Vegan Substitutes For Honey: 7 Tasty Animal Free Alternatives

Newly vegan or trying to replace honey for something else in a recipe?

Keep reading to discover some other sweet options!

I discuss vegan substitutes for honey and why vegans avoid honey in this dietitian written article!

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Associate affiliate links. This means: if you click on the links and purchase, I earn a commission.

Disclaimer: This post is not providing personal medical or dietary advice. Consult your doctor about your questions regarding health or diet. The writer expresses her own opinions and taste preferences regarding her favorite honey substitutes in this article. It is not meant to tell you what you must consume. See our Disclaimers for more details.

This post was originally published on 2/8/23. The updated date is listed above.

Vegan Substitutes for Honey (Top Picks):

Vegan Substitutes for Honey: The List

When we’re talking about honey substitutes, at the minimum, I’m focusing on a product that is sweet tasting (isn’t that obvious?) and liquid. So no: granulated sugar will not make this cut!

Sure, you could substitute sweeteners with a different texture, however, you’d often have to make significant changes to a recipie if it called for a more liquid sweetener like honey. Just an FYI!

Finally, (and this should be obvious), this list is not exhaustive.

Without further ado, here’s a quick list of 7 Vegan Substitutes for Honey:

  • Maple Syrup
  • Agave Nectar
  • Date Syrup
  • Bee Free Honey (vegan)
  • Apricot Jam
  • Coconut Nectar
  • Corn Syrup

Now lets dive into if they actually taste like honey, nutrition, and how they can be used!

Maple Syrup

  • Does it Taste Like Honey?: Not quite, but several recipes say it’s fine to sub maple syrup for honey!
  • Flavor: warm, syrupy sweet, smooth, and sappy.
  • Nutrition: Notable highlights include decent amounts of certain nutrients, like potassium (around 176 milligrams per 1/4 a cup) and calcium (about 85 milligrams per 1/4 a cup) (1). For reference, that’s quite a bit more than the mere 5 milligrams of calcium in 1/4 a cup of honey(2)!
  • How To Use: Maple syrup goes well in hot beverages like tea and coffee, in fact, it is my go-to sweetener for this! While it doesn’t taste like honey, it subs quite nicely in many recipes.

Agave Nectar

  • Does it Taste Like Honey?: Some sources think it does. Identical to honey? Probably not.
  • Flavor: I’ve used agave nectar before, but don’t remember the flavor. Depending on whether it’s a light or dark variety, agave nectar is sometimes described as mildly sweet to intense (aka: strong like molasses)(3)!
  • Nutrition: One fourth a cup of agave nectar contains about 52 mcg of beta carotene (a antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A), and some B vitamins (but not vitamin B12) (4).
  • How To Use: A few vegan recipes suggest you can substitute agave nectar for honey.

Date Syrup

  • Does it Taste Like Honey?: Nope! It tastes like the fruit (by the way, did you know that dates are actually fresh fruits?)
  • Flavor: Depends on the type of dates! If you are using medjool, you may get a more caramel like flavor as opposed to deglet nour dates. Both are quite sweet. But deglet nour dates tend to be less sweet than medjool.
  • Nutrition: Unlike the other vegan honey alternatives, this natural sweetener has gut loving fiber! Dates also come packaged with a host of vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.
  • How To Use: I love to put date syrup on oatmeal or as a sweetener in baked goods.

    Because of the consistency, homemade date syrup doesn’t work well in coffee and tea in my experience!

    Recipes may differ, but most have some kind of ratio for the date paste (typically water and dates). has simple cooking directions. You can check out the recipe right here.

Bee Free Vegan “Honey”

Picture of a container of Bee Free Honey.
  • Does it Taste Like Honey?: Yes! I think BlenditUp’s Bee Free Honey does taste like honey (of note: I haven’t had honey in a long time. 😉 )
  • Flavor: Like honey! Sweet, slightly sour, earthy.
  • Nutrition: I couldn’t find much on the nutrition panel in terms of vitamins and minerals except for a bit of potassium. That being said, the ingredients list is simply ~ apple juice concentrate, water, cane sugar, and lemon juice concentrate last time I checked on the Amazon listing (check for updated info). So, as an educated guess, this product probably contains some vitamin C and some other nutrients apple juice might contain(5).
  • How To Use: This can be substituted for honey! I’ve used it in muffins, and as sweetener oatmeal or on coffee. It is delicious!

Apricot Jam

  • Does it Taste Like Honey?: Reminiscent, but not quite “there” It does have this twang that sort of reminded me of honey.
  • Flavor: Sticky, sweet/sour, tangy.
  • How To Use: This makes a tasty topping for yogurt, granola, oatmeal, etc. I wouldn’t use this instead of honey in baked goods.

Coconut Nectar

  • Does it Taste Like Honey?: While I haven’t tried this, I’m guessing it does not taste like honey because coconut can have a strong taste!
  • Flavor: Despite the name, some sources suggest it does not taste like coconut! Instead, it might taste more earthy or like maple syrup depending on the brand(6).
  • Nutrition: I could not find a lot of information about the nutrition content of coconut nectar specifically. While coconut meat contains a decent amount of nutrients like potassium and selenium(7), I don’t know if these nutrients would be filtered out to extract nectar.
  • How To Use: Coconut nectar can be used instead of honey in some recipes, but if you are looking for that honey like taste, there are more authentic options.

Corn Syrup

  • Does it Taste Like Honey?: While it may look like honey, it’s probably a bit far fetched to say it tastes just like honey – albeit, I’ve never tried straight corn syrup.
  • Flavor: Depending on the type, it could have a sweet to vanilla or caramel like flavor according to some reports(8).
  • Nutrition: Despite the word “corn,” (a nutrient dense food), corn syrup has much less to brag about in the nutrition department. Compared to the other options mentioned on this list, corn syrup is likely the least nutritious (9). It’s your classic calorically dense sweetener that doesn’t provide much more than simple carbohydrates and sugars!
  • How To Use: Depending on the recipe, you might be able to use this as a substitute for honey. While you could sweeten beverages with it, it may be more worthwhile to use a sweetener that has other uses.

FAQ About Honey (Vegan Questions Answered!)

Do Vegans Eat Honey?

Vegans do not eat honey. Honey comes from bees that are both insects and animals. Ethical vegans avoid animal derived food as much as they practically can(10).

But perhaps you are wondering why taking honey from bees is considered a no go for them. After all, the bee’s aren’t affected right?

Not quite. Here’s why vegans avoid honey:

  • Honey is a food source for bees. Taking honey for our consumption deprives them of their natural food source. They might be given a less nutrient dense option, like fructose corn syrup. Granted, I’m not an animal expert! Still, it’s a valid question as to whether these alternatives are an optimal choice for the bees.
  • Bee’s at a farm may be killed off during the winter.
  • Queen bees are vital to bee hives. Her wing(s) may be clipped (11).

Do I Need It? Is Honey Good For Me?

You shouldn’t need honey unless you are in an extreme situation where eating honey is what you must do to survive. That scenario is probably unrealistic for many of us.

Obviously, those who are allergic to honey should avoid it. And before 12 months old, babies should not not consume honey – as there is a risk of botulism poisoning (12).

To my understanding, research does not support that honey has special health benefits you can’t get elsewhere.

While honey may have antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenolic acids(13), plant based foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes also contain antioxidants, and gut loving fiber (something honey does not have).

The vitamin and mineral content of honey is so small that you would need to consume alot of honey to make a dent in your requirements. And consuming a ton of simple sugars, like those found in honey, is not recommended for an overall healthy diet(14).

There are plenty of better, more wholesome/nutrient dense carbohydrate choices, like oatmeal, sweet potatoes or whole wheat bread– just to name a few!

Are There Any Vegan Alternatives to Popular Products With Honey?

The “honey” in Honey Nut Cheerios and Honey Comb cereal is not vegan!

If you are craving that flavor, Three Wishes Honey cereal is an example of a vegan cereal that (in my opinion) has a that familiar flavor.

It reminds me of Honey Comb cereal, but in a O shape. I thought it was delicious and so does my non-vegan husband.

As for other non vegan products with honey in them, like snack bar: I have not an decent alternative. But I’m sure there are vegan recipes out there for just about anything you can think of!

What happened To The Bee Free Honee Products?

If you were a fan of the Bee Free Honee, which use to be sold in various grocery stores – know that they are no longer sold. According to one source, they apparently shut down in 2019(15).

Can I Make My Own Vegan Honey Recipe?

There are several vegan “honey” recipes that are animal product free!

There are several recipes online, including this one from vegan creator: Iye Bako!

Some common ingredients you

Common ingredients you may find in vegan ‘honey’ recipes could include stuff like:

  • rice syrup
  • brown rice syrup
  • barley malt syrup
  • lemon juice
  • apple juice
  • tea

Last Thoughts

A vegan diet does not include honey due to the exploitation of bees to produce honey.

There are so many tasty options that don’t involve products made directly from bees.

They might not taste exactly like honey, but they sure are sweet!

Finally do not give actual honey to those who are allergic or babies under 12 months old.

I hope this article helped answer your questions, or gave you some new ideas!
What’s your favorite honey substitute? Anything I didn’t cover? Comment below!
And while you’re here, why not poke around on the blog?

Here’s a few articles you might be interested in since you learned about sweet substitutes for honey!

Finally, if you loved this post and want to keep up to date with new vegan content from me,

1 thought on “Vegan Substitutes For Honey: 7 Tasty Animal Free Alternatives”

  1. Great suggestions!! I actually just made the switch to a vegan lifestyle and was struggling for substitutes, this helps so much. I may have to give those cheerios a go too haha.

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