21 Best Substitutes for Agave Nectar

Agave nectar may be a popular sweetener in Paleo diets, but I think it’s overrated. It has just as much fructose as high-fructose corn syrup and isn’t healthier for you, so I try to avoid it when possible.

Luckily, there are dozens of other plant-based options out there that are more natural and healthier for you. In this blog, we will cover the best substitutes for agave nectar.

Best Substitutes for Agave Nectar

21 Best Substitutes for Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a popular alternative to sugar that supposedly has incomparable health benefits. However, it should not be consumed by diabetics or others who are interested in having a healthy diet. 

Our list of 21 best substitutes for agave nectar will provide you with some healthier options that are equally tasty.

01. Simple Syrup

For those who want a more natural option, try simple syrup. It’s made by mixing equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil, then simmering until the liquid thickens. The result is almost identical to agave nectar, except that it contains no fructose (and, therefore, won’t spike your blood sugar levels).

Simple syrup is great for sweetening iced tea or coffee, but you can also use it as a cocktail mixer! All you need to do is add your favorite liquor or spirit of choice—we recommend vodka or whiskey—and shake away!

02. Honey

Honey is a natural sweetener that can be used as a substitute for agave nectar. It has the same sweetness as agave but also imparts its distinct flavor, which some people like and others don’t. If you’re looking for something sweet but with a little more depth of flavor than plain honey, try buckwheat honey; it has an almost caramel-like taste that complements certain foods well (including roasted vegetables!).

If you’re looking to replace corn syrup in your recipe with honey rather than another liquid sweetener such as maple syrup or molasses, then yes: one teaspoon of corn syrup is equivalent to 1/2 cup of honey (by volume).

03. Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is a good substitute for agave nectar because it’s a great source of iron and antioxidants. Iron is an essential mineral that helps you produce hemoglobin, which transports oxygen through your body. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia. 

Elderberry syrup contains 1 milligram (mg) of iron per tablespoon, so if you’re looking at using this as a sweetener in baking or cooking, keep your daily intake in mind!

04. Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is a common substitute for agave nectar. You can use this syrup in place of agave nectar in any recipe. Corn syrup is made from corn starch and has a similar taste and texture to agave nectar, though it’s slightly less sweet than true agave. Corn syrup works incredibly well in recipes for sugar and liquid (such as pie fillings).

05. Golden Syrup

Golden syrup is a sweetener made from sugar cane that has a similar consistency to light corn syrup. It’s not quite as sweet as honey—a 1:1 ratio of golden syrup to honey would be less sweet than the same amount of honey—but it’s about half as thick.

Golden syrup is used for all the things you’d use maple syrup for pancakes, waffles, basting meats and vegetables on the grill, or in salads. You can also use it in baking because it helps brown baked goods faster than molasses.

Finally, golden syrups are excellent toppings for ice cream sundaes and other desserts like puddings and cakes!

06. Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is a natural sweetener that has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. It’s 300 times sweeter than sugar, making it one of the most intense natural sweeteners on the market.

Monk fruit is low in calories and high in fiber, meaning you can use it as part of a weight-loss plan without worrying about gaining extra pounds or feeling sluggish. Monk fruit also contains antioxidants that help prevent disease and aging, making monk fruit a perfect alternative to highly-processed agave nectar.

07. Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a mixture of sugar and molasses, making it sweeter than white sugar. It also has a higher moisture content, so you’ll have to substitute the same amount of brown sugar if you’re trying to replace granulated white sugar in your recipe (to maintain the same texture). 

If you don’t need as much sweetness in your recipe—say, when making cookies—you can use less brown sugar than what’s called for in a conventional recipe and still get good results.

Brown sugars vary in color from light to dark; the darker varieties have more molasses and are therefore more sugary. But they also tend to be moist because their high moisture content causes them to clump together when stored at room temperature. 

Darker sugars taste great on pancakes or waffles (or French toast), but they don’t dissolve and may become gritty if substituted for white granulated sugar in baked goods like cakes or cookies. You can find organic versions at most grocery stores today!

08. White sugar

White sugar, also known as table sugar or cane sugar, is made from sugar cane or sugar beet. It’s used in baking and cooking to sweeten your food. It’s also used in confectionery, soft drinks, ice cream, jams, and jellies.

09. Stevia

Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It has zero calories and can be used to replace sugar in both beverages and baked goods. Regarding taste, stevia is similar to sugar but has a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Like agave nectar, stevia doesn’t have any effect on blood sugar or insulin levels; this makes it safe for diabetics as well as people who are watching their weight.

10. Fruit Syrups

Fruit syrups are a great alternative to agave because they are made from fruit juice, making them naturally sweeter and less viscous than agave. They also have a lower glycemic index than agave nectar, and since they’re made with fruit instead of corn syrup, they also contain antioxidants.

You can use them in place of honey or maple syrup in recipes that call for sweeteners that don’t need to be heated (like whipped cream). Fruit syrups will not work as well if your recipe calls for heating the sugar mixture or using it as an ingredient in something other than baked goods or confections

11. Dates

Dates are an excellent substitute for agave nectar, as they’re both natural sweeteners. Dates contain a good amount of fiber, potassium (a nutrient that helps regulate blood pressure), iron, vitamin A and antioxidants.

12. Blackstrap Molasses

Molasses is a thick, dark, syrupy byproduct of sugar production. It’s made from the juice left over from boiling the cane plant’s sweet sap to make sugar. The result is a concentrated form of natural sweetness, with only about half as many calories as honey and agave nectar but still plenty of nutritional value.

Blackstrap molasses has been touted as a healthy food since Colonial times—you can use it medicinally and in baking. Today it’s considered high in iron and calcium (more so than most other sweeteners), plus potassium—but high in antioxidants too.

Munching on blackstrap at breakfast may help keep you full longer than other types of syrup; it contains fermentable carbohydrates that have been shown to reduce appetite more effectively than nonfermentable carbs.

13. Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup, also known as sweet rice syrup or sorghum syrup, is an excellent alternative to agave nectar because it has a mild and nutty flavor that works with most recipes. You can use it in place of honey and maple syrup in some recipes where you want the natural sweetness from sweetener without a pungent taste.

It’s made from brown rice cooked with enzymes that break down starch into glucose and maltose (sugar). The resulting liquid is then boiled down until it becomes thick, like honey or maple syrup. 

The end product contains about 50% fewer calories and about 75% fewer carbohydrates than traditional table sugar (sucrose). Making it much lower on the glycemic index scale than either one means that your body will absorb less of them, which may help you stay fuller longer after eating something sweetened with brown rice syrup rather than something else such as regular sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

14. Coconut Nectar

Coconut nectar, the sweet sap from the coconut palm tree, is a popular choice among paleo dieters. It’s low in fructose and has a lower glycemic index than agave.

You can use it in baking and other recipes that call for honey or syrup. You might also find it on grocery store shelves alongside other alternative sweeteners like agave nectar, maple syrup, and honey. It’s even suitable for adding to tea: just replace your usual sugar cubes with a teaspoon of coconut nectar!

Coconut nectar comes in crystals or liquid form; look for thick white crystals if you want to use them as an alternative to granulated sugar (or brown sugar) in baked goods. Make sure you dissolve them before adding them into your batter or dough mixture so they’ll incorporate evenly throughout whatever dish you’re making!

15. Maple Syrup

If you’re looking for a replacement for agave nectar, maple syrup is the way to go. It’s made from the sap of maple trees and has a lower glycemic index than sugar. 

Maple syrup is also rich in zinc, calcium, and manganese-all essential nutrients that can help boost your immune system. Whole Foods Market claims that “maple syrup has been shown to help prevent asthma symptoms.

16. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are substances that are used to sweeten food and drinks. They are typically much sweeter than sugar and can be used in smaller amounts to achieve the same level of sweetness. 

Different artificial sweeteners are available, and they can be made from various other chemicals. Some of the most common artificial sweeteners include aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin.

17. Granulated Sugar

Granulated sugar is another good substitute for agave nectar in recipes. You can use granulated sugar in place of agave nectar in most recipes, including baking and drinks. 

It’s not quite as versatile as honey or maple syrup, but it works well enough that you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a recipe to use it with.

18. Molasses

Molasses is a thick, dark syrup from sugarcane or sugar beet. It’s used in baking, cooking, and making rum. Molasses is a good source of iron, calcium, and magnesium. 

The potassium content of molasses can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke by lowering levels of blood lipids (fats).

19. Palm Sugar

Palm sugar is a natural sweetener made from the sap of the coconut palm tree. It’s rich in minerals and vitamins like potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc. Although it contains more calories than agave nectar (112 per tablespoon), it has less fructose (35 grams versus 40).

Palm sugar is less sweet than cane or beet sucrose, so you will need to use more. If you are replacing agave nectar with palm sugar in recipes that call for equal amounts of both sweeteners, you will need to increase the amount by 25%. The flavor does not have much depth, but if you like dark caramel flavors, this may be right up your alley!

20. Barley Malt Syrup

Barley malt syrup is a sweetener that is made from sprouted grain. It has a thick, malty flavor and can be used as a substitute for honey, maple syrup, or molasses.

Barley malt syrup is the only alternative to agave nectar widely available at most grocery stores. You can usually find it near the other sweeteners in your local supermarket—it will look like thin syrup and traditionally come in glass bottles with a label on them.

21. Sorghum Syrup

Sorghum syrup is made from the stalks of the sorghum plant. It is a sweetener that is low in calories and high in fiber, making it an excellent alternative to honey and maple syrup. 

Made with only natural ingredients (water, sugar cane juice, and yeast), this sweetener has a rich flavor that makes it perfect for baking or as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and more!

Sorghum syrup contains many nutrients, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc—and one tablespoon provides about one-third of your daily recommended amount of dietary fiber.

Best Substitutes for Agave Nectar – FAQs

Is Honey the Same as Agave Nectar?

Agave nectar comes from the blue agave plant, which is native to Mexico. The substance is made by boiling down the sap of this cactus-like plant until it becomes syrupy. It’s similar to honey because it’s a sweetener high in fructose (which makes it sweeter than table sugar). Because of its low glycemic index, some people have touted agave syrup as a healthy alternative to table sugar, but there’s much more to the story about this sweetener.

Is There a Difference Between Agave and Blue Agave?

Yes, there is a difference between agave and blue agave. Agaves are succulents native to Mexico and other areas of Central America. They grow in arid climates where it is hot and dry. The plants have spiky leaves that can be up to 3 feet long. Agave is also known as Century Plants because it takes 100 years to bloom.

What Is the Difference Between Sugar and Agave Nectar?

From a chemical standpoint, there are some similarities between sugar and agave nectar. Both contain carbohydrates called monosaccharides (simple sugars). However, unlike sugar molecules that tend to be large and bulky, those in agave nectar are smaller and more compacted into long chains called polysaccharides (complex sugars). This makes them easier to digest by humans than simple sugars such as glucose or fructose.

Is Agave Nectar Healthier Than Honey?

Agave nectar is a sweetener that comes from the agave plant. It’s sometimes promoted as a healthier alternative to sugar, but its nutritional value and health benefits are questionable. It’s also much sweeter than honey and other natural sweeteners, so you can use it in smaller quantities.

What Does Agave Nectar Taste Like?

Agave nectar is a sweetener made from the juice of the agave plant, which is native to Mexico. It’s sometimes called agave syrup or blue agave syrup, though it’s not related to high fructose corn syrup or other syrups.

The flavor of agave varies by brand and can be compared to honey, molasses, or maple syrup. Some people find it has a distinct flavor, while others say it tastes more neutral than other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

Is Agave Nectar the Same as Agave Syrup?

Agave nectar and agave syrup are sweeteners from the blue agave plant that grows in Mexico and other parts of Central America. The plant is harvested for its succulent leaves, which are then cooked to produce a sweet syrup known as miel de agave or miel de mezcal (mezcal honey).


Agave nectar is a sweetener that has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. It has a low glycemic index and is made from the sap of the blue agave plant. However, it is expensive and its popularity has led to adulterated products on the market.

The world of sweeteners is a big one! We hope you’ve learned a little more about the best substitutes for agave nectar and how you can use different foods to replace other ingredients in dishes. When it comes down to it, though, your tastes are the most important thing. 

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