Can I Substitute Maple Syrup for Honey? (Agave? Corn Syrup?)

It happens. You’ve just realized you’re in a bind — you ran out of honey just when you’re about to prepare one of your favorite recipes. Now, you’re wondering, can I substitute maple syrup for honey?

As a general rule, it works to substitute maple syrup for honey. Both are natural liquid sweeteners, have a similar consistency, and can be substituted one-to-one. That is a cup of honey for a cup of maple syrup or a teaspoon of honey for a teaspoon of maple syrup.

And maple syrup has a lower glycemic index (it would not inordinately raise your blood sugar level).

It also has a different flavor and is kosher for vegans. Now, raw honey is sweeter and thick syrup and has a more neutral taste, while maple syrup (surprise, surprise) has a more distinctive marked maple flavor.

But there’s a lot more to know. Below we’ll get more into the discussion and we’ll also look at other alternatives such as agave nectar or corn syrup.

Let’s dive right in.

substitute honey maple lg

Does maple syrup work the same as honey?

Maple syrup works almost like honey. Now, both honey and maple syrup are used as natural sweeteners. But, they are slightly different in nutritional value, color, texture, and flavor. Honey is sweeter and higher on the glycemic index.

It also tends to be thicker with a woodsy flavor, while maple syrup has caramel notes or caramel flavor.

Both have a sweet flavor, are a lot better than regular white sugar, and are great substitutes. So, note where a recipe calls for a cup of sugar. You’ve got choices now that we know maple syrup can be used in place of honey. However, the consistency of honey is different.

Let’s find out more about how these two natural sweeteners differ and the implication for how maple syrup works relative to honey.

If health benefits are high on your list, maple syrup is excellent.

It is a natural sweetener and a sweet syrup that is a healthier alternative than honey because of its lower glycemic index. In an age where a lot of us have become more discerning about our sugar intake, maple syrup is probably the way to go.

Why? Because honey has a higher glycemic index — which implies that it can easily spike one’s blood sugar level!

The body tends to store the excess sugar as fat. I suspect that’s probably not what you want. Honey’s glycemic index is 58, while maple syrup’s GI is 54. A cup of honey has 1,031 calories, while a cup of maple syrup has 840 calories.

Sugar beets and sugar cane are the most common plants used in the production of sugar. And to convert cups of sugar to cups of honey, there are easy-to-use converters online.

Maple syrup, a delicious syrup, is also derived from the sap of the maple tree.

It is collected and boiled to caramelize and thicken it. Since it’s derived from a plant, it’s great for vegans. Honey, on the other hand, is originally nectar, but because it is processed by insects, it is not vegan.

Maple syrup has a strong, distinct flavor relative to honey. You need to be mindful of this, as it can cause changes in the flavor of your food.

Because of its thinner consistency, maple syrup works well in baked goods, and honey’s thicker consistency makes it great for marinades and salad dressings, seeing as it’s easier for it to stick to food.

It is a great honey alternative. But both honey and maple syrup are great for muesli, granola, baked goods, and cereals. Be sure to check the required water content so that your baked goods can come out great.

Honey, too, can be substituted for maple syrup or other types of syrup. It is one of the best maple syrup alternatives. If you ever need to substitute 2 cups of maple syrup, you know that 2 cups of honey is a good estimate.

How much maple syrup do I substitute for honey?

A one-to-one substitution of pure maple syrup for honey is ideal, seeing as it is similar in texture and color to honey. But the flavor of maple syrup is much stronger. So for some recipes, a 50/50 blend of maple syrup and agave nectar may provide better flavor results.

It’s vital to bear that in mind.

Maple syrup is one of the best honey substitutes because of the similarities we have explored. It has a sweet taste and qualities that make it great for folks who are concerned about their sugar intake and blood sugar level. It’s awesome for vegans, too, seeing as it’s made from the sap of maple trees.

So, you can use equal parts of each as a substitute for the other.

What about corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup? We know that the latter is harmful, but what is the difference between corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup?

That’s what I got into in a recent article I published. In it, I explored whether corn syrup is as bad as high fructose corn syrup and looked at its advantage over regular corn syrup. I spoke about whether Karo corn syrup is high fructose. And I even revealed whether cane sugar is better than corn syrup.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Dark corn syrup is darker than light corn syrup and has a more nuanced flavor which could affect the taste of your food. Both are an example of invert sugars (meaning that they are liquid at room temperature).

What is the best substitute for maple syrup?

Honey is one of the best substitutes for maple syrup. It can be substituted one for one — that’s a cup of honey for a cup of maple syrup. But honey is sweeter, and its flavor is not as nuanced. And because it’s an animal byproduct, it’s not suitable for anyone on a vegan diet. 

And it is a good idea not to use it in any preparation that a baby that’s not up to a year would eat because it can trigger botulism.

Honey has a similar texture to maple syrup, and it’s great for topping pancakes.

So, it can be used in place of maple syrup. Of course, its flavor is different, but it’s also good with sweet dishes or baking recipes such as cookies and banana blueberry muffins. It is one of the healthy maple syrup substitutes. You can also enjoy french toast with honey.

The next best substitute for maple syrup is making your own brown sugar syrup.

It’s very simple to do. Simply add ½ cup of brown sugar and ½ cup of water to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir it until the sugar is dissolved for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not simmer. Cool it to room temperature before using it.

You can store it in a refrigerator for a month.

Is honey or maple syrup better for baking?

Both honey and maple syrup are great for baking. They are healthier than regular granulated sugar and are similar in terms of nutritional value. But maple syrup is healthier because it has a lower glycemic index, and because it is derived from the sap of maple trees, it is often preferred by vegans.

But it’s not as thick as honey.

So the kind of baking you’re doing might be the criterion for choosing one over the other. Honey is sweeter and has no fat. If you opt for real maple syrup, you will have to contend with its distinctive flavor. Honey, on the other hand, has a more neutral flavor.

Ultimately, it depends on you, as you consider your sweet recipes or sweet treats. But honey is sweeter. So it’s okay to sub as long as you use the best maple syrup.

If what you’re baking would be eaten by a baby, you want to stay off honey as it can cause botulism, a form of food poisoning in babies. Remember not to give honey (in any form) to a child that’s not up to a year.

What about dark molasses and light molasses? Both are a byproduct of making sugar. It’s sweet but has a slightly burnt flavor. There are different types of molasses — a function of how often the brown sugar contains molasses.

Dark brown sugar has more molasses than light brown sugar. It’s a common ingredient that does not have a clear alternative. In baking, you can sub ¾ cup of granulated white sugar and ¼ cup of water for 1 cup of molasses.

Dark molasses (the variant often used in gingerbread) is produced after the second boiling, while blackstrap molasses is produced after the third iteration. Brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, date paste, and rice malt syrup are all healthier alternatives to sugar. Naturally, you’ll need at least a cup of dates to make date paste.

Coconut nectar is a great alternative for those with fructose sensitivities. Fructose is the sugar found in honey and fruit.

If you like, you can easily make pancake syrup, at home, with the following ingredients: 1 cup packed brown sugar · 1 cup sugar · 1 cup water · 1 teaspoon maple flavoring.

Can I substitute agave for honey?

Yes. You can substitute agave nectar for honey. In recipes calling for honey, both agave and honey are equal replacements — you can substitute one cup of agave for one cup of honey.

A key benefit is that agave is less likely to trigger allergic reactions seeing as it does not contain pollens.

It is a good substitute, seeing as it has a lower glycemic index relative to other natural sweeteners, so it’s a healthier alternative for folks with diabetes. But be sure to consult your doctor if you have diabetes before deciding on the sweeteners to use.

If you’re interested in sweetening drinks, agave works well, perhaps even better than honey. It dissolves better in water than honey. It dissolves easily in liquids regardless of the temperature.

So, if you’re looking to substitute agave syrup for honey while cooking or baking, a one-for-one substitution is okay and if you’re in doubt, opt for a slightly smaller quantity of agave. Agave is not as thick as honey.

This may or may not be an issue when you’re blending some salads and sauces. You may want to add other liquids gradually as it may require less of one to achieve the consistency you want.

If you plan to use agave in baking, be sure to increase the time slightly while reducing the temperature by 25% to avoid over-browning or a burnt aftertaste.

By the way, where can you find honey in the grocery store (and is it fake?).

Check out a recent article I published. In it, I showed what aisle the honey is in at Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, and Publix. I shared places where you can get real honey and even revealed whether the honey you find in grocery stores is real.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can I substitute corn syrup for honey?

Yes. You can substitute corn syrup for honey. Corn syrup and honey are equal replacements — you can substitute one cup of corn syrup for one cup of honey. An added benefit of this substitution is that you can use corn syrup while making candy and caramel as it prevents crystallization.

At the risk of stating the obvious, honey is a delicious substitute for granulated sugar, its flavor and texture are heavenly, and it has several health benefits. Still, you may want variety, or perhaps you’re vegan and are not interested in it because it’s an animal byproduct.

It’s less processed and has a lower glycemic index, so it’s great for folks with diabetes, as it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you have diabetes before deciding on the sweeteners to use.

But it’s not ideal to use honey for baking at high temperatures.

Simple syrup is a cocktail sweetener that earns its name because it’s equal parts water and granulated sugar. Golden syrup is made with water, sugar, and citric acid.


In the article, we learned a lot about different types of sweeteners.

We found out if maple syrup works like honey. We found out about the excellent alternatives to both maple syrup and honey. We learned that honey is a great alternative to maple syrup and vice versa. And that maple syrup is one of the best options for honey. We learned about agave nectar, a maple syrup replacement.

And we learned which one is better: honey or maple syrup.

Check out all my ingredient substitution articles:

15 Best Substitutes for Achiote Paste & Powder

9 Best Agar Agar Substitutes

15 Best White Balsamic Vinegar Substitutes

9 Simple Madras Curry Powder Substitutes

15 Best Browning Sauce Substitutes

13 Best Substitutes for Mustard Seed

15 Fool-Proof Lyle’s Golden Syrup Substitute Options

Can I Substitute Maple Syrup for Honey?

Hoisin Sauce vs. Oyster Sauce (Difference & Best Substitutes)

19 Best Substitutes for Potato Starch (and when to use them)

21 Best Paneer Substitutes (for your Indian recipes)

21 Best Turmeric Substitutes (you probably have on hand)

Kaffir Lime Leaves vs Lime Leaves: Differences & Substitutes

11 Best Porcini Mushroom Substitutes (dried and fresh)

Image by piviso from Pixabay and Image by Дарья Яковлева from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

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