What is Golden Syrup?

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Golden Syrup information. What is golden syrup? Where can I buy golden syrup? What is a substitute for golden syrup?

It’s a staple in any British baking cupboard. Added to cakes, biscuits, puddings… Drizzled on pancakes, ice cream, porridge… Even used as a sandwich filler! But what even is Golden Syrup? And what can you use as an alternative if you can’t get your hands on a tin?

Golden Syrup goes right back to the Victorian times. The sugar syrup comes from the sugar cane refining process, where a syrup is produced which until 1883 went to waste. That was until Charles Eastick (at what is now known as Tate & Lyle), came up with a formula to make the syrup golden and deliciously sweet – perfect for use in baking!

Golden Syrup has not changed since then and still remains a favourite with us Brits, as well as travelling around the world to be enjoyed by other nations too. It is most recognisable in it’s green and gold tin, however shop-own brands are also available now too.

What is Golden Syrup?

Golden syrup is a warm amber-coloured sugar syrup, which is thick in viscosity and very, very sticky.
It is a by-product of sugar making and comes from the process of refining sugar cane or sugar beet juice into the fine white sugars you by in the shops.

What does golden syrup taste like?

The taste of Golden Syrup is unmatched, so hard to describe to those who have never tried it. It is of course, very sweet. But it also has a warming flavour, which is instantly recognisable and a popular ingredient to enhance many baking recipes.

Where can I buy golden syrup?

You will find tins of Golden Syrup in every supermarket, corner store and food shop in the UK. I personally prefer buying it in a squeezy bottle, for ease when using.
Outside of the UK, you may find Golden Syrup in any UK aisle of your supermarkets. Or, you can of course buy it on Amazon.


What is a good substitute for golden syrup?

There are a few things you can use to substitute Golden Syrup whilst baking, however, there’s is no like-for-like swap.

Honey: Using honey could be a possible substitute for golden syrup. A clear honey can give you a similar consistency and a good level of sweetness, however the taste is completely different. But if your recipe only uses a couple of tablespoons of golden syrup, honey can work.

Maple Syrup: The popular Canadian favourite could be a great alternative to golden syrup. Flavour-wise it isn’t very similar but does offer it’s own unique taste & sweetness. However, maple syrup is much thinner in consistency, so you may need to adjust the amounts required, depending on your recipe.

Corn Syrup: Using corn syrup could be a good substitute for golden syrup. It’s rare you’ll find a UK baking recipe that uses corn syrup, as it’s not a recipe so readily available here. But in terms of consistency and sweetness, corn syrup could be a decent substitute for golden syrup. However, it completely misses the mark when it comes to having it’s own unique flavour, so again it may work when replacing a couple of tablespoons of golden syrup, but it doesn’t offer a good replacement in terms of flavour.

Treacle or Molasses: You can’t use treacle or molasses as a substitute for golden syrup. Despite their similar packaging in the UK, they are very different in terms of flavour and sweetness, and do not offer a like-for-like substitute.

Caramel: In theory, caramel could be a good substitute for golden syrup. But with so many varying options of caramel available, it could take a bit of trial and error to find the best match. For the closest match, be sure to use a caramel that is made with just sugar, as opposed to one with extras like butter or cream. Again, it will never be a like-for-like substitute, particularly in terms of flavour but it could work quite well.

Is golden syrup vegetarian? Is golden syrup vegan?

Yes & yes! As golden syrup is literally just sugar, it is both vegetarian and vegan. In fact, it makes a great vegan honey alternative.

Do you have a recipe for homemade golden syrup?

No, unfortunately not. As golden syrup is a by-product of refining sugar, it’s not really something you can make at home. You can find some recipes for homemade golden syrup but these will only give you a sugar syrup that is golden in colour, but not actual real golden syrup.

Why do UK recipes always use golden syrup?

We love our golden syrup here in the UK, and who can blame us? It’s delicious, has a long history, and can be bought pretty much anywhere.

Golden Syrup. What is it and what can I use as a substitute?

3 Responses

  1. You can make a fairly good substitute, by boiling sugar, water & adding lemon juice. I can’t remember the exact quantities, but you can probably find a recipe online. In my opinion, there just isn’t any other syrup tastes anything like Golden Syrup, especially Tate & Lyle. Trying to use corn or maple syrups don’t work when making Parkin, treacle tart, honeycomb or bonfire toffee, for instance

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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