What is a substitute for Lyle’s golden syrup?

Quick Answer

Lyle’s golden syrup is a popular baking ingredient in the UK. It has a sweet, thick, and sticky texture similar to honey or corn syrup. The most common substitutes for Lyle’s golden syrup are light or dark corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, inverted sugar syrup, golden syrup, or a simple syrup made from sugar and water. The best substitute will depend on the flavor profile and texture you need for the recipe. Light corn syrup is the most direct substitute, while honey provides similar sweetness. Maple syrup or inverted sugar syrup can replicate the thickness.

What is Lyle’s Golden Syrup?

Lyle’s golden syrup is a sugar syrup produced in the UK. It was created in 1885 by Abram Lyle, who pioneered a method to extract sugar from sugar beets to produce the syrup. Lyle’s golden syrup has a honey-like consistency and appearance, with a light golden color. It tastes sweeter than honey and has a distinct malty, caramel-like flavor. The texture is thick, smooth, and sticky. It is used as a condiment and baking ingredient in desserts, baked goods, porridge, and more. The most recognizable brand is Lyle’s Golden Syrup, but it is also generically known as light treacle.

Best Substitutes for Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Light or Dark Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is the most widely available and accessible replacement for Lyle’s golden syrup. It is made from corn starch and provides a very similar texture and sweetness. Light corn syrup provides the closest match in color, flavor, and consistency. Dark corn syrup has a deeper color and more pronounced flavor. Use a 1:1 substitution ratio when replacing Lyle’s golden syrup with corn syrup.


Honey makes a good substitute for replicating the texture, viscosity, and sweet flavor. The flavor profile won’t be exactly the same, as honey has a floral, nuanced taste compared to the malty golden syrup. Honey works especially well in baking recipes and desserts. Replace in a 1:1 ratio. Opt for a mild flavored honey like clover or wildflower.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup has a similar thickness and high sugar content as Lyle’s golden syrup. It can be used as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio. However, maple syrup has a pronounced maple flavor that will come through in the recipe. It works best in baking applications where the maple taste is complementary, like muffins, pancakes, or oatmeal.

Inverted Sugar Syrup

Inverted sugar syrup is made by heating table sugar (sucrose) with water and an acid like lemon juice or cream of tartar. It results in a thick, viscous syrup with similar sweetening and moisture retention properties as Lyle’s golden syrup. Replace in a 1:1 ratio.

Golden Syrup

Lyle’s isn’t the only brand of golden syrup. Other brands like Roger’s Golden Syrup provide almost identical results. You can substitute any golden syrup in place of Lyle’s as a 1:1 replacement. The texture and flavor will be difficult to distinguish.

Simple Sugar Syrup

A basic simple syrup made from equal parts sugar and water boiled together results in a plain sugar syrup. It doesn’t replicate the distinct maple flavor notes, but provides the viscosity and sweetness. Replace Lyle’s golden syrup with an equal amount of simple syrup.

How to Make a Substitute for Lyle’s Golden Syrup

It’s easy to make a homemade replacement for Lyle’s golden syrup if you have sugar and water on hand. Here is a simple golden syrup recipe:


  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice or cream of tartar (optional, enhances flavor)


  1. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar, water, and lemon juice or cream of tartar if using over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Once simmering, cook uncovered for about 5-7 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly into a syrup-like consistency that coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

The resulting simple sugar syrup can be used as a 1:1 ratio replacement in recipes calling for Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Adding a small amount of lemon juice or cream of tartar helps balance the sweetness.

Tips for Using Lyle’s Golden Syrup Substitutes

  • When using corn syrup, experiment with combining light and dark varieties to achieve the right color and flavor for the recipe.
  • Try combining syrups like corn syrup for texture, and honey for flavor.
  • Maple syrup works best in recipes where its flavor will complement other ingredients like oats, nuts, or warm spices.
  • Refrigerate homemade sugar syrup substitutes for up to a month for best results.
  • Add a splash of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor of plain sugar syrup.
  • When substituting in baking recipes, maintain an equal liquid to dry ingredient ratio.

Recommended Substitute for Different Recipes

Recipe Best Substitute
Gingerbread Light or dark corn syrup
Pancakes Maple syrup or honey
Muffins Honey
Cookies Light corn syrup
Cakes Golden syrup or simple sugar syrup
Porridge Honey


Lyle’s golden syrup has a unique flavor and texture, but it can be mimicked with ingredients like corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, inverted sugar syrup, or homemade sugar syrup. Light corn syrup is the most direct 1:1 substitute, while honey provides similar sweetening properties. Maple syrup works well when you want a pronounced maple flavor. Make a simple syrup from sugar and water for plain sweetness without distinct flavors. Consider the color, thickness, sweetness, and flavor profile you need for the recipe when choosing the best substitute for Lyle’s golden syrup.

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