Golden Syrup Substitutes

Golden syrup, a common ingredient in British baking, is a thick, amber-colored sweetener made from sugar cane or sugar beet. It offers a rich, distinct flavor that enhances various recipes, ranging from chewy cookies and moist cakes to glazes and sauces.

However, golden syrup might not be as readily available in America, leaving many bakers searching for suitable substitutes.

Knowing the right alternatives can save your dish and ensure great results. In this article, we will share some golden syrup substitutes that are easy to find and can closely mimic the taste and texture of this British staple. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how to maintain the quality of your recipes even when golden syrup isn’t accessible.

As you explore these options, it’s important to consider the specific requirements of your recipe and how the substitute might affect the final outcome. Some alternatives may deliver a slightly different flavor or texture, but with a bit of experimentation, you can find the perfect substitute to meet your baking needs.

What is Golden Syrup

English Golden Syrup

Golden syrup, a popular ingredient in various baking recipes and sweet treats, is a thick golden liquid known for its unique flavor and texture. Composed of sugar, this versatile syrup adds a touch of sweetness, caramel notes, and smooth texture to a variety of baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, pancakes, waffles, flapjacks, and sticky toffee pudding.

The color of golden syrup can range from pale golden to deep amber, with the level of sweetness often correlating with the hue: the lighter the color, the less sweet the syrup. Golden syrup is also often referred to as light treacle due to its similarities with darker treacle varieties. However, don’t confuse it with dark treacle or molasses; golden syrup has a lighter and more delicate flavor.

Here are some characteristics of golden syrup:

  • Sweetness: A distinct level of sweetness that is not overpowering.
  • Caramel flavor: A rich caramel flavor that adds depth to your desserts.
  • Texture: Provides a smooth, silky texture to your baked goods.

When it comes to choosing a golden syrup substitute, it’s important to consider the specific attributes of your desired syrup, such as the level of sweetness, flavor, and texture. Some popular substitutes for golden syrup include:

  1. Corn syrup
  2. Honey
  3. Maple syrup
  4. Agave nectar
  5. Light or dark treacle

Each of these substitutes has its unique qualities, which can help you achieve a similar effect in your baking without using golden syrup. For instance, corn syrup and honey can provide a comparable level of sweetness and texture, while maple syrup and agave nectar may impart a more nutty flavor to your desserts. Dark treacle can be a suitable alternative if you are searching for a more robust flavor.

Overall, when selecting a golden syrup substitute, consider your personal preferences and the specific characteristics that you desire in your baked goods. With a little experimentation, you can find the perfect substitute that will enhance the taste and texture of your desserts.

Alternatives to Golden Syrup

Natural Sweetener Alternatives

There are several natural sweetener alternatives you can use as substitutes for golden syrup in your cooking. Some popular options include honey, maple syrup, and agave syrup. Honey is a common go-to alternative due to its similar taste and texture. However, you can also opt for Grade A maple syrup for a more distinctive flavor while maintaining consistency. Agave syrup, derived from the agave plant, is a vegan-friendly option with a lower glycemic index.

Other natural sweeteners that may work well as substitutes include:

  • Corn syrup (both light and dark varieties)
  • Rice syrup (especially brown rice syrup)
  • Cane syrup (from refining sugar cane)
  • Glucose and invert sugar (both in liquid form)
  • Sugar beet juice
  • Coconut sugar (for a less refined alternative)

Remember to consider the recipe you’re working on and your personal taste preferences when choosing a substitute.

Homemade and Processed Substitutes

If you prefer homemade or processed substitutes, there are a variety of options as well. You can create your own golden syrup by combining white sugar, brown sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Boil this mixture until it reaches a syrupy consistency, then cool it down before use.

Ready-made processed substitutes like maltose, chocolate sauce, and jam can be found at your local grocery store, while golden monkfruit sweetener is a more recent addition to the market. These options may provide a unique twist depending on the recipe you’re cooking.

For a quick and easy fix, you can also mix 1 cup of white sugar with 1/4 cup of water to create a basic syrup that can be used in your recipes.

Caloric and Dietary Considerations

When looking for a golden syrup substitute, it’s important to consider caloric and dietary factors as well. Liquid sweeteners like honey and maple syrup have similar calorie counts as golden syrup, while stevia, a natural, zero-calorie sugar substitute, can be used in liquid form.

For those with dietary restrictions, consider using vegan-friendly options like agave syrup, or check the labels of processed substitutes for information on ingredients and calorie counts.

Keep in mind that taste, consistency, and nutritional factors will all play a role in finding the best golden syrup substitute for your specific needs, whether it’s for biscuits, drinks, coffee, or sauces.

Golden Syrup Substitute

To substitute golden syrup, you can create a simple syrup using sugar and water. Here's a basic recipe for a golden syrup substitute:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 9 minutes
Course Substitute
Cuisine British
Servings 4
Calories 96 kcal


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice optional


  • In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water.
  • If using, add the optional lemon juice, which can help prevent crystallization.
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
  • Once the sugar has completely dissolved, increase the heat to bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer the syrup for about 5-7 minutes, or until it reaches a slightly thickened consistency.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature before using it in your recipe.


This homemade golden syrup substitute can be used in various recipes, such as baking, dessert sauces, and glazes. Keep in mind that while this substitute can mimic the sweetness and texture of golden syrup, it may not provide the exact flavor profile, so adjust the quantity to suit your taste preferences.


Calories: 96kcal
Keyword golden syrup substitute
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

What can replace golden syrup in gingerbread recipes?

In gingerbread recipes, you can replace golden syrup with molasses. Molasses has a similar consistency and sweetness level, making it a suitable alternative. If molasses isn’t available, you can also use dark corn syrup or honey, although the flavor may be slightly different.

Is honey a suitable alternative for golden syrup in rocky road?

Yes, honey can be used as an alternative for golden syrup in rocky road recipes. It has a similar consistency and sweetness, though it may impart a slightly different flavor. Additionally, you may need to adjust the other ingredients slightly to account for the change in texture, but overall, honey can work well as a substitute.

Can maple syrup be used as a substitute in flapjacks?

Maple syrup can be used as a substitute for golden syrup in flapjack recipes, but bear in mind that the flavor will be different. Maple syrup has a more distinct taste, which might be more noticeable in the finished product. In terms of consistency, maple syrup is thinner than golden syrup, so you might need to use a little less to avoid creating overly soft flapjacks.

What’s a suitable golden syrup replacement for making mooncakes?

A suitable golden syrup substitute for making mooncakes is invert syrup or homemade golden syrup made from combining sugar and water. This will provide a similar consistency and sweetness and will not alter the overall texture or flavor of your mooncakes significantly.

What is the American equivalent of golden syrup?

The American equivalent of golden syrup is either light corn syrup or cane syrup. Both options have a similar consistency and sweetness to golden syrup, making them suitable substitutes in most recipes. However, the flavor profiles might vary, so choose the one that best suits your taste preferences.

How does golden syrup compare to maple syrup?

Golden syrup and maple syrup have some similarities but differ in flavor profiles and consistency. Golden syrup is made from sugar cane and has a rich, golden color with a slight buttery taste. In contrast, maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees and has a distinct maple flavor. Maple syrup is thinner in consistency than golden syrup and may require some recipe adjustments to achieve the desired texture of your dish.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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