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Cooking with Honey Instead of Sugar

Honey substitutes nicely for sugar and other sweeteners in most recipes, although it's extra moisture needs to be compensated for, especially in baking.

How much Honey to Use?

When substituting honey for granulated table sugar in recipes, keep in mind, honey has more fructose than table sugar, so it is sweeter.

In general, use 2/3 to 3/4 of a cup of honey is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar.

It is a good idea to make a test run first; swapping honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe.

General Considerations

  1. Honey adds moisture that table sugar does not have; reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used
  2. Honey is acidic (pH 3.70 to 4.20) and ordinary table sugar is neutral (pH 7.0). So, if your recipe is sensitive to acidity, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey used in the recipe. This is not necessary for most recipes!
  3. Honey is much more dense (weighs more per cup)
  4. Honey adds its own flavor to the finished product
  5. Honey adds acid to a recipe,
  6. And honey can cause baked foods to brown more quickly. In baking, reduce the oven temperature by 25°F to prevent overbrowning; and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used.
  7. For more specific directions for baking with honey; see this page about Baking with Honey

Substituting honey for other sweeteners

  • Molasses: To substitute honey for molasses, use exactly the same amount. The resulting flavor and color will be a but lighter and less heavy. The reverse is true if you swap molasses for honey.
  • Corn Syrup: To substitute honey for corn syrup, use exactly the same amount, but reduce any other sweet ingredients, since honey has more sweetening power than corn syrup.
  • Brown Sugar (Demerara sugar or dark brown sugar): Follow the equation for plain table sugar under General Recommendations, but also substitute molasses for a portion of the honey to retain the expected flavor - (brown sugar is just white sugar where the molasses have not been completely removed by refining). Brown sugar, on the other hand, attracts moisture, so it will keep baked goods from drying out so quickly. Also, brown sugar has some molasses in it, which adds moisture, and certainly changes the taste.
  • Raw Sugar (Soft Brown Sugar): Basically, raw sugar is similar to dark brown sugar, but has much smaller crystals and a higher portion of retained molasses, so follow the guidelines for substituting honey for sugar above. If substituting raw sugar for regular cane sugar or brown sugar, use about 20% more raw sugar.
  • Treacle is the British generic name for molasses or any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane. Common names used are Treacle, Black Treacle, Molasses, Golden Syrup and Blackstrap. "Lyle's Golden Syrup" is the most commonly used brand in cooking. Follow the same guidelines for molasses, above.

More information:

See this page for more detailed information about substituting honey for sugar and other sweeteners.