Top 8 Best Brown Rice Syrup Substitutes

Brown rice syrup is a popular alternative sweetener used in many recipes, from baked goods to stir-fries. It has a mild, malty flavor and can add moisture and tenderness to cakes and cookies. However, you may find yourself without this pantry staple when a recipe calls for it. Not to worry – there are plenty of healthy brown rice syrup substitutes you can use instead.

In this article, we’ll explore what exactly brown rice syrup is, its characteristics, and most importantly – the best substitutes you can use in cooking and baking. Whether you want to replicate the taste and texture or are simply looking for a sweet swap, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!

What Is Brown Rice Syrup?

Brown rice syrup, also known as rice malt syrup, is made from cultured brown rice. The starches in brown rice are broken down into natural sugars using enzymes to create a sweet, thick syrup.

It has a mild, malted flavor similar to honey but is not as sweet. The glycemic index of brown rice syrup is also moderate (25) compared to white sugar. This makes it popular among people monitoring their blood sugar levels.

Brown rice syrup is about half as sweet as refined white sugar. It has a smooth, thick consistency and glossy appearance resembling honey. However, it has a nutty, toasted flavor thanks to the bran layer around brown rice kernels.

Some key characteristics of brown rice syrup:

  • Gluten-free – Made from rice so suitable for gluten intolerances
  • Vegan – Contains no animal products
  • GMO-free – Non-genetically modified
  • Low glucose – Won’t spike blood sugar levels as quickly
  • Adds moisture – Keeps baked goods tender and soft

Now let’s look at the best substitutes you can use when you’ve run out of brown rice syrup.

Best Brown Rice Syrup Substitutes

1. Honey

Honey is an excellent 1:1 substitute for brown rice syrup in most recipes. It has a similar consistency and adds comparable sweetness and moisture.

Honey offers some nutritional advantages over brown rice syrup:

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Provides small amounts of nutrients like calcium, potassium, and magnesium
  • Anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties

The main drawback is that honey lacks the subtle nutty, toasted flavor of brown rice syrup. But it can mimic the glossy appearance and moist texture perfectly.

Use 3⁄4 cup honey for every 1 cup brown rice syrup. You may need to adjust the ratio slightly depending on the recipe.

2. Barley Malt Syrup

Barley malt syrup is made from sprouted, malted barley and has a similar malty flavor to brown rice syrup. It’s an ideal substitute in terms of taste and texture.

A few things to note about barley malt syrup:

  • Sweeter than brown rice syrup
  • Thicker, darker appearance
  • Provides nutrients like manganese, copper, phosphorus

Replace brown rice syrup with 3⁄4 cup barley malt syrup for every 1 cup. The sweeter flavor means you may need less than a 1:1 ratio. Taste test as you go to get the right balance of sweetness.

3. Maple Syrup

Pure maple syrup is an all-natural choice that offers its own unique flavor profile. It has a caramel, woody taste that can enhance many recipes.

Maple syrup contains beneficial antioxidants and minerals like zinc and potassium. It provides modest amounts of calcium, iron, and manganese as well.

When using as a brown rice syrup substitute:

  • Use 3⁄4 cup maple syrup for every 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • Be sure to use 100% pure maple syrup, not “pancake syrup” which is mostly corn syrup
  • Grade B maple syrup has stronger maple flavor than Grade A

The distinctive maple taste may not suit all recipes, but it can add delicious flavor when used in the right dish!

4. Corn Syrup

Plain corn syrup is made from corn starch and provides a similar level of sweetness as brown rice syrup. It is a suitable 1:1 replacement in terms of the sugar content and consistency.

There are a few types of corn syrup to choose from:

  • Light corn syrup – Clear in color with a mild flavor
  • Dark corn syrup – Adds caramel color and more robust flavor

When swapping brown rice syrup for corn syrup, use the same amount called for in the recipe. But be aware that the overall texture may be thinner without the viscosity of brown rice syrup.

5. Fruit Juice or Puree

Using actual fruit is a natural way to sweeten recipes without needing brown rice syrup or other added sugars.

  • Applesauce, mashed banana, pineapple juice, and other fruit purees can replace brown rice syrup in equal amounts
  • Fruit juices like orange juice, apple juice and pear nectar add sweetness as well

Just be sure to use unsweetened fruit products without extra sugar added. Check the ingredient label when buying juice, applesauce, etc.

The fruit flavor will come through in the finished recipe, which can be delicious in muffins, breads, glazes, and more. Fruit is a healthy, wholesome alternative to use in place of brown rice syrup.

6. Date Syrup

Date syrup (also called date honey) offers an earthy, caramel-like sweetness similar to brown rice syrup. It’s made from pureed Medjool dates, an exceptionally sweet variety of date palm fruit.

Date syrup contains beneficial nutrients like:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron

Since date syrup is very concentrated, you only need about 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) to replace 1 cup brown rice syrup. Start with less and add more date syrup to taste as needed.

Date syrup can be found in Middle Eastern specialty stores, though not always in regular grocery stores. If you can find it, date syrup makes an excellent substitution in recipes like granola bars, muffins, cakes, smoothies, and more!

7. Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a thick, dark brown sweetener that comes from refining sugarcane into table sugar. It has a robust, bittersweet flavor and works well in recipes like gingerbread cookies, baked beans, barbecue sauces.

Molasses contains higher levels of minerals than brown rice syrup, including:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium

Since it’s very strong and dense, use molasses sparingly – about 1/2 cup for every 1 cup of brown rice syrup called for. You may need to thin it out slightly with hot water as well.

It’s smart to use molasses together with corn syrup or maple syrup. This helps replicate the milder, well-rounded sweetness of brown rice syrup versus using molasses alone.

8. Granulated White Sugar

Plain granulated sugar makes a suitable substitute in recipes where you primarily need sweetness, without relying as much on brown rice syrup’s moisture and texture.

White sugar does not replicate the malty, nutty notes of brown rice syrup. But it can work well in simple baked goods like cookies and cakes.

When using regular sugar as a sub, you don’t need to follow an exact 1:1 ratio. Simply use the same amount of sugar called for in the brown rice syrup recipe.

Keep in mind that the final product may bake up drier without the moistness from brown rice syrup. Consider adding a touch more liquid like milk or eggs to compensate.

The Bottom Line

Brown rice syrup is valued for its mild sweetness and ability to retain moisture in recipes. When you don’t have it in your pantry, there are many suitable stand-ins to turn to!

Honey, pure maple syrup, and barley malt syrup are excellent 1:1 substitutions that mimic both the flavor and texture well. Or turn to fruit, date syrup or molasses to put a unique spin on your recipe with complementary flavors.

Even plain white sugar will work in a pinch to provide the necessary sweetness needed. With so many brown rice syrup alternatives, you don’t have to miss out on baking your favorite treats!

Whichever you have on hand, these substitutes ensure you can still turn out moist, tender baked goods and flavorful glazes when brown rice syrup is called for. Give a few of these tasty options a try in your next recipe.

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