3 Great Sugar Alternatives and Tips for Baking with Them

Posted on: 17 January 2017


If you are trying to cut back on sugar in your diet, you can still get your sweet fix by using a sugar alternative such as maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar when you bake and cook. Here are a few tips for baking with maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar. 

Maple Syrup

The first thing you should know about baking with maple syrup is that it is generally sweeter than sugar, and that means you don't need to use as much maple syrup when you substitute it for sugar in a recipe. 

Maple syrup works best when you use it for recipes such as puddings, candies, caramels, and ice creams. Maple syrup generally doesn't work that well in recipes in which creaming is called for. However, evaporated maple syrup, which has more of a granulated consistency, can work well in these types of recipes. 

Maple syrup will add a more earthy type of sweetness to whatever you are cooking. You can get maple syrup from a company such as Covered Bridge Maple Sugaring.


Honey comes in a variety of different flavors and sweetness profiles, so make sure that you match the type of honey you use to the dish that you are making.

Like maple syrup, honey doesn't work well in recipes that require creaming between the sugar and butter. When honey is used in baked goods, it generally makes the baked goods thicker. Your baked goods may also brown up a little more quickly, so you may need to reduce the cooking time a little bit. 

Honey is best used in dishes such as cakes, breads, ice cream, puddings, and gelato. 

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a nice alternative to granulated sugar. It is made out of the blossoms of coconuts and doesn't taste like coconut at all; its name is more about the plant that it is made out of than its flavor profile. 

Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than refined sugars, and that makes it a good sugar substitute. Just keep in mind that coconut sugar does still have a significant glycemic index rating. 

Coconut sugar can make your baked goods a little denser and drier, and that is why it can be a good idea to add a little applesauce or mashed bananas to any baked-good recipe if you want it to have the same denseness and moistness of granulated sugar. Also, coconut sugar burns at a lower temperature than white sugar, so if you have to heat it up for a recipe, be sure to keep a close eye on it. 

Coconut sugar works really well in frostings, cookies, candies, and shortbreads.