Agave Nectar is a popular sweetener in Mexico and is now gaining popularity globally. Popular as this sweetener is, most of us don’t have it in the kitchen cabinet. So, if a recipe calls for it, there’s a good chance you’ll need an agave nectar substitute.
So, what works as a sweet replacement for this nectar?
This natural sweetener is derived from the agave plant and is sweeter than sugar. It has a similar consistency and sweetness to honey. Its sweetness and syrupy consistency give you plenty of options for replacement.
Common substitutes for agave nectar include honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, fruit syrup, artificial sweeteners, and a few more. Let’s see how they stack up!
Top Agave Nectar Substitutes You Should Try
One very famous use for agave nectar is that it’s a vegan replacement for honey. That replacement option works the other way around as well!
Agave nectar matches honey closely in color, consistency, texture, and taste. So you can use honey as a substitute in almost all recipes. Honey is also generally seen as a healthier choice. It has several minerals and vitamins and has lower fructose levels.
The replacement works in a 1:1 ratio.
2. Corn Syrup
The neutral taste of corn syrup makes it a good sweetener and a useful replacement for agave nectar. It’s often used for making candy and is useful for baked goods as well.
While corn syrup by itself is a good choice, be careful to read the label before you buy. Some corn syrup products can contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). HFCS doesn’t have a good reputation and it’s best avoided, though there is a lack of definitive evidence against this product.
For most recipes, use equal amounts of corn syrup or agave nectar.
3. Simple Syrup
Need a quick fix replacement at home? Simple syrup would do. It’s often used to sweeten cocktails, so you might have some available at hand. If you don’t, it’s easy to make some at home.
Mix equal parts of granulated sugar and water in a saucepan. Use medium heat and stir continuously until the sugar completely dissolves in water. Let it cool, and you’ve got some simple syrup!
This is a quick and simple option. However, it has a thinner consistency, so be careful when using it. Simple syrup can replace agave nectar 1:1 ratio.
4. White Sugar
If all you want is a sweetener, the white sugar at home will do the job just as well. It’s way more price-efficient than nectar and is easily available. What’s more, most baking recipes call for the use of white sugar. It’s a rare occurrence where white sugar can’t work as the sweetener for a recipe.
Besides, if the liquid form of agave nectar is what you need, then making simple syrup with white sugar can be a quick and easy fix.
It’s worth remembering that white sugar is an immensely versatile product. You can use it for baking, cooking, salad dressings, sauces, and more. When using sugar as a substitute, use only one-third of the amount of agave nectar that the recipe calls for.
5. Stevia And Other Artificial Sweeteners
Counting calories? Using an artificial sweetener like Stevia in place of agave nectar can make things easier. Using these sweeteners is almost the same as the use of conventional white sugar. They’re best used in drinks or beverages. You could also use them in other recipes, but they might significantly alter the texture, especially in baking.
Artificial sweeteners don’t have fans for their aftertaste, which is best described as undesirable. Primary reasons to use these are if you’re counting calories or don’t have another option at hand.
Use ⅓ cup of an artificial sweetener where the recipe calls for one cup of agave nectar.
6. Maple Syrup
Get the famous maple syrup in on some sweetening action. This favored natural sweetener is a great pick to replace agave nectar in a recipe. It’s very easily available and there’s a good chance you have some at home right now. It matches agave nectar in sweetness, consistency, and taste.
Well, some people will swear up and down that maple syrup is the better choice. Perhaps they have a point!
The important consideration here is that this one has a stronger flavor than the neutral-leaning agave nectar. An equal amount of maple syrup can be a replacement for agave syrup.
7. Fruit Syrup
Fruit syrup is often touted as a healthier, low-calorie choice for a sweetener. This is a vegan option and one often considered healthier. There are a few ways to go about making fruit syrup. In some cases, it’s simply a puree of a fruit. In others, it might have added sugar to enhance the sweetness.
For most recipes, using a fruit syrup in place of agave nectar will bring a definite change in color and texture. It might affect the sweetness as well, because pureed fruits rarely are as sweet as nectar. Those with added sugar might get closer in sweetness, though the flavor will remain different.
8. Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is another sweet, delicious, and vegan replacement for agave nectar. As the name suggests, this syrup is made from brown rice. Cooked brown rice is exposed to enzymes that turn starches into sugar. The syrup is a result of filtration after this process.
It has a thicker consistency and sweetness as compared to nectar. On the other hand, it has lower calories! So, it might fit your requirements.
You can use equal parts of brown rice to replace agave nectar.
9. Coconut Nectar
Coconut nectar’s sourcing is quite similar to maple syrup, as in, it’s derived from the sap of the tree. It’s natural and undergoes minimal processing. Coconut nectar isn’t as sweet as agave nectar, though it is fairly sweet.
Molasses are usually by-products of sugar manufacture. The thick and syrupy liquid is very sweet, with some notes of smokiness, and a dark color. It isn’t quite the best option to replace agave nectar, but you can use it in a 1:1 ratio if necessary. It’s worth noting that molasses will cause a change in color and taste of a recipe.
1. Does Agave Nectar Taste Like Tequila?
Agave nectar comes from the agave plant. While the plant itself isn’t much famous, one of its products is well-known globally – Tequila! Since tequila and agave syrup both come from the same plant, one might imagine that they have a similarity in flavor. That is simply not true.
Agave syrup has a neutral flavor that resembles honey. Tequila has that earthy and agave flavor that has made it quite (in)famous!
2. Is Agave Syrup The Same As Agave Nectar?
Yes. Agave syrup is another name for agave nectar. It comes from the agave plant, which generally grows in the dry regions of Mexico. The nectar is water-soluble, which gives it greater use in cocktails and smoothies. It’s a popular replacement for honey and golden syrup.
3. Is Mezcal Made From Agave?
Yes, mezcal is made from various varieties of the agave plant. Like agave nectar and tequila, it is sourced from the agave plant, but is different from these two. The word mezcal has its origins in the Nahuti word mexcalli, which literally translates to “oven-cooked agave”.
To be clear, the word mezcal often represents all maguey spirits. Whether or not they’re officially and legally certified as mezcal is often ignored!
Finding Alternatives To Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is a versatile product with plenty of uses. Thanks to its neutral flavor, there are plenty of options to use as agave nectar substitutes in recipes. Some common choices include honey, maple syrup, and corn syrup. Even granulated sugar can work as a quick and easy substitute should you need it.