What Are the Best Substitutes for Sugar in Baking?

Best Substitutes for Sugar in Baking? Try Agave Syrup!

Want to know what are the best substitutes for sugar in baking? This guide from Kitchen Geekery has you covered!

Reducing sugar in baking doesn’t mean you have to compromise on flavour or texture. Whether you’re looking to cut down on refined sugars, managing dietary restrictions, or simply experimenting with new ingredients, there are numerous substitutes that can provide excellent results in your baked goods. This article explores some of the best alternatives to sugar for baking, their unique benefits, and how to use them effectively.


Honey is a natural sweetener rich in antioxidants and can provide a more complex flavour profile than sugar. It’s particularly good in recipes like bread, muffins, and moist cakes. When substituting honey for sugar, use about three-quarters of the amount of sugar called for, as honey is sweeter than granulated sugar. Also, reduce the liquid in the recipe by a few tablespoons since honey adds moisture.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes; it’s also a fantastic choice for baking. Its rich, distinctive flavour works well in oatmeal cookies, granola bars, and pecan pies. Like honey, maple syrup is sweeter and adds moisture, so adjust the sugar and liquid quantities accordingly. Use three-quarters of a cup of maple syrup for every one cup of sugar, and reduce the liquid by three tablespoons.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is another popular liquid sweetener, known for its mild flavour and smooth consistency. It’s an excellent option for delicate desserts like macarons and meringues. Agave is about one-and-a-half times sweeter than sugar, so you’ll want to use less of it. Try two-thirds of a cup for every one cup of sugar and decrease the liquid in the recipe slightly.

Agave nectar is harvested from the same plant used to make tequila, making it a sweet product of a typically spirited process!


Stevia is a calorie-free sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, making it a great choice for those monitoring their calorie intake. It’s much sweeter than sugar, and because it’s available in both liquid and powdered forms, it’s versatile. Use it sparingly; typically, a teaspoon of stevia powder or liquid can substitute for a whole cup of sugar. Stevia works well in dishes where a small amount of sugar is needed, like in tea cakes or fruit muffins.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm and has a caramel-like taste similar to brown sugar. It’s perfect for baking recipes that call for a deep, rich flavour like brownies or gingerbread. Coconut sugar can be substituted on a 1:1 basis with regular sugar but keep in mind that it will add a slight coconut flavour to your dishes.


Dates are a whole-food option packed with fibre and nutrients. Date paste can be used in many recipes as a sugar substitute because of its natural sweetness. It’s particularly effective in brownies, bars, and other dense cakes. To make date paste, blend soaked dates in a food processor until smooth, using one cup of date paste to replace one cup of sugar in your recipe.

Tips for Substituting Sugar in Baking

When replacing sugar with any alternative sweetener, it’s crucial to consider not just the sweetness but also the texture and moisture content of your final product. Here are a few tips to ensure success:

Experiment: Sweeteners vary not only in sweetness but also in how they affect the texture and volume of baked goods. Some trial and error may be necessary to achieve the best results.
Adjust Oven Temperatures: Some sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup, can cause your baked goods to brown more quickly. Consider lowering the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning.
Mix and Match: Sometimes, the best results come from using a combination of sweeteners. Experiment with using half of one sweetener and half of another to balance flavour and texture.

Incorporating alternative sweeteners into your baking allows for healthier and often more flavourful results. Whether you are looking to enhance the nutritional profile of your desserts or cater to dietary preferences, these substitutes offer a range of options to keep your baking both delicious and diverse.