For an agave nectar substitute that will easily replace the real thing, check out some of these simple alternatives! From baked goods to margaritas to marinades, sometimes you just need to add a little sweetness- and these ingredients offer just that!
Best Agave Nectar Substitutes
Agave is most well-known as the sweetener in margaritas. While that is a good enough reason in my book to love this natural sweetener, it has even more uses in the kitchen.
Agave has a neutral flavor, compared to honey and maple syrup, which makes it a great choice to add to baked goods, salad dressings, marinades, and other beverages. In addition, since it comes from plants it is perfect for vegans who prefer not to use honey.
With so many ways to use agave in the kitchen, it is possible you may run out. It may also be that you are just learning about this amazing sweetener and haven’t had a chance to buy some.
Whatever the reason you don’t have it on hand – not to worry!
There are at least a dozen other sweeteners that you can use in place of agave nectar. Keep reading to find the best one for your recipe.
Easy Agave Nectar Alternatives
All these substitutes are great and will easily replace agave in any recipe. Some will be easier substitutes (with a simple 1:1 exchange). Others will be better for vegans.
In addition, some will be better for those who want a sugar-free option. Whatever your preference, one of these twelve substitutes will work.
Honey is one of the easiest substitutes for agave. It has a similar sweetness and can easily be used in place of agave nectar in any recipe, from baked goods to marinades.
However, honey does have a different flavor than agave. Therefore, it will shift the overall flavor of your dish slightly.
Most of the time the flavors in recipes that call for agave nectar will pair well with honey.
Even though honey has a slightly thicker consistency than agave nectar it can be used in a 1:1 substitution.
2. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a similar substitute to honey. It has a similar sweetness to agave but also has its own distinct flavor.
The distinct flavor of maple syrup may not pair as well with some recipes, such as marinades or dressings. However, it is often a great choice for baking.
The flavor will not be as distinctive and will add richness to the final product.
This is an easy substitute with a 1:1 ratio for agave. In addition, it is a vegan-friendly option.
3. Light Corn Syrup
Among the natural sweeteners (like honey and maple syrup), agave is the sweetest. Therefore, if you want something that is equally as sweet as agave the choices above may not work.
You may want to choose a less naturally made sweetener.
Made from processing corn, corn syrup is popularly used for candy making because it is sweeter than other sugars. Therefore, if you want to maintain a strong sweet taste in your recipe, this may be the substitute for you.
Due to its level of sweetness and its thicker consistency, it is best used as a substitute in baking.
Use corn syrup in a 1:1 exchange for agave.
4. Simple Syrup
When it comes to replacing agave in beverages, simple syrup is your best choice. With a neutral taste and similar consistency to agave, it will keep the sweetness of your cocktails without changing the flavors you love.
It is also super easy to make! All you need is white sugar and water. Mix equal parts of sugar and water (½ cup of sugar + ½ cup of water) in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil and stir consistently until the sugar dissolves.
Let it cool. Then store in a sealed jar or bottle.
In addition to being super easy to make, you can store simple syrup in the fridge for a long time. Therefore, you always have it on hand as a substitute!
Simple syrup can be used in a 1:1 exchange in most recipes. However, you may need to add more (depending on what your desired level of sweetness is).
5. White Sugar
If simple syrup can be used as a substitute, then you can bet plain old white sugar can also be used as one. It is probably the easiest substitute just because it is an ingredient most people always have on hand.
However, some adjustments need to be made as a substitute. Even though we often think of sugar as being super sweet, it is less sweet than agave.
Therefore, to get the right level of sweetness you will need to add more. In addition, due to the difference in consistency, you will want to add extra water.
Add ⅓ more sugar than the recipe calls for in agave nectar: 1 ⅓ cup sugar in place of 1 cup of agave (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of sugar in place of 1 tablespoon of agave).
In addition, when baking you need to add a ½ cup of liquid (water, oil, milk) for each cup of agave being replaced. This will help maintain the desired texture of the cookies, cakes, muffins, etc.
For smaller quantities (cocktails, dressings, marinades) you do not need to add extra liquid.
6. Golden Syrup
Golden syrup is a rich buttery flavored syrup that is commonly used in England. Made from water, sugar, and citric acid, it has a similar color and consistency to agave nectar.
Therefore, many people ask if it can be used as a substitute.
It can be used as a substitute. Its buttery flavor works best in desserts and other baked goods, rather than savory dishes (like dressings and marinades).
Golden syrup is even sweeter than agave nectar. Therefore, begin by only using half the amount that the recipe calls for.
7. Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is probably not as common to have in your cupboard as sugar. If you are watching your blood sugar though, you may be familiar with this sweetener.
Brown rice syrup is lower in sugar than white sugar and honey. Therefore, it is a healthier option for those watching their sugar intake.
While it is a great choice for adding sweetness more healthily, it is much less sweet than agave.
Therefore, using brown rice syrup will leave your recipe less sweet. To maintain the level of sweetness that the original recipe calls for you will need to use double the amount of brown rice syrup.
Unfortunately, this may change the flavor and texture.
The best choice for using brown rice syrup as a substitute in recipes you want to be less sweet. Start with a 1:1 ratio. Then taste before adding more.
In addition, agave has less sugar than brown rice syrup. Therefore, you may even consider replacing brown rice syrup in future recipes with agave!
8. Coconut Nectar
Another less sweet option is coconut nectar. Coconut nectar comes from the sap in coconut trees and is a lovely all-natural sweetener.
When it is dried it becomes coconut sugar.
Coconut nectar has a similar syrupy consistency to agave, but it also has its own distinct flavor. Therefore, it works best as a substitute in baked goods. It will add sweetness, but not overpower the other flavors.
Use coconut nectar in an easy 1:1 exchange.
Molasses is a sweetener that doesn’t get enough attention. It makes an appearance during the holidays for gingerbread and then disappears.
The great thing about this is that you may have some molasses hiding in your cupboard!
Light, dark, and even blackstrap molasses, can all be used in place of agave nectar. Be mindful that while each of these will provide sweetness, they will also provide a distinctly different taste.
Therefore, it will not work as a substitute in all recipes. It will add a nice richness to many baked goods though.
It can even be a fun choice to add some depth of flavor to a marinade or dressing. Probably skip it for the margarita though.
Try molasses in a 1:1 substitution for agave.
10. Fruit syrup
If you want to play around with new flavors, then fruit syrup is a great choice. It is also a great option if you have some fruit that is getting a bit too ripe and needs to be used.
Simply toss it in the blender with some water and blend. If you want to take the extra step, add it to a saucepan and slowly simmer to bring out the sugars.
The sweetness and flavor of your fruit syrup will depend on the fruit you use. If you buy fruit syrup, grapes and apples are popular choices.
Since fruit syrups will change the flavor (and possibly the texture) of your recipe they work best as substitutes in baked goods.
While most syrups can be used in a 1:1 exchange for agave nectar I suggest starting with half the amount. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out.
If you are searching for a substitute that is lower in sugar than agave syrup, then you may want to try a low-calorie or sugar-free alternative.
Stevia is one of the most popular choices out there. It can be purchased in powder form or liquid form.
Stevia is quite concentrated. Therefore, there is not an exact ratio to follow as a substitute. It is best to start with just a little bit and add more to taste.
If you have never used stevia before, be aware that it has a very distinct taste (and after taste). Therefore, it will change the overall taste of your recipe.
Since it is also used in smaller quantities it will shift the consistency of many baked goods.
12. Monk Fruit
A lesser-known sugar-free option is monk fruit. Monk fruit is an all-natural sweetener that comes in granulated form like sugar.
Even though it is in the same category as stevia, it has a much better taste! It offers a more natural and neutral taste that closely resembles regular sugar. Therefore, it is a great sugar-free choice to explore.
As with stevia, start with less and add more as needed to taste.
When making something with a touch of sweetness, any one of these agave nectar substitutes will do the job! If you give any of these a try, don't forget to come back and let us know how your recipe turned out!
Best Agave Nectar Substitute: Honey, Maple Syrup, Light Corn Syurp & More!
Option 1 - Honey, Light Corn Syrup, Maple Syrup
- 1 tablespoon honey, light corn syrup, or maple syrup
Option 2 - Sugar
- 4 teaspoon sugar (or 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon = 4 teaspoons)
Option 1 - Honey, Light Corn Syrup, Maple Syrup
- Use any of these agave nectar substitutes in an equal 1:1 ratio to replace the agave called for in a recipe.1 tablespoon honey, light corn syrup, or maple syrup
Option 2 - Sugar
- You'll need your agave amount + ⅓ extra of sugar to replace the sweetness of your agave nectar. So use 4 teaspoons sugar (to substitute for 1 tablespoon agave), or 1 ⅓ cups sugar to substitute for 1 cup agave nectar.BAKING: When baking, you'll need to add moisture to your agave substitute when using sugar. Be sure to add ½ cup liquid (water, milk, oil, melted butter) for each 1 cup of sugar used.4 teaspoon sugar
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!