7 Vegan Honey Substitutes

7 Vegan Honey Substitutes

The use of honey is a hot controversy in the vegan world.

People argue whether honey is vegan-friendly or not. One of the most common arguments is that local honey is ethical, whereas commercially-produced honey is not. However, the truth is that honey is not vegan.

Most people think that honeybees produce honey for us to enjoy, while, in reality, they produce honey for their sustenance. It is the sole food source for honeybees when the weather gets unfavorable for them to go out and look for food.

Due to excessive honey extraction from honeycombs, numerous honeybees die of starvation, especially in the winter months. Now, how can you be armed with this knowledge and still say that honey is vegan?

The good news for you is that you don’t need to keep your sweet tooth deprived just because you can’t have honey when you’re on a vegan diet.

There are numerous vegan honey substitutes that you can enjoy without feeling an ounce of guilt.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the vegan honey substitutes, we got you covered:

Vegan Honey

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1. Agave Nectar

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar or agave syrup is derived from the leaves of the agave plant.

Fun fact, this is the same plant that is used in the production of Tequila. While agave nectar is not very healthy, it is one of the closest substitutes for honey. It could be used in ways similar to honey, such as in tea, in baked recipes, and drizzled over pancakes.

Agave nectar is composed of 55 to 90% fructose, which means it won’t get absorbed in the blood directly, and hence, will not raise the blood sugar levels as drastically as honey does.

Agave nectar is linked to a number of studies that say that it isn’t very good for health. However, if used as a sometimes-food, agave nectar won’t be much of a risk to your health.

Pros

  • It is a natural honey substitute
  • It is vegan
  • It is used in relatively smaller quantities as it is sweeter than honey
  • It does not raise the blood sugar level drastically

Cons

  • Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver. As a result, too much fructose can result in liver damage
  • The liver converts excess fructose into triglycerides, which may result in weight gain
  • A high fructose content can lead to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases

2. Dandelion Flower Syrup

Dandelion Flower Syrup
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Who knew the weeds with yellow flowers growing in your yard can be used to make a delicious honey substitute?

Dandelion flower syrup is an easy-to-make, super-sweet syrup that can be used just like honey. It is a great option for people who want to enjoy honey-like sweetness while staying loyal to their vegan lifestyles.

Not only does it satisfy your sweet tooth, but it also comes with a number of health benefits. It improves digestion, relieves pain, and is an excellent liver and blood detoxifier and cleanser.

All you need to make dandelion syrup is dandelion flower petals, vanilla beans, lemon, and some granulated sugar, and your vegan honey substitute is ready!

Pros

  • It is vegan
  • Easy to make
  • Improves digestive health
  • Liver and blood detoxifier and cleanser
  • It can lower blood sugar levels

Cons

  • Since it is believed to lower blood sugar level, people who are already taking medicines to regulate their blood sugar may suffer from hypoglycemia
  • It contains a fiber called inulin which may cause serious allergic reactions in some people
  • It is not advisable for pregnant women to consume dandelion flower syrup as it is herbal and might cause adverse effects

3. Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is one of the most commonly used honey substitutes. It works for more than just making waffles and pancakes tastier for you.

Although its taste is different than that of honey, maple syrup can still be used in recipes that usually call for honey, such as cookies and cakes.

Pure maple syrup is derived directly from the sap of maple trees. Not only is maple syrup a natural sweetener, but it is also associated with numerous health benefits.

It is rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants that make it an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. Its glycemic index score is lower than regular sugar, which makes it a healthier alternative to sugar.

To make it equivalent to a cup of honey, all you need to do is mix about 3/4th cup of pure maple syrup with half a cup of vegan sugar, and a perfect vegan honey substitute is ready for you to consume!

Pros

  • It is vegan
  • It has a low glycemic index
  • It has many health benefits
  • It is nutrient-rich
  • It is excellent for treating inflammation in the body

Cons

  • Its sugar content is still very high. It supplies approximately 50 grams of sugar in just 1/4th of a cup

4. Date Syrup

Date Syrup

Date syrup is a terrifically healthy substitute for honey. It contains vitamins, fiber, essential nutrients, and even protein.

It can be used as pancake and waffles topping, in baked goods and desserts, and any other recipes that make use of honey.

It is a natural sweetener that can be made at home or brought from stores. The extraction of sweet liquid from the cooked dates gives commercially-available date syrup.

On the other hand, homemade date syrup is simply made by cooking whole dates with water to make a paste.

Homemade date syrup has more nutrients as compared to commercial date syrup, which has lost most of its useful fiber and nutrients during the extraction process.

Pros

  • It is vegan
  • It is a nutrient-rich alternative to honey. A single tablespoon of date syrup has twice the calcium, magnesium, and potassium and 10 times the antioxidants that honey possesses
  • It has a low glycemic index, and thus, does not raise the blood sugar level drastically
  • It can be used in baked goods recipes

Cons

  • It is high in calories and carbohydrates, which means that it will raise the blood sugar level slowly but eventually
  • Date syrup does not mix very well in drinks

5. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is made from a combination of starch from brown rice and numerous enzymes.

It is a commonly used honey alternate that is used by vegans. It is a highly versatile honey substitute that can be used in a number of recipes, including cakes, cereals, bread, and beverages like tea.

Brown rice syrup is a little less sweet than honey, which is why you need to use it in larger quantities if you want to achieve sweetness similar to that of honey.

Pros

  • It is vegan
  • It is not as sweet as honey, which allows you to cut down on your sugar intake if you use it in quantities similar to that of honey
  • It is versatile

Cons

  • It has an extremely high glucose content
  • It has a high glycemic index, which means it will raise your blood sugar levels pretty fast
  • It contains a harmful chemical constituent, arsenic
  • It is low in nutrients

6.    Barley Malt Syrup

 Barley Malt Syrup

Barley Malt Syrup is one of the most versatile vegan honey substitutes. It is an unrefined sweetener that is derived from sprouted barley. It has a very prominent malty flavor.

Barley malt syrup is dark brown in color and quite sticky. It can be easily used as a replacement for honey to make baked goods, homemade granola bars, sauces, and other desserts.

One major downside of barley malt syrup is that it is not very healthy in terms of the sugar content that it contains.

If you want to keep your sugar intake well in control, barley malt syrup might not be the ideal option for you. However, for people who are looking for vegan honey, it surely is one of the best options out there!

Pros

  • It is vegan and natural
  • It is versatile and can be used as a honey replacement in numerous recipes
  • It is not as sweet as other sweeteners because it contains some complex carbohydrates. Thus, its impact is quite light
  • It has a small quantity of protein in it that makes it a healthy honey substitute 

Cons

  • It can cause the blood sugar level to spike rapidly due to a high maltose content
  • Barley contains gluten, which makes barley malt syrup inappropriate for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease

7. Sorghum Syrup

Sorghum Syrup

Sorghum syrup is derived from heat and drought-resistant sorghum crops that are native to Africa. It is a healthy and natural sweetener that can be used as an alternative to honey in a one-to-one ratio.

Although sorghum syrup is fairly high in calories, it is rich in iron, potassium, calcium, and zinc, making it one of the healthiest vegan honey substitutes out there.

It is similar to honey in consistency, and hence, can be used in recipes that otherwise use honey.

Pros

  • It is a vegan honey substitute
  • It is a rich source of calcium, zinc, potassium, and iron

Cons

  • It has more calories than honey which can cause weight gain

Final Thoughts

Going vegan comes with a lot of challenges.

Not only do you have to change the foods you eat altogether, but you also need to revisit the tiniest of details, even the sweeteners you use.

Many people argue that honey is vegan, but when we look at it in detail, honey is not vegan, which calls for a search for vegan honey substitutes.

We have listed down some of the healthiest and closest substitutes to honey, which will satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you feeling completely satisfied!

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