7 Substitutes for Dark Corn Syrup

Substitutes for Dark Corn Syrup
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If you have a sweet tooth, there’s no better way to indulge it than with dark corn syrup. It’s sweet, delicious, and has all kinds of baking applications to which you can apply it.

However, dark corn syrup may not be the ideal thing to add to your diet if you’re watching your calorie intake.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of substitutes for dark corn syrup that will still give you that sweet kick without sending your blood sugar levels soaring through the roof!

Light vs. Dark Corn Syrup

There are two types of corn syrup available today: light and dark. While both syrups are made from corn, the difference lies in their processing.

Light corn syrup breaks down corn starch into glucose, while dark corn syrup is made by adding molasses to golden corn syrup. This gives dark corn syrup a richer flavor and darker color. 

The good news is that there are plenty of substitutes for dark corn syrup you can use when baking. Maple syrup can be an alternative to light and dark corn syrup.

The resulting baked goods will have a hint of maple sweetness. It won’t have as much complexity as using dark corn syrup. 

Rice malt syrup is another substitute you can use instead of either type of corn syrup, and it has less fructose than honey or maple syrup. Sorghum or barley malt extract also work well as substitutes in recipes calling for light or dark corn syrup. 

They produce a similar texture and give bakers more control over the sweetness level since they’re liquid sweeteners rather than pre-packaged syrups like maple or rice malt extract.

Substitutes for Dark Corn Syrup

1. Sugar and Water

If you don’t have dark corn syrup on hand, you can make a simple syrup as a substitute. Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.

Cook, frequently stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from heat and let it cool. This syrup can be used in place of dark corn syrup in any recipe.  

2. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is part of the delicious, all-natural substitutes for dark corn syrup. Here are seven reasons why maple syrup makes an excellent substitute for dark corn syrup:

  1. Maple syrup is less processed than dark corn syrup.
  2. Maple syrup has a more complex flavor than dark corn syrup.
  3. Maple syrup is richer in nutrients than dark corn syrup.
  4. Maple syrup is lower on the glycemic index than dark corn syrup.
  5. Maple syrup can be used in baking and cooking without altering the taste of your dish.
  6. Maple syrup is vegan and gluten-free, making it an excellent option for those with dietary restrictions.
  7. Maple syrup is easy to find and relatively inexpensive

3. Golden Syrup

Golden syrup is a thick, amber-colored sweet syrup famous in baking. It’s made from sugar cane or sugar beet juice and has a mild molasses flavor.

Golden syrup is one of the suitable substitutes for dark corn syrup because it has a similar color and consistency. 

Plus, it’s easy to find in most grocery stores. They’re all ingredients that you might already have on hand!

4. Cane Syrup

Cane syrup is also among the great substitutes for dark corn syrup. It has a deep, rich flavor that can be used in baking or as a sweetener for drinks.

Plus, it’s easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Check your local grocery store, specialty food store, or even some supermarkets. 

Cane syrup makes an excellent substitute for dark corn syrup because of its color and consistency. You’ll need to use less maple syrup than you would dark corn syrup, but the taste will still come through beautifully! If you want something with a little more depth of flavor, try substituting honey.

Just make sure you’re not using any honey with added flavors like vanilla extract because those will throw off the taste of your recipe.

5. Agave Nectar

Though it is more expensive, agave nectar is a healthier choice as a sweetener. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar, so it does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Agave nectar is also sweeter than sugar, so that you can use less of it. 

 Agave Nectar has a slightly different flavor and is among suitable substitutes for dark corn syrup in recipes where substituting would not significantly alter the taste of the dish. 

For those who want to avoid any processed ingredients, this is among the substitutes for dark corn syrup that work well. This alternative will add extra sweetness to your dish if you are cooking something with bananas or apples!

You can find agave nectar at most health food stores. If you cannot afford or find agave nectar, honey is an excellent substitute that can be used in equal amounts. 

6. Honey

Honey is also one of the great substitutes for dark corn syrup. It has a similar consistency and can be used in many ways. Plus, it’s a natural sweetener with health benefits. 

Here are some tips for using honey as a substitute for dark corn syrup 

  1. You may need to experiment to find out how much liquid you need to replace the amount of dark corn syrup called for in your recipe. 
  2. If your recipe includes eggs, add an extra egg white or two because honey will not foam like sugar does when beaten into eggs. 
  3. When substituting honey for corn syrup, use half as much as the amount required by your recipe if you want a sweetness equivalent to that of corn syrup. 
  4. As an alternative to substituting honey into recipes calling for dark corn syrup, try making this homemade brown sugar topping that doesn’t require unique ingredients!

7. Brown Rice Syrup  

Brown rice syrup is a thick, sweet liquid that breaks down brown rice starch. It’s a natural sweetener and has a flavor similar to dark corn syrup. Plus, it’s easy to find in health food stores.

Here are some tips for using it as a substitute in your baking recipes:

  • Combine brown rice syrup with molasses or honey to add depth of flavor.
  • Use brown rice syrup instead of sugar when making candy or chocolate.
  • To add shine to baked goods, brush them with a thin layer of brown rice syrup before baking.


While there are several substitutes for dark corn syrup, none are perfect. The best replacement depends on what you’re using it for. For example, if you’re looking for a thickener, molasses or honey may be your best bet.

Light corn syrup or sugar will be better options if you want something to add sweetness. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which substitute will work best for your needs.

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