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9 Best Substitutes For Agave Syrup 

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Agave syrup, also called agave nectar, is a popular natural sweetener that can be used in beverages, cooking, and baking. So, what do you do if you need a substitute for agave syrup?

Agave syrup pouring in a glass from a wooden spoon .

As it comes from the agave plant, this all-around syrup has a neutral flavor and falls relatively low on the glycemic index, making it a healthy option for sweetening various recipes. 

Luckily, even if you can’t use agave nectar, there are many alternatives you can use in its place. Keep reading to know the best substitutes for agave nectar, including natural and artificial options. 

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Reasons To Substitute Agave Nectar Or Syrup

Agave syrup in a glass with a spoon and bottle on the side, pancakes at the back.


Although agave syrup is a popular sweetener, it won’t always be readily available. So, whether you’ve run out of this syrup or can’t find it in the grocery aisles, it’s helpful to know which ingredients you can use instead of agave nectar. 

Taste Preferences

While many people desire the subtle sweetness and neutral flavor of agave nectar, these attributes may not always be the ideal choice for accentuating specific recipes. Sometimes, it may be best to use sweeteners that have distinct flavors to truly bring out the taste you prefer. 

Dietary Restrictions

Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that contains relatively less sugar than other commonly-used sweeteners. However, it can still cause a spike in blood sugar, which makes it unsuitable for people watching their sugar intake.

Natural Agave Nectar Substitutes 

Do you have a recipe that calls for agave but can’t use it for specific reasons? In that case, let me share some of my go-to healthy and natural alternatives for agave syrup.

Maple Syrup

Two bottles of maple syrup with pan at the back.

Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees and is often used in many recipes instead of agave nectar. This alternative is just as sweet as agave, so there’s no need for extensive measure adjustments as you can use it in a 1:1 ratio. 

Maple syrup is perfect to top off your breakfast, such as pancakes and waffles, and it’s also a great choice for baked goods

However, due to the distinct flavor of maple, this syrup may not be the right substitute for agave in savory sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. 


Honey is pouring in a glass container with waffle on the side.

Using honey as a substitute for agave syrup is also an excellent choice. Just like agave nectar, raw honey boasts a rich, syrupy texture, so this ingredient swap will barely affect the consistency and texture of your dish. 

Honey is a healthier option as it contains traces of antioxidants and minerals, providing more health benefits

Both agave and honey possess their own unique flavors, but interestingly, many ingredients that complement agave also harmonize excellently with honey. Therefore, although the taste of your dish may vary with this substitute, it is unlikely to be unfavorable.

You can use one cup of honey for every cup of agave syrup the recipe calls for. 

Coconut Nectar

Coconut nectar also works as an excellent substitute for agave syrup. It’s essentially what coconut sugar is made from, so it’ll give your recipe a caramel-like sweetness with a subtle hint of coconut flavor. 

Despite being thinner than agave nectar, the subtle flavor profile of this sweetener makes it extremely versatile. You can use coconut nectar as an agave syrup substitute for baked goods, beverages, sauces, and even dessert toppings. 

Light Corn Syrup

Light corn syrup in a wooden bowl.

Light corn syrup is known for its strong sweet taste but very light pigmentation. It’s often used in baking to enhance the moisture and texture of the baked good, and it’s also incorporated in candies to provide a glossy finish. 

Although thicker than agave syrup, light corn syrup can work as a great agave substitute in many culinary applications. Just don’t use this as an alternative in beverages, as it won’t dissolve well in cold liquids. 

Note: Avoid using high-fructose corn syrup. It’s way more processed and unhealthy than light corn syrup. 

Brown Rice Syrup

Another great natural agave substitute is brown rice syrup. Made by fermenting cooked brown rice, this syrup is a great way to add a hint of caramel to various recipes that primarily use agave syrup. 

Brown rice syrup is less sweet than agave nectar or white sugar, so you’ll need to use more of it in your recipes. Often, I use double the amount of brown rice syrup when I’m using it as an agave substitute. 

Simple Syrup

A bottle of simple syrup.

For cold beverages, simple syrup will always be one of the best agave nectar substitutes. Made with equal parts of sugar and water, this syrup dissolves in seconds, making it a hassle-free way to add sweetness to your drinks. 

Simple syrup has a very neutral flavor, allowing other flavors in your beverages to take center stage. Both homemade and store-bought simple syrup can be used as a substitute for agave nectar. 

Artificial Sweeteners To Substitute For Agave Syrup

Need a sugar-free alternative to agave syrup? Consider using these artificial sweeteners. 


Aspartame on a small wooden spoon.

Commonly used in commercial food and beverages, aspartame is a great artificial sweetener for substituting agave syrup. It’s often the main ingredient of no-calorie candies and sodas that you can find everywhere. 

While aspartame can easily provide the desired level of sweetness for cold drinks, unfortunately, it is not ideal for cooking or baking at high temperatures. 

Aspartame can lose its sweetness when exposed to heat, so only use it for cold beverages. 


Sucralose on a wooden spoon.

Another good no-calorie alternative to agave syrup is sucralose. This sweetener is intensely sweet, about 600 times sweeter than sugar, so I recommend only adding one packet of sucralose at a time when trying to sweeten a recipe or drink.

Fortunately, sucralose is heat stable. So, on top of sweetening drinks, you can freely use it for cooking and baking. 


Stevia in a wooden bowl with stevia leaves on the side on a rustic sack cloth.

Stevia is actually a natural, plant-based sweetener. It’s commonly mistaken to be an artificial one, so that’s why it’s included in this section. 

Extracted from the leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant, stevia sweeteners are 200 to 250 times sweeter than sugar. Hence only small amounts are needed to sweeten your recipes. 

To give you a general idea of how sweet this agave alternative is, one packet of stevia is as sweet as two teaspoons of sugar. 

Always add stevia to your recipes gradually, as it’s easy to add way more than necessary if you only rely on estimates. 

How To Use Substitutes For Agave Nectar Effectively 

It’s actually pretty easy to use agave syrup substitutes effectively. You just need to remember a very simple pattern as you cook or prepare your recipe.

Four pancakes stacked on a fork with honey syrup poured over them.

Here’s how the pattern goes: 

  1. Incorporate very small amounts of your chosen sweetener into your drink or dish.
  2. Thoroughly mix your food or beverage until the sweetener is evenly distributed. 
  3. Do a taste test to assess the current level of sweetness you’re working with. 
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you achieve the desired sweetness. 

Following this simple pattern ensures you will always get the desired sweetness of your recipe, regardless of which ingredient you use to substitute for agave syrup. 

Cooking Creatively With Agave Nectar Alternatives

Finding suitable substitutes for agave syrup is not a complicated venture. Whether you prefer natural sweeteners or artificial ones that contain zero-calories, there are plenty of options waiting for you. 

A woman pours syrup into her drink.

Just take note that not all of these sweeteners are suited for every recipe. While maple syrup and honey can be used in drinks, baking, and cooking, for example, others like simple syrup and aspartame are only best used in beverages. 

Cooking is all about experimenting with various flavors and options. So, as long as you rely on your tastebuds as you cook, you can successfully incorporate agave nectar alternatives into your recipes.

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