Substitutes for Honey: Top 10 Excellent Honey Alternatives

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Throughout history honey has given us the perfect sweet taste we need. It has been substituted as a healthier alternative for sugar in many recipes and is known to have medicinal properties as well.

The flavor of honey depends on the type of flower the nectar came from. There are two types of honey- raw and pasteurized. The raw honey is removed and bottled directly while the pasteurized honey is processed to remove impurities.

But most of us do not always have honey in our kitchen and that can be a problem when we need it immediately for a dish that we are creating. Besides, many people also avoid honey for different reasons like high price or allergic reactions.

Fortunately, there are a lot of natural ingredients which can be mixed and matched with few other ingredients to give us the perfect alternatives for honey.

Let’s get right into it!

10 Best Substitutes for Honey Comparison Chart

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What are the Best Substitutes for Honey?

Substitutes for Honey

It can be quite troublesome to find a substitute for honey since it has such an unique taste and texture. The best substitute for honey will have a sweet flavor and a sticky texture.

Hence, more often than not, you might need to mix two or more ingredients to get that right texture and flavor.

Let us start with the easiest and most natural way to replace honey: plain table sugar.

Surprising? Will it even be the same?

Yes! All you need to do is to add 1 and ¼ cups of sugar with 1 cup of water and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. There you have it, the perfect substitute!

Another easy substitute is brown sugar.

You can make a one full cup of honey alternative with just 6 cups of brown sugar and 1 cup of water. Add the ingredients in a saucepan, mix them until the sugar dissolves, take off the heat, let it cool and use it instead of honey.

Albeit, not many of us want to replace honey with sugar since it can be unhealthy. Therefore, we have listed some other substitutes for honey which you can easily find in the market!

You may also like: Can You Freeze Honey?

Find Out the 10 Best Natural Substitutes for Honey

Here are the reviews for the top 10 best alternatives for honey and the dishes they are best suited for!

01. Maple syrup

We have always known that maple syrup is great with pancakes, but here’s one more reason to fall in love with it. Maple syrup acts as a great substitute for honey when you’re looking for an earthy and strong honey flavor in your recipe.

However, always keep in mind that the taste of maple syrup depends on the tree it has been extracted from and each can taste different from others. It is recommended to use 100% natural maple syrup since it comes closest to the consistency of honey.

Besides that, maple syrup has antioxidants and a good amount of manganese which helps in giving us energy. It also has calcium and potassium which help in strengthening the bones and keeping blood pressure in check, respectively.

Method of Preparation:

  • For savory dish: Use 1 cup of maple syrup to replace 1 cup of honey.
  • For desserts: Add ½ cup of sugar with ¾ cup of maple syrup to replace 1 cup of honey.

Best for:

  • Baked goods like cakes, cookies.
  • Sauce in chicken dishes.
  • Glaze or marinade over meat and chicken.

Not Recommended for:

  • People with high sugar levels, diabetic patients or people with obesity, since it has high levels of sugar.

The Ferguson Farms Maple Syrup is the best maple syrup to substitute for honey. This is a Grade B (Grade A dark robust according to new grades) maple syrup which has a very strong flavor.

To substitute maple syrup for honey, it is recommended to use Grade B maple syrup since the texture is almost the same and this brand of maple syrup will not disappoint you.

Therefore, Grade B maple syrup is a great substitute for honey because it has a similar texture to it. Maple syrup does not give you a taste enhancement in your recipes, it is a healthier alternative for honey and is vegan as well.

02. Applesauce

Applesauce is a great replacement for honey when it comes to baked or cooked goods. The slightly sweet but tarty taste of applesauce makes your dish taste as good as it would taste with honey.

Along with tasting good, applesauce also has health benefits.

Applesauce has sufficient amounts of fiber which helps digestion and it also promotes the growth of probiotics in the body. Moreover, not only is it a good alternative for honey, it is also a great alternative for butter and oil!

Method of Preparation:

One cup of applesauce can easily replace one cup of honey without any extra ingredients. However, when baking, you will have to reduce the quantity of any other liquid ingredients since applesauce has more water content than honey.

Best for:

  • Baked goods like cakes, breads and muffins.

Not Recommended For:

  • Dishes that do not require cooking or baking. For example, honey mustard sauce. This is because the taste and texture would both be off if the applesauce is not baked or cooked.

The Mott’s unsweetened applesauce is by far the best alternative for honey that we have used. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and does not have any added sugar. Talk about health and taste!

Applesauce is, therefore, a great substitute for honey when you want to use it for cooking and baking recipes. Not only is it tasty, it is also healthier than honey and can actually make your dishes taste better!

03. Date Paste

Date paste is not a very common alternative to honey but it is very easy to make. Dates are easily available at any grocery store and the best part about this paste is that it does not have to be refrigerated.

Moreover, the health benefits of dates are endless. They are full of micronutrients and keep the heart healthy. They are also rich in iron which is great for fighting anemia and helps in improving digestion.

However, keep in mind that the consistency might differ a little since date paste has a more chunkier texture, unlike honey which is syrup-like.

Method of Preparation:

Blend a cup of dates, 1 and ½ cups of water and 1 tbsp of lemon juice to get the perfect consistency and taste. The lemon juice is used to neutralize the sweet taste of dates.

Best for:

  • Sweet dishes like cakes or pastries.
  • People with anemia because dates contain iron.
  • People who want to have a healthy diet since dates have micronutrients.

Not Recommended for:

  • Savory dishes since it is very sweet.

The best dates in the market would be the Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Medjool dates. These are USDA certified organic, vegan and Non-GMO. These dates are plump and sticky, so they are perfect for eating just as it is and even greater for making a paste!

Long story short, date paste has to be the healthiest out of all the alternatives. It has a sweet taste but has lots of added benefits with it. You can devour the food made with date paste, instead of honey, without worrying about spiking your sugar levels.

04. Coconut Nectar

Coconut nectar is a syrup extracted from the sap of the flowers of the coconut palm. This is usually minimally processed and has a slightly sweet and dense flavor which is perfect for using as a substitute for honey.

In addition to having a delicious taste, coconut nectar also has a lot of minerals and is a good source of vitamin B. Moreover, it also keeps your sugar levels in check while providing your body with energy for a long time.

Method of Preparation:

You can use a 1:1 ratio when using coconut nectar in place of honey. This means that if your recipe calls for 2 cups of honey, use 2 cups of coconut nectar in its place since they both have similar consistency.

Best for:

  • Granola bars or peanut bars.
  • As a topping over pancakes or toast.
  • Tea or coffee.

Not Recommended for:

  • Baked items.
  • Cooked items.

The coconut nectar by Coconut Secret has to be the best alternative for honey. This nectar has a naturally sweet, caramel-like flavor. Furthermore, the company uses environmentally sustainable farming techniques and so this is definitely a product you can trust.

In conclusion, coconut nectar is quite a healthy alternative for honey even though it is not recommended to intake in high amounts.

Moreover, it’s best to not use it for baking or cooking since the texture can change. Other than that, use it on top of any other food and you’re good to go!

05. Molasses

Molasses is a refined product which is basically a byproduct of the sugar-making process. It has a mild, sweet flavor and is mostly used as a sweetener. Molasses is a sticky syrup and consequently, works great to replace honey.

Molasses are packed with antioxidants and are an amazing source of calcium and iron. Moreover, it can also aid in burning fat and reduce acne and inflammation. However, it is suggested to not take in high amounts of molasses since it can hamper your digestive system.

Method for Making:

One tablespoon of molasses is perfect for replacing one tablespoon of honey. This is due to the fact that they both have the same texture and similar tastes.

Best for:

  • Tea or coffee.
  • Topping for biscuits or bread.

Not Recommended for:

  • Taking in a large amount.

It is usually said to use light molasses rather than dark molasses since the light one has a more sweet flavor which matches that of honey.

For light molasses, the Uncle John’s Sorghum molasses is definitely our first choice. This one has a nice syrup consistency which will mix in with beverages and can be spread on toast.

The sweet and mild flavor of molasses will ensure that your dish does not feel overpowered with its taste. It works as a great replacement for honey and is bound to be a staple in your pantry!

06. Yacon Root Syrup

The Yacon root syrup can be quite an unknown alternative for many, but it is definitely one of the healthier substitutes for honey. This syrup is extracted from the roots yacon plant and has a sticky consistency which acts great as a natural sweetener.

It helps in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also aids in digestion and the mineral contents in it help in strengthening our bones.

Method of Preparation:

Since it has the same consistency and stickiness as honey, a 1:1 replacement is perfect. However, when using it in desserts, it is best to add ½ cup of sugar to balance the sweetness.

Best for:

  • No-bake desserts.
  • Smoothies.

Not Recommended for:

  • Cooking or baking.

The Alovitox 100% Pure Yacon Root Syrup is the one we love and recommend!

It has a low glycemic index and contains about ⅓ of the calories you find in honey. It does not compromise in terms of taste and would definitely make any of your smoothies, pancakes, and salads taste great!

In conclusion, yacon root syrup is a healthy vegan alternative for honey. You can devour the desserts made with yacon syrup without any guilt since it does not increase your blood sugar levels.

07. Agave Nectar

This nectar is extracted from the plant named agave which is a cactus plant. Its sticky texture comes from heating the honey water collected from the cacti plant.

However, this vegan-friendly syrup cooks faster than honey and so your dish might appear to be more cooked or baked than it actually is.

Besides, agave nectar has a low glycemic index and gives our body traces of magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Besides, it is also sweeter than honey and can be used in a smaller amount to reduce calorie intake.

Method of Preparation: 

It can be substituted for a 1:1 ratio. However, since agave nectar is sweeter in comparison, you might want to use less of it.

Best for:

  • Tea, coffee and cocktails.
  • Dressings.
  • Baked goods.

Not Recommended for:

  • Diabetic patients since it has high fructose levels.

The non-GMO, gluten-free and organic Agave Nectar by Wholesome Sweeteners is by far the most delicious and perfect replacement for honey. You can use it in any of your recipes and some people have also said that this agave nectar syrup did not negatively affect their blood sugar levels.

While agave nectar syrup can be used as an alternative for honey, you might have to make little changes to your cooking methods. You need to reduce the amount of any other liquid by a little bit and also reduce the cooking temperature so that it does not burn quickly.

08. Brown Rice Syrup

Looking for a liquid substitute for honey for drinking with your tea or coffee? Then look no further because the brown rice syrup is the perfect addition to your hot beverages. Even though it is a little stickier than honey, you can count on it as a perfect replacement!.

Brown rice syrup is made by breaking down brown rice and has a few trace minerals like zinc and magnesium. However, it is not suitable for people with high sugar levels and diabetes since it is highly concentrated. This means that it can spike sugar levels very fast.

Method of Preparation:

1 cup of raw brown rice syrup can replace 1 cup of honey.

Best for:

  • Tea.
  • Coffee.

Not Recommended for:

  • Diabetic patients.
  • People with high sugar levels.

Lundberg Brown Rice Syrup is definitely one of the best in the market right now. This 95% organic and gluten-free syrup will be a great incorporation in beverages, over pancakes or even ice-cream. It does have a very sweet taste and therefore is the most recommended one.

Brown rice syrup can be a great alternative for honey but keep in mind to not have too much of it since it has high sucrose levels. Use it in small amounts and bask in its amazing flavor!

09. Barley Malt Syrup

This delicious barley malt syrup is extracted from soaked and sprouted barley. It is a healthy and versatile as well. It can be used for baking goods or poured over pancakes to bring out the mouth-watering flavor of the dishes.

Apart from being super tasty, it also has some micronutrients and dietary fibers which aid in keeping your body healthy. Moreover, it is also vegan-friendly. All the more reasons to love it!

Method of Preparation:

For savory dishes, you can swap barley malt syrup for honey cup for cup. That is, for one cup of honey, you can put in one cup of malt syrup in its place.

On the other hand, since barley malt syrup is less sweet than honey, for sweet dishes, you may want to add some sugar to adjust the sweetness.

Best for:

  • Pouring over pancakes.
  • Milkshakes.
  • Baked goods like bagels.

Not Recommended for:

  • Recipes that require high amounts of honey.

Our top pick for barley malt syrup would be Barry Farm Barley Malt Syrup. This natural sweetener is great for your bagels or pretzels.

The best part is that it is a 22-ounce jar which lasts for 3-4 months if refrigerated! More for you to devour!

The barley malt syrup is a great substitute for honey since it has a thick consistency and a distinct malt flavor. Just make sure to not intake too much, since its high maltose level can hike your blood sugar level.

10. Jaggery

Last but not least on our list is jaggery!

This is a very uncommon substitute for honey. This sweet, rich and caramel-flavored unrefined sugar is a perfect addition to anything.

It is a dark and coarse unrefined sugar made from the sap of a variety of palm trees or from sugarcane. Not only is it delicious, but it also helps with digestion and gets rid of body toxins. Moreover, it helps build immunity and the iron content in it helps with anemia.

Method of Preparation:

Put in one cup of jaggery for one cup of honey. Both of them have quite a distinctive taste and hence, the 1:1 ratio works perfectly. However, since jaggery is stickier than honey, you need to increase the ratio of other liquid agents like water, milk or oil.

Best for:

  • Tea or coffee.
  • Indian sweets like laddoo.
  • Sprinkled on cakes.

Not Recommended for:

  • Savory dishes.

The Natco Jaggery Goor is a brick of sugar which you can easily cut through and use in different dishes. It has a sweet caramel-flavor which goes really well with coffee.

On the other hand, if you want a powdered jaggery product, the Organic Jaggery Powder by Sweet Wellness is the one to go for. Mix it with a little bit of water to get the consistency of honey and add it into oatmeal or coffee to get a taste of heaven!

To wrap it up, jaggery is a great substitute for honey. It can be used for a limited number of items but it surely enhances the taste of each one. It is highly recommended for Indian dishes and will surely be one of your favorites when you use it, without compromising your health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Want to know more about the different healthy substitutes of honey? Dig in!

Can I Substitute Brown Sugar For Honey?

Any form of sugar is a great substitute for honey and when it’s brown sugar, there’s the added benefit of healthiness. You can use raw brown sugar for honey when using it in baked goods such as cakes or cookies.

On the other hand, when using it for recipes where you do not need to cook, raw brown sugar might not be able to replace honey. You need to add 1 cup of water to 6 cups of brown sugar and stir them in a saucepan till they mix well.

However, even if the color of both honey and this substitute will be the same, the taste would differ a little since honey has a stronger flavor than brown sugar.

Can I Substitute Maple Syrup For Honey?

Yes! In fact, maple syrup is known to be one of the top alternatives of honey.

It is also healthier than honey and is vegan. You can just use 1 cup of maple syrup in place of honey when cooking a savory dish.

But, when baking, make sure to add sugar to maple syrup. This is because honey is sweeter than maple syrup and hence, to get the same level of sweetness, you need the extra sugar.

What Is The Healthiest Substitute For Honey?

Date paste is the healthiest substitute for honey. While every other alternative has high levels of sugar or other factors which can affect people with different diseases, date paste has no such drawbacks.

All you need to do is add water and lemon juice to your dates, and blend them well to make a great replacement for honey. It contains many micronutrients and iron which immensely help the proper regulation of your body.

What Can I Substitute For Honey In Baking?

For baking, we would recommend using sugar and water as a substitute for honey. But, sugar is not always preferable due to many health concerns. So you can use light corn syrup in place of granulated sugar.

Other than that, date paste can be a good replacement for honey while baking. It is healthy and has a caramel, sweet taste which is very similar to honey.

You can also use molasses which has a similar texture to that of honey. Although, remember to not intake molasses in a very high amount since it can cause dietary complications.

What Can I Substitute For Honey In Teriyaki Sauce?

Brown sugar is by far known to be the best substitute for honey in teriyaki sauce.

Use ½ cup brown sugar, with all your other ingredients for the sauce and it will work perfectly well with your teriyaki sauce. Click here to see a delicious teriyaki sauce recipe.

Besides, you can also use applesauce in your teriyaki sauce. You can substitute applesauce for honey in a 1:1 ratio i.e if your recipe requires 1 tbsp of honey, you can use 1 tbsp of applesauce instead.

What Can I Substitute For Honey In Bread?

You can substitute maple syrup for honey in bread. But, since maple syrup is slightly less sweeter than honey, use a tad bit more maple syrup and a little less water when using it for bread.

What Can I Substitute For Honey In Tea?

Brown rice syrup is one of the best alternatives for honey in tea or coffee. It has slightly milder taste, for that reason, it will not overpower the taste of your tea. It is also a little stickier than honey but can be used in the 1:1 ratio.

Besides, agave nectar is the healthier alternative for honey in tea. It has a low glycemic index and is less sweet than honey. This means you can add more of it without increasing calorie intake.

What Is A Vegan Substitute For Honey?

When it comes to a vegan substitute, our top choice would be maple syrup. It can be used perfectly in place of honey and is healthy as well.

You can also use brown rice syrup, yacon root syrup, date paste, barley malt syrup, and agave nectar. Honestly, there are a lot of vegan substitutes for honey and none of them would alter the taste.

Wrapping up

There are a lot of vegan-friendly and healthy alternatives for honey. While it can be difficult to replace honey since it has a very distinct flavor and texture, the aforementioned alternatives come quite close.

Always make sure to not intake too much of any of the substitutes since some of them have sugar levels which can be harmful for you.

We hope our reviews will help you with your next recipes and that they will give you the best possible results.

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