Glucose Powder Substitutes

Glucose powder, also known as dextrose powder, is a versatile ingredient used in baking, confections, beverages, and many other food applications.

Glucose Powder Substitutes

It adds sweetness, helps retain moisture, prevents crystallization, and improves texture.

Glucose Powder

Glucose powder, chemically known as dextrose monohydrate, is derived from corn starch. It consists of isolated glucose molecules with a moderate sweetness, approximately 70-80% that of regular granulated sugar.

Compared to table sugar (sucrose), glucose powder has some useful properties:

  • Lower sweetness - Allows controlled sweetening power
  • Moisture retention - Keeps baked goods soft and moist
  • Freeze point depression - Prevents ice crystal formation in frozen desserts
  • Viscosity - Produces smooth, thick texture in confections

With these characteristics, glucose powder serves various culinary purposes:

  • Sweetener in baked goods, candies, jams
  • Humectant to retain moisture in cookies, cakes
  • Improves freezer stability in ice cream, sorbet
  • Binder and thickener in icings, fondants
  • Adds body and mouthfeel to chocolate
  • Energy source in sports drinks, gels

Glucose powder is valued for its moderate sweetness, moisture retention, and texture benefits. It has wide applications across baking, candy-making, frozen desserts, and beverages.

Why Substitute Glucose Powder

There are several reasons why a glucose powder substitute may be needed:

  • Availability - Glucose powder may not be easily found in local stores. It's more common in specialty baking aisles or gourmet shops.
  • Cost - Pure glucose powder is more expensive than everyday table sugar. Substitutes made from household ingredients provide cost savings.
  • Dietary needs - People restricting corn or sugars may require an alternative. Substitutes can fulfill special low-carb, keto, or paleo diets.
  • Flavor - While relatively neutral-tasting, glucose powder has a mild sweetness that affects end flavor. Substitutes like honey or maple syrup impart their own flavors.
  • Recipes specify - Some published recipes dictate the use of corn syrup or other subs, requiring conversion from glucose powder.

Glucose powder may not always be accessible or applicable. Viable replacements solve availability, cost, dietary, flavor, and recipe specification issues.

Suitable Glucose Powder Substitutes

Home cooks and chefs have several suitable ingredients on hand to mimic glucose powder:

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is the most direct replacement for glucose powder. It contains between 70-91% glucose, along with maltose, oligosaccharides and water. To substitute, use 10-20% less corn syrup by volume to account for the water content. For example, replace 100g glucose powder with 80-90g corn syrup.

Light and dark corn syrup work equally well. The main difference is flavor - dark corn syrup has a more pronounced flavor due to added refiners syrup. Some recipes specifically call for light corn syrup as it contributes little flavor of its own.


Honey makes an excellent substitute with similarities to glucose powder. It has a moderately sweet profile, excellent moisture retention, and helps prevent sugar crystallization.

When swapping glucose powder for honey, reduce the liquid by about 3-5% in the recipe to account for the extra moisture in honey. For example, use 95g honey in place of 100g glucose powder, and reduce other liquids by 5g.

Honey adds natural fruity, floral flavors that work well in baked goods. It shines in recipes like honey cake, gingerbread, and baklava. One downside is honey can burn quicker than glucose powder when cooking due to its fructose content.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup contains glucose, fructose, sucrose, and water. It has a moderately sweet flavor profile similar to honey and glucose powder.

As a liquid, maple syrup can typically replace an equal amount of glucose powder in recipes. However, the extra moisture may require reducing other liquids in the recipe by about 5% to retain the desired texture.

Maple syrup adds a subtle maple taste that pairs nicely with oats, nuts, cornbread, pancakes, and more. The flavor comes through more than honey, so take taste preferences into account.

Brown Rice Syrup

Made from cooked brown rice, this thick syrup provides an option for those avoiding corn-based products. Brown rice syrup contains three sugars: glucose, maltose, and maltotriose.

Substitute brown rice syrup 1:1 by weight in place of glucose powder. The liquid content is similar enough that adjustments are rarely needed.

This syrup has a mild butterscotch-like flavor. It works as a cost-effective substitute for bar cookies, granola, and other applications where a distinct rice syrup flavor is acceptable.

Agave Nectar

Produced from the agave plant, this liquid sweetener has a glucose content similar to honey - roughly 70-80%. It has a neutral flavor profile and moderate sweetness like glucose powder.

Replace glucose powder with an equal amount of agave nectar by volume. The viscosity and moisture levels are comparable enough to substitute 1:1 in most recipes.

With its clean flavor, agave nectar works well in lighter desserts like panna cotta, fruit sauces, and citrus tarts. It dissolves easily without crystallization.

Top glucose powder substitutes include corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar. Each provides similar properties with some differences in taste, cost, and dietary factors.

How to Substitute Glucose Powder

When swapping glucose powder for DIY and natural substitutes, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Match quantities by weight, not volume. Measure substitutes in grams for accuracy.
  • Reduce liquid ingredients slightly to account for extra moisture in syrups and liquids.
  • Factor in flavor impacts to the final dish - honey and maple syrup impart distinct flavors.
  • Use viscosity and solubility to determine direct 1:1 replacements vs. needing liquid adjustments.
  • Consider effects on texture for baked goods and confections.
  • Account for sugar crystallization prevention needed in candies and frozen desserts.
  • Store opened substitutes like corn syrup in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
  • Look for certified gluten-free, non-GMO, and organic substitutes to fulfill dietary needs.

Follow these tips when substituting to match the moisture, sweetness, flavor, and texture effects of glucose powder in recipes.

How Substitutes Compare to Glucose Powder

Each glucose powder substitute has similarities and differences that matter depending on the application:

Corn syrupModerateRetainsNeutralLow
HoneyModerateRetainsFruity, floralModerate
Maple syrupModerateRetainsMapleModerate
Brown rice syrupModerateRetainsButterscotchLow
Agave nectarModerateRetainsNeutralModerate

Key differences between substitutes involve sweetness potency, flavor contributions, and price points.

Sample Glucose Powder Substitution

As an example, consider a cookie recipe calling for:

  • 100g glucose powder
  • 150g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 150g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt

Here are two ways to substitute using common household ingredients:


Use 95g honey and reduce butter to 145g to account for the extra moisture in honey. The honey contributes moderately sweet notes along with fruity, floral undertones.

Brown Rice Syrup:

Replace with 100g brown rice syrup using the ingredients as written, since the moisture content is similar enough not to require adjustment. Expect a malted, buttery flavor from the brown rice syrup.

This demonstrates direct 1:1 swaps for thick syrups like brown rice syrup, or minor liquid adjustments needed for wet substitutes like honey.


What is the best substitute for glucose powder in ice cream?

Corn syrup is the best substitute for ice cream as it contains 70-91% glucose like the original powder. Use 10-20% less corn syrup by volume to match the sweetness.

Can I use granulated white sugar instead of glucose powder?

White sugar does not provide the same properties. It is much sweeter so you would need to reduce the amount by 30% or more. Sugar also recrystallizes easily, while glucose powder helps prevent iciness in frozen desserts.

Is coconut sugar a good replacement for glucose powder?

Coconut sugar lacks some of the key characteristics. While the sweetness is moderate like glucose powder, coconut sugar can crystallize and doesn't have the same moisture retention. It also imparts a distinct caramel-like coconut flavor.

How do I substitute honey for glucose in a candy recipe?

Replace glucose powder with an equal weight of honey. Then reduce any other liquid ingredients in the recipe by 3-5% to account for the extra moisture in honey. Mix and cook as directed, monitoring closely near temperature stages as honey can burn faster.

Can I use agave nectar in place of glucose powder in cookies?

Yes, substitute agave nectar 1:1 by weight for the glucose powder. For example, use 100g of agave for 100g of glucose powder. The moisture content and sweetness are similar enough to swap directly without adjustments.


Glucose powder delivers important benefits like sweetening, moisture retention, and stabilization in numerous recipes. When glucose powder is unavailable or unsuitable, viable swaps include corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar.

Following moisture, sweetness, solubility, flavor, and cost considerations allows these substitutes to stand in for glucose powder with delicious results.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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