Sugar Substitutes: How to Substitute Sweeteners

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

Sugar Substitutes: How to Substitute Sweeteners. From Baking with Honey to Substituting Maple Syrup for Sugar, all of the tips you need are right here.

There are two basic reasons why you would need to learn about sugar substitutes and how to substitute sweeteners in a recipe.

One is that you ran out of the sweetener that you needed.

The second is that you are using sugar substitutes for health reasons.

Starting to Use Healthier Sweeteners

One of the ways that our family started moving towards more whole foods was to move away from white sugar and start baking with honey, sucanat, and other sweeteners.

Now, instead of making my Homemade Jello, Homemade Chocolate Chips, and Gluten Free Cupcakes with granulated sugar, I moved to other, more wholesome sweeteners.

If you've been wondering about baking with honey or baking with maple syrup,  or what to do about substituting sugar in your baked goods or other sweet (or not-so-sweet) dishes, then this post should help.

Never Run Out Again

One of my pet peeves (and probably yours too) is running out of something when you are in the middle of the recipe.

And one of my best time and money-saving cooking and baking tips is learning how to substitute one thing for another.

That way you're not running out to the store at the last minute because you ran out of something.  You spend extra time (a lot), extra money on gas, more money than usual because you are making a last minute purchase, plus you might end up buying other things that you don't need, which really add up.

You know how it goes – you're making a dessert that calls for honey and all you have is a granulated sweetener, or vice versa.  So you get in the car (if you have kids this takes an inordinate amount of time), head to the store, run into traffic, get to the store and grab what you need, in addition to grabbing some other stuff that caught your eye.

About an hour later (at the earliest) you're back home ready to move on with your recipe, but you're wiped out now and really don't feel like finishing anything anyways.

Well, one of the easiest things to substitute in recipes is sweeteners.

Reformed Sugar-a-holic

Now, I am a reforming sugar-aholic.  I used to eat sugar all. the. time.

I once even worked in an ice cream parlor.

Bad idea.  Ahem.

I basically would come home and tell my mother that I wouldn't be needing dinner because I was full from sampling anything and everything (yes we were allowed to do that).

Anyway, I don't bake quite as much these days since we are focusing on vegetables and animal proteins more and more in our quest to deal with adrenal fatigue, but I still enjoy making whole grain (or non grain) treats (like Chocolate Chia Pudding or Berry Mousse) that require some sweetening.

And I know that a lot of my readers are using traditional sweeteners (hopefully the healthier options of honey, maple syrup, sucanat, and the like) and that these substitution and baking tips would be useful for you.

So when you need to substitute a liquid for a granulated sweetener, how do you do that quickly and easily?

It's fairly simple, actually.

Mainly, you just need to make up for, or take away from, the liquid part of the liquid sweetener, when adding it to a recipe, and adjust a little for the different sweetness of the sweeteners you are substituting.

Now of course, if the recipe we are talking about is a dish with very little sweetener (like my Focaccia Flax Bread), then it really doesn't matter.  Just substitute one sweetener for another and don't worry about it.

Additionally, with some non-baking recipes like

you can use whatever sugar substitute you wish (liquid or granulated).  The result won't differ that much regardless of which sugar substitutes you use.

I love forgiving recipes, don't you :-)?

However, when you are dealing with a sweet baked good, then things get more complicated.

Here's how to make a sugar substitute in baking and have the result turn out well.

Sugar Substitutes: Need to substitute honey for sugar or maple syrup for honey? Find out how to substitute sweeteners for baking and cooking. If you are switching to baking with honey and maple syrup and other sweeteners for health reasons, or you've just run out of a sweetener and need to use another, this post can help.

Pretty simple, isn't it?

I use these tips whenever I have run out of the sweetener I need (which isn't often, since I purchase my sweeteners in bulk – like everything else :-)), but more often when I am trying out a new recipe and want to use the least expensive sweetener that I have.  Then if the recipe isn't a winner, I've spent less money on it than I would have otherwise.

Soon I'll go into more details of my thoughts about sugar, some more detailed information on sweeteners (including nutritional information and sugar substitutes as well).

Stay tuned!

What sweetener do you most use in your home?

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These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. How to convert honey to TRUvia

    • I have never done that but if you look at a Truvia conversion chart that should help. There are many types of Truvia blends so that would be better than my trying to figure it out. You can find them on the internet.

  2. still confused says:

    This conversion is still not 100% clear. For example, #3 substituting granulated for liquid: “for every 1 cup of sweetener, add 1/4 cup of liquid from the recipe” – does that mean for every 1 cup of LIQUID sweetener being replaced with granulated, add 1/4 c of liquid TO the recipe”? or does that mean for every 1 cup of GRANULATED sweetener replacing the liquid, add 1/4 c of liquid TO the recipe”?

  3. I am terrible at conversions. If I am out of stevia, how much maple syrup or agave would sub for 1/4 tsp stevia?
    And how much less liquid?

    • Are you talking about 1/4 tsp of extract?

      • The vegan scone recipe called for 1/4 tsp. ground stevia leaf. Instead I used a tbsp of maple syrup, added a pinch baking soda and reduced liquid by 1 tbsp. It turned out ok but I wondered if I should do something more accurate next time.

        What proportions would you use?

        Thanks. I have learned so much from your blog.

  4. Gail Schmelzer says:

    Hello Adrienne,
    Great Posts and comments…… Thanks so much from a new fan…… I must check out your other listings….. Great Job…. All the best to you and yours

  5. This is a lifesaver, thank you! I was recently put on the paleo plan by my doctor, but I keep seeing all these awesome recipes on social media. Most ingredients I’ve figured out how to substitute, but the sugar to honey conversion still had me lost. Now I don’t have to stress over wanting a guilty pleasure baked good from time to time.

  6. Hi. I was wondering if you knew about the high fructose corn syrup in maple syrup? If you use maple syrup, be sure it is organic and not the fake stuff you get at big stores. Do the research. Any word (in the ingredients) that ends in “ose” is another form of fake sugar. I love your tips here. Thank you for sharing them!!! 😀

  7. Judy Oleksik says:

    I want to try a recipe for healthy cheese cake on a wheat free diet. It calls for a sweetener equivalent to 3/4C. sugar. I use Stevia but I don’t want to bake with it. Could you give me a couple suggestions and write it in simple terms. If I need 3/4 C. of a substitute sweetener, then how would I use raw honey for instance for this recipe. Thank you so much. Judy in Virginia

    • HI Judy – following the directions in the post you would use 1/2 to 3/4 of the amount of honey and then remove 3/4 x 1/4 of a cup (3/16) of the liquid. However, since it’s a cheesecake, the liquid portion might not matter as much. Hope that helps.

      • Judy Oleksik says:

        The recipe called for 1 C. room temp ricotta cheese, 1/2C. coconut flour, sweetner equivalent to 3/4 sweetener, 4 eggs (separated) . I beat the egg whites and set aside. Directions said to beat all other ingredients together and fold in egg whites and cook at 375 for about 20 minutes. My finished product was very thin and didn’t look like the picture at all. Of course these folks who put the recipe in the magazine aren’t available to assist you. It was very disappointing. I didn’t understand your reply about taking some of the liquid out. Thanks again, Judy

        • In the post I mentioned that when you exchange a liquid for a granulated sweetener, you need to account for the difference in the liquid. In your case there isn’t a liquid to adjust for so perhaps that is the issue? Maybe adding in a little more coconut flour since it soaks up liquids very effectively. Sorry it didn’t work out.

  8. I have a recipe that calls for liquid xylitol, but I only have powder on hand. Do I use the same formula?

  9. Jessica Abouhamama says:

    Hi I’m an experienced baker but recently became diabetic due to steroids ugh! I use real sugar for customers, now I need to learn how to use honey or something else (suggestion)? instead of sugar for myself. I refuse to use stevia or anything like that I am fighting a deadly disease taking chemotherapy so no more added chemicals. I don’t want a dense cake or cupcake, but need moisture which sugar gives, so with fruit purée will give sweet flavor. So could you please help me out? I’m in a dilemma here lol. I am asking if you can email me please would be easier for me .

    Thank you ahead of time
    Jessica A.

  10. Thank you for this very helpful post! I just recently discovered your blog with your post about Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid. And now this! Both worked like a charm. You definitely have a new fan here in Michigan! Thanks again.

  11. Is butter considered a liquid? My dilemma is that the only wet ingredients in my recipe are vanilla, eggs and butter.

  12. Awesome post! I’m always looking for ways to sub in honey/agave/maple syrup instead of sugar. Those unhealthy little things… One question, when you said to add 1/4 cup of liquid for every cup of sweetener (granulated for liquid), what does that mean exactly? Do I add in an extra 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe eg. extra 1/4 cup of milk?

  13. There’s a recipe I want to make that calls for 1/2 cup of honey. It’s at this site:
    I never liked honey in any chocolate recipe! I’d rather use coconut sugar. How would I use coconut sugar in place of honey in this recipe?

    • Hi there. You would consider coconut sugar to be granulated sugar and convert accordingly. Sounds great!

      • I’m still not sure what to make of that. It would be great if someone can fill in the blank: 1/2 cup honey = ______
        coconut sugar.

        • I would try 6 T of the coconut sugar and then add in about 1/8 cup liquid. Hope that helps.

          • It’s 2016 and I’m confused! I’ve re-read the blog post & went through all the comments, hoping somone would make it easier. Still confused… Adrienne, I don’t understand why you would need to add 1/8 cup liquid (in the above example)? I thought Avram was asking to convert liquid honey to granulated sugar. Why would we need to add liquid? Could you please clarify. Thanks.

          • You need to subtract liquid if moving honey to granulated. Hope that helps :).

  14. I’m not very good with math, so even wng ith you showing me this, I still can’t figure out how much liquid
    sweetener to use when it calls for 2/3 cup of white granulated sugar, or 1/3 cup of sugar. Can you help me
    learn this in a real simple way, or just give me the answers? I’m making chocolate ice cream tomorrow,
    and I really need help. I’ve read all the convertings but I still have a hard time figuring it out.

    Thanks, I really do appreciate all the help you can give me.

  15. Can I substitute raw honey for confectioners sugar in a fudge recipe, it calls for 5 cups of confectioners sugar! I could experiment myself, but if you have the conversion, I rather not waste the honey! Hard time for bees and all! Thank you

    • Hi there. If 1.5 cups of granulated yields about 2 cups powdered, then figure for 5 cups confectioners you are talking about 3 3/4 cups granulated and go from there. Hope that helps!

  16. I’m sorry, but I’m terrible at math. I want to replace 1/3 cup honey with erythritol… so w/ your conversion, would I add my erythritol, then 1.5 tablespoons of water? Thanks!

    • Hi there. So sorry for the delay. I’ve been swamped. I’m coming up with 1 1/3 T. Hope that helps! But eryth is much less sweet so you will need to increase how much you add of that sweetener.

  17. Hi there, I was wondering what the conversion is from honey to stevia granules (sugar size)?

  18. Jennifer MRSROD Morris says:

    Hi, I’ve been fasting refined sugar for quite awhile now. My family is not. I have been experimenting for the last several years on the “perfect” natural sugar substitution for baking and this is what I’ve discovered:
    exchange for each cup of white sugar I use (in a pre-sprayed glass measuring cup) 1/3 cup of honey and 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup plus 1/4 cup (using a dry measure) of the Stevia Cup By Cup…it comes in a green bag. Not those little packets of Stevia. The combo of the 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/4 has proven to be the perfect exchange for white sugar. If the recipe calls for brown sugar, I use this: 1/4 cup honey plus 1/4 cup maple syrup plus 1/4 cup molasses….that would be for like, chocolate chip cookies…where about a half cup of brown sugar is called for. I have substituted a mixture of just maple syrup and molasses (1/3 + 1/3) and it works well, also. I have been experimenting with natural sweeteners for about 7 years now and this is the best I’ve got, texture-wise. My desserts always end up a little more dense, but my family has grown to really love (not just endure) my homemade goodies. Hope this helps.

  19. I think your math is wrong. In step 3, the converse should be to add 1/3 of liquid. Not 1/4. Then you have 4/3. If you then subtract 1/4 again, you are back at 3/3 = 1.

    • Hi there. The point is that for every cup of honey you are converting, you need to increase or decrease the liquid in the recipe by approx. 1/4. It’s not a perfect science as I have seen other bloggers say to decrease / increase by 1/2 cup. But this is the ratio I have seen most often. Does that make sense or am I missing something? Thanks!

  20. Hi Adrienne,
    I chanced upon your site when searching for information on using pure maple syrup as a substitute for white sugar.
    Question: Have you ever tried doing this in a recipe that does not call for any liquid other than whites of eggs?
    Recipe I’m trying to do this with is:
    Flourless Chocolate Souffle by Shifra Klein
    12 oz bittersweet choc.
    6 large yolks
    12 egg whites
    1 cup sugar

    Any chance you would know if I can use pure maple syrup in this recipe without a complete disastrous result?