Is there coconut syrup?

Coconut syrup is a sweetener made from the sap of coconut palm trees. It has become a popular alternative to maple syrup and other traditional sweeteners in recent years due to increased interest in natural and plant-based foods.

What is coconut syrup?

Coconut syrup is made from the sap or nectar collected from coconut palm flowers. The sap is boiled down until thick and syrupy, resulting in a sweet, thick liquid that resembles maple syrup or honey. It ranges in color from light golden to deep amber depending on how long it is cooked and condensed.

Coconut syrup has been produced for centuries in tropical regions where coconut palms grow, including Southeast Asia, parts of South America, Africa, and the Caribbean. However, it has only recently gained popularity in North America and Europe as a natural alternative sweetener.

Coconut nectar vs. coconut sugar

Coconut syrup is sometimes confused with coconut sugar or coconut nectar. However, they are different products:

  • Coconut syrup comes directly from the coconut palm sap.
  • Coconut sugar is made by boiling and dehydrating the coconut sap into crystalized sugar or powder.
  • Coconut nectar is the untreated, raw sap collected from the coconut blossoms.

While all three contain nutrients from the coconut palm, coconut syrup is the most processed into a thick syrup form.


Coconut syrup contains nutrients from the coconut palm, providing an alternative to more refined sweeteners:

  • High in amino acids, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
  • Low glycemic index, meaning it does not spike blood sugar quickly.
  • High in the plant sugar inulin, which acts as a prebiotic to support gut health.
  • Does contain calories and sugar, so it should be used in moderation.

Compared to maple syrup or honey, coconut syrup has a lower glycemic index (GI). Its GI is around 35, while maple syrup is around 54 and honey is around 58.

Nutrition per 1 tablespoon

Calories 60
Total fat 0 g
Total carbs 16 g
Sugars 12 g
Protein 0 g

Taste and uses

Coconut syrup has a rich, caramel-like flavor. It tastes similar to maple syrup, though with a hint of coconut flavor. The taste can vary slightly depending on the brand.

Coconut syrup is about two times sweeter than maple syrup. It is thick and sticky like honey or maple syrup. This makes it useful as a topping for foods like yogurt, oatmeal, and pancakes.

Coconut syrup can be substituted 1:1 for maple syrup, honey, or other liquid sweeteners in recipes. Some ways it can be used include:

  • Pancake and waffle topping
  • Oatmeal, yogurt, or fruit topping
  • Smoothies or coffee sweetener
  • Glazes for chicken, pork, baked goods
  • Ingredient in granola bars, energy bites
  • Substitute in baked goods like cookies, cakes, muffins

Buying and storing

Coconut syrup can be found in some grocery stores, especially health food stores like Whole Foods. It is also widely available for purchase online.

When shopping for coconut syrup, look for organic, unsweetened, 100% coconut syrup. Avoid products with added sugars or fillers. The ingredients should contain only coconut tree sap.

Once opened, coconut syrup should be refrigerated and can last 3-6 months. Unopened, it can be stored in the pantry up to 2 years. Over time, coconut syrup may separate with the sugars crystallizing slightly. This is normal. Simply stir or warm gently before using.

Popular brands

  • Coconut Secret
  • Nutiva
  • Nature On
  • Wax Orchards
  • Big Tree Farms

Benefits and downsides

Some potential benefits of using coconut syrup include:

  • Lower glycemic impact compared to white sugar
  • Natural source of nutrients like amino acids, minerals, and vitamins
  • Prebiotic effect to support digestive health
  • Substitute for those avoiding highly refined sugars or corn syrup
  • Long shelf life once opened

Some downsides to consider:

  • Still contains calories and sugar, so portion control is important
  • Higher price point than traditional sweeteners like sugar
  • Mild coconut flavor may not suit all recipes
  • Sap harvesting practices can impact environment if not sustainable

Risks and warnings

Coconut syrup has a low glycemic index, but it is not free of sugar or calories. Those watching their sugar intake may want to use it in moderation. As with any sweetener, excessive intake can lead to issues like weight gain or blood sugar problems.

Coconut syrup production places demands on coconut trees and the harvest practices can damage trees if not done sustainably. Choose organic, fair trade certified coconut syrup when possible.

Some people may have a mild food sensitivity or allergy to coconut products. Discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur.


There are some sustainability concerns when harvesting coconut sap to produce commercial coconut syrup:

  • Over-tapping the coconut trees can damage and deplete them long-term if not done responsibly.
  • As demand for coconut products grows, farmers may cut down rainforests to make room for more coconut palms.

To make sustainable coconut syrup:

  • Use responsible tapping techniques that protect tree health, like limiting collection period and not tapping everyday.
  • Plant coconut palms without clearing rainforests or depleting existing land.
  • Use organic practices to avoid fertilizer runoff that pollutes waterways.

When buying coconut syrup, look for fair trade certification to support farmers and sustainable practices.

Comparison to maple syrup

How does coconut syrup compare to maple syrup?

Coconut Syrup Maple Syrup
Flavor Caramel with hint of coconut Maple flavor
Glycemic Index 35 54
Calories per tablespoon 60 52
Nutrition Higher in nutrients like amino acids, minerals, and vitamins Higher in antioxidants like polyphenols

Both coconut syrup and maple syrup are natural liquid sweeteners that contain more nutrients than plain sugar. Coconut syrup has a lower GI, while maple syrup provides high levels of antioxidants. The tastes are slightly different, with coconut syrup having a hint of coconut flavor.


Coconut syrup is a natural liquid sweetener that makes a good substitute for maple syrup or honey. It is lower on the glycemic index than many alternative sweeteners. Coconut syrup also provides nutrients like amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and prebiotics from the coconut palm. While reasonable in moderation, it still contains sugar and calories, so portion control is important.

When buying and using coconut syrup, look for organic, fair trade options. Make sure any tapping practices are sustainable and do not harm coconut trees long-term. Store coconut syrup in the refrigerator once opened. It can be substituted for other liquid sweeteners in a variety of recipes.

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