The agave family of plants holds much culinary significance. From it, we get beverages like tequila and, more importantly, agave nectar. The latter is a sweetener whose popularity is soaring very fast.
Also known as agave syrup, it comes from several species of this plant, including the famous blue agave. The sweetener looks like honey, but is mostly lighter, both in consistency and color.
You can use it in baking, topping up salads, milkshakes, and more. You may also use it to make caramel sauce, a versatile condiment suitable for many dishes.
In case you need this syrup but do not have it in the kitchen, there is no need to worry. There are several substitutes to this sweetener, these include:
Our number one entry is honey, a natural sweetener that has been around for ages. Honey is thick and has many medicinal uses. It is the go-to remedy for conditions like flu and sore throat. In the kitchen, honey has many applications. Baking and marinating are some applications of this product. A cup of honey will substitute one cup of agave syrup.
A good thing with honey is that it is natural, with no artificial additives. However, there are the refined ones that may not be 100% natural.
2. Maple Syrup
Derived from the sap of various maple species, like sugar and black maple trees, is maple syrup. Food critics have immense praise for this sweetening agent. This is primarily due to its distinct flavor.
Its richness makes it ideal for sweet dishes. You can use it for baking, fruit salad dressing, pancake topping, and juices.
If you decide to go for maple syrup, check on its grades. The darker the syrup, the stronger it tastes.
3. Corn Syrup
For baking, corn syrup is an excellent consideration. It is a derivative of corn starch, rich in maltose, giving it a controlled flavor. The preference for corn syrup in baking is due to its softening action. Additionally, it adds volume, something many bakers desire in pastries.
It is a good option for pancake topping if you lack maple syrup.
4. Simple Syrup
Affordability is one reason that we include simple syrup in this list. It consists of water and granulated sugar. There are also flavored varieties if you want a slightly diverse smack.
For homemade simple syrup, mix one part of granulated sugar with one part of water and boil the mixture. If you prefer this sweetener thicker and sweeter, increase the sugar to two parts.
Some culinary pros recommend using raw cane sugar, which may have a brownish hue.
Add a few teaspoonfuls of lemon juice and zest for a citrusy flavor. This syrup is perfect for beverages like tea.
5. White Sugar
This is the first substitute that is fully solid on this list. It is a common ingredient in most households and has plenty of uses. It has a white appearance, and you may confuse it with wheat flour, as it has fine particles.
Despite being in powder form, its fineness lets you sprinkle it the same way you drizzle agave nectar on food. You can sprinkle it on pancakes, cakes, and fruits sauces or salads.
Substitute a cup of syrup with half of this sweetener. When baking, it is advisable to mix it with a liquid base, like water or milk. For even sprinkles, use a sieve.
6. Date Syrup
This entry is hard to come by, especially if you are not near date-producing regions. Date syrup is very thick with a gentle aroma. If you have dates, you can make it by yourself at home. You first puree the fruits and boil them. You then squeeze the liquid, and you have your syrup.
It is suitable for baking or for drizzling over pancakes.
7. Barley Malt Extract
As from its name, you get the idea that this product comes from barley malt. This extract is quite dense, with a dark brown color. At first glance, you may think you have molasses in your pitcher.
It is a great addition when baking cakes, cookies, and biscuits. The thickness of this sweetener gives you spongy pastries. It is the case when you prepare the dough with fluffy egg whites and milk.
A thing to love about barley malt extract is its nutritional value. Some of the nutrients you get from it include proteins, fibers, iron, calcium, and some vitamins.
8. Liquid Stevia
Stevia is a top sugar substitute that comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. Most artificial sweeteners use this sweetener. It is a crucial ingredient in sugar-free drinks and chewing gum.
For the kitchen, you can go for liquid stevia. This condiment is versatile, more so if you have a sweet tooth. Use it for porridge, sugar-free slushy, juice, and even in cocktails.
Stevia is keto-friendly, and you can include it in your diet to enhance ketosis. The trick is to use a few drops. A small bottle can last you for up to a month; hence, it is pocket-friendly.
Optionally, you may prepare liquid stevia at home where you start by pouring water into a saucepan, and once it starts boiling, add stevia.
The ratio should be 2-3 tablespoons of stevia for one cup of water. Whisk the mixture until it fully dissolves. Let it cool and put it in translucent bottles, preferably amber. The bottles will prevent their clouding.
In case the liquid clouds put it back into the saucepan and add some water and stevia. You should then put the stevia liquid in the refrigerator.
9. Fruit Syrup
The other sugar-free agave nectar substitute is fruit syrup. Here, you rely on the natural sweetness of the fruits. While you can get fruit syrups in the market, they may have artificial additives.
To make this sweetener, you need fruits of your choice, primarily sweet ones. Blend your fruits and add some water. You can add other ingredients like vinegar or cinnamon for a diverse flavor and longevity.
Put the syrup in a bottle and refrigerate.
10. Coconut Nectar
The final entry in this piece shares many similarities with maple syrup. Coconut nectar comes from the sweet sap of coconut palm flowers. It undergoes the same processing of maple sap to get a sweetening agent for the table.
Coconut nectar is natural, with few additives if necessary. It is excellent for alcoholic cocktails, juices, and ice cream.
Have you run out of agave nectar? No need to worry as there are several swaps to try, as highlighted above. Apart from those listed, you may also try molasses or brown rice syrup. With the many options listed, there is no need to have food with no sweetener.