The 7 Best Corn Syrup Substitutes

Corn syrup is used in all sorts of sweet recipes, but what should you use when you run out of corn syrup? We have the answers here. Whether you're making homemade candy or are looking for a corn syrup substitute for a baking recipe, there several alternatives to corn syrup you can use. From honey to cane syrup, here are the best corn syrup substitutes, no matter what you're cooking up in the kitchen.

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By Cookist

If you're a regular home baker, you know corn syrup is essential for so many recipes. It's a common ingredient in everything from candies and caramel to cookies, pies, fudge, cakes, and more. Corn syrup is by extracting glucose from corn and refining it into a syrup. It's a type of inverted sugar, which means it doesn't crystalize – perfect if you're making candy at home. However, if you don't have any corn syrup on hand, there are plenty of excellent substitutes you can use. Some of these corn syrup alternatives are perfect for baking, but not suited to making candy, while others are great all-rounders. Ready to dive in? These are our best corn syrup substitutes.



Honey is a great substitute for corn syrup. It adds a subtle floral flavor to recipes. It's also rich in antioxidants and contains some nutrients. Honey can be swapped in a 1:1 ratio for corn syrup. Keep in mind, it doesn't stop crystallization, so honey isn't ideal for making caramels and candy.

Agave Nectar

Like honey, agave nectar can be swapped for corn syrup in equal parts in recipes. It has a mild flavor, which makes it perfect for a wide variety of dishes, but like honey, it shouldn't be used to make candy or caramel.

Sugar and Water


Everyone always has sugar and water on hand, and you can use it as a simple corn syrup substitute when you're baking things like pecan pie or cookies. Dissolve 1 cup of sugar in ¼ cup of warm water for every cup of light corn syrup you need. For dark corn syrup, use 1 cup of brown sugar. Sugar and water can be used for certain candies below 235F.

Brown Rice Syrup

If you're making candy at home but are out of corn syrup, try brown rice syrup. Unlike honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup, brown rice syrup can be used to make candy because it doesn't crystalize. It has a distinct nutty flavor that might not work in every recipe, but if you don't mind that subtle nutty flavor, brown rice syrup is a perfect corn syrup substitute.

Maple Syrup


If you enjoy the flavor of maple syrup, it can be a fantastic alternative to corn syrup in various recipes. If you're looking for something with a mild flavor or are trying to make homemade candy, maple syrup isn't the best option, but it's wonderful in pies and other baked treats. Maple syrup is a good source of certain vitamins and minerals like manganese, B2, and various antioxidants, making it a healthier alternative to corn syrup.

Golden Syrup

Golden syrup is a common baking ingredient in households in the UK and Australia. It has a rich, buttery flavor and is a great corn syrup substitute that can also be used to make candy and caramel. Use 1 cup of golden syrup for every cup of corn syrup.

Cane Syrup


A regular ingredient in Southern cooking, cane syrup boasts a similar flavor to molasses. It's great for baked goods, especially if you want a richer flavor in your treats. Cane syrup shouldn't be used to make candy or caramel, but it's great in desserts like pecan pie, gingerbread, or chocolate-covered fruit.

Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute

You can always make a homemade corn syrup substitute. Combine 2 cups of sugar with ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and ¾ cup of water. Heat over medium flame and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar dissolves, reduce the heat and cook until a thick syrup forms. Remove the pot from the heat and let the syrup cool. That's it! Your homemade corn syrup substitute is ready to use.

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