Best Ways to Substitute Sugar with Honey

tahi honey spoonful

There is a lot of buzzes lately about how we need to watch our sugar intake.  Sugar is added to everything, and it creates an addiction, which causes you to crave more sugar, and then it feeds on itself.  Added sugar is identified as “empty calories” which means that there are calories consumed, but with no essential nutrients provided in those calories.  Not all sugar is bad for you, and we think that encouragement to use natural sugar is a superb way to transition out of a heavy sugar diet.  Honey has a lower GI value than granulated sugar, which means that it will not raise your blood sugar level as quickly.  Because honey is sweeter than sugar, you will likely need to use much less of it when you swap it out in a recipe.  While honey does have a higher caloric content than granulated sugar, it contains trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids which are beneficial.  Twice the nutritional benefits, with less being consumed?  We are on board with this idea and think you might benefit from exploring it to.  To help you to get started, we have put together a few ways for you to substitute granulated white sugar with honey to make things even sweeter in your day.


With the 300 distinct types of honey available in the United States alone, you can add a whole new flavor level to your baked goods by using this treat.  For example, an orange clover honey will give your muffins a punch, and an avocado honey will make that sweet and sour dressing mix even more fantastic.  Because honey is sweeter than traditional white sugar, it is not a one to one ratio when you swap it out in a recipe.  Here are some guidelines for a successful swap:

  • For every cup of sugar, you should substitute with ½ to 2/3 cup of honey
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of honey that you use to balance the acidity
  • Reduce your liquid by ¼ cup for every cup of honey used, because honey is approximately 20 percent water and your recipe will need to accommodate that
  • Lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent burning or caramelizing of the honey

Hot Drinks, Teas, & Elixirs

Perhaps you are having a spot of tea right now as you read this.  Do you take your tea with sugar?  Or maybe you already have honey in it.  You will want to look at our research into the manuka honey industry, as we found that a lot of honey is nothing more than flavored sugar water.  So, while as a buyer you should be aware, as a consumer you should consider buying a legitimate honey that does not break down and lose its antibacterial properties when heated.  We found this brand to be on point and a superior product if you like a warm drink and want the benefits that honey provides.  When you are sick, this will give assistance in curing what ails you.  But remember, honey will be sweeter than sugar, so start with less and add more after tasting.

Canning Food

Honey can be used to replace sugar when canning jams and jellies from scratch.  When using honey instead of sugar in your canning process, be sure to accommodate the additional liquid.  You will need to use 7/8 of a cup when a recipe calls for a full cup of sugar.  You will also need to keep in mind that whatever honey you choose, you may be adding a new flavor component to the jam or jelly.  We found this great page to give you more guidance in the canning department.

DIY Home Beauty Products

We know that some people like a good sugar scrub, and since you are not ingesting the sugar, you can reap the benefits of a good exfoliation by using granulated sugar mixed in with oils and other ingredients.  You can also use honey in your beauty process.  Raw honey was prized for its healing properties, and in Egyptian and ayurvedic traditions, it is used to treat wounds as well.  Choose your honey – using honey raw is ideal, but if you do not have that, just use a good quality, honey.  and mix it up for an incredible face mask that will leave your skin feeling moisturized, nourished, and glowing!  Here are a few combinations to try mixing up:

  • Oily Skin – mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to clear up blemishes and acne; apply to your face, relax for 10-20 minutes and rinse
  • Normal Skin – mix 2 teaspoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice; apply to your face, relax for 10-20 minutes and rinse
  • Exfoliating Mask – mix 2 teaspoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of baking soda; massage in a circular motion and leave it to sit for 10 minutes then rinse
  • Dry Skin – mix 2 teaspoons of honey with coconut oil; massage onto face for 10 minutes; leave it on for at least another 10 minutes then rinse

Putting a little bit of granulated sugar in a bowl with honey also makes a great lip scrub for dry and chapped lips! Honey is a great healing food and incorporating a quality batch of it into your diet and beauty routines will provide you with great benefits!  Be sure to have fun with it and enjoy!



Author: Danielle G.

Danielle is an Editor for ReadPlease and in charge of product testing...she started out in the IT industry, but then her love of wellness & whole nutrition led her to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition...when she's not reading up on that, she is listening to music, gardening, or trying to meet John Mayer.

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