5 Best Golden Syrup Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Golden syrup is a popular ingredient for vegans who do not consider honey to be vegan-friendly. However, if you live outside of the UK or Australia, it can be hard to find this ingredient at the local grocery store. Fortunately, there are several golden syrup substitutes that you might already have in your cupboards. Finding appropriate golden syrup substitutes will help your recipes taste great, even if you’re short on the ingredients!

Golden syrup, also called light treacle, is a popular baking sweetener. It is made from refining sugar beet cane or juice and is a byproduct of making sugar. It has a thick texture and viscosity that is similar to honey or maple syrup and is a light to medium amber color.

Substitutes for Golden Syrup

The many golden syrup substitutes include honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, and homemade golden syrup. Let us take a look at them below.

A close-up view of molasses being poured into a spoon

You can add molasses into your baked goods as a sugar replacement. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup, either light or dark, is the best substitution for golden syrup. The consistency and taste are similar enough that it can be substituted at a one-to-one ratio, although corn syrup is a bit runnier. A specific type of corn syrup called high fructose corn syrup is considered the best substitute and it won’t change the flavor of the recipe.


Honey is a very popular substitute for golden syrup since most people already have it sitting in their pantry. While the sweetness and texture may be similar, using honey will change the flavor of the recipe slightly. You can also use a half-honey, half-corn syrup mixture as a substitute for golden syrup.

Maple Syrup

Real maple syrup can be used to substitute for golden syrup, but the flavor of the recipe will be different. If possible, use Grade A maple syrup, which is lighter in color and flavor than Grade B. If you’re using a maple-flavored pancake syrup, these are usually mostly composed of corn syrup but will add a strong maple taste.


Molasses is much darker in flavor and thicker in consistency than golden syrup. It also has a slightly bitter, burnt taste. If you find yourself using molasses, try using one-third molasses and two-thirds corn syrup to cut the taste.

Homemade Golden Syrup Recipe

In a pinch, with sugar and vinegar, you can make your own golden syrup on the stovetop. However, you will have to be vigilant to make sure that the sugar does not burn. Let us go through the step-by-step process to make about 2 cups of golden syrup.

Syrup in a glass with a bottle in the background

How To Make Golden Syrup At Home?

This is a simple, no-fuss recipe for golden syrup.
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Keyword: Golden Syrup
Appliance: Saucepan
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Author: Raksha Hegde


To Make The Caramel

  • 1/4 cup water filtered
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

To Make The Syrup

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice or
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar


  • Boil a cup of water in a saucepan or bring a kettle of water to full boil.
  • In another saucepan, begin making the caramel base by warming 1/4 cup of sugar with a tablespoon of water on a very low flame. 
  • You will notice that the sugar starts turning brown, and becomes like caramel.
  • Now, start adding the rest of the sugar into the saucepan.
  • Immediately, add the boiling water (2/3 cup) to this sugar mixture. The mixture will bubble but do not worry. It will settle down.
  • Add the vinegar or lemon juice and keep stirring till the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Let it simmer on a low flame for 40-45 minutes. You may have to stir it once in a while.
  • Pour the homemade golden syrup into a clean storage container once it is cool. Don't fret if the syrup hardens during the cooking process. It eventually all dissolves to form a lovely caramel-colored liquid. Enjoy your homemade golden syrup!
    Syrup in a glass with a bottle in the background

With this simple recipe, you can make golden syrup easily at home. So if you don’t want to use the substitutes, make the golden syrup and store it in a cold, dry place. It will keep for up to six months.


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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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