18 Golden Syrup Substitutes

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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We don’t know how important golden syrup could be until we run out of it in the middle of the baking game. Though not the main star, this sweetener is still an unsung hero in many recipes, from cakes and cookies to other desserts. So, it wouldn’t hurt if you equipped yourself with some handy replacements for golden syrup, just in case. Guess what? I’ve got 18 options in store!

What Is Golden Syrup?

Golden Syrup

Golden syrup, the light version of treacle, is a sweetener commonly used in baking recipes. Made from refined sugar beet juice or cane sugar, it contains a mix of fructose and glucose. 

Many mistake it for honey for its amber color and thick texture. However, it delivers a unique flavor profile—a rich taste with a caramel and buttery hint. 

This sweetener is quite stable under high heat and can prevent the onset of sugar crystals pretty well. That’s why it’s well-favored in British recipes, notably the treacle pudding. But its uses go beyond the British border, popping up in countless cake, cookie, pudding, and other dessert recipes.

While you can easily buy this delicious syrup in Europe and Australia, American bakers might sometimes find it hard to get their hands on it. You might need to go to specialty stores or supermarkets to get it. Otherwise, refer to the proven alternatives below for an easy swap!

18 Best Golden Syrup Substitutes

1. Light Or Dark Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup

After playing around with various ingredients, I vote for light corn syrup as the best substitution for golden syrup. Both the color and the sweetness level are just on point. Swapping 1:1 is best, but you might notice a mild flavor, which lacks the signature buttery caramel hint.

Dark corn syrup, on the other hand, packs a stronger punch and boasts a darker color. However, it is still an acceptable 1:1 alternative, given that you have to taste test and adjust when baking.

2. Brown Rice Syrup

The runner-up for the best alternative to golden syrup goes to brown rice syrup, no doubt. A matching amber color, a similar sweetness, and a comparable thickness—aren’t those what you seek to replace golden syrup? Since it’s derived from grains, I also spot a nutty hint.

This gluten-free syrup is also stable when cooked at high temperatures and won’t crystalize. Use it with the same amount in cookies, brownies, muffins, and some vegan cakes.

3. Molasses


If you can forgive the dark hue of molasses, it makes a wonderful alternative to golden syrup. It offers a pleasant sweetness with a caramel note akin to that of the syrup, but you might sometimes notice a bitter hint.

Due to its stronger taste, I recommend you substitute ¾ cup of molasses for every cup of golden syrup. Also, steer clear of blackstrap molasses at all cost, which will impart an intense bitterness into your baked goods.

4. Agave Nectar

Made from the sap of agave plants, agave nectar, or agave syrup, offers a thinner texture but double sweetness compared to golden syrup. But if adjusted wisely, it will be a healthy substitute for golden syrup thanks to its low Glycemic Index.

Start with ½ cup of agave nectar for each cup of golden syrup and adjust to taste. You can use it as a sweetener or drizzle it on pastries, muffles, and cakes.

5. Barley Malt Syrup

Barley malt syrup is less sweet and darker than golden syrup, but it is still a decent replacement. Since sprouted barley is cooked and roasted, this syrup also graces your baked treats with a delightful, roasty, nutty note.

While I usually swap them with equal amounts, you can always add more barley malt syrup to reach the desired sweetness. It shines in chocolate treats since its dark brown color will blend well with the items.

6. Honey

Want an all-natural substitute? Honey is the way to go! It’s also a widely available ingredient that can be found in almost any kitchen. You can also benefit from this natural sweetener thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties and rich nutrients.

When standing in for golden syrup, honey can replicate both the color and the sweetness level. But its unique flavor with a floral hint is no way to be masked. If you enjoy its taste, simply use it as a 1:1 substitution.

7. Cane Syrup

Processed from cane juice, this syrup comes with a dark shade and an intense flavor that is somewhat akin to molasses. So, it can alter the taste and color of your baked goods, but it gets the job done when adding enough sweetness.

You can swap them with the same amount or use less cane sugar syrup. Its richness won’t be a huge deal in desserts with a strong flavor profile, like brownies or chocolate-based recipes.

8. Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup boasts a thinner texture and is less sweet than golden syrup. But it will find its place in some recipes, like pumpkin cakes, waffles, and pancakes. Give it a try, and you’ll see how they complement each other!

Of course, real maple syrup does taste like “maple,” which will mess with the flavor profile a bit. But trust me, it only takes your sweet treats to the next level. You can replace golden syrup with this sweetener for the same amount.

9. Simple Syrup

Have any simple syrup left from your cocktail night? You’re in luck! This sweetener can replace golden syrup in baking without hassle. Note that it only makes up for the sweetness, and that’s it.

No color, no flavor, and a bit runny—you almost can’t spot any similarity between simple and golden syrup. The good news is that this 1:1 substitution is super easy to make, involving boiling water and sugar until it becomes syrupy.

10. Coconut Nectar

Like golden syrup, coconut nectar is an amber-colored syrup with an appealing caramel note. It ticks all the boxes as a golden syrup alternative, right? The only drawback? It’s not always readily available at your local grocery store. 

If you can get some, feel free to swap it for golden syrup at 1:1, whether you drizzle it on waffles and pancakes or use it in your baking recipes.

11. Coconut Sugar & Water

Here comes a replica of coconut nectar: a duet of coconut sugar and water! Made from coconut trees, this sugar comes with a golden brown color and offers a subtle caramel note. The only catch here is its grainy texture.

Worry not! Simmer it with water, and you get an amber-colored syrup that can be substituted for golden syrup with the same amount. 

12. Brown Sugar & Water

Brown and vanilla sugar on a background

I must admit that only a well-trained palate can tell the difference between coconut and brown sugar. A similar golden brown color, a comparable sweetness, and a familiar caramel hint, the two are almost identical. 

The only minor difference might be brown sugar’s higher moisture content, but this becomes unnoticeable when I mix sugar with water. Bring brown sugar and water to a simmer and whisk until it turns syrupy, and you will have a 1:1 golden syrup substitution.

13. White Sugar & Water

Different sugar with bowls.

I bet every kitchen has a jar of regular sugar, right? Trust me, it’s a chameleon that can replace most sweeteners in a pinch. Golden syrup? Just simmer granulated sugar with water, and you get a kinda comparable consistency.

Note that this substitute lacks the classic golden hue and the caramel edge of golden syrup. If you don’t mind, simply swap them at 1:1.

14. Date Syrup

As you can guess, date syrup is made by pureeing and reducing dates to get a dark-brown syrup. Its dark color and rich flavor is, of course, nothing akin to golden syrup, but trust me, it brightens some recipes in a way that I can’t expect.

This sweetener will impart a wonderful toffee hint to puddings, and it’s also a match made in heaven with pecans. So, you can use it in recipes that call for pecans to take the overall flavor profile up a notch.

15. Low-sugar or Keto Syrups

Are you sugar-conscious or on a diet? If yes, try keto-friendly or low-sugar syrups to keep your sugar intake in check. These sweeteners pack less carbs and fewer calories while still maintaining the sweetness level of your baked goods. They help control your glucose level without compromising the bliss of sweet treats.  

I usually go for Lakanto or Sukrin, but you can switch to any brand you like. 

16. Golden Monkfruit & Water

Golden monkfruit is a glycemic-free and calorie-free sweetener. It has a fine texture that can transform into syrup if stirred with water. So, you can make an easy and healthy substitute for golden syrup with monkfruit.

However, I find this ingredient is sweeter than the syrup. It’s best to cut back on monkfruit a bit to balance the sweetness level.

17. Stevia

Stevia, derived from stevia leaves, is a sugar-free sweetener, but it’s wayyyy sweeter than golden syrup. So, you only need to use a very small amount of stevia to make up for the syrup.

Another thing to keep in mind is its licorice-like aftertaste. But, it becomes less noticeable when mixed with other baking spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, or apple pie spice.

Easy Homemade Golden Syrup

And the 18th alternative is, hands down, homemade golden syrup! The best part is that you can whip it up in just half an hour, more or less. Here is what to prepare to yield 2 cups of homemade syrup:

  • 2 ¾ cup granulated sugar (used separately)
  • ¼ cup water at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Step 1

Pour ¼ cup of cool water and ½ cup of sugar into a saucepan. Heat them on low or medium heat to dissolve the sugar.

Step 2

Simmer the mixture for 8 to 10 minutes to caramelize it. You know it’s done when the liquid turns golden/amber. If you notice sugar crystals sticking to the pan’s wall, brush some water over them to break them down.

Step 3

Dump the remaining 2 ¼ cups of sugar into the caramel. Then, gradually pour in the boiling water and fresh lemon juice while stirring constantly. Remember to do it carefully since the caramel can bubble and spill rapidly.

Step 4

Continue whisking to dissolve the sugar lumps and get a smooth, syrupy consistency. Let it simmer for roughly 20 minutes or until it gets a rich amber hue with a thickened texture.

Step 5

Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool down. Note that it will thicken further once cooled, so no need to worry. After that, you can pour the syrup into an airtight jar and store it at room temperature for up to 8 weeks.


What Is The American Version Of Golden Syrup?

In the US, golden syrup goes by another name: light treacle. Don’t be fooled by the different labels! If you see “light treacle” on the shelf, that’s your golden ticket for baking magic.

Is Golden Syrup Healthy?

Golden syrup is, after all, still sugar, so consuming it too much can pose some health risks. There is no such thing as healthy or unhealthy here; it’s all about keeping your sugar intake in moderation.

Is Golden Syrup Vegan?

Yes, golden syrup is a plant-based sweetener made from sugar cane and sugar beets.

The world of sweeteners offers no shortage of options for replacing golden syrup. Play around with them, and pick the best substitute for your recipe!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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