The 7 Best Substitutes For Barley Malt Syrup

What can I use instead of barley malt syrup? The best substitutes for barley malt syrup are brown rice syrup, molasses, date syrup, and pomegranate molasses. Honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar are convenient alternatives.

Barley malt syrup is a versatile sweetener made from sprouted barley. This rich, dark syrup has a deliciously malty flavor, thick, sticky consistency, and mild sweetness. Excellent for browning meat and roast vegetables, barley malt syrup adds flavor to baked goods, such as bagels, pretzels, whole-grain bread, gingerbread, and spice cookies.

Let’s look at the seven best substitutes for barley malt syrup.

The Best Barley Malt Syrup Substitutes

Brown Rice Syrup

Brown rice syrup, also called rice malt syrup or maltose is an excellent substitute for barley malt syrup.

This dark brown Asian sweetener is made from fermented brown rice, is gluten-free, and is suitable for vegans. However, it is not a healthy product, containing more calories and glucose than white sugar.

With its thick, sticky, grainy consistency, brown rice syrup has a mild, nutty flavor with hints of butterscotch. Like barley malt syrup, it is far less sweet than regular refined sugar or corn syrup.

Use brown rice syrup instead of barley malt syrup in candies, spice cakes, marinades, and sauces. It’s also great in glazes for BBQ, acting as a binding and browning agent.

Replace barley malt syrup with equal amounts of brown rice syrup.


Another perfect substitute for barley malt syrup is molasses.

A by-product of the sugar industry, molasses can be made either from sugarcane or beets. Molasses is a sweetener high in glucose but also full of iron and magnesium.

Molasses is known as treacle in the UK and is typically a thick, dark syrup with a rich sweetness.

Replace barley malt syrup with dark molasses when making bagels, as it will provide intense color, hearty flavor, and distinctive chewiness.

You can also use molasses in BBQ sauces, and glazes for roast meat, gravy, and baked goods with robust flavors, like pretzels, fruitcake, or gingerbread. Like barley malt syrup, it will thicken and darken any dish.

Use molasses as a 1:1 replacement for barley malt syrup, with the proviso that molasses is sweeter.

Date Syrup

Date syrup makes a delicious substitute for barley malt syrup.

This intensely sweet syrup (date honey or silan) is made of dates stewed in water. The water is strained off, and the dates are liquidized.

The resulting syrup can be light and runny, like golden syrup, or thick and dense, like molasses.

Because it is made from fruit, date syrup is rich in fiber and micronutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

Date syrup’s fruity flavor makes it a versatile ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, where it functions as a thickener, sweetener, and binder.

Replace barley malt syrup with date syrup in salad dressings, dips, granola, glazes, or marinades. It works well in cocktails and mocktails.

Date syrup is sweeter and often runnier than barley malt syrup, so it is not ideal for baking.

Use 3 tablespoons of date syrup for every cup of barley malt syrup.

Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses is another Middle Eastern substitute for barley malt syrup.

This delightful ingredient is made from pomegranate juice which has been simmered for hours – it thickens and gains intense flavor, which accounts for the name “molasses.”

Pomegranate juice is tart rather than sweet, so pomegranate molasses has an unusually tangy, wine-like flavor. Depending on your brand, lemon juice and sugar may be added to enhance the sweetness.

Pomegranate juice is slightly acidic, so molasses works well in marinades, glazes, and sauces for meat. It makes an exciting salad dressing and topping for roast veggies. You can also replace barley malt syrup with pomegranate molasses in mocktails and dips.

Because pomegranate molasses is more potent than barley malt syrup, use 3 tablespoons molasses for every cup of syrup, adding more for taste.


The most convenient substitute for barley malt syrup is honey.

Readily available and well-priced, honey contains antioxidants, zinc, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins B and C.

It has long been considered a natural medicine. It has a lower glycaemic index than most other sweeteners but is still unsuitable for people with diabetes.

Flavorwise, honey is twice as sweet as barley malt syrup and lacks the malty nuttiness. Still, it has a similar consistency to barley malt syrup and will brown and moisten dishes.

This bee product works well as a substitute in baked goods, even bagels, although it won’t brown the batter or dough.

Replace every cup of barley malt syrup with ½ to ¾ cup of honey. You should not have to add liquid to baked goods, as honey keeps the dough moist.

Maple Syrup

Another natural product that is a handy replacement for barley malt syrup is maple syrup.

Maple syrup is based on the sap of maple trees, which producers tap and boil to purify and thicken before bottling.

Always choose pure, organic maple syrup containing antioxidants, iron, manganese, and zinc. Maple-flavored corn syrup consists of sugar and artificial flavoring and coloring agents.

Genuine maple syrup has a deeper, more wholesome flavor than sugar syrups and a characteristically dark honey-like color. It has a thinner consistency and sweeter taste than barley malt syrup.

Use maple syrup instead of barley malt syrup in savory marinades, glazes, and sweet toppings for desserts. Drizzle it over popcorn or pancakes.

Replace barley malt syrup with maple syrup in a 1:3/4 ratio. For baking, you must reduce the flour by ¼ cup to make up for the maple syrup’s moisture.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a pantry staple you can use instead of barley malt syrup.

Various kinds of brown sugar are available, most consisting of regular, refined white sugar with molasses added.

Muscovado sugar is brown sugar with larger crystals and more molasses content. In contrast, demerara and turbinado are less refined and retain natural molasses.

Because brown sugar is granular and sweeter than barley malt syrup, it is an excellent substitute in recipes where liquid content and texture are not a priority.

It doesn’t have the same flavor nuances or malty undertone. However, brown sugar remains an effective browning and flavoring agent and dissolves quickly, forming a liquid sweetener.

Brown sugar works as a barley malt alternative if you’re making granola, marinades, glazes, sweet toppings, or cocktails.

Replace one measure of barley malt syrup with ¾ measure of brown sugar.