Skip to Content

What are the best substitutes for corn syrup?

Please share

Corn syrup is a thick, sticky, sweet ingredients that finds its way into a lot of candy and dessert recipes. But what do you do if you don’t have any in the pantry or you just don’t want to use it? Substitute of course! Here are some great options to use in place of corn syrup in your favorite recipes.

Image with flour, measuring cup of water, spatulas and jar of honey with text over top of it.

One uncommon ingredient in recipes that often throws people through a loop is corn syrup. This syrup is a thickened corn sugar often used in processed foods but sometimes used in making homemade candy recipes and sweet treats.

It is often used because unlike sugar, corn syrup will not crystallize when heated to high temperatures. For some families replacing corn syrup is for health reasons as corn syrup is one of the higher glucose sweetener options, that can be bad for your health. So it may be a smart idea to substitute corn syrup for a lower glycemic option.

Sugar and Warm Water

A simple alternative to light corn syrup is to simply make a simple syrup using sugar and water. This option will give you the closest flavor to corn syrup.

Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup warm water to create a simple and effective replacement for corn syrup. You can bring this to a simmer to help make it thicken up more if needed for the best substitution for your favorite recipes.

You can make this ahead of time and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. For a fun twist you can add flavored extracts or fruit juice to this mixture when doing recipes that will blend well with it to add flavor to candies and frostings.

You can use this in a simple 1 to one ratio in your favorite recipes.


Honey makes a great alternative to corn syrup in your cooking. This can leave a bit of flavor that may affect the foods you are cooking, unlike the sugar and water mix.

Be sure to use this in foods that will blend well with honey. Honey works as a substitute for corn syrup in a 1 to 1 ratio.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is another wonderful substitute for its corn cousin. Again, it does add an earthy flavor so you want to make sure they flavor adds to the final dish and doesn’t detract from it.

It works well for most recipes, but not necessarily candy making. Use it in a 1 to 1 ratio.


Is a great alternative to corn syrup. It is thick and flavorful and can add a full-bodied flavor to your baking and homemade candies.

This highly flavored option should be used only where the flavor would be appreciated as it is strong enough to taste through nearly any recipe.

You can use molasses as a substitution for corn syrup in a 1 to 1 ratio. Go with light molasses when looking for a milder flavor addition.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar can be used like honey in place of corn syrup but holds a milder flavor making it a better option for many foods. Agave nectar has a lower glycemic index than most other sweeteners and makes a great healthy choice for those that are looking to reduce sugar intake without cutting it out entirely.

Use this in a 1 to 1 ratio.

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is similar to corn syrup with its high glucose content. This is the best substitute for corn syrup in candies that will need to reach the hard ball stage.

This is a great option if you do not have corn syrup in the hose but still want to make your hard candies or run out of corn syrup in the middle of Christmas candy making.

What are your favorite substitutes for corn syrup?

honey drizzling wand over pool of syrup on plate with text saying corn syrup substitutes.

Please share