Golden syrup, sometimes known as light treacle, is a thick, golden-colored form of inverted sugar syrup made by refining sugar cane or sugar beet juice. Golden syrup is commonly used in baking and desserts and drizzled over pancakes.
There are many substitutions for golden syrup that mimic its flavor and texture, including maple syrup, light corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and honey. Depending on your dietary preferences and the recipe you’re following, some substitutions may be more appropriate than others.
Best Substitute for Golden Syrup: Light Corn Syrup
The best replacement for golden syrup is light corn syrup, known in some places as maize syrup, because the flavor, sweetness, and color of this substitute are similar to golden syrup. The biggest difference is that corn syrup is thinner than golden syrup.
Replace golden syrup with an equal amount of light corn syrup. Light corn syrup is a great replacement for golden syrup when used as a sweetener in baked goods or drizzled over waffles and pancakes.
Other Golden Syrup Substitutes, Alternatives, and Replacements
Here’s a list of foods you can use in place of golden syrup:
Homemade Golden Syrup Substitute
This homemade golden syrup substitute tastes and looks similar to golden syrup, with a similar texture.
- ¼ cup water
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat the water and ½ cup of the sugar in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves
- Simmer the mixture until caramelized, a golden color, around 10 minutes. If the sugar begins to crystallize around the sides of the pan, brush the sides with water
- While the mixture simmers, boil 1 ½ cups of water
- Once you’ve created the caramel, slowly add the remaining 2 cups of sugar, boiling water, and lemon juice
- Whisk to combine all the ingredients
- Simmer the mixture on low heat until thickened, 20 minutes
- Once thickened, remove the syrup from the heat and set it aside to cool completely
- Pour the cooled golden syrup into a jar and store it in a cool, dark place for up to 8 weeks
Once cooled completely, this syrup substitute will have thickened to a consistency similar to golden syrup.
Maple syrup is created from the sap of maple trees and is popular in Canada. This syrup is typically used to top pancakes or add sweetness to cooked foods and baked goods.
Maple syrup is thinner than golden syrup and has a slightly different flavor, so it isn’t the most convincing golden syrup substitute in baking. However, maple syrup performs a similar role to golden syrup when drizzled over waffles and pancakes. Use as a 1:1 substitute for golden syrup.
Honey is a natural syrup produced by bees. Because bees are involved in honey production, this golden syrup substitute is not suitable for vegans.
Honey can be a healthier alternative to golden syrup because it’s a natural, non-processed product with many health benefits. Regular honey is thicker than golden syrup, but thinner versions that more closely resemble golden syrup are available.
However, honey has a more nutty, less sweet flavor than golden syrup, so it could significantly change the taste of baked goods if you use it in recipes. Honey is better used as a golden syrup substitute sweetener for drinks. Because of honey’s thickness, you should use a little less than the amount of golden syrup you’d use for the same recipe.
Agave nectar, also known as agave syrup, is made from the sap of the blue agave plant. This natural nectar is a good golden syrup substitute and also a vegan alternative to honey.
Agave makes a convincing golden syrup substitute because it has a similar level of sweetness and color to golden syrup. Agave nectar is thinner than golden syrup, but its flavor is just as sweet. Replace golden syrup with an equal amount of agave in baked goods.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is made by cooking brown rice and then breaking the rice down into a sweet liquid. This golden syrup substitute is similar in color to golden syrup, but it is slightly runnier than golden syrup and has a nutty flavor that golden syrup lacks.
Use brown rice syrup as a 1:1 replacement for golden syrup in baking.
Molasses, also known as treacle, has a thick consistency, sweet flavor, and dark color. If used as a golden syrup substitute in desserts, it will darken the color of the product and give a slightly richer flavor.
Avoid using blackstrap molasses as a golden syrup substitute because it has a bitter flavor. Use the lightest molasses possible as a 1:1 replacement for golden syrup.
Sugar has an entirely different texture from golden syrup. Sugar comes in small granules, whereas golden syrup has a thick, liquid consistency. If you’re using golden syrup simply as a sweetener and consistency isn’t a concern, try sugar as an alternative to syrup. Sugar adds sweetness without radically changing the flavor of a recipe.
Brown sugar has a caramel-like flavor which is more similar to the flavor of golden syrup. Sugar can be used as a golden syrup substitute in baking recipes, but it’s not a suitable substitute for drizzling over waffles or pancakes.