The Best Simple Syrup Substitute


Best Simple Syrup Substitute 

Help, I need a simple syrup substitute! No matter the reason why you need a simple syrup substitute, if you are simply looking for a healthy alternative or simply have run out, we have many options for you to choose from. Below are the details for simple syrup replacements, as well as our suggested measurements for each replacement. Check out the details below!

simple syrup in a jar edited

You Don’t Need Simple Syrup: Substitutes for Simple Syrup

What do you do if you run out of simple syrup, can’t find it at the store, or simply want to avoid the sugar contains? Never fear! There are many substitute options for simple syrup. Below we will walk you through each of the substitutes, and how to use them. 

Why You Think You Need Simple Syrup

Simple syrup can be used in a variety of ways. Primarily simple syrup is used to sweeten drinks. Typically, simple syrup is made using granulated sugar and water, but there are other substitutes you can use as well. 

Make a Simple Syrup for Cocktails, Coffee, and Other Drinks

Simple syrup is popularly used to sweeten cocktails, coffee, and other drinks. It’s an easy way to add a sweet flavor to your drink, that does not form clumps, and easily dissolves into your drink. 

Now, there are many reasons why you might seek an alternative to simple syrup, either you can’t find it, want to avoid the sugar content, are looking for a natural alternative, or you simply run out. Below is a list of the best simple syrup substitutes to help you out. 

Best simple syrup substitute

1. Honey 


Honey works as a great simple syrup substitute. One downside of honey is that it has a slightly different flavor than simple syrup does, but it still works great in most recipes. Because honey is a bit thick, you may want to make your honey into a syrup before adding it into your drinks. 

To make honey syrup, you will want to combine one cup of honey with 1 cup of water. Eat this over medium heat until your mixture of warms but does not boil. Stir so that the honey dissolves in the water making a sweet syrup. Remove from the burner and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use. 

You can also microwave the honey and water mixture until the honey dissolves. Typically this takes between 1 minute and 1 minute, 30 seconds. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use. 

When you are ready to use honey as a simple syrup substitute, we recommend a one-to-one substitute ratio for your honey syrup to replace simple syrup. It’s always a good idea to add slightly less honey than you think you will need, then add more until you are satisfied with the taste. 

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup honey + ½ cup water = 1 cup simple syrup 

2. Agave Syrup

Agave plant
Agave plant decorative in garden outdoor

Agave syrup is also known as agave nectar and it’s another substitute you can use for simple syrup. This is a kind of syrup that comes from an agave plant and is made into a sweetener you can use for your drinks. 

Typically, agave contains fructose, which can impact the overall flavor of the syrup. However, it can be used in your drinks with a minimal impact on the overall flavor. 

Because agave comes in syrup form, it does not need to be combined with water, but can simply be added directly into your beverage as a 1:1 substitution ration sweetener.

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup agave syrup = ½ cup simple syrup

3. Maple Syrup

maple syrup drip

Maple syrup is another natural alternative you can use as a simple syrup substitute. Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees, it is typically collected during the early spring months in northern locations. 

You might think that maple syrup will add a maple flavor to your drink, in general, it seems to be very subtle, but nicely sweetens any kind of drink.  

Real maple syrup can be used with no alterations as a substitute for simple syrup. To use in your drinks, simply use maple syrup for a 1:1 substitute ratio for simple syrup. 

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup maple syrup = ½ cup simple syrup

4. Stevia Syrup

Stevia syrup

Stevia also comes from a plant it is usually found in a powdered form. Although it is not everyone’s favorite due to the somewhat better aftertaste, you can make Stevia into a syrup and use it for a simple syrup substitute. 

Stevia is meant to be a healthy substitute for simple syrup because it contains 0 cal. To make Stevia syrup add 2 cups of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add approximately ¼ cup Stevia and boil for one-minute stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

To use as a simple syrup substitute, you can use approximately ½ cup Stevia syrup for ½ cup simple syrup, however, we strongly recommend starting with ¼ cup and slowly adding more, until you’re happy with the sweetness.

Substitute Ratio: 2 cups water + ¼ cup stevia = stevia syrup ; ¼ cup to ½ cup stevia syrup = ½ cup simple syrup 

5. Sugar Cane Syrup

sugar cane

Sugar cane syrup contains a lightly caramelized flavor and can work well as a simple syrup substitute for some drinks. However, when you are using sugar cane syrup be aware of the flavor it may add to your drink. 

Sugar cane syrup contains a lot of sweetness in a very little amount so when adding it to your drink start off with a small amount and add more to taste. 

You can purchase sugar cane syrup online, or sometimes it can be found in larger grocery stores. 

Substitute Ratio: 2 Tbsp sugar cane syrup = ½ cup simple syrup (add more sugar cane syrup as desired)

6. Brown Sugar Syrup

Types of sugar

Brown sugar syrup is another substitute you can use for simple syrup. You would want to be very selective when using this substitute, however, it can work well for dark drinks. 

To make it simply combine ½ cup brown sugar with ½ cup water, and warm over medium heat until your sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to cool before adding it to your drinks. You can use brown sugar syrup as a one-to-one substitute for simple syrup. 

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup packed brown sugar + ½ cup water = 1 cup simple syrup (approximately) 

7. Date Syrup

Date sugar

Date syrup is made from finally crashed dates made into syrup, although this may not be the best option for most beverages as the sugar does not always completely dissolve in the syrup. If you choose to use this substitute, select which drinks you use it in carefully. 

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup date syrup = ½ cup simple syrup

8. Coconut Sugar Syrup

sugar in a wood bowl

Good night sugar syrup is great for darker drinks. Coconut sugar syrup is made from the sap of coconut palms. 

Be aware that the syrup may add a savory and slightly smoky flavor to most drinks when included as a simple syrup substitute. 

As always, we recommend that you add less than you think you will need in your drink, then add more to taste. 

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup coconut sugar syrup = ½ cup simple syrup

9. Monk Fruit Sugar Syrup

different kinds of sugar

Monk fruit is a small gourd-like fruit similar to passion fruit. Monk fruit is especially sweet, and you may need less syrup than other kinds of sweeteners. Be aware of this when adding as a simple syrup substitute. It’s a great idea to add less than you think you will want, then add more to taste so that it does not become too sweet. 

To make monk fruit sugar syrup, you can take ½ cup of raw monk fruit sugar and combine it with ½ cup of water in a saucepan. Place the pan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Allow it to simmer stirring occasionally until a syrup begins to form. Remove your pan from heat and allow to cool before adding to drinks. Store any leftovers in the fridge. 

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup monk fruit sugar syrup = 1 cup simple syrup (or to taste)

10. Palm Sugar Syrup

Palm Sugar

Palm sugar syrup is another type of sweetener you can use for cocktails and beverages. Palm sugar syrup is primarily used in alcoholic beverages and cocktails. 

To make palm sugar syrup combine 2 cups of palm sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place the pan over medium-low heat and bring to a low simmer. Simmer stirring consistently until a syrup begins to form. Remove the pan from the burner and allow it to cool. Refrigerate until you are ready to use. 

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup palm sugar syrup = 1 cup simple syrup (or more to taste)

11. Ginger

how to peel ginger root

Adding ginger to your simple syrup mixture adds a bit of spice to your otherwise plain sweetener. Although ginger is not a direct substitute for simple syrup, you can make a version of simple syrup containing ginger, sugar, and water to replace your normal simple syrup. 

To make ginger syrup, you can combine ¼ cup ginger, one cup sugar, and one and a half cups of water in a medium-size saucepan. Place the mixture over medium-low heat, and bring to a simmer. 

Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 20 minutes over medium-low heat stirring occasionally. Once your syrup forms, remove your mixture from the burner and allow it to cool. Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add to your drinks. 

Substitute Ratio: ¼ cup ginger + 1 cup sugar + 1 ½ cup water = ginger syrup

1 cup ginger syrup = 1 cup simple syrup

12. Corn Syrup 

Syrup on a spoon

Corn syrup is another fabulous substitute for simple syrup. Light corn syrup especially has very little flavor added to it, which allows it to make a great substitute sweetener. 

Before you add corn syrup to your recipe, you may want to combine corn syrup with some warm water so that it becomes more liquid and not quite as thick. 

We recommend combining approximately ½ cup corn syrup with ¼ cup hot water. If you use hot water and stir the mixture thoroughly you should not need to microwave or heat on the stovetop. 

Simply stir until the corn syrup dissolves in the water. Chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add it to your recipe. 

When adding your corn syrup to your recipe, keep in mind that corn syrup tends to be sweeter than regular sugar, therefore you might try adding approximately ¾ cup corn syrup when one cup of simple syrup is called for. You can always add more if you want your mixture to be sweeter. 

Substitute Ratio: ½ cup light corn syrup + ¼ cup water = 1 cup simple syrup

13. Molasses

molasses in a jar

Molasses is another substitute you can use for simple syrup. Molasses is another natural sweetener but is best used where you don’t mind the added molasses flavor, and is best for darker drink recipes. 

Before adding molasses as your sweetener, you may consider adding approximately ¼ cup of hot water to one cup of molasses for added liquid because molasses is so thick. 

Substitute Ratio: 1 cup molasses + ¼ cup water = 1 ¼ cup simple syrup (start with slightly less and add more to taste)

14. Store-Bought

There is always the option to buy store but simple syrup if you are able. You can pick up premade simple syrup from almost any grocery store or purchase it online. 

15. Easy Homemade Simple Syrup

peppermint simple syrup

Did you know that you can also make homemade simple syrup in a matter of minutes? Simple syrup is surprisingly easy to make from scratch and can be prepared quickly if you need to pull some more together in a pinch. 

All you need to make simple syrup from scratch is one cup of granulated sugar, and one cup of water. Mix the two together and pour into a small pan. Place a pan over medium heat and allow to warm just until the sugar dissolves, there is no need to boil it. Remove your mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. 

Add your cooled simple syrup to your drinks or store it in the fridge. Homemade simple syrup is perfect for all kinds of different recipes but especially for drinks such as tea, coffee, lemonade, limeade, or your favorite alcoholic beverages. Simple syrup allows you to add sweeteners to your drinks without the undissolved sugar. 

Substitute Ratio: 1 cup homemade simple syrup = 1 cup simple syrup 

Bonus: Make Your Own Simple Syrup

Easy Simple Syrup

Simple syrup from scratch is super easy to make and only takes about 5 to 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish. 


1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

simple syrup in a jar with measuring cup and sugar

Steps to Make It

Combine your granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. 

Allow the mixture to warm, but not simmer. 

Stir to combine. 

Once your sugar is dissolved in the water, remove it from heat. 

Allow the mixture to cool before adding it to your recipe. 

Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. 


Use warm or hot water to make the process go faster. 

The goal is simply to get the sugar to dissolve in the water so that you don’t have sugar granules in your syrup.

You Can Also Use the Microwave! – you can also use the microwave to warm your water and sugar mixture so that the sugar dissolves to make simple syrup. Simply combine the two in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for one to two minutes stirring occasionally until your sugar is dissolved. 

Recipe Variations

There are many different substitutes you can use for simple syrup. If you wish to make your simple syrup with a different kind of sweetener other than granulated sugar, you can reference the above substitutions. 

Rich Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is made the same way as simple syrup, but instead uses a ratio of two to one, meaning you can use 2 cups of sugar for one cup of water mixed to form simple syrup. This simple syrup is stronger, and richer, meaning that it goes farther with less syrup. 

Simple syrup can also be made with honey, brown sugar, Stevia, corn syrup, and much more. Check out the substitutes above for details on simple syrup recipe variations. 

Simple Syrup Ratios

Simple Syrup Substitute Ratio

How to Use Alternative Sugar Syrups in Cocktails

If you wish to use alternatives to simple syrup in your cocktails, drinks, or other recipes it’s a good idea to prepare the syrup and allow it to cool before adding it to your recipe. 

When adding your syrup substitute, we strongly encourage you to add less than you think you will need, then add more to taste. Some of the substitute options are sweeter than simple syrup, and a little bit may go a long way. 

Your best bet: Honey

What’s the best simple syrup substitute? We think that honey, maple syrup, or corn syrup are the best substitute options for simple syrup. However, the best substitute option for you may depend on what you’re making. 

We like these three especially because they are fairly universal and provide a balanced sweetness without a ton of extra flavor to your recipe. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Use as a Substitute for Simple Syrup?

There are many substitute options for simple syrup, however, your best bet might be maple syrup, honey, or corn syrup. Of course, you can always make your own simple syrup from scratch as well. 

How Long Does a Simple Syrup Last?

Homemade simple syrup typically lasts about one month when stored in an airtight container, or jar in the refrigerator. 

Can You Buy Simple Syrup?

Yes, you can buy simple syrup from most grocery stores or online. 

What is simple syrup made of?

Your basic simple syrup is made by using granulated sugar and water mix together to form a sugary syrup. 

Is simple syrup bad for you?

Although not distinctly bad, it’s also not really great for you to eat a lot of simple syrup. Simple syrup is made primarily using sugar and water, and of course, a lot of sugar consumption is not the greatest for you. 

Can you omit simple syrup from your recipe?

Most recipes call for simple syrup for a reason. Simple syrup is a kind of sweetener that is used in the recipe. Most likely you do not want to simply skip simple syrup but should at least replace it with a substitute. 

What other sugars can I use when making simple syrup?

There are many options for substitutes you can use as a sweetener to replace simple syrup. You can use brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, honey, and maple syrup just to name a few. For details check out the comprehensive list above. 

Can you make sugar-free syrup?

You can make sugar-free syrup but you will need to use a sugar-free sweetener in order to do this. 

simple syrup in a jar

Storing your Syrup: Pro Tips for keeping it fresh!

Simple syrup that is stored in the fridge typically lasts approximately one month when stored in an airtight container. Do you want to keep an eye on it so that it does not go bad. 

How long is Simple Syrup Good in the Fridge?

You’re a basic simple syrup is good for about one month when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Stretching it Out: How to make your Syrup Last Longer

A trick that you may not have known about is that you can actually consider adding a little bit of vodka to the syrup which will help preserve it for a longer amount of time. 

Surprisingly rich simple syrup compared to your regular simple syrup can last up to six months in the refrigerator compared to one month for your regular simple syrup. If you think you will need it to last longer, you may want to consider making rich simple syrup instead. 

Another good way to make sure your simple syrup lasts longer is to stabilize the container you’re storing it in. This means if you are storing it in a glass jar you may want to boil the glass jar before adding your syrup. 

Can you Freeze Simple Syrup?

Surprisingly yes, you can freeze simple syrup. If you choose to do this, we recommend pouring your cool simple syrup into silicone ice trays and freezing them in ice cubes. You can then transfer your ice cubes to an airtight container once they are frozen. 

Has my Syrup gone Bad?

If you are unsure how long you have had your simple syrup, or if it has gone bad, you can carefully examine your syrup. There may be signs of mold, discoloration, or odd smells if your syrup has gone bad. 

As always, we recommend that if you are in doubt, throw out your simple syrup and do not risk eating food that has gone bad. 

Click Play to See This Simple Syrup Recipe Come Together

Simple Syrup Substitute

There are many substitute options for simple syrup no matter the reason you are looking for an alternative. There are healthy sugar alternatives, natural alternatives, and many options to choose from. Most likely you will have some of these substitutes readily available in your pantry. 

We hope that this helps answer your question about the best simple syrup substitute. Comment below and let us know what your favorite simple syrup substitute is to use!  

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Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

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