Honey has been used in the home for so long that it predates written history. Even today, the beloved nectar is still used worldwide as a key ingredient in sweet or savoury dishes and as a natural remedy for many illnesses.
However, many people cannot eat honey either due to allergies or because they’re on a vegan diet. There might also be times when a recipe calls for honey, but you don’t have any at home.
In these instances, a good substitute is needed to take the place of honey when it’s called for in a recipe.
When switching honey for a different ingredient, you want to ensure that the substitute will give your food a similar flavour and sweetness.
Multiple foods fit these criteria, but many people turn to maple syrup as it has a similar consistency to honey, as well as a sweet sugary taste.
But can maple syrup be used instead of honey? Or is there a better sweet and sticky alternative out there? Read on to find out!
Can You Substitute Maple Syrup for Honey?
You can substitute honey with maple syrup. In fact, it is one of the best possible honey substitutes available in the UK.
This well-known ingredient is not only suitable for those on a vegan diet, but it also has a similar texture and flavour to honey, meaning it can easily be used as a replacement in baked goods, sauces, and drizzles.
Due to the similarities between the two ingredients, you can use the same amount of maple syrup as you would honey when substituting one for the other.
This makes it an extremely easy substitution as no complicated mathematics is involved – just a straightforward ingredient swap.
Honey is also known to help relieve cold and flu symptoms. This is thought to be because the high sugar suppresses the cough receptors in the throat by acting as a demulcent, meaning it forms a protective film over mucous membranes and relieves inflammation.
Interestingly, maple syrup may also have cough-suppressant effects as it has similar demulcent properties. Therefore, it can also be used as a substitute in this instance!
Is Maple Syrup Healthier Than Honey?
One of the concerns of substituting honey with maple syrup is in regard to a healthy diet. Whereas honey is natural, maple syrup is a processed sugar and is often deemed the unhealthier of the two.
So, will swapping honey with maple syrup be detrimental to your health?
In truth, both honey and maple syrup are forms of sugar, so eating either in excess will never be seen as healthy.
However, both foods will provide several health benefits, especially when a high-quality version is used in moderation. And in general, maple syrup actually weighs up better when compared to honey. This is because maple syrup:
- Contains fewer calories than equal amounts of honey.
- Has higher levels of iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc than honey.
- Has a better glycaemic index, meaning it can be used more efficiently to provide energy.
This being said, honey is not an unhealthy choice. It may not contain as many minerals as maple syrup, but it is high in vitamins B6 and C and contains more antioxidants. There is also research to suggest that honey can help to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Alternative Honey Substitutes
If you’re still unsure about using maple syrup as a replacement for honey, there are a variety of other good substitutes you can use:
- Brown sugar: When using brown sugar (not to be confused with demerara sugar) in place of honey, you typically need to double the amount the recipe calls for. However, starting with less and taste testing as you go is always best. If desired, you can mix three parts sugar with one part water to create a honey-like consistency.
- Agave nectar: Agave nectar is a type of syrup that comes from the agave plant (a cactus best known for acting as a base in tequila and other Mexican spirits). It is incredibly sweet, so we recommend using ¾ of the amount when substituting it for honey.
- Golden syrup: Another syrup that can easily replace honey is golden syrup. This liquid is more caramel-tasting than maple syrup, meaning it works well in sweet dishes, but it is usually best left out of savoury ones. When substituting, you can use a 1:1 ratio as it has a high sugar content – so high that golden syrup rarely goes off!
- White sugar: Like with brown sugar, you will need to double the amount of white sugar you use in your recipe when using it instead of honey. It won’t have the same depth of flavour as honey or brown sugar, but it can be used in a pinch to add some sweetness to your dishes.
- Apple sauce: When it comes to baking, apple sauce can make a great honey substitute. However, it’s not the best for savoury dishes or sauces. It has a much higher liquid content than honey, so you must reduce the liquid in your recipe by 150ml when using this alternative. Once done, you can use a 1:1 ratio of sauce to honey.
Hannah is a freelance content writer and self-proclaimed foodie. When Hannah isn’t sitting tapping at her laptop, you’ll probably find her in the kitchen. As an ex-chalet host, she’s used to cooking four-course meals for 10+ people and loves feeding friends and family whenever possible.