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The 10 Best Substitutes For Barley Malt Syrup

Barley malt syrup is a great ingredient that can be used in many recipes- if you can find it! You can usually pick it up from natural food stores or health food stores, or you can order it online.

The 10 Best Substitutes For Barley Malt Syrup

Even so, you might not be able to get hold of easily, especially if you are in a rush to get what you need for a particular recipe.

Don’t worry- there are lots of alternatives to barley malt syrup that work well in a variety of recipes. We have listed the top 10 barley malt syrup substitutes for you to try next time you are struggling to get your hands on barley malt syrup.

We have also given some advice on how to use these alternatives.

What Is Barley Malt Syrup?

Barley malt syrup is a natural sweetener that is made from malted barley grain. As cooking trends move away from processed white sugar towards more natural options, it has become more and more popular.

As well as being sweet – though not as sweet as some other syrups – it also has nutty flavour notes. This makes it a great thing to use to flavour beer.

Barley malt syrup has a thick and sticky consistency and is dark in color. However, it can also be bought in a powdered form.

The rich, nutty flavour of barley malt syrup makes it a great ingredient to be used in recipes for spiced cakes and gingerbread. It can also be used as a glaze for meat or roasted vegetables.

Barley malt syrup is made by sprouting the barley and heating the sprouts slowly until they form a syrup. Barley sprouts contain an enzyme called amylase which is what makes barley malt syrup sweet.

Barley malt syrup is vegan so is suitable for use in vegan recipes. It does not meet all dietary requirements as it contains gluten.


The most commonly available and perhaps the most obvious alternative to barley malt syrup is sugar. You can get it from almost any convenience store or food shop, and the chances are that you already have some in your cupboard!

You can use white or brown sugar to replace barley malt syrup, but if you want to recreate the nutty flavour then brown sugar would be best.

You will need to use half the amount of sugar as barley malt syrup, and keep in mind that it is not as raw and natural as barley malt syrup or some of the other ingredients on this list.

Too much sugar can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, inflammation in the body, diabetes and liver disease. Sugar is also very addictive.


A lot of people get molasses and barley malt syrup mixed up because they are very similar, but they are not the same thing. However, they have enough in common that you can use them in place of each other in many recipes.

It works especially well in recipes for breads and baked goods.

Molasses, also called black treacle, is a product of the process of refining sugar cane or sugar beets into sugar. As a general rule, molasses is twice as sweet as barley malt syrup so you need to use half as much.

However, there are three different types of molasses which vary in sweetness. Blackstrap molasses is the most similar to barley malt syrup as it is thicker, darker and less sweet than the others. You can also get light molasses and dark molasses.


As you probably know, honey is collected from bee colonies. It gets its sweetness from fructose and glucose. Honey has been used to sweeten recipes for centuries and it is an ideal alternative to barley malt syrup.

Honey is also cheaper than barley malt syrup, so you can switch it out by choice if you want your recipe to be more budget friendly. It is widely available so you shouldn’t have any issues getting hold of it to use in your cooking or baking.

Barley malt syrup contains gluten, so if you need to make your recipe gluten-free then you can use honey instead. In any baked desserts and sweet treat recipes that use barley malt syrup, you can use honey instead.

Just remember that honey is twice as sweet as barley malt syrup so you will need to use half as much or your food will be too sweet.

Honey has a similar consistency to barley malt syrup but is lighter in color with a warm orange or yellow hue depending on the variety.

Korean Rice Syrup

Korean syrup is closely related to barley malt syrup because it is made from barley malt powder and rice.

It has the same level of sweetness as barley malt syrup, as it also gets its sweetness from amylase, so if you use Korean rice syrup as a substitute then you won’t need to make any adjustments to the recipe.

Korean rice syrup is used in Korean cuisine to glaze and sweeten food. It has a thick, sticky consistency and a sweet yet earthy flavour. You can taste the grain more in this syrup than in barley malt syrup.

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup is a gluten free and vegan alternative to barley malt syrup. It is also quite low in calories, so is a fairly healthy substitute. It is less sweet than barley malt syrup, so you will need to use more of it to achieve the same results.

Because it is less sweet, you can also use it in savoury dishes. It is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, and is used in some households as a table sweetener.

Brown rice syrup is made by cooking rice then exposing it to enzymes that break down the starches into smaller sugars, resulting in a thick syrup. It is quite high in calories with very little nutrients, so you won’t want to eat too much of it in one go.

Agave Syrup

Agave Syrup

Agave syrup, also known as agave nectar, is a popular ingredient in vegan cooking. Due to its growing popularity, it is becoming more readily available in supermarkets, grocery stores and even some smaller stores.

It works really well in baked desserts and can be used in the same quantities as barley malt syrup. Agave is a type of plant, and the syrup is made from it’s nectar. It is fairly new to the United states, but has been used in Mexican cooking for centuries.

The sugars in agave plants are also used to make tequila. Whilst the agave plant has some health benefits, these are usually lost in the process of refining the sugar.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener that is made from the sap from maple trees. The sap contains starch that the trees save up during the colder months when there is less sunlight available to convert into energy.

Holes are drilled into the tree trucks and the sap is tapped out. The sap is then heated to evaporate the water, leaving behind a thick syrup.

Some cheaper maple syrup products are diluted and sweetened with processed sugar, so it is better to pay a bit more for a good quality maple syrup. Maple syrup has a rich, nutty flavour and a similar level of sweetness to barley malt syrup.

It is runnier than barley malt syrup, but you should still be able to substitute it for the same amount in most recipes without facing any issues. It has a warm, brown color and has a very distinctive smell

Coconut Syrup

Coconut syrup is a natural sweetener made from the nectar of coconut palm flowers. The nectar is processed in a similar way to the sap from maple trees in the production of maple syrup.

The nectar is collected in containers, usually made from bamboo, and evaporated in a controlled environment until it reaches the consistency of syrup.

This is a popular choice in vegan recipes as well as with people who like to use all organic ingredients. It is not particularly easy to get hold of, but if you can find it then you will love the sweet and nutty flavour it gives to your recipes like cakes, biscuits.

It can also be used as a topping for pancakes or ice cream, or to flavour and sweeten coffee. Coconut syrup is also used in some cocktails and alcoholic beverages.

Golden Syrup

Golden syrup is a very sweet alternative to barley malt syrup that has a buttery, caramel taste that will add a lovely flavour to your recipes. It is known for its amber color and is made by refining sugar cane or sugar beet juice into sugar.

It is possible to make your own golden syrup by treating a sugar solution with acid- you can do this using sugar, lemon juice and water. However, it is difficult to get the consistency just right so it is easier to use store bought golden syrup.

Golden syrup is used in many recipes for pies, tarts, and cookies, and is a key ingredient in flapjacks. Remember that golden syrup is much sweeter than barley malt syrup, so you won’t need to use as much.


Maltose is found in wheat, barley, cornmeal and some other grains. It is sweeter than barley malt syrup but not as sweet as sugar, and it can be used as a replacement for barley malt syrup in many recipes.

It is considered healthier than sugar because it doesn’t contain fructose. It works well in sweet recipes, as well as in bread and beers.

The 10 Best Substitutes For Barley Malt Syrup

5 from 1 vote

A guide to the 10 best substitutes for barley malt syrup that work well in all recipes.


  • Sugar

  • Molasses

  • Honey

  • Korean Rice Syrup

  • Brown Rice Syrup

  • Agave Syrup

  • Maple Syrup

  • Coconut Syrup

  • Golden Syrup

  • Maltose


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

Jess Smith