The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Substitutes for Rice Syrup

The best rice syrup substitutes

Rice syrup is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes, adding sweetness and a unique flavor. However, if you can’t find rice syrup or prefer not to use it, there are several excellent substitutes. In this article, we will explore the best alternatives to rice syrup and discuss their characteristics and uses.

1. Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is an ideal substitute for rice syrup due to its similar sweetness and consistency. Although corn syrup is lighter in color than rice syrup, it can perform all the functions effectively. It can add sweetness, flavor and help bind ingredients together. Corn syrup has a mild, grain-like flavor that complements many dishes. It is also readily available and affordable. You can substitute corn syrup for rice syrup in a 1:1 ratio without making significant adjustments to the recipe.

2. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is another excellent substitute for rice syrup, although it is a bit more expensive. It has a darker color similar to rice syrup and adds a unique flavor to dishes. Maple syrup works well in marinades and sauces where a specific consistency is not required. For recipes that require rice syrup to add moisture, it may be necessary to adjust the dry ingredients. Removing ¼ cup of flour from the recipe and substituting 1 cup of maple syrup can help maintain the desired texture. Alternatively, you can use the same amount of maple syrup, but be aware that this may result in a sweeter and moister final product.

3. Honey

Honey is a versatile substitute for several syrup products, including rice syrup. It provides sweetness, adds color, and has a consistency similar to rice syrup. Honey is also known for its excellent browning properties. When substituting honey for rice syrup, use about ¾ cup of honey for every 1 cup of rice syrup. Honey has a relatively neutral flavor when used in foods, making it a suitable substitute for those who prefer a milder taste.

4. Simple syrup

Simple syrup is an easy substitute for adding sweetness to recipes that call for rice syrup. It is essentially melted sugar or a combination of sugar and water. Simple syrup provides concentrated sweetness, but may not brown as well when cooked in a recipe. However, you can solve this problem by cooking your own simple syrup to a dark color before using it. Keep in mind that simple syrup hardens when it cools, so it may not be suitable for all applications.

5. Barley Malt Syrup

Barley malt syrup is an underrated substitute for rice syrup. It offers a unique flavor and dark color, making it an excellent choice for savory dishes. When used for sweetness, such as in glazes, barley malt syrup provides a rich flavor. It is thicker than rice syrup, but can be heated to achieve a more fluid consistency. However, some malt syrups have a strong molasses-like flavor, so adjust the amount or mix with simple syrup if you prefer a milder taste.

6. Molasses

Molasses is a highly flavored sugar syrup that adds depth to dishes, especially savory ones with a hint of saltiness. While it can be used in sweet dishes, its use is limited to recipes that result in brown finished products, such as granola bars or brownies. Molasses is also an excellent thickener. Because of its strong flavor, it should be used in smaller quantities, about ½ cup of molasses to 1 cup of rice syrup.


When rice syrup is unavailable or undesirable, there are several alternatives that can effectively replicate its sweetness, consistency, and flavor. Corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, simple syrup, barley malt syrup, and molasses are all viable substitutes with their own unique characteristics. Depending on the specific recipe and desired result, these substitutes can be used in equal proportions or with slight adjustments to achieve the desired flavor and texture. Experimenting with these alternatives can add variety to your dishes while maintaining the desired sweetness and consistency.


What is rice syrup and why would I need a substitute?

Rice syrup is a sweetener made from rice starch that is commonly used in Asian cooking. You may need a substitute if you can’t find rice syrup or prefer to use alternative ingredients in your recipes.

What are the best alternatives to rice syrup?

The best substitutes for rice syrup are corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, simple syrup, barley malt syrup, and molasses. These alternatives provide similar sweetness and consistency to rice syrup and can be used in a variety of recipes.

How do I replace rice syrup with corn syrup?

To substitute rice syrup for corn syrup, use a 1:1 ratio. Corn syrup has a slightly lighter color, but performs similarly to rice syrup in terms of sweetness, flavor, and thickening. No major recipe adjustments are required when using corn syrup as a substitute.

Can I use maple syrup instead of rice syrup?

Yes, maple syrup can be used to replace rice syrup. It has a darker color and adds a distinct flavor to dishes. When substituting maple syrup for rice syrup, you may need to adjust the dry ingredients slightly to maintain the desired texture.

Is honey a good alternative to rice syrup?

Yes, honey is a versatile rice syrup substitute. It provides sweetness, color, and a similar consistency. When using honey as a substitute, approximately ¾ cup of honey can replace 1 cup of rice syrup in a recipe.

Can I use molasses in place of rice syrup?

Molasses can be used as a substitute for rice syrup, especially in recipes that call for darker or savory dishes. Because of its strong flavor, use about ½ cup of molasses for every 1 cup of rice syrup required. Keep in mind that molasses is not suitable for all recipes, as its flavor can be quite distinct.