5 Amazing Corn Syrup Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Using the right corn syrup substitutes can mean the difference between a clever replacement and a disastrous recipe, so choose wisely!

Corn Syrup Substitutes

Depending on your preference for healthy cooking, corn syrup substitutes might be an excellent addition to your pantry. Not a common ingredient, corn syrup is most likely to pop up in dessert recipespecan pie, caramel, and sweets are particularly known for using this substance! Corn syrup stops sugar from crystallizing, enhances sweetness, and provides a smooth texture. It comes in both light and dark varieties.

Some recipes might call for a specific color, but they can usually be used interchangeably. If you don’t have either light or dark corn syrup in stock, there are some good substitutes you can use to keep your dessert as sweet and rich as it needs to be.

Granulated Sugar

A simple yet effective substitution, granulated sugar can be dissolved in a bit of hot water and then added to your recipe. This option is suitable for most baking recipes, but not for making sweets.

Honey

Try a mild, light honey to get the most likeness to corn syrup flavor. Honey won’t work well as an alternative for sweets, as it does not stop the crystallization of sugar. However, it does work well for other recipes in which corn syrup is a minor player, rather than a major ingredient.

Agave Nectar

Naturally known as a neutral kind of sweetener, agave nectar offers a thick yet runny consistency that is similar to corn syrup. Like honey, it won’t work for sweets but can be a good alternative for pies or sauces.

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is made up of more complex sugars than corn syrup and is, therefore, better for blood sugar levels. However, like corn syrup, brown rice syrup prevents the crystallization of sugar. It has a similar consistency to corn syrup, but a more malty taste that might not be to everyone’s liking. If the flavor is to your taste, brown rice syrup can be a great substitute in the sweet making. 

Golden Syrup

In the UK, golden syrup is much more common than corn syrup, and it makes an excellent alternative for desserts. The flavor of golden syrup lies somewhere between light and dark corn syrup. It offers a similar level of sweetness and a slightly chewier texture.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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