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5 Deliciously Sweet Substitutes for Brown Rice Syrup

When it comes to the sweet stuff, our culinary world is a rich mosaic of flavors that tickle our taste buds and nourish our bodies.

Us foodies, health-conscious eaters, and gluten-free warriors have carved out our own nook in that sweet realm, often navigating the complexities of ingredient swaps and bespoke diets.

Today, I’m here to enhance your cooking experience with substitutes that you’d want to keep at the utmost ready, especially if the pantry’s dreadfully low on brown rice syrup!

Brief Overview of Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup, or also known as rice malt syrup, is a natural sweetener made from cooked brown rice. It has a mild and delicate flavor that resembles honey or molasses, making it a popular alternative to refined sugar.

While it may not be as sweet as other sugars, brown rice syrup can add a rich depth of flavor to dishes. Its subtle sweetness makes it perfect for balancing out the flavors in savory dishes such as stir-fries or sauces. It also works well in baked goods, providing a slightly caramel-like taste and chewy texture.

5 Deliciously Sweet Substitutes for Brown Rice Syrup

1 – Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is as quintessentially Canadian as it gets. The true-blue (pun intended) character of this liquid gold lies in its amber hues and robust, yet comforting, earthy sweet taste. It’s the versatile glaze for a tender BBQ chicken, the silent hero in your morning pancake stack, and can now stand tall as one of your key brown rice syrup stand-ins.

For every cup of brown rice syrup, you’ll want to ensure a half to three-quarters cup of maple syrup. The key is to use less compared to brown rice syrup due to its higher sweetness levels. I adore its taste in my vegan banana muffins. The outcome? A slightly runnier batter that bakes into a soft, decadent delight.

2 – Honey

Oh, honey, you’re the golden goo that’s been dressing up our teas, snacks, and pastries for ages. The versatility of honey extends well beyond its medicinal properties. Its aromatic sweetness dives into a realm where brown rice syrup was once the star.

A cup of honey will replace a cup of brown rice syrup. It’s important to remember that honey is sweeter than brown rice syrup and has a stronger flavor profile. In my home, a switch to honey brings warmth to nut butters, accentuating their sweet and savory balance.

3 – Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is the quiet achiever in the sweetener family. Born of the mighty agave plant, this nectar appears as a clear, syrupy liquid with a taste profile that’s mellow and smooth. Swapping in agave against brown rice syrup is like having the adaptable sidekick in your culinary story.

In a recipe, you’ll want to substitute one cup of brown rice syrup with two-thirds of a cup of agave nectar. My go-to is the vegan cheesecake where agave complements the creamy texture without overpowering the cashew and vanilla tones.

4 – Date Syrup

If you’re a fan of earthy, caramel-like sweetness, date syrup is your jam. Made from — you guessed it — dates, this luscious liquid is as close to nature’s candy as it gets. It’s fantastic for immune-boosting recipes and pairs beautifully with the warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Use one cup of date syrup for every cup of brown rice syrup. The result is a richer flavor profile with subtle fruity undertones. It’s a game-changer in energy potion smoothies where it not only boosts the sweetness but adds depth not usually found in brown rice syrup.

5 – Molasses

Molasses is the bold cousin in the syrup family. Its deep, earthy profiles and bittersweet notes highlight why it’s more than just a baking staple. When replacing brown rice syrup, think of molasses as the dark, robed hero that swoops in to save the day, especially in gingerbread and savory dishes that crave a touch of complexity.

Substitute one cup of brown rice syrup with 1/3 to a half-cup of molasses for a flavor that’s stronger and a touch less sweet. In buttermilk cookies, the switch provides a slightly denser cookie with a richer, more robust taste, a surefire way to tantalize your taste buds.

Comparison Chart: Sweetness, Flavor, and Pairings

Sweetness is a delicate dance, and each substitute brings its unique groove to the table. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Maple Syrup: Medium sweetness, robust and earthy. Best paired with breakfast dishes and baked goods.
  • Honey: High sweetness, floral and rich. Perfect for drizzling over yogurt or as a glaze for meat.
  • Agave Nectar: Moderate sweetness, mellow and light. A great all-rounder in drinks and desserts.
  • Date Syrup: Rich sweetness, fruity and caramel-like. Ideal for smoothies and health bars.
  • Molasses: Deep sweetness, robust and bittersweet. Best for gingerbread and rich stews.

Homemade Rice Malt Syrup Recipe

A simple and easy recipe for making your own rice malt syrup at home, using just a few ingredients.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American, Asian
Servings 1 Serving
Calories 1376 kcal


  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth


  • 2 cups of uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup of water


  • Rinse and drain the uncooked brown rice in a fine mesh strainer.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil.
  • Add in the rinsed brown rice and stir to combine.
  • Reduce heat to low and let the rice simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • After an hour, check the consistency of the rice. If it has a porridge-like consistency, continue to cook for another 30 minutes until it becomes a thick paste.
  • Once the rice is a thick paste, remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, strain the rice paste over a bowl to remove any lumps.
  • Transfer the strained liquid back into the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once thickened, remove from heat and let cool.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


  • This homemade rice malt syrup may have a slightly different consistency and flavor compared to store-bought versions, but it can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for brown rice syrup.
  • For a darker and richer flavored syrup, you can let the rice paste cook for longer than 1 hour before straining. Just make sure to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  • If you prefer a thinner syrup, you can add some water back into the strained liquid and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Adjust amount of water according to your desired consistency.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 1376kcalCarbohydrates: 289gProtein: 29gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 21mgPotassium: 1018mgFiber: 13gCalcium: 129mgIron: 7mg
Keyword homemade rice malt syrup
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5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Friday 22nd of March 2024

Brown rice syrup is a fantastic natural sweetener, but it can be challenging to find at times. These substitutes sound like they could offer a similar level of sweetness. Have you tried them in baking, and did they affect the texture or flavor of the final product?

Andrew Gray

Friday 22nd of March 2024

Yes, I've tried some substitutes in baking. Agave nectar and maple syrup work well for sweetness, but they can alter texture slightly. Honey is a great option too, adding a distinct flavor. It's all about finding the right balance!