7 Best Honey Substitutes (+ Recipes)

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Honey is a natural food that almost has the same sweetness as sugar, but with more calories, carbohydrates, and nutrients. However, different people with different needs might want to substitute honey for another ingredient to sweeten their favorite recipes.

People that don’t like too many carbohydrates, diabetics, and others who need to control their sugar intake, for example, can benefit from other sugar-free honey substitutes.

On the other hand, honey is a product by bees to feed their larvae and due to that reason, it isn’t 100% vegan. Also, we can’t forget that bee populations are under serious threat, so it might be a good idea that we decrease or cease our honey intakes and swap to something else.

Fortunately, there are many other healthy and nature-friendly honey substitutes to replace honey and give a delicious touch to various recipes.

Let’s see…

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7 best honey substitutes to have in your kitchen

1.- Golden Syrup

Golden syrup is made from refined sugar. It’s pretty similar to honey in consistency and color.

However, golden syrup doesn’t have the same taste as honey, so it might affect the taste of your recipes. Regarding consistency, there is no much difference and you can use it in a 1:1 ratio.

However, bear in mind that golden syrup doesn’t have any dietary benefits – that is, no nutritional values. In fact, the main problem with golden syrup is that it’s higher in calories than honey.

Recipe: Golden syrup pudding 

This recipe is a true classic from the UK. This golden syrup cake is a perfect dessert for each member of the family, and it’s really easy to do.

This cake includes a kind of saucing pudding made of golden syrup that fills up the whole thing, ending with a sweet pond of sauce at the bottom. You can optionally add a top of several ingredients like vanilla ice-cream, pouring cream, or custard, that’s up to you!

Also, the addition of vanilla and ginger gives the cake a surprising and pleasant taste you won’t forget… You can find the recipe here.

2.- Agave nectar

Agave nectar or agave honey is obtained mainly from the stalks of the succulent plant Blue Agave, and it resembles honey in color and consistency.

Although it has a moderate glycemic index, the main sugar in agave nectar is fructose, which is converted into glucose in the liver. So it’s a vegan alternative, but it’s not a good idea for diabetics.

The benefit of this sweetener compared to honey is that it’s a much greater sweetening power, so you can use it in fewer quantities.

Agave honey can be used to replace ordinary honey, even to make bread products (cookies, muffins, cakes).

Recipe: Agave-Sweetened Lemon Meringue Pie

Agave nectar has common uses in beverages such as iced tea, but also to sweeten any food where you’d use honey like yogurt or cereal, for example. However, it also makes it good for cakes and bread.

Whether you have a lot of lemons in your fridge or that’s your favorite fruit, you can try this incredible lemon pie with 0% sugar! A good option for diabetics.

You’ll get a lemony sweet-tart that you can finish cooking in just 40 min, but I promise that it’ll last a lesser time in your fridge!

3.- Maple syrup

Maple syrup is obtained from the sap of the sugar maple and is composed mainly of sugars and water. It’s not subjected to any refining processes – so no chemical additives. You can use it in numerous preparations, such as pancakes, desserts, sweet and sour sauces.

It has a good amount of B-complex vitamins and minerals, and it’s also rich in iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and antioxidants. However, it’s very high in sugars.

Recipe: Granola bark

If you want to try something easy to prepare, practical and delicious at the same time, you can try making granola bars. They are perfect for breakfast when you are short on time, but they are also a good option as snacks at any time of the day.

This recipe is a mid-term between granola bars and granola cereal, and you don’t need to worry about too much fat thanks to the lower-glycemic sweeteners like maple syrup and coconut sugar it uses.

This recipe gives you the option of adding egg white in case you want more crispy bars, and once you have made them, you can store it in pieces for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, or for up to 1 month in the refrigerator

4.- Barley malt syrup

Malt syrup has a less sweet taste than honey but it’s still a good substitute for it. It’s obtained from barley and it’s a natural ingredient. Its main sugar is maltose, followed by glucose and sucrose – with a little bit of potassium.

Due to its sugar content, barley malt syrup is not suitable for diabetics, and it also contains gluten, so it shouldn’t be consumed by people with celiac disease.

Recipe: Barley Malt Pull-Apart Loaves

This recipe is very popular on the web for a simple reason: these rolls are incredibly delicious!

The malt syrup works perfect for biscuits and rolls, and if you’re looking for new alternatives to honey for the holidays, these loaves will do the job. They have a soft and particular malt taste that will make a difference on your table, and they are really easy to do.

You can find the recipe here

5.- Stevia

Stevia belongs to a group of non-nutritive sweeteners. This means it doesn’t have calories, vitamins or other nutrients.

Currently, it’s a very common ingredient in the USA, and it was approved for use in the EU in 2011.

Stevia is obtained from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant species. It’s a good option for diabetics because it has a low glycemic index and helps balance the pancreas. It’s sweeter than sugar or honey and is available in liquid or powdered form – and you can use it for cooking and baking too.

Be aware that some people find stevia bitter or are allergic to it.

Recipe: Low-Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

Some of the recipes we have for you here can significantly affect your blood sugar levels because they also include this sinful ingredient, and in case you are diabetic, the best choice for you might be trying a recipe with 0% sugar content.

These cookies recipe only uses stevia as a sweetener, and they’re not only healthy – only 4g of carbs, but they’re also delicious.

The recipe uses only 5 ingredients and it takes only about 5 min to be ready to enjoy – perfect if you love cookies!

6.- Molasses

Molasses is obtained from refined sugar and it’s a syrup that many people use as a honey substitute – in fact, its consistency and sweetness are pretty similar to that golden elixir, so you can use it as if you’d be using common honey.

Obviously, the taste is different, but it’s a good source of some important nutrients, including antioxidants.

Only be aware that molasses can give digestive discomfort to some people…

Recipe: Spicy Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry

Because not only desserts can people live, let’s try something different here.

A sweet and spicy stir fry filled up and covered with a caramelized molasses-based marinade you can enjoy with chicken, pork, or salmon. The marinade doesn’t require complicated ingredients and you can have your chosen meat ready in about 30 min.

Combine this caramel sauce with steamed rice and you’ll have an easy to do and delicious meal for lunch or dinner.

7.- Date paste

One of the best vegan honey substitutes you can find. It usually comes in the form of a paste, but you can also find it as syrup.

Dates are very sweet – and delicious – and they’re a perfect honey and sugar alternative. Obviously, the paste has a higher consistency than honey but it shouldn’t stop you from trying this option.

Dates are rich in fiber and micronutrients and it’s a great help for your health: it’s even considered a superfood with no drawbacks.

Recipe: Date & Pumpkin Oatmeal

OK, you already know it: you can easily substitute honey or sugar in your recipes, and you can even add a great nutritional value to your meals and desserts if you use date paste.

This date & pumpkin oatmeal is a super healthy and delicious way to get the biggest benefit from all the nutritional power of date paste. It’s a blend of pumpkin, oats, walnuts and milk to which you can add some cranberries or cream you like to obtain an integral breakfast that will energize you to start your day!


Can I substitute brown sugar for honey?

Yes, you can. But bear in mind that honey is liquid and brown sugar is not, so you need to add more liquid to the ingredients.

For this, you can substitute each cup of honey for 1 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of water to use in the recipe. Also, consider that honey tastes different than brown sugar.

What is a healthy alternative to honey?

Definitively, date paste. It’s full of all the big nutrients your body needs to keep excellent health!

What do vegans use instead of honey?

Actually, there are many options on this list. Any sweetener that doesn’t come from an animal or is related to animal abuse, is suitable for vegan consumption. The most populars among vegans are Maple Syrups and Barley Malt Syrup.

What can diabetics use instead of honey?

The best option actually in this list is stevia. In its liquid presentation, it looks like honey, but it’s basically a sweetener with a very low glycemic index.

Can I use golden syrup instead of honey?

Yes of course. Many people use it in that way, but remember that it doesn’t have the same nutritive value and taste as honey.

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