dark flavor.
  • Brown rice syrup: Offers a milder sweetness and can be used as a one-to-one replacement for honey.
  • Date syrup: A natural sweetener with a rich caramel-like taste.

Choosing The Right Substitute For Honey

When choosing a substitute for honey, it is important to consider the flavor profile and sweetness level desired in your recipe. Some substitutes, like maple syrup and brown rice syrup, closely resemble the taste of honey and can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Others, like molasses and date syrup, have stronger flavors that may overpower certain dishes if used in large quantities. It is recommended to start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.

It is also worth noting the consistency of the substitute. Honey has a thick, syrup-like texture, so choosing a substitute with a similar consistency will help maintain the texture of your dish. If the substitute has a thinner consistency, you may need to make adjustments to the liquid ratio in your recipe.

Cooking With Substitutes For Honey

Cooking with substitutes for honey is relatively straightforward. In most recipes, you can replace honey with an equal amount of the substitute. However, keep in mind that the sweetness and flavor may vary, so it is best to adjust the quantity to taste.

When using maple syrup, agave nectar, or brown rice syrup, you can generally substitute them for honey in a 1:1 ratio. These substitutes are similar in taste and consistency, making them easy swaps.

Molasses and date syrup have distinct flavors that may not work well in all recipes. It is advisable to start with a smaller quantity, taste the dish as you go, and adjust as needed. Some recipes may benefit from a combination of honey and these substitutes to balance out the flavors.

Recipes Using Substitutes For Honey

Here are a few recipes that can be made using substitutes for honey:

1. Vegan Pancakes With Maple Syrup

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Instructions:
    1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
    2. In a separate bowl, combine the almond milk, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup.
    3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
    4. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and lightly grease with coconut oil.
    5. Pour ¼ cup of the pancake batter onto the pan and cook until bubbles form on the surface.
    6. Flip the pancake and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
    7. Repeat with the remaining batter.
    8. Serve the pancakes with a drizzle of maple syrup.

2. Vegan BBQ Sauce With Agave Nectar

  • Ingredients:
  • Instructions:
    1. In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients.
    2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
    3. Remove from heat and let cool before using as a marinade or BBQ sauce.

Storage And Shelf Life Of Substitutes

When it comes to storing substitutes for honey, it is similar to storing honey itself. Maple syrup, agave nectar, and molasses should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It is best to store them in airtight containers to prevent moisture absorption and crystallization.

The shelf life of these substitutes varies. Maple syrup can be stored for several months in the refrigerator, while agave nectar and molasses can last for up to a year when stored properly.

For brown rice syrup and date syrup, it is advisable to check the manufacturer’s label for specific storage instructions. These substitutes may have different shelf lives and refrigeration requirements.


When you find yourself in need of a substitute for honey, there are several options available. Maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, brown rice syrup, and date syrup are all great alternatives that can be used in different recipes. Consider the flavor profile, sweetness level, and texture of the substitute to choose the right one for your dish. With these substitutes, you can continue enjoying your favorite recipes, even when honey is not on hand.

Pro Tip: When using substitutes for honey, start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste. Some substitutes have stronger flavors and may overpower the dish if used in large quantities.


What Are Some Substitutes For Honey?

Agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, and date syrup are all great substitutes for honey. Each has a distinct flavor and level of sweetness, so it’s worth experimenting with different options to find the best fit for your recipe.

Are There Any Health Benefits To Using Honey Substitutes?

Many honey alternatives come with their own health benefits. For example, agave nectar has a lower glycemic index than honey, making it a better option for those monitoring their blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, molasses is high in iron and other minerals.

How Do I Use Honey Substitutes In Baking?

In most cases, you can simply swap out honey for an equal amount of your chosen substitute. However, keep in mind that different substitutes may lead to different texture or taste changes in your baked goods. Be sure to experiment with different options and adjust other ingredients as necessary.

Can I Use Honey Substitutes In Savory Dishes?

Absolutely! Maple syrup is a popular ingredient in savory dishes like marinades and glazes, while molasses can add depth and flavor to things like baked beans and barbecue sauce. Get creative and try using different substitutes in your favorite savory recipes.

Are There Any Substitutes That Are Vegan-friendly?

Yes! Agave nectar, maple syrup, and date syrup are all vegan-friendly alternatives to honey. Molasses and brown rice syrup may also be vegan-friendly, depending on the brand and production methods used. Be sure to check the label or contact the manufacturer if you have any concerns.

  • Best Substitute for Honey: 9 Alternatives to Sweeten Your Recipes
  • The Best Honey Substitutes – Eating on a Dime
  • 14 Best Honey Substitutes That Are Just as Good –
  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.