Golden syrup has a wide range of uses in the dessert world. Whether there is no honey to hand and you’re looking for a quick and easy stand-in, or you use it as the secret ingredient in your dessert pantry arsenal, the unique flavour of golden syrup is guaranteed to make your baking ‘pop’.
Naturally, finding a substitute for such an ingredient is tough. Some stand-ins won’t have exactly the same flavour range. Others will have a different texture. Some might be a little more expensive. Nevertheless, if you’re in a tight spot, these will all make for adequate replacements.
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A Complete Guide to Substituting for Golden Syrup
Golden Syrup is a naturally occurring by-product of the process of refining sugar cane. It makes for a great sweetener in desserts, but also has its place as an ingredient in its own right. Many avid bakers swear on using it over, or alongside sugar.
Nutritionally speaking, there is no real advantage in using golden syrup instead of sugar as the two are so closely related. Per tablespoon serving, the Golden Syrup (also referred to by some as light treacle) contains only a small percentage more calories and grams of carbohydrate. So, within this list, we’re going to neglect mentioning sugar as a substitute, but instead we’re going to focus on some more surprising substitutes. Without further ado, here’s our rundown of the best substitutes for golden syrup:
1. Agave Syrup
This high-fructose alternative to Golden Syrup is derived from a cactus-like plant commonly found in South America. It comes in a variety of forms, ranging from a light syrup to a dark, almost caramel syrup. It is easily dissolved and is sometimes used straight out of the bottle as a sweetener or as a topping for pancakes.
Because it is plant-based, it is also a great option for vegans who are trying to avoid using honey as a substitute. It remains in a liquid state at room temperature and because of this is ideal for use in chocolate sauces and pies. As an added bonus, it is quite accessible to diabetics due to its low glycaemic index (GI). This means that it has little effect on blood sugar levels. There are plenty of good quality manufacturers out there, with the healthiest being those that haven’t been heat processed.
Kirkland Signature Organic Blue Agave All Purpose Sweetener
Another great strength of the Agave Syrup as a substitute for Golden Syrup is its relative cheapness when compared to a high-quality honey. The Kirkland brand is also free from any additional sweeteners and is organic.
- Doesn’t overpower the natural flavour of your cooking. Is quite subtle.
- Has a smoother flavour than the arguably too powerful dark agave syrup.
- Dissolves when cold.
- The packaging for this brand isn’t as robust as it could be.
2. Corn Syrup
For uses such as baking cookies, corn syrup (also known as maize syrup) really can’t be beat. It adds flavour, ensures the right consistency in your mixture, and prevents the sugars crystallising. Like with the agave, there is more than one form of corn syrup – light, and a more robust and caramel-like dark syrup. The light syrup more closely resembles the properties of golden syrup.
As far as we can tell; everything that golden syrup can do, corn syrup can do just as well! The chances are – you may also already have some in your pantry. If not, don’t worry as it’s easy to come by and relatively inexpensive. There are plenty of good suppliers out there. But, if we were forced to choose one, it would be this:
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Light Corn Syrup
Though this corn syrup may be a little more expensive than others you might find at your supermarket, there is a reason for that. The reason is simple; it’s just insanely good! It works equally as well for baking as it does as a sweetener too! Though we were a little sceptical about the vanilla flavouring at first, it is subtle enough not to take over the flavour and instead emphasizes it.
· Beautiful flavour which fits with baking as well as it does with ice-cream making.
· It is organic and naturally vegan
· Non-GMO verified and kosher
· Quite expensive when compared with a standard golden syrup
In the same way that honey can be substituted for golden syrup if there’s none in the pantry, the same is also true vice-versa. Honey is a 100% natural product and is also regularly used in the exact same recipes as golden syrup. However, not all honeys taste the same. Some are quite potent, to the point of almost being describable as dank. As a result, it is worth exercising a bit of caution before you make the substitute 1:1.
Also noteworthy is the fact that honey can sustain such high temperatures as golden syrup can. It is therefore liable to change the flavour of the overall dish dramatically in certain conditions. That having been said, in terms of finding a simple substitute in a pinch, it doesn’t get more straightforward than this! For us, the best honey is always found from local hives. If there aren’t any in your area, we’d recommend this brand:
Amazon Brand – Solimo Wildflower Honey
This stuff is gloriously cheap and cheerful, and quite versatile to boot! It is dark in colour but isn’t overpowering in flavour. This makes it ideal as both a sweetener and as a baking ingredient. Naturally, this honey was never going to compare to the high bar set by locally sourced honey, but it’s not far off. Excellent value at pretty much a quarter of the price!
· Excellent value
· Great taste
· Very versatile
· Perhaps not enough product information on the bottle.
4. Maple Syrup
Last in on our round-up of golden syrup substitutes is maple syrup. Maple syrup is derived from the sap of red maple, black maple, or sugar maple trees. The sap is then boiled to the point where it becomes a delicious moreish syrup which is known and loved the world over.
We particularly recommend using maple syrup if you intend to make cookies as the flavour it provides is highly appealing. However, some syrups can be a bit runny for this purpose and so we’d suggest reducing it down a little further or mixing with a dollop of honey first. Note also, there are different grades of maple syrup as there are for agave, corn, and golden syrup. Generally, as a rule, we’d suggest using lighter variations to bake with and darker as a pancake topping etc.
Pure Maple Syrup, Canada No 1 Medium
This brand of maple syrup comes straight from the source, is gluten free, and is absolutely 100% delicious. It is the best out there that money can buy. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s a bit strange that it comes in a can. But, for flavour, it has no rival.
· Incredible unadulterated flavour
· When used correctly can taste far better than golden syrup
· No additives, just maple syrup
· It is a bit more expensive than the supermarket brand.
We hope that you found this guide to substituting for Golden Syrup to be a valuable and informative resource when you need an alternative option. There are several viable options out there.
We invite you to review the following question and answer section for some additional information that could be helpful to you.
Can molasses be used instead of golden syrup?
Yes, but there are some things to be aware of. Molasses generally has a strong and almost bitter flavour which can overpower other flavours in your dish. Generally, unless you are particularly fond of this flavour, we’d recommend cutting the molasses with honey or corn syrup.
Is it possible to make golden syrup at home?
Yes. It absolutely is! It isn’t an easy process, but there are several decent recipes online should you choose to take that course of action.