5 Best Corn Syrup Substitutes for Baking

Dieser Artikel basiert auf wissenschaftlichen Studien

corn syrup | carbs | alternatives | recipe | buy substitutes | conclusion

You’re getting ready to bake pecan pie but missing one essential ingredient: corn syrup.

Then you’ve come to the right place! This article will help you find the proper substitute for corn syrup and make a keto replacement yourself.

Is Corn Syrup Keto?

Corn syrup is a viscous sweetener derived from cornstarch. Cornstarch is a multiple sugar, a polysaccharide.

In short, corn syrup is produced by breaking down corn starch into individual glucose molecules. Because of its high sugar content, it stands to reason that corn syrup is high in carbohydrates.

Carbs in Corn Syrup

100 grams of commercial corn syrup gives us the following nutritional values(*):

  • Energy: 283 calories
  • Protein: 0.0 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 76.8 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 0.0 grams
  • Net carbs: 76.8 grams

Simply put, corn syrup consists only of sugar and water.

Since corn syrup is primarily carbohydrates and contains no proteins, it is gluten-free. However, this is why it is unsuitable for low-carb diets like keto.

With this in mind, can corn syrup be healthy?

Why Should I Substitute Corn Syrup?

That corn syrup is gluten-free does not mean that it is healthy or does not contain other lectins. Lectins are toxins that plants use to defend themselves against predators (Dolan et al. 20101).

Concentrations of these plant toxins are exceptionally high in pest-resistant plant cultivars such as corn (Macedo et al. 20152).

Lectins bind viruses and bacteria and help them to cross the intestinal wall, reach organs, and cause inflammation (Dalla Pellegrina et al. 20093Freed 19994).

In addition, corn is one of the world’s three most commonly genetically engineered crops. Approximately 90% of the corn harvest comes from GMO sources, particularly in the United States (USDA 20145).

As a result, scientists are concerned that corn consumed today is causing problems that would not have occurred a hundred years ago (NAS 20166).

In short, corn syrup is nothing more than simple sugar syrup made from corn instead of sugar beets.

Corn syrup substitute for baking

Therefore, corn syrup can drive blood sugar and insulin levels to unexpected heights. Thus, it induces an antilipolytic effect (Jensen et al. 19897).

That means it inhibits the fat breakdown (lipolysis) and promotes fat gain (Meijssen et al. 20018).

Nevertheless, there is a difference between corn syrup and High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which plays a significant role in the obesity epidemic in the United States.

To make HFCS from corn syrup, you must add enzymes to the corn syrup to convert some of the glucose into fructose, the sweet molecule in sugar. While sugar contains 50% fructose, HFCS can have more.

Since fructose inhibits satiety and fuels cravings, this is a severe difference (Shapiro et al. 20089).

Even though corn syrup is not as harmful to health as HFCS, it is only one processing step away.

Best Corn Syrup Alternatives

Although your health should avoid sugar and sweeteners, this resolution can’t always be realized 100%.

Hence, it is only human that you will enjoy the one or other dessert that awakens nostalgic feelings. For this reason, the following alternatives to corn syrup don’t have to make you feel guilty.

Light Corn Syrup Substitute

The best way to replace light corn syrup is to make keto corn syrup yourself.

Another alternative is a sugar-free simple syrup (product link) based on monk fruit and sugar alcohols. Because it’s calorie-free, it can’t spike blood sugar like corn syrup.

Nevertheless, studies suggest monk fruit may stimulate insulin production directly in the pancreas (Zhou et al. 200910).

Hence, it is high-fiber and does not contain glucose, but it breaks fast.

Last but not least, this product is also highly processed, so it is not necessarily healthier than corn syrup.

Dark Corn Syrup Substitute

A readily available alternative to dark corn syrup is a sugar-free gold syrup (product link) based on stevia and sugar alcohols.

Once again, it will not spike blood sugar but break a fast.

However, according to studies, stevia may stimulate insulin production directly in the pancreas (Jeppesen et al. 200011).

Corn Syrup Substitutes for Baking

Honey is an entirely natural substitute for corn syrup in baking.

You can substitute corn syrup 1:1 with honey. However, honey may crystallize like sugar, so it’s not the best choice for making candy or caramel.

Although honey is about 40% glucose and 30% fructose, it is not industrially produced, making it a healthier alternative than sugar-free products.

Nevertheless, this is unsuitable for a low-carb diet like the keto diet.

If you aim to reduce carbohydrates, it’s better to use the abovementioned products or make your own low-carb corn syrup.

Corn Syrup Substitute for Pecan Pie and Icing

Corn syrup substitute for pecan pie

Pecan pie is traditionally made with either maple or corn syrup. Maple syrup is also a 1:1 substitute for corn syrup for frosting cakes.

Therefore, if you want to replace corn syrup with a low-carb alternative, a high-fiber maple syrup (product link) based on monk fruit and sugar alcohol is a good choice.

The concerns are the same as for the light corn syrup substitute. Ultimately, using trusted ingredients, a homemade corn syrup replacement low in carbs is the best cake alternative.

Keto Corn Syrup Recipe

For the best way to get an alternative to corn syrup that will make minimally processed dishes, low in carbohydrates, and free of additives, check out this low-carb recipe for corn syrup.

Keto Corn Syrup Replacement


  • 3/4 cup Erythritol
  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Water hot


  • Pour hot water into a bowl and whisk in erythritol.
  • Whisk in the vanilla extract and slowly stir in xanthan gum.
  • Strain the low carb corn syrup into a jar and store in the pantry.

Buy Low-Carb Corn Syrup Substitutes

Unfortunately, there’s not always enough time to make a healthier alternative to corn syrup yourself.

If you can’t find a decent corn syrup substitute at your grocery store, here are the best low-carb alternatives you can buy on Amazon today (product links):

Don’t Overdo Substitutes on Keto

Replacements usually come with a catch. For example, the supposedly natural agave syrup consists of up to 97% fructose, making it an excellent recipe for a fatty liver.

Those who want to lose weight in the long term through keto or another dietary change should not overdo it with alternatives to corn syrup.

According to studies, sweeteners make people even more hungry for sweets (Yang 201011).

To escape this vicious circle, you must either give up sweets or restore the natural balance between eating and fasting.

You can learn the latter playfully and step by step in my book Intermittent Fasting 101: The Science-Backed Beginner’s Guide to Lose Weight Without Dieting and Working Out.


What can be used instead of corn syrup?

You can replace corn syrup 1:1 with maple syrup.

What can I use instead of corn syrup in baking?

Use honey or a sugar-free gold syrup to replace corn syrup in baking.

What is the same as corn syrup?

You can substitute corn syrup with maple syrup or honey.

Studies ▾


1Dolan LC, Matulka RA, Burdock GA. Naturally occurring food toxins. Toxins (Basel). 2010 Sep;2(9):2289-332. doi: 10.3390/toxins2092289. Epub 2010 Sep 20. Review. PubMed PMID: 22069686; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3153292.

2Macedo ML, Oliveira CF, Oliveira CT. Insecticidal activity of plant lectins and potential application in crop protection. Molecules. 2015 Jan 27;20(2):2014-33. doi: 10.3390/molecules20022014. Review. PubMed PMID: 25633332; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6272522.

3Dalla Pellegrina C, Perbellini O, Scupoli MT, Tomelleri C, Zanetti C, Zoccatelli G, Fusi M, Peruffo A, Rizzi C, Chignola R. Effects of wheat germ agglutinin on human gastrointestinal epithelium: insights from an experimental model of immune/epithelial cell interaction. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2009 Jun 1;237(2):146-53. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2009.03.012. Epub 2009 Mar 28. PubMed PMID: 19332085.

4Freed DL. Do dietary lectins cause disease?. BMJ. 1999 Apr 17;318(7190):1023-4. doi: 10.1136/bmj.318.7190.1023. PubMed PMID: 10205084; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1115436.

5USDA. Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, 2014. Retrieved 2021 May 10, from https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/45179/43668_err162.pdf.

6National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division on Earth and Life Studies; Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources; Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects. Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2016 May 17. PMID: 28230933.

7Jensen MD, Caruso M, Heiling V, Miles JM. Insulin regulation of lipolysis in nondiabetic and IDDM subjects. Diabetes. 1989 Dec;38(12):1595-601. doi: 10.2337/diab.38.12.1595. PubMed PMID: 2573554.


8Meijssen S, Cabezas MC, Ballieux CG, Derksen RJ, Bilecen S, Erkelens DW. Insulin mediated inhibition of hormone sensitive lipase activity in vivo in relation to endogenous catecholamines in healthy subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Sep;86(9):4193-7. doi: 10.1210/jcem.86.9.7794. PubMed PMID: 11549649.

9Shapiro A, Mu W, Roncal C, Cheng KY, Johnson RJ, Scarpace PJ. Fructose-induced leptin resistance exacerbates weight gain in response to subsequent high-fat feeding. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Nov;295(5):R1370-5. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00195.2008. Epub 2008 Aug 13. PubMed PMID: 18703413; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2584858.

10Zhou Y, Zheng Y, Ebersole J, Huang CF. Insulin secretion stimulating effects of mogroside V and fruit extract of luo han kuo (Siraitia grosvenori Swingle) fruit extract.. Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2009 Nov;44(11):1252-7. PubMed PMID: 21351724. 

11Jeppesen PB, Gregersen S, Poulsen CR, Hermansen K. Stevioside acts directly on pancreatic beta cells to secrete insulin: actions independent of cyclic adenosine monophosphate and adenosine triphosphate-sensitive K+-channel activity. Metabolism. 2000 Feb;49(2):208-14. doi: 10.1016/s0026-0495(00)91325-8. PubMed PMID: 10690946.

12Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010 Jun;83(2):101-8. PMID: 20589192; PMCID: PMC2892765.

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.

Stephan is a true man of science, having earned multiple diplomas and master's degrees in various fields. He has made it his mission to bridge the gap between conventional wisdom and scientific knowledge. He precisely reviews the content and sources of this blog for currency and accuracy.

Click on the links above to visit his author and about me pages.

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