The 6 Best Substitutes For Dark Corn Syrup

Do you have a recipe calling for dark corn syrup, but no idea what to substitute it with? Dark corn syrup is an ingredient most of us don’t keep in our pantry, and some may be concerned about the health risks of using dark corn syrup.

Thankfully, there are lots of sweet alternatives that can be used instead. Here we will explore the six best alternatives, so you can still make your favorite recipes with ease.

The 6 Best Substitutes For Dark Corn Syrup

Benefits Of Using Dark Corn Syrup Substitutes

The first benefit of using dark corn syrup substitutes is that it provides a healthier alternative to traditional corn syrup.

Dark corn syrup substitutes are often made with natural ingredients which are better for overall health than the white sugar and high-fructose found in traditional corn syrup.

Dark corn syrup substitutes can be used in a variety of recipes, including baked goods, sauces, and other sweet treats, and they provide a healthier option that can help reduce overall sugar consumption.

The second benefit of using dark corn syrup substitutes is that they can add a unique flavor to dishes. The natural sweetness of honey, molasses, or maple syrup can make dishes stand out compared to those made with traditional corn syrup.

Dark corn syrup substitutes can also be used in a variety of ways in recipes, from adding a touch of sweetness to a savory dish to providing a finishing touch to a dessert. Using dark corn syrup substitutes can help make dishes more interesting and flavorful.

1. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is a great alternative to dark corn syrup. It’s made from cooked brown rice and has a mild, almost caramel-like flavor. It’s thicker than corn syrup and can be used for baking, making sauces, and sweetening beverages.

Unlike corn syrup, which contains refined sugar and calories, brown rice syrup is full of minerals like calcium and magnesium. The biggest benefit of using brown rice syrup instead of dark corn syrup is that it is much healthier.

It doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives and is high in fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, it doesn’t contain any high-fructose corn syrup or other unhealthy sweeteners.

This makes it a great choice for those looking to reduce their sugar intake or make healthier choices with their food.

Overall, brown rice syrup is an excellent substitute for dark corn syrup that can be used in a variety of recipes without sacrificing flavor or nutrition. Best for:

  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Blondies
  • Energy and granola bars
  • Sauces, marinades, and dressings

2. Molasses

Molasses is a great substitute for dark corn syrup. It has a similar thickness and sweetness, but with a slightly different flavor. Its deep color and taste make it perfect for baking, sweetening, and glazing.

Molasses is made from sugarcane which is boiled and clarified. This produces the thick syrup that can be used in place of dark corn syrup.

It’s an excellent source of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium; plus vitamins like vitamin B6 and thiamine.

In addition to being a delicious baking ingredient, molasses is also used as a natural sweetener for drinks or can be added to smoothies and oatmeal for added nutrition. 

Molasses is a healthier alternative to dark corn syrup because it’s lower in calories and higher in essential vitamins and minerals. Best for:

  • Cookies
  • Cakes, and other baked goods
  • Marinades for meats
  • Glazed carrots, sweet potatoes, and baked beans
  • Glazed meat

3. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a great alternative for dark corn syrup. It has a unique, slightly sweet maple flavor that can be used in baking or as a topping. Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees, which is boiled down until it thickens and forms a syrup.

It’s lower in calories than dark corn syrup and contains beneficial nutrients like calcium, potassium, and zinc. Plus, unlike dark corn syrup, it doesn’t contain any added sugar or artificial flavors.

You can also buy organic maple syrup to ensure you’re getting the purest form possible. Best For:

  • Grilled Salmon
  • Brownies
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Glazed Doughnuts
  • Maple-Cranberry Sauce
  • Maple-Pecan French Toast

4. Light Corn Syrup

Amazingly, light corn syrup has been used in the United States since the late 1800s. It’s a popular alternative to dark corn syrup and is made from similar ingredients – namely, corn starch, water and salt.

Light corn syrup is much sweeter than dark corn syrup and has a more mellow flavor. It also lacks the caramel-like undertones that make dark corn syrup so distinct. Light corn syrup is ideal for making jams, jellies, glazes, sauces, and other sweet recipes.

However, it can also be used as an ingredient for savory dishes too! For example, light corn syrup can be added to meat marinades or sauces to add sweetness and balance out the acidity of tomato-based dishes.

Additionally, light corn syrup helps to retain moisture in baked goods like cakes and cookies. Light corn syrup is an excellent substitute for dark corn syrup due to its versatility.

For those looking for a healthier option without sacrificing flavor or texture, this is surely a great choice! Best for:

  • Pecan pies
  • Chocolate fudge
  • Glazed donuts
  • Pancakes, waffles, and French toast
  • Barbecue sauce, teriyaki marinade, and meatloaf

5. Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a natural sweetener made from the blue agave plant. It has a milder flavor than dark corn syrup and is less processed. It’s also much sweeter than light corn syrup, so you’ll need to use less of it when substituting.

Agave nectar comes in light and dark varieties, with the light being slightly milder and the dark being much stronger. Agave nectar is high in fructose, so it does not raise blood sugar levels like other sweeteners.

This makes it a better choice for those with diabetes or other health conditions that require them to watch their sugar intake.

Additionally, because it does not contain any artificial ingredients or chemical preservatives, it can be used as an all-natural alternative to traditional sweeteners.

Overall, agave nectar offers an option that is both healthier and more natural than traditional sweeteners such as dark corn syrup. It is also lower in calories and has a milder flavor that makes it suitable for many recipes. Best for:

  • Smoothies and sauces
  • Crumble topping
  • Cakes and muffins
  • Dressings

6. Honey

Honey is one of the most popular and beloved alternatives to dark corn syrup. It’s widely considered a healthier choice, and it’s been used in cooking for centuries.

Honey also has a unique flavor that adds an extra layer of complexity to dishes that may be lacking with corn syrup. But why should you use honey over dark corn syrup?

  1. Honey is all-natural, unlike processed corn syrup
  2. It contains minerals and vitamins not found in dark corn syrup
  3. Honey is much sweeter than dark corn syrup, so you can use less of it
  4. Honey has a unique flavor that can add depth and complexity to dishes

So why settle for something artificial when you can get all the benefits of honey? Whether you’re baking or making a savory dish, honey is always a great choice! Best for:

  • Glazed carrots
  • Chicken to honey
  • Roasted nuts
  • Ice cream
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Sauce or dip for snacks
  • Marinades, dressings, and glazes for meats
  • Iced tea.
  • Smoothies


It’s no secret that dark corn syrup is a highly sought-after ingredient for baking and other cooking needs. But with so many alternative options available, it’s difficult to know which one is right for you.

Each of these alternatives has its own unique flavor profile and texture that can help bring life to your recipes.

Brown Rice Syrup is rich and sweet with an earthy flavor; Molasses has a deep, slightly bitter taste; Maple Syrup adds a delicate sweetness to dishes; Light Corn Syrup adds sweetness without overpowering other flavors; Agave Nectar offers a milder sweetness than honey; and Honey provides a strong yet subtle flavor that can enhance any recipe.

No matter what kind of dish you’re looking to create, I’m sure one of these delicious syrups will be perfect for you!

So next time you find yourself in need of dark corn syrup, give one of these delicious alternatives a try – it just might change how you look at cooking forever!

The 6 Best Substitutes For Dark Corn Syrup

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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Get creative with your cooking and baking by exploring the six best substitutes for dark corn syrup! Discover healthier ingredients that work!


  • Brown Rice Syrup

  • Molasses

  • Maple Syrup

  • Light Corn Syrup

  • Agave Nectar

  • Honey


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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