Can You Substitute Honey for Sugar?

If you have run out of sugar and are wondering if you can substitute honey in your muffins instead, the short answer is yes! The long answer is that raw honey can definitely be substituted for sugar, but you will need to make some other adjustments to the recipe to ensure that your baked goods turn out to have the perfect taste and texture. Here are seven tips to help you substitute honey for sugar successfully.

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Consider the flavor of your honey.

One of the benefits of using honey over sugar is that honeys come in all different kinds of natural flavors based on what flowers are used to pollinate them, whereas sugar just tastes sweet. When choosing a honey to substitute for a sugar, do not just grab the closest one to you. Carefully consider the other ingredients in the recipe and select a variety of honey that will complement the other flavors in the recipe for a delicious final bake.

Use less honey than sugar.

Honey is two or sometimes even three times as sweet as sugar is when compared volume to volume, so using a 1:1 substitution ratio will result in a final bake that is way too sweet. Depending on how sweet the unfiltered honey is, you should use ½ to ⅔ cup of honey for every one cup of white sugar that the recipe calls for. It may take some experimenting to figure out how much of a certain type of honey to substitute for sugar in a given recipe, so do not give up. Keep trying!


Adjust the other liquids accordingly.

Because honey is a liquid and sugar is a dry granule, when you substitute honey for sugar, you will need to adjust the amount of other liquids in the recipe. If you do not make these adjustments, then your batter will be too runny, leading to a final bake with the wrong texture (and increasing the odds that you accidentally burn it). A good rule to follow is that for every one cup of honey you add to a recipe, reduce the other liquids by ¼ cup total. Be sure to spread this ¼ reduction evenly among the other liquid ingredients to avoid altering the taste of the final bake.

Add a little baking soda.

While you might not know it, natural honey is actually acidic. Adding a little bit of extra baking soda will help to cancel out this extra acidity and result in a tasty treat with the right flavor. For every one cup of honey you are putting into your batter, add ¼ teaspoon extra baking soda in addition to whatever the recipe already calls for. You will not taste the extra baking soda — just the delicious baked goods that result from this little tweak.

Turn down the oven temperature.

Honey browns more quickly than sugar, so if you just pop the batter into the oven without making adjustments to the temperature and baking time, your treats will almost certainly burn. To prevent this from happening, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and set the timer a few minutes earlier than you usually would so you can check the baked goods periodically.

Raw Honey

Prep your measuring cups and spoons.

Unlike sugar, honey will stick to your measuring spoons and cups, so you need to do a little bit of prep work before you measure and pour your honey. Coat the interior of the cup with a thin layer of a cooking oil of your choice before pouring the honey into it. This will keep the honey from sticking to your utensils and make it easy to transfer the honey into the batter.

Be selective with your substitutions.

Honey is an excellent ingredient to substitute for sugar, thanks to its many delicious flavors and increased nutritional benefits. (Learn more about the difference between honey vs. sugar here.) However, there are some scenarios when you want to go with the butter the recipe originally calls for, namely creaming sugar and softened butter together. This process creates air pockets that are necessary for baking the perfect cookies — and difficult to replicate with the sticky texture of honey. But for all other recipes, you can usually substitute honey for sugar following the steps above.

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