What do you use Lyle’s golden syrup for?

Lyle’s golden syrup is a popular sweetener and ingredient used in a variety of desserts, baked goods, and other recipes. With its thick, amber texture and rich taste, golden syrup adds sweetness, moisture, and flavor to everything from cakes and cookies to porridge and pancakes.

What is Lyle’s Golden Syrup?

Lyle’s golden syrup is made from sugar cane and is creamy in texture with a golden color. It has a distinctive flavor profile described as buttery, caramel-like, and honey-flavored. The syrup consists primarily of sucrose, glucose, and fructose. It has a thick, smooth consistency perfect for pouring.

Some key facts about Lyle’s golden syrup:

  • Created in London in 1885 by Abram Lyle, founder of the famous Lyle’s Golden Syrup company
  • Made by refining and concentrating sugar cane juice into syrup
  • Has an amber color and smooth, thick texture
  • Tastes sweet with flavors of butterscotch, toffee, and honey
  • Used as a topping and ingredient in baking, porridge, pancakes, and more

The characteristic golden syrup tin features a lion logo, which refers to the Biblical Samson story in which Samson killed a lion and later found bees and honey in its carcass. This “Out of the strong came forth sweetness” idea became the inspiration for the golden syrup tin design.

Taste, Texture, and Uses

Golden syrup has a unique, rich flavor all its own. It tastes sweeter than honey with its own distinct butterscotch and caramel flavors. The texture is smooth, thick, and easy to pour or spoon.

This versatile syrup can be used in place of honey, corn syrup, or molasses in recipes. Common uses for golden syrup include:

  • Cakes – adds moisture and sweetness
  • Cookies – helps chewy texture
  • Bread – used in sweet breads for flavor
  • Scones – nicely binds ingredients
  • Pastries like pecan pie – used as filling
  • Gingerbread – enhances flavor
  • Fruit crumbles and pies – substitute for corn syrup
  • Porridge and oatmeal – drizzled on for sweetness
  • Pancakes and waffles – topping instead of syrup
  • Ice cream and desserts – drizzled over or used in sauce
  • Glazes and sauces – enhances flavor and shine
  • Sweetening beverages like tea and coffee

Golden syrup works especially well in recipes where you want a milder sweet flavor than sugar. The syrup consistency helps retain moisture in baked goods. You can substitute golden syrup for corn syrup or honey in equal amounts.

Popular Brands

Some popular brands of golden syrup include:

  • Lyle’s Golden Syrup – The original and most popular brand since 1885. Made in London.
  • Roger’s Golden Syrup – Made in Canada following the traditional Lyle’s recipe. Popular in Canada.
  • Holland’s Golden Syrup – Made in New Zealand, a bit darker and richer than Lyle’s.
  • Steen’s Cane Syrup – Golden sugar cane syrup from Louisiana with rich, molasses-like flavor.
  • Karo Light Corn Syrup – Made from corn in the US, mild in flavor.
  • King’s Golden Syrup – Smooth, buttery golden syrup made in Thailand.
  • Golden Eagle Syrup – Made in the UK, robust flavor.

While you’ll see some variation between brands, most traditional golden syrups have a similar sweet flavor profile and amber color. Lyle’s remains the most popular worldwide, but brands like Rogers and Steen’s also have loyal followings.


In a pinch, there are a few substitutes you can use for golden syrup:

  • Light corn syrup – The most common substitute, with a similar consistency. Corn syrup is less sweet with a milder flavor.
  • Honey – Closest in sweetness and flavor, though not as thick. Replace 1 cup golden syrup with 1 cup honey.
  • Inverted sugar syrup – Made by heating granulated sugar with water and cream of tartar. Similar sweetness.
  • Maple syrup – Provides sweetness but imparts a maple flavor. Use 3/4 cup maple syrup for every 1 cup golden syrup.
  • Molasses – Works in recipes where molasses flavor is acceptable. Not as thick.

While not perfect substitutes, these all work fairly well in a pinch. Corn syrup is the most commonly available and affordable option.

How to Make Your Own

You can make your own homemade golden syrup with just white sugar, water, lemon juice and cream of tartar. Here is a simple golden syrup recipe to try:

Homemade Golden Syrup


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar


  1. Combine sugar, water, lemon juice and cream of tartar in a saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves.
  2. Once dissolved, stop stirring and increase heat to medium-high. Allow to boil for 5-7 minutes until thickened and golden color develops.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

The initial stirring helps prevent the sugar from burning or crystallizing. Once dissolved, boiling helps concentrate the syrup and build its golden color. Cooling helps thicken it to the perfect consistency for drizzling and pouring.

How is Golden Syrup Made?

Golden syrup is made through the process of refining and concentrating sugar cane or beet juice into syrup. Here is a look at how it’s made:

  1. Sugar cane or sugar beets are harvested and processed to extract the sugar juice.
  2. The juice is boiled to concentrate it and begin forming into syrup.
  3. As water evaporates, the syrup thickens and caramelizes developing its golden amber color.
  4. Impurities are filtered out leaving pure golden syrup behind.
  5. The syrup is rapidly cooled to prevent unwanted crystallization.
  6. After cooling, it is packaged for distribution while still hot and runny.
  7. As it cools fully in the packaging, the syrup takes on its characteristic thick, smooth flowing consistency.

Similar to making maple syrup from maple sap, the process involves simply evaporating water to concentrate the natural sugars into syrup form. The specific ingredients and cooking process give golden syrup its unique amber color and buttery, caramelized flavor.

History of Lyle’s Golden Syrup

The history of Lyle’s Golden Syrup dates back to the 1880s in London, England. Here’s a look at the key events in the history of this iconic syrup brand:

  • 1883 – Chemist and entrepreneur Abram Lyle begins selling sugar syrup at a new sugar refinery located in Plaistow, London.
  • 1885 – Lyle creates a special syrup by refining sugar cane juice into golden syrup, launching the Lyle’s Golden Syrup brand.
  • Early 1900s – Lyle’s tins feature a dead lion with bees to link Biblical Samson story to “Out of the strong came forth sweetness.”
  • 1921 – Lyle’s Golden Syrup is granted a Royal Warrant by King George V allowing supply to the royal household.
  • 1925 – Lyle’s Golden Syrup featured in recipes for the first edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management.
  • 2012 – Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin given English Heritage status recognizing its iconic design.
  • Today – Lyle’s remains a beloved household brand, owned by Tate & Lyle and exported worldwide.

For over 125 years, Lyle’s Golden Syrup has remained a top selling pantry staple known for its distinctive flavor and history. Even today, the vintage British brand maintains its popularity worldwide.

Nutrition Facts

Golden syrup is primarily made up of carbohydrates with little protein, fat or vitamins and minerals. Here is the nutrition breakdown for a 2 tablespoon (30ml) serving of Lyle’s Golden Syrup:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 118
Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 30g
Sugars 30g
Protein 0g

As you can see, a serving of golden syrup supplies 120 calories and 30g of carbohydrates, all of which come from natural sugars. There is no fat, protein, fiber or micronutrients. So golden syrup provides a concentrated source of calories and carbohydrates with little additional nutritional value.

Selecting the Best Quality

To get the highest quality golden syrup for your recipes, here are a few tips for selection:

  • Check the expiration or best-by date and pick the freshest option.
  • Avoid syrups with separation, crystallization or cloudiness.
  • Pick golden syrups with a smooth, thick, pourable consistency.
  • Select reputable brands for reliability. Lyle’s is the gold standard.
  • Read the ingredient list and select pure versions without additives.
  • Buy smaller bottles if you won’t use it often to ensure freshness.
  • Inspect the packaging – avoid dents, damage or leaks.

Buying from a busy store will help ensure you get freshly produced syrup. Once open, store in the refrigerator to help prevent mold growth and drying out.

Common Questions

Does golden syrup go bad?

An unopened golden syrup can last 1-2 years past its best-by date stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, golden syrup lasts 3-4 months refrigerated. Look for changes in texture, moisture, appearance or smell.

Can you substitute molasses for golden syrup?

Yes, in small amounts molasses can replace golden syrup in recipes. The flavors are slightly different but the syrup texture is similar. Use 3/4 cup molasses for every 1 cup golden syrup. Reduce other liquids slightly.

Is golden syrup healthier than sugar?

No, golden syrup isn’t considered healthier than regular sugar. It has a similar calorie, carbohydrate and sugar content by weight. However, some find golden syrup easier to digest than cane sugar. But it isn’t a low-calorie or low-glycemic alternative.

What’s the difference between golden syrup and corn syrup?

Both corn syrup and golden syrup are glucose-based sweeteners. But golden syrup has a darker color and richer caramel flavor compared to the mild taste of corn syrup. Golden syrup is made from cane sugar while corn syrup comes from corn starch.

Why is it called golden syrup?

Golden syrup gets its name from its golden amber color. The syrup develops its rich golden hue and buttery flavor through careful heating and caramelization of sugar cane or beet juice during the refining process.


For over a century, Lyle’s Golden Syrup has been beloved by bakers, pancake makers and porridge eaters. With its unique smooth and creamy texture, golden amber color, and rich sweet flavor, this cane sugar syrup enhances everything from cakes to breads to desserts. Drizzle it over pancakes or add to tea for an easy way to upgrade breakfast or tea time.

While Lyle’s remains the most iconic brand, golden syrup is now produced worldwide by a variety of manufacturers. No matter which brand you choose, you can count on golden syrup to lend its characteristic sweetness and moisture to all kinds of baked goods and other applications. Thanks to its compatibility with many recipes, convenient use right from the bottle, and subtle butterscotch flavor, it’s no wonder golden syrup remains a treasured pantry staple for households and bakers across the globe.

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