There are a lot of reasons why you might want to avoid corn syrup. Maybe you're trying to eat more natural foods or are concerned about corn syrup's high fructose content. Whatever your reason, there are several good substitutes for corn syrup that can be used in baking. In this post, I'll discuss 11 substitutes for corn syrup and what makes them special. Read on to learn more!
What is Corn Syrup?
Corn syrup (also known as glucose syrup) is a thick, sweet-tasting liquid that is made from corn starch. It's used for baking because it can add sweetness without changing the flavor of your recipe. Plus, it helps keep food moist and prevents the crystallization in sauces and frostings. It also helps give texture to candies like gummies, taffy, caramels, and marshmallows.
When Should I Use It?
Corn syrup is great for any recipe that needs a little bit of added sweetness or texture. For example, dark corn syrup is perfect for fudge or candy making because it helps keep them soft and chewy.
And if you're making something like caramel sauce or ice cream, light corn syrup will help prevent sugar crystals from forming so that your treat stays creamy and smooth. Just remember that corn syrup does contain calories (unlike sugar substitutes), so be mindful of how much you use.
The 11 Best Corn Syrup Substitutes
If you find yourself running low on corn syrup during a baking session (it happens!), some other ingredients can be used as substitutes in a pinch. Remember that these substitutes might change the flavor slightly, so taste test your baked goods before serving them!
Honey is one of the most popular replacements for corn syrup because of its sweetness and flavor. It has a glycemic index between 32-58 (the lower the GI number the better) making it much higher on the glycemic index than plain corn syrup which has a GI of 15, however high fructose corn syrup has a high GI level of 87, which is much higher than regular corn syrup.
Honey has a slightly floral flavor that pairs perfectly with anything from pancakes to muffins or even cake. When substituting honey for corn syrup you should use 1 cup for every 1 cup of corn syrup called for in any recipe.
2. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is made from the juice of several species of agave plants found mainly in Mexico and South Africa. It has a mild flavor and works well with baked goods such as cookies and breads that call for corn syrup in their recipes.
Agave nectar also has an extremely low glycemic index (GI 17) making it an ideal substitute for those watching their blood sugar levels. Like honey, when substituting agave nectar use one-to-one substitution.
3. Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is made from fermented cooked brown rice and barley malt and comes out as a thick liquid with a mild butterscotch flavor that works well with baked goods like muffins or quick breads.
It is one of the sweetest, most intense products available on the market today - it has a glycemic index of 98! To substitute brown rice syrup, use ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon per every 1 cup of corn syrup called for in any recipe.
Molasses is a byproduct of sugar production and is made from sugarcane or sugar beets. It has a strong flavor and is very dark in color.
Molasses has a higher glycemic index than corn syrup and is also a good source of iron. When substituting molasses for corn syrup, use 1 cup of molasses for every 1 cup of corn syrup called for in the recipe.
5. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees and has a characteristic sweet maple flavor. It's lighter in color than molasses and has a higher glycemic index. When substituting maple syrup for corn syrup, use ¾ cup of maple syrup for every 1 cup of corn syrup called for in the recipe.
Stevia is an all-natural sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It's calorie-free and has a glycemic index of zero. Stevia can be used as a direct replacement for sugar or corn syrup in recipes. When substituting stevia for corn syrup, use 1 cup of stevia for every 1 cup of corn syrup called for in the recipe.
7. Barley Malt Syrup
Barley malt syrup is made from sprouted barley grains that have been cooked down into thick syrup. It has a malty flavor and is darker in color than honey or maple syrup.
Barley malt syrup has a higher glycemic index than plain corn syrup and can be used as a direct replacement in recipes. When substituting barley malt syrup for corn syrup, use ¾ cup of barley malt syrup for every 1 cup of corn syrup called for in the recipe.
8. Date Syrup
With its thick consistency and sweet caramel flavor, date syrup is one of the most popular substitutes for corn syrup. It is low on the glycemic index scale with a rating of 35-42. Date syrup is great for drizzling over desserts or using as an ingredient in cakes or cookies. To substitute date syrup for dark corn syrup use the same amount listed in your recipe.
9. Glucose Syrup
Glucose syrup is a sweetener made by breaking down starches like wheat or potatoes. It has less sweetness than white sugar and is often used as a thickener in place of flour because of its ability to mix with water easily.
Nutritionally speaking, glucose and corn syrups are very similar — they both contain roughly the same amount of calories and carbohydrates per serving — so either one can be substituted for the other without any significant changes to the recipe’s outcome.
That being said, if you do choose to substitute one for the other, make sure that you adjust any other ingredients accordingly (e.g., if your recipe calls for 1 cup of corn syrup, use ¾ cup of glucose syrup).
10. Golden Syrup
Golden Syrup is made by refining sugar cane juice and has a distinctive golden color with a hint of molasses flavor to it. This is another popular choice among bakers as its glycemic index ranges from 55-65 which makes it lower than regular table sugar but higher than other alternatives like date or maple syrups.
This makes it perfect for baking recipes like gingerbread cookies or sticky buns that require more sweetness than other types of syrups can provide. For substitutions use 1 cup of golden syrup to replace 1 cup of corn syrup.
11. Sorghum Syrup
Sorghum syrups are made by extracting liquid from sorghum grains, giving them their distinct blackstrap molasses taste and dark color.
This type of syrup also has an incredibly low glycemic index rating ranging from 40-55 making it the perfect sweetener to use when you want something less sweet than honey but still packed with flavor! Use ¾ cup sorghum to replace 1 cup called for in your recipe and enjoy the subtle flavors this unique alternative can add to your baked goods!
People Also Ask [FAQs]
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has been linked to a variety of health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and liver problems. Its high fructose content can also raise blood sugar levels quickly and cause insulin resistance over time. Therefore, it is generally not recommended for regular consumption.
Yes, corn syrup is generally gluten free because it is derived from corn, a naturally gluten-free grain.
Wrap Up: Corn Syrup Substitute
- There are a variety of alternatives to corn syrup that can be used in recipes.
- Each option has its unique flavor and glycemic index rating, so it’s important to consider your recipe before selecting your sweetener.
- Maple syrup, stevia, barley malt syrup, date syrup, glucose syrup, golden syrup, and sorghum syrups are all excellent options for replacing corn syrup in baking applications.
- With some experimentation and trial-and-error with these substitutes, you should have no problem finding one that works for your particular needs!
- Try making your own homemade corn syrup substitute today and taste the difference! You'll be amazed by how flavorful and rich it is, while still being lower in sugar than store-bought syrups.
- Plus, you can customize the flavor with different sweeteners like brown rice syrup or malt sugar/maltose. So why not give it a try and enjoy the unique homemade flavor in your favorite candy recipes?
The Best Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoon brown rice syrup or malt Sugar/maltose (optional)
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/16 teaspoon salt a pinch
- The process is super easy: First, combine the white sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Then add the brown rice syrup as well as the cream of tartar and stir until blended together.
- Simmer until bubbling begins, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Finally, take off from heat and stir in a pinch of salt until blended together; let cool before transferring to an airtight container for storage.
- Following these steps will make you about one cup of lovely corn syrup -- perfect for using in recipes!
- To make your homemade corn syrup even better, use a mix of brown rice syrup and malt sugar/maltose. The combination of these two sweeteners will help to boost the flavor and texture of your recipe.
- Additionally, adding a pinch of cream of tartar helps to stabilize the sugar molecules while cooking, resulting in a thicker, richer syrup.
- To make sure your corn syrup substitute turns out perfectly, use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature while cooking. Using this will help you ensure that your syrup reaches the ideal temperature of 235°F before taking it off from heat and transferring it to an airtight container for storage.