Skip to Content

17 Easy Ways to Substitute for Honey

Here are 17 easy ways to substitute for honey, including vegan options, a recipe to make your own, and 4 delicious recipes with honey.

Honey is a delicious, syrupy treat given to us from hardworking honey bees. It is used to drizzle over biscuits and pancakes, in peanut butter sandwiches, to flavor smoothies and so much more.

Though it never goes bad, you may not always have honey on hand when you need it, or you might need a vegan alternative. Luckily, there are several easy replacements you can try.

Those who are allergic to bees or have pollen allergies may need a suitable replacement, too.

Below are the best ways to substitute for honey, including vegan and easy DIY alternatives.

Jar of honey next to chunk of honeycomb and honey dipper on cutting board.

Common Ways to Substitute for Honey

1. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is poured from a spoon into a glass on a burlap cloth.

You’ve probably had maple syrup on pancakes or biscuits, but you can also use it to stand in anywhere you’d use honey. This vegan alternative is also readily available in stores. Maple syrup has a more neutral sweet flavor and makes an effortless 1 to 1 substitute.

2. Any Kind of Sugar

Several bowls of various kinds of sugar and baking ingredients next to a honey dipper.

You can use sugar of any kind to substitute for honey. Sugar actually has a better texture for baking recipes than honey, so it’s an easy swap.

Use sugar as a 1 to 1 substitute for small amounts. For larger amounts, you may need to add a little liquid to make up for the lost moisture content.

3. Rice Malt Syrup

Glass jar of rice malt syrup with wooden cap next to wooden spoon on burlap.

Rice malt syrup is not only vegan, it’s also sugar free. While it’s not as readily available as honey, you can find it in specialty grocery stores or online.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

4. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup in a glass jar next to a stick of rock sugar on rustic wood table.

This alternative is stickier than honey but perfect for coffee and tea. It has a milder taste and is sometimes darker in color.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute or add a little extra if you want to match the sweetness of honey.

5. Molasses

Dark molasses syrup spills from spoon into a clear bowl of molasses on stripe towel.

Light or dark molasses makes a great honey substitute. Just be sure to steer clear of blackstrap molasses as it’s too bitter and strong.

Use molasses as a 1 to 1 substitute.

6. Coconut Nectar/Syrup

Small jar of coconut syrup next to a wooden spoon with sugar, a coconut, and palm frond.

Coconut nectar or syrup is the raw nectar from coconut blossoms. It is vegan and popular in health food stores. Try to find a version that’s free of palm oil for better health.

Use coconut nectar/syrup as a 1 to 1 substitute.

7. Agave Nectar

Clear spoon drips golden colored agave nectar into a see through glass on marble table.

This syrupy nectar is sourced from cacti, the same plant responsible for tequila. It is very sweet and browns faster than honey so beware when used in a baking recipe. Consider lowering the oven temperature when baking and be sure to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 20-30%.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

8. Barley Malt Syrup

Barley malt syrup is spilled over a spoon into a white bowl of syrup on white table.

This syrup is made from soaked and sprouted barley. Barley malt syrup has been around for 100s of years as a natural syrup and makes a great stand-in for honey. Find it in specialty stores or online.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

9. Golden Syrup

Golden syrup drips from a spoon into a white ramekin over a wooden table.

Golden syrup is a more affordable sweetener option when compared to honey and is popular in health and specialty stores. You can also order it online.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

10. Corn Syrup

Close up photo of corn syrup in a glass beaker surrounded by fresh ears of corn.

Light or dark corn syrup works well as a 1 to 1 honey substitute, though it’s not as sweet. Light corn syrup is the most similar in flavor. This replacement is readily available in grocery stores to use in a pinch.

11. Date Paste

Close up of date paste syrup with chunks of date dripping from a metal spoon.

Date paste is made from pulverized Medjool dates. It is vegan and you can easily make your own. Date paste is best used for baking and in smoothies.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

12. Apple Sauce

White bowl of applesauce with cinnamon next to a bundle of cinnamon sticks and fresh apples.

Here’s another healthy honey alternative — applesauce! You can use this as a 1 to 1 substitute for baked dishes. Just be sure to remove 3/4 cup liquid from the recipe.

13. Yacon Syrup

Glass jar of yacon root syrup next to several fresh yacon roots on woven basket mat.

Syrup from Yacon root has a sticky consistency similar to honey. It’s a natural sweetener with great health benefits. It is less sweet and a great vegan honey alternative.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute and you can add additional sugar to baking recipes if desired.

14. Ripened Bananas

Jar of mashed, ripened bananas made into syrup next to three unpeeled bananas.

Mashed banana is a sweet, guilt-free alternative. It’s nutritious and easy to find. You probably have some in your kitchen right now!

1 tbsp of ripened, mashed, banana makes 2 tbsp of honey.

15. Jaggery

White bowl filled with a large pile of jaggery surrounded by palm fronds.

Jaggery is a hardened mix of sugar and molasses with a caramelized flavor. Use jaggery as a 1 to 1 substitute, but be sure to bump up the liquid content if used in a baking recipe.

For best results, use it as a substitute for tea and coffee.

16. Liquid Stevia

Various forms of stevia in glass containers next to bundle of mint and dried mint flakes.

This plant-based sweetener can make a suitable honey alternative in small amounts. It’s a lot sweeter than sugar with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

15 drops of stevia liquid are used as a substitute for one whole cup of honey. With that in mind, you may need to increase the moisture content for baked recipes.

Make Your Own “Homemade Honey”

Homemade honey syrup boiling in a large stock pot over the stove.

Did you know you can make homemade honey? Well, not exactly, but you can make a syrupy homemade replacement that tastes similar. See instructions below:

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup water

DIRECTIONS

ADD the sugar and water to a nonstick pan.

Let the sugar DISSOLVE and then SIMMER the mixture on low heat for two minutes.

REMOVE from heat and let COOL.

This easy recipe mimics the taste and consistency of honey and can be stored in the fridge for repeat use.

Recipes with Honey

Here are some easy and delicious recipes that call for honey. Use these to try out your favorite way to substitute for honey, above.

Grilled Sausage Kabobs with a Honey Mustard Glaze

Four grilled sausage kabobs with squash and potatoes on parchment paper and white platter.

Brown Sugar Banana Smoothie with Ice

Two glasses of banana smoothie with nutmeg and banana slices on top next to glass of sliced banana.

The Easiest One Pan Balsamic Chicken And Veggies

White platter of balsamic chicken with green beans and cherry tomatoes next to gray towel.

Soft and Fluffy Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Close up of five pumpkin dinner rolls stacked on a wood cutting board.
Pinterest graphic with text and collage of ingredients used to substitute for honey.
scroll top arrow