Light corn syrup is widely available in the United States and usually inexpensive. It is a highly effective sweetener that is ideal for frozen desserts but can be used in baked goods and many other applications as well. If you have run out of light corn syrup, there are a few different sweeteners that can play a similar role. Here are some of the best light corn syrup substitutes.
Your best bet: Brown rice syrup
Another grain-based sweetener, brown rice syrup, is an effective alternative to light corn syrup in many applications. It is sometimes called rice malt syrup or maltose syrup and is made by converting starches in the rice into maltose and other sugars. Brown rice syrup is commonly used in Asia in much the same way that corn syrup is used in the U.S., mostly because rice is more widely available in that part of the world.
Brown rice syrup has the same level of sweetness and functions similarly when it comes to its effect on the texture of foods. Like light corn syrup, it prevents the formation of large crystals when it is frozen. As a result, brown rice syrup can ensure a smooth and creamy texture in your sorbets and ice creams.
The nuttiness of brown rice syrup is a little more assertive than light corn syrup’s relatively neutral flavor, which means that it may not be a good option in mild-flavored candies and desserts. It is not as easy to find as other substitutes and can be somewhat expensive.
A decent second choice: Pancake syrup
Pancake syrup is an excellent 1:1 substitute for light corn syrup. For one thing, it is a liquid sweetener that consists mostly of corn syrup. It is exactly the same as light corn syrup but with maple flavoring and food coloring to give it an amber color. It will have the same benefits as plain light corn syrup when making ice cream, hard candies, and similar sweet items. Pancake syrup has the advantage of being easy to find in U.S. grocery stores and very affordable.
Pancake syrup can have a robust maple flavor, which sometimes comes from the spice fenugreek. The taste can easily overwhelm other flavors, so it may not be the best light corn syrup substitute for some recipes.
In a pinch: Honey
Honey is another effective way to replace light corn syrup. It provides roughly the same amount of sweetness, and it is also in liquid form. While honey is thicker than light corn syrup, it is not significantly different in terms of consistency. You can use it as a 1:1 substitute in many of the same applications. Honey is easy to find in most places and is usually available at affordable prices.
Because it does not prevent crystallization as well as light corn syrup, honey is not as good a choice for making candy. Also, its floral flavor is quite distinctive, so it won’t be the best choice in all recipes. When using honey as a light corn syrup alternative, look for lighter-colored varieties since these tend to be more mildly flavored.
Agave nectar is another sweetener with a somewhat neutral taste that allows it to stand in for light corn syrup in many applications. For example, it can enhance pie fillings and sauces. It does have different properties from corn syrup, so it won’t produce the same results when used for making ice cream or candies.