Honey Substitute: 16 Recommended Alternatives & How To Use Them

What is a perfect substitute for honey?

If you’re reading this article, I guess you found an empty honey jar amid making breakfast pancakes or waffles. Honey is not one of those items you buy every time you are at the store.

As such, running out of honey in the middle of cooking or breakfast is a common happening. How do you get past this? You certainly can’t quit making what should have a great breakfast.

Read this article to see what ingredients in your kitchen can replace honey other than sugar.  

What is honey?

Honey is a raw liquid extracted from a bee’s hive into a bottle. It contains about 80% of sugar with traces of yeast, wax, and pollen. You can find it available in a variety of color grades, raw or pasteurized. 

Other than being a sweetener, consuming raw honey may help with allergies and also help your wound heal faster. It contains nutritional benefits that are beneficial to overall health.

What is the purpose of honey in a meal?

The primary purpose of honey in a meal is to sweeten it. Honey also helps to enhance the flavors of your savory dishes. Additionally, you can use honey to bind ingredients and retain water content. 

Honey substitutes

1. Maple syrup

maple syrup - millenora

100% pure maple syrup is one of the best options to use in place of honey. It will work as a sweetener and help retain the consistency of your dish. Use maple syrup to replace honey in any of your favorite recipes in a ratio of 1:1. 

However, ensure that you use “100% real maple syrup” and not any other kind of maple syrup.

Likewise, you should be aware that maple syrup has a unique taste. So, it may slightly change the flavor of your dish. 

2. Molasses 

molasses as honey substitute - millenora

Molasses is a sugar-based product. However, the production process breaks down the sugar content, making it a popular sweetener with less sugar. You can use light or dark molasses as a honey substitute in your baking recipes. 

Molasses are thicker than honey and possess a distinctive flavor. It will add a rich sweetness to your baking dish. If you’re using blackstrap molasses, use it in moderation, especially if you are at risk of diabetes.

3. Brown sugar

brown sugar - millenora

Brown sugar provides rich sweetness and flavor to your baked items, which is why you should consider it a great honey substitute. The level of sweetness and flavor it offers is close to that of honey. 

Ensure you use a cup of brown sugar to replace every ¾ cup of honey in your baking recipe. 

4. Light corn syrup

honey substitute - light corn syrup

Corn syrup is a popular ingredient in making candies and other sweet treats, which is why you may have it in your kitchen.

Thanks to its sweetening effects, you can have it as a honey substitute if you ever run out of honey while baking. 

Corn syrup has a similar consistency and is as sweet as honey. However, they have different flavors because corn syrup is more sugary than honey.

You can use equal parts of corn syrup to replace honey in your favorite dessert recipe. For a more distinct and rich flavor, use dark corn syrup. 

5. Golden syrup

golden syrup - millenora

This is a honey substitute that looks like honey. If you need an alternative that looks like honey, this one is for you. However, it is not a natural product like honey, as it is made from refined sugar. 

Although they have a similar level of sweetness, golden syrup does not have a distinct flavor like honey. However, you can use equal parts of golden syrup in place of honey. 

6. Rice malt syrup

rice syrup - millenora

This is an uncommon honey substitute you should consider. If you are looking for an easy replacement for honey, get yourself rice malt syrup. 

Rice malt syrup is made from cultured rice and has zero sugar content. However, it has a similar taste and consistency to honey. This makes it a great honey substitute in your recipes.

All you need to do is replace your honey with equal parts of rice malt syrup.

7. Barley malt syrup

honey substitute - barley malt syrup - millenora

If you are looking for a natural sweetener to use in place of honey, this is a good one for you. 

Barley malt syrup is made from sprouted barley. It has a similarly rich flavor, sweetness, and consistency to honey. You can also use the same amount of barley malt syrup to replace honey in your recipes.

8. Yacon syrup

yacon syrup - millenora

Here’s another all-natural option you can opt for. The yacon syrup is made from the root of a yacon plant, which originates from Peru.

Although it is less sweet, it has a similar consistency to honey. Likewise, it has several health benefits. 

For your vegan dishes and recipe, use equal amounts of yacon syrup instead of honey for your favorite recipe.

9. Date syrup

honey substitute - date syrup - millenora

Dates are natural versatile food sweeteners that serve as great replacements for honey in almost any dish. However, you can only cook with dates in the form of syrup.

While you may not be able to get date syrup at a mainstream grocery store, you can make one. 

To make your date syrup, blend 2 parts of date and 1 part of water till you get a smooth liquid. While you can add it to your recipe, you can also spread it on your bread to enjoy the sweetness.

10. Agave nectar

agave nectar - millenora

If you love tequila, you probably already know of the agave plant. Agave nectar is a sweetener that comes from the agave plant. You can replace your honey with agave nectar if your recipe does not require much heat. 

You can also replace honey with equal parts of agave nectar in sauces, marinades, toppings, icings, and drinks.

Note that agave nectar is sweeter than honey. You can choose to reduce the amount of agave nectar to half the amount of honey you would naturally use.

11. Coconut nectar

coconut nectar - millenora

Coconut nectar is made from the flowers on coconut trees. This is an excellent substitute for honey as it has its unique flavor. It is also as sweet as honey. So, for all your sweetener needs, choose coconut nectar. 

Be sure to taste it before using it if you are not familiar with the taste.

It is the best honey substitute you can hope for in dressings, marinades, sauces, and other recipes that require little to no heat. Use equal amounts of coconut nectar to replace honey in your recipes.

12. Vegan honey

honey substitute - vegan honey - millenora

Vegan honey is a specially-made honey substitute for vegans. It is synthetic honey made from sugarcane, lemon, and other plant-based ingredients. There are several vegan honey brands to choose from for your vegan diet. 

13. Stevia

stevia as honey substitute - millenora

Stevia is a sugar-free sweetener made from the stevia plant. This is a natural sugar-free substitute for honey. 

Although it will add sweetness to your recipe, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste. Only use this substitute in small quantities in your drinks, sauce, or dressings. 

14. Monk fruit

monk fruit - millenora

Monk fruit is another all-natural sugar-free honey substitute you can use. It tastes more like real sugar and doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste.

However, it is more expensive but worth it. Just a little pinch of it will give your drink or dish a powerful boost of sweetness. 

15. Applesauce

applesauce - millenora

Applesauce has a sweet and tarty taste that will transform your dish just as honey would. Additionally, applesauce has nutritional properties that are beneficial to health.  

For baking and cooking, applesauce is your best honey substitute. It is healthier than honey and also helps the dish taste better.

16. Jaggery

jaggery - millenora

This is another uncommon honey substitute that you should know about. Jaggery is a sweet caramel-flavored unrefined sugar that is made from sugarcane. It also has several nutritional benefits. 

Why does honey need substitutes? 

You need to have substitutes around for times when you run out of honey in the middle of your cooking or baking. 

Consuming too much honey can lead to weight gain, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and other blood sugar issues. Therefore, you need alternatives to help reduce your intake of honey. 


What can you substitute for honey when baking bread?

Maple syrup. You can use maple syrup as a honey substitute for your bread. Only use a small quantity of maple syrup and less water when baking your bread. 

What is the best substitute for honey in tea?

Brown rice syrup. It is a great honey substitute for tea as it has a mild taste and will not change the taste of your tea. It also has a thicker consistency than honey. 

What is the best vegan substitute for honey?

Applesauce. Applesauce is the best vegan substitute for honey as it is healthier and gives dishes a better taste than honey. Another vegan substitute is vegan honey.


Some of the honey substitutes include maple syrup, rice malt syrup, barley malt syrup, coconut nectar, agave nectar, applesauce, etc.

You’ll need at least one of these substitutes when you need a vegan option that is just as perfect as honey, when you find out you’re out of honey amid cooking, and when you just need to give your meal a different flavor. 

So, when next you go shopping for honey, remember to get some of these alternatives as well.

Thanks for reading. Also, check out this list of grenadine substitutes that are also perfect for your cocktails and mocktails.