5 Best sugar substitutes for baking

sugar substitute


Trying to cut back on white & processed sugars? This can be a huge step for most people. A focus on wholefood ingredients can reduce the total sugar content, but also improve the taste of your baked good! 

A cup of white sugar and a cup of honey realistically make up similar amounts of sugar entering the metabolic pathways. However, due to the intense flavours of wholefood ingredients, we can use less volume and still have a delicious great taste! 

No need to worry, we have 5 of our best sugar substitutes to help you towards a wholefood home.


Organic Maple Syrup


Mayple syrup has a beautiful deep caramel flavour that is 100% vegan friendly. It is a great substitute in all-baking recipes, mainly because of the strong, dark sweetness that will enhance your baked & raw treats.


When it comes to substitution, I wouldn’t substitute it as a 1:1 ratio, I would substitute 1 Cup white sugar : ¼ Cup maple.


Raw Honey


Raw honey I have to admit is one of my favourite sweeteners. Mainly because it is sweet enough to take those baked goods to the next level, and yet not too strong in flavour. Its sticky goodness texture helps bind many a no-baked balls or slices and is so widely available no matter where you live. The fact that such beautiful little beings such as bees create this sweetened syrup, makes it one of the most natural wholefoods around.


Being that honey is made up primarily of sugars just like its maple syrup counterpart, I would go low on the honey factor when baking and use the same 1 cup sugar : ¼ cup honey.

If you are baking something that needs extra sweetness, for example a chocolate treat where the bitterness of cacao needs to be balanced out, then take your ¼ Cup ratio up to ½ Cup for your entire recipe.


Coconut Sugar


Being very coconut obsessed, I do have to say that I am quite partial to a good source of coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is the best tasting option to switch from a processed white sugar to a wholefood alternative. Be aware that even with it's wholefood background, coconut sugar contains the same amount of sucrose, fructose and glucose as its processed companion. 


When it comes to baking, substituting this lovely ingredient 1:1 will retain the sweetness, remove the processed aspect, but not influence the calorie intake much.




Applesauce is a great little use of natures produce. Depending how much applesauce you would use [and you have to make your own] applesauce can help moisten the baked good + sweeten at the same time!


Note when baking with applesauce, you can substitute it 1:1; however you MUST reduce the liquid amount in your recipe by ¼ Cup. I suggest testing a recipe that uses applesauce as a listed ingredient first.

See the below link from the blog The Nourishing Gourmet and give it a go!



Rice Malt Syrup


You cannot go wrong with rice malt syrup [made from brown rice]. This wonderful syrupy sticky goodness is 0% Fructose. It is composed primarily of maltose, and is widely available at major supermarkets as well as health food stores.


For 1 cup of white sugar I usually add ¼ - ½ Cup of rice malt syrup instead. I love to use Rice Malt Syrup in all of my no bake goods, especially when making a date based caramel filling or no bake cookie dough balls! Check out www.humblewholefoods.com/recipes for a few testers.


Sometimes the best way to start using rice malt syrup is to slowly start cutting out those processed sugars and store bought sweets we all have grown to love. Why? Because you become accustomed to that fake sweet taste, and everything else does not satisfy.


When you stick to natural sugars from fruits, berries and wholefood sweetener substitutes, you can reduce the overall sugar component and improve taste quality. When you fill your body with wholefood ingredients, your taste buds begin to crave natural sugars from fruits and berries and you will find yourself deterring away from processed sweets. 


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Humble Wholefoods x.

Emily Robinson4 Comments