10 Golden Syrup Substitutes for Baked Goods, Desserts and Drinks

Golden syrup is a thick, smooth, honey-like syrup made of cane sugar. It has a buttery and light caramel flavor and is used as a natural sweetener for baked goods, drinks and desserts. 

You can buy canned golden syrup from grocery stores but if you are looking for golden syrup substitutes then stay with us. 

We’ll find out the most suitable substitutes for this sweetener and will also give you a piece of advice on how to make it yourself. 

Thus, the best substitutes for golden syrup are honey, agave nectar, cane syrup, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, rice malt syrup, molasses, treacle and homemade golden syrup. 

Best Substitutes for Golden Syrup

1. Honey

Although honey is an animal-based sweetener it takes the first place as a golden syrup alternative as it comes with almost the same texture and flavor.  

You can use honey in desserts, baked goods and drinks just like golden syrup. They both are interchangeable and reflect almost the same way in many dishes. The only downside of honey is that it usually costs higher than other sweeteners. 

On the other hand, you may skip this one if you have allergies from honey or look for a suitable option to use in kid-friendly recipes. 

2. Cane Syrup

Since golden syrup is made of cane sugar, cane syrup can also be used as a good alternative for golden syrup. You can use it in almost all recipes calling for golden syrup. 

It goes well with pancakes, waffles, baked beans, biscuits as well as meat glazes. 

It is sweet with a slightly toasty and bitter flavor. The consistency is thick enough and the color is amber-yellow. Note that the downside of cane syrup is that it doesn’t crystallize and it’s also a step darker than golden syrup. 

3. Agave Nectar

Between plant-based substitutes we have agave nectar to use in place of golden syrup. It is made of the agave plant and is native to Mexico. 

You can find it from common grocery stores. It is used as a natural sweetener in cold drinks, desserts, cocktails and mixed drinks including tequila. 

Compared to some other substitutes, agave may not be the healthiest option but it’s an easy one to use in baked goods and desserts in place of golden syrup. 

Agave nectar is something between golden syrup and honey but it tastes milder and less sweet than honey. It is also much thinner than golden syrup. 

4. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees and it looks like honey. It has a clean sweet taste with vanilla and caramel notes. 

This syrup is widely used as a dressing for desserts including pancakes and waffles. You can use it in a number of dishes to replace golden syrup. 

Compared to golden syrup, maple syrup comes with a lower sugar content. On the other hand, maple syrup has a richer and stronger taste. So, you may notice a slight difference in taste and flavor. 

5. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is one of the best substitutes to choose as it has a similar thick consistency. It is made of cooked rice that breaks down starches and turns them into smaller sugars.

As a result we get a thick, sugary syrup that’s used in desserts, bakery, hot drinks and in any recipe calling for a liquid sweetener. 

Brown rice syrup has a nutty flavor and brown color. You can use it in a 1:1 ratio when substituting for golden syrup. 

6. Corn Syrup

Light corn syrup is a refined sugar syrup made of corn starch and flavored with vanilla. It has a mild sweet taste that perfectly goes with baked goods and desserts providing a subtle sweetness. 

Compared to golden syrup it is thinner in consistency, less sweet and lighter in color. But there is also dark corn syrup and the choice is up to you which one to choose. Cooks usually use light corn syrup to maintain the aesthetic side of the dish. 

7. Rice Malt Syrup

Made of 100% organic rice, rice malt syrup comes with complex carbohydrates, maltose and a small amount of glucose. It is dark brown and tastes like butterscotch with a subtle caramel flavor. 

Rice malt syrup is fructose-free and is about half as sweet as refined white sugar. It’s considered as a healthy substitute for many sweeteners. 

You can use it instead of golden syrup in baked goods, desserts and cakes. It works almost the same way as golden syrup in drinks too. 

8. Molasses

Molasses is one of the most popular syrups made during the sugar-making , grapes or sugar beets. The sugar-based molasses is the most suitable substitute to use in place of golden syrup. 

It is a dark-colored and thick syrup used as sweetener for baked goods, pancakes, waffles and not only. 

You can add it to smoothies, shakes, hot drinks and even in sauces, glazes and marinades. Molasses offers the same consistency as golden syrup and has a similar taste and flavor.  You can use it in a 1:1 ratio. 

9. Treacle

Treacle is a syrup made during the refining of sugar and the most common forms of treacle are golden syrup which is known as light treacle. 

Other treacles usually have a darker color and there is a dark variety of it known as black treacle. It’s similar to molasses.

Treacle has a rich and deep taste with slightly burnt flavor and comes with a deep brown-black color which will be reflected in your dish. It’s also sticky and thick. 

You can use it in baked goods including dark breads, scones and tarts. Thanks to its rich caramel taste it’s suitable to use in place of golden syrup in desserts, fruit cakes, moist cakes and biscuits. 

10. Homemade Golden Syrup

Making golden syrup at home is so easy and quick that you may leave aside all the possible substitutes for it and make it yourself. 

It’s actually the most suitable substitute to have in hand.  All you need is sugar, water and a slice of lemon or lemon juice.


3 tablespoons water

100g sugar

1/4 cup of boiling water

500g sugar

1 lemon slice or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

How to Make Your Own Golden Syrup

So, start with the 100 g sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Heat up the sugar with the water in a saucepan on medium-to-low heat. 

Once the sugar is fully dissolved, bring it to a simmer and caramelize until it’s amber-yellow color. 

Continuously stir brushing the sides of the pan to avoid crystallization. This is supposed to take 8-10 minutes. 

Add the rest of the sugar and slowly add the boiling water and the lemon or lemon juice. The sugar should be fully dissolved, therefore stir continuously on low heat for about 18-20 minutes. 

You are about to get a thick and heavier substance in a rich amber color. 

Now you can remove it from the heat and let it cool. When it’s completely cooled, you can store it in a jar and keep it at room temperature. 

Keep in mind that golden syrup is not a caramel and the final result will be a syrup-like consistency rather than caramelized substance. So, avoid overcooking. 

FAQs on Golden Syrup

How long will golden syrup last?

The store-bought bottles and cans of golden syrup usually last 3-6 months from the day you open it. Unopened jars can be kept at room temperature until the expiration date. 

As for the homemade golden syrup, you can use it for 6 months. It’s recommended to keep it away from direct sunlight. 

What sugar can I use instead of golden syrup?

If you don’t have any liquid sweetener to use as a substitute for golden syrup, then you may use a combination of white and brown sugars. 

Although it’s not the best alternative, you can mix a half cup of white sugar with a half cup of brown sugar and dissolve it in ¼ cup warm water and use it  in place of 1 cup of golden syrup. 

Is golden syrup vegan?

Yes, golden syrup is vegan as it’s made of sugar cane and sugar beet and is considered plant-based by product. 

Final Words

We have a great opportunity to use different sweeteners in our dishes but the question is whether they are healthy or not. 

Although golden syrup is not a diet-friendly sweetener, it’s still one of the natural sweeteners you can always have at home. 

If you have run out of it, you have this list of golden syrup substitutes to look at any time you need it for a special recipe. 

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