Agave nectar comes from the agave plant and is a natural sweetener. With a unique taste that is sweeter than sugar and has similarities to honey, agave nectar is an incredibly popular sweetener for a variety of recipes.
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Everyone loves a sweet treat now and again, and there are some healthier ways to get sweetness than with processed granulated sugar. The agave plant has been used in Latin America for possibly thousands of years. The sap was once thought to have medicinal properties, and when it's boiled, it produces a sweetener called miel de agave (agave syrup).
The problem is that some experts believe that agave nectar isn't the healthiest way to get some sweetness into your diet. If you're looking for a substitute, the good news is that there are a lot of things you can use.
However, if you don’t have agave nectar or agave syrup on hand, there are substitutes out there that are just as sweet and have a similar taste, too.
In this article, I cover the top 10 agave nectar substitutes, so next time you’re in a bind without it, you have a few ideas for alternatives that work just as well!
Agave nectar can be replaced with many products that you are likely to have in your pantry that are just as sweet.
That being said, it is worth noting that some of these substitutes might have a different consistency and taste to agave, but there is always the option of adding more than one ingredient to achieve the consistency that you’re aiming for.
For instance, you could try using two of these substitutes in conjunction with one another if you find that one of them doesn’t have the consistency that you’re looking for.
Honey is readily available in pretty much any grocery store, and you’re likely to already have some in your pantry or cupboard.
Honey is another natural sweetener that can be a good substitute for agave nectar. You can use honey as a substitute in a tonne of recipes that are sweet and savory.
Whether you’re baking a cake, are making biscuits, marinades, or other recipes that call for agave nectar, honey is a great alternative.
Honey can be substituted for agave nectar in a 1:1 ratio. For example, if the recipe calls for one cup of agave nectar, you’d use one cup of honey. That being said, you’ll need to keep in mind that honey is thicker than agave.
2. White sugar
White sugar is a household essential for most, meaning that it’s a product that you’ll nearly always have in your kitchen!
As a result, white sugar is one of the most convenient substitutes that you can use for agave nectar.
The great thing about white sugar is that it costs significantly less than agave nectar and it is one of the most versatile ingredients available to buy which makes it a very good substitute to use.
The majority of standard baking recipes call for white sugar. In terms of savory recipes, you can use white sugar to make various salad dressings or sauces, and it is great for rounding the flavor in savory recipes, too.
For every cup of agave nectar, you should use ⅓ cup of white sugar in a recipe. Additionally, another important tip to remember when you are using white sugar as a substitute in baking, add an additional half cup of water, milk, or oil so you’ll get the texture you need. You can use brown sugar too as well as stevia or ant other sugar substitute.
3. Simple syrup
As a sweetener that is often used to sweeten cocktails, simple syrup is another great substitute for agave nectar. From margaritas to mojitos, this is an ingredient that is very handy to have made in your fridge to sweeten a variety of recipes, cocktails, and drinks.
That being said, as simple syrup is literally sugar and water, it is naturally going to be significantly thinner than agave nectar.
If you can boil water, then you can just as easily make simple syrup. Check out the instructions to make this substitute below!
How to make simple syrup
- ½ cup of granulated sugar.
- ½ cup of water.
- Begin by adding the sugar and water to a small saucepan over a medium heat, making sure that you watch the pan and stir.
- Stir the mixture until all of the sugar has dissolved.
- Next, let the mixture cool, then pour into a glass jar and seal tightly with a lid.
- Store in the refrigerator. Simple syrup will keep, refrigerated, for about one month.
4. Corn syrup
Another product that makes a good substitute for agave nectar is corn syrup. This is a product that is used basically to make candy and can help to retain moisture in baked goods.
Use a ratio of 1:1 of white sugar and corn syrup when making some candy treats.
5. Maple syrup
If you have some members of your household that are big fans of pancakes or breakfast waffles, then you’ll already have this ingredient somewhere in your pantry! Maple syrup is a great nutritious and natural sweetener that you can use as a substitute for agave nectar.
Maple syrup contains numerous antioxidants, is low on the glycemic index, and can also help fight inflammatory diseases. You can use it in a 1:1 ratio to replace agave nectar.
However, that being said, this alternative might also take some getting used to, as it has a stronger flavor than agave nectar, but it is delicious nonetheless!
6. Brown rice syrup
Another excellent alternative for agave nectar is brown rice syrup. Brown rice syrup is a sweetener derived from, as the name suggests, brown rice.
It is produced by exposing cooked rice to enzymes that break down starches and turn them into smaller sugars, then filtering out the impurities.
The result is a thick, sugary syrup. That being said, it is important to be aware that this substitute is very high in sugar. It has a higher Glycemic Index than agave nectar, however, it is still lower than regular sugar.
That being said, if you need a healthier alternative, you may be much better off sweetening your foods with natural, low-calorie sweeteners that don’t raise blood sugar levels.
If you’re looking for an alternative for agave nectar, you can also use molasses as a substitute. Molasses is a thick syrup that is a byproduct of the sugar-making process.
However, unlike refined sugar, molasses contains some vitamins and minerals including manganese, copper, vitamin B-6, and potassium. Although molasses is very high in sugar, if you are going to eat sugar anyway, molasses is likely a healthier alternative to sugar.
That being said, while both molasses and agave nectar are both sweet, you should note that they do taste different.
8. Fruit syrup
A great substitute for agave nectar is fruit syrup. Fruit syrup is a natural sweetener made from natural fruit extracts, and many of them are natural, have no additives, and are vegan.
Fruit syrup is an incredibly versatile product. Whether you use fruit syrup to sweeten your morning oatmeal, use it to drizzle over pancakes, or use it in a baked recipe, the options are endless with this natural sweetener.
That being said, because it is often made of fruits such as apples and grapes, it can taste significantly different from agave nectar, so you should be mindful of this when using it in your various recipes.
9. Coconut nectar
You can also use coconut nectar as a substitute for agave nectar. Coconut nectar is the delicious natural syrup derived from the sap of the flowers of the coconut palm.
When dehydrated into granules it becomes coconut sugar, but as a liquid, it's comparable to maple syrup or agave. Whether you pour it over pancakes or use it to sweeten your tea, this product is delicious.
As it is natural, it is minimally processed, making it a relatively healthy alternative. That being said, as it is made out of coconuts, the flavor is quite different from agave nectar.
10. Artificial sweeteners
Lastly, if you find yourself in a bind without agave nectar, there are a variety of artificial sweeteners that you can use as a substitute. These are the types of sweeteners that are often used in sugar-free sodas.
Artificial sweeteners are a good alternative to agave nectar in beverages or any recipe. They are also very low in calories.
However, they do have an unpleasant aftertaste and aren’t natural, which means that they often aren’t people’s first choice. That being said, in moderation, they can substitute agave nectar.
Can agave nectar be substituted with golden syrup?
Yes, agave nectar can be substituted with golden syrup in various different recipes. Golden syrup has a very mild and buttery flavor.
It is often made from just water, sugar and citric acid. Use it as a substitute, but because it is incredibly sweet, you shouldn’t overuse golden syrup.
As a result, you’ll need to be careful to use it in moderation.
Best Agave Nectar Substitutes
- White sugar
- Simple syrup
- Corn syrup
- Maple syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Fruit syrup
- Coconut nectar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Try our agave nectar substitutes.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.