Looking at an empty bag of sugar, but eyeing a bottle of honey and wondering, “how can I substitute honey for sugar?”
In this article, I’m going to show you how substituting honey for sugar is really easy, and how to make sure the honey to sugar conversion OR the sugar to honey conversion doesn’t effect the quality of your desserts and actually improves them.
There’s also a chart below that you can refer to in order to figure out the honey substitute ratio.
(Want a really great cookbook that includes 80+ recipes for baking with honey? Check out my favorite book on Amazon here!)
One of our goals is self-sufficiency, and let’s face it: Not only is processed sugar BAD BAD BAD for you, you can’t make it yourself.
Honey, on the other hand, you can make with the help of our friends, the honeybees. Back in the day, our forefathers (and pretty much everyone in Medieval Europe) used honey to sweeten baked goods (they also used something called cider molasses, which you can read about here). So, it’s a time-tested practice we can also use in modern times.
Self-sufficiency aside, after about $10,000 spent on dental work this year, I’ve started to substitute honey for sugar in our favorite recipes, and keeping my fingers crossed that’ll keep me from funding my dentist’s next ski vacation (not that I don’t like my dentist, but I imagine he’d love to see less of me and my smelly muck boots too!).
Especially if you keep bees, or plan to keep bees, you’ll want to learn how to substitute honey for sugar so you can use up your harvest.
I’ve created the honey substitute chart at the end of this article to make substitutions easier, so you can still enjoy your favorite meals (and they’ll be healthier!)
I’ve also included “best practices,” because although you certainly can substitute honey for sugar, it also means you need to take some extra steps to ensure your recipe turns out well.
(Be sure to not miss the recipe at the end of this article for Sugar-Free Matcha Chocolate Popsicles!)
The Difference Between Baking With Honey And Sugar
Honey is a powerful sweetener, so use less of it
The last thing you want is to bite into the perfect cookie…only to have it be WAY to sweet to enjoy. Honey also has more flavor than sugar, which is great….but it can overwhelm all the other flavors in your baked good. So, you need to use less of it when you substitute honey for sugar.
Use less of other liquids in your recipe
When you substitute honey for sugar, you’re adding more liquid to your recipe, because honey is about 20 percent water. To make up for it, you’ll need to reduce the amount of the OTHER liquids in your recipe.
For every 1 cup of sugar you’re substituting, reduce the other liquids by 2 tablespoons. If you’re replacing ½ cup of sugar with honey, then reduce the other liquids by 1 tablespoon. If you’re replacing less than ½ cup of sugar, then you don’t need to reduce the other liquids.
Lower oven temperature by 25 degrees
Because honey has a higher sugar content (see #1), it cooks quicker and can burn easier than sugar. You’ll need to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees to make up for it. Be sure to check your baked goods often so you don’t accidentally burn them.
Add baking soda so you don’t make hockey pucks
Honey is much denser than granulated sugar, so it can easily make your baked goods turn into meaty hockey pucks. Not good.
For every cup of honey you use in a recipe, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. The baking soda will help your dough rise better.
Honey to sugar conversion chart
To make life easier, print out this article and keep these honey substitute conversions handy.
Ready to make something sugar-free & ultra yummy with honey?
My friends, Alix & Hugo at A Hedgehog in the Kitchen created this incredible sugar-free popsicle featuring honey! Perfect for summertime! Click here to get the recipe!
I’d like to hear from you!
Did you ever wonder “Can I substitute honey for sugar?” If you already are a master at this, what are your best tips? Leave a comment below!
More Real Food Resources:
- Why You Should Have Honey in Your Chicken Emergency Kit
- 5 Foods in Your Kitchen That Can Be Used For DIY Beauty
- How to Make Apple Cider Molasses
- Homemade Fermented Ketchup Recipe
- 8 Genius Uses for Leftover Lemons
Want to be a homesteading rockstar? Check out my tutorial on how to make your own apple cider vinegar.
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.