Honey is a great natural sweetener but it is not a good fit for everyone. If making food for young children under a year old you can not use honey. Also, honey is not considered vegan since it comes from bees. Or perhaps you are baking and realized that you are out of honey when it is too late to run and get some. No matter your reasons for substituting honey there are some great alternatives to honey.

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What can you use as a substitute for honey?

Agave nectar

Agave nectar is the sweet sap of the agave plant. This is processed through heating and filtering to make either a dark or light syrup that can be used as a sweetener. This can be used as a substitute for honey in a 1 to 1 ratio and is a great option for baking foods for children that are too young to safely ingest honey. This is my favorite substitute and it works well for anything from baked goods to salad dressings.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees. This syrup makes a great natural sweetener that can add a unique flavor to your dishes. While the flavor is distinctly different from honey the flavor compliments a lot of foods very well. The darker the maple the deeper the flavor. This is my second favorite option as a honey substitute and I try to test this in my recipes in place of honey since I know most people might already have maple syrup in their pantry. Keep in mind that you’ll need to use real maple syrup. Many cheap “syrups” are actually made of corn syrup with maple flavoring. Check the ingredients to be sure.

maple syrup

Simple syrup

You can make your own simple syrup to use in place of honey in any recipe. This is a great option because you can easily substitute another sweetener of your choice if you are looking to reduce your sugar intake. Simply Bring 1 cup of water to a simmer and add in 1/2 cup sugar continuing to simmer until the sugar has melted. You can flavor this with extracts like vanilla to bring a dash of flavor to your recipes or use as is.


One option you may not think of for replacing honey in your recipes is jelly. Jelly is sweet and adds the thickness that honey does making it a great fit. You can use apple jelly for a mild flavor alteration or go bold and use a strong fruit jelly, like strawberry, to replace honey in your recipes and add a unique flavor twist. You can use jelly as a 1 to 1 replacement for honey.

berry crisp


Molasses is thick and flavorful. It will change the flavor of the food you are using but will go well in any recipe that already calls for brown sugar. Molasses is also packed with nutrients making it a great substitution for honey in recipes you are trying to boost the nutrition of. Use this in a 1 to 1 ratio with honey or tone the flavor down a notch by using half. It can be a great option for baked goods like cookies or muffins.

Brown rice syrup

This sweet syrup is a great substitute for honey. It is slightly less sweet than honey though. When using this as a substitute for honey, add 1/4 more than the recipe calls for honey. This will help replace the sweetness the recipe calls for though you may need to reduce the other liquids in the recipe if there is a big difference in how much is needed to achieve the same sweetness.

I hope these ideas help you find a substitute that works for you and your recipe!