Mesquite powder is made from the ground pods of the mesquite tree. It has a sweet, nutty flavor with hints of caramel and is often used as a natural sweetener in recipes.
However, mesquite powder may not always be easy to find or accessible. In that case, there are several viable mesquite powder substitutes to consider using instead.
Molasses is one of the closest substitutes for mesquite powder in terms of both flavor and function. Like mesquite powder, molasses has a rich, sweet taste with notes of caramel. It is made from boiled down sugarcane juice and is a popular sweetener in baking.
When substituting molasses for mesquite powder, use an equal amount or slightly less. Start with 3/4 cup molasses for every 1 cup mesquite powder called for. The thickness and concentrated flavor of the molasses mean a little goes a long way.
Be aware that molasses does have a stronger flavor than mesquite powder. It may overpower more delicate recipes. But in heartier baked goods like gingerbread, molasses makes an excellent swap.
Molasses works well in place of mesquite powder for sweetening and binding purposes. Because it is syrupy and viscous like honey, molasses can help hold recipes together. It also adds moisture to prevent dryness.
Made from dehydrated, ground dates, date sugar is another substitute that mimics both the flavor and function of mesquite powder. It has a caramel-like sweetness and subtle nuttiness that approximates the taste of mesquite.
Date sugar can typically be substituted 1:1 for mesquite powder in recipes. The sweetening power is similar between the two. However, date sugar does not dissolve as easily mesquite powder. It maintains a grainy texture.
For this reason, date sugar works best in recipes where you want nibs of sweetness rather than complete incorporation. It is excellent sprinkled on top of baked goods, stirred into oatmeal or yogurt, and used in crusts or crumbles.
Date sugar adds natural sweetness without spiking blood sugar levels since it retains the fiber of whole dates. This makes it a smart choice for diabetics or those avoiding refined sugar. It also brings a nutritional boost of potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.
With its rich amber color and creamy sweetness, maple syrup can mimic some of the flavor notes of mesquite powder. While it lacks the nutty, caramel undertones, maple syrup provides a delicious sweet substitute.
Use 3/4 cup of maple syrup for every 1 cup of mesquite powder. Maple syrup is thinner than mesquite powder, so a bit less is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness. You may need to reduce other liquids in the recipe slightly.
Maple syrup works wonderfully in baking recipes, adding moisture, sweetness, and binding properties. It pairs especially well with fall flavors like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
Be careful not to heat maple syrup over high temperatures or it can seize up. Add it at the end of cooking or baking for best results.
For topping foods like oatmeal or yogurt, maple syrup provides sweet rivulets as a replacement for mesquite powder sprinkles. It also shines in dressings and sauces.
Hailed as a nutritious sugar substitute, coconut sugar brings a similar mild sweetness as mesquite powder. It is made from the evaporated nectar of coconut tree sap.
Coconut sugar contains fiber, protein, and key minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. It has a low glycemic index, so it does not spike blood sugar sharply.
You can replace mesquite powder with coconut sugar using a 1:1 ratio. The granulated texture of coconut sugar mimics the fine particles of mesquite powder.
Thanks to its neutral flavor, coconut sugar works well in both sweet and savory applications. Use it anywhere you want just a hint of natural sweetness.
Coconut sugar caramelizes beautifully when baked, producing a lovely complexity. It adds crunchy flecks on top of cereals and smoothies in lieu of mesquite powder.
Key Takeaway: Molasses, date sugar, maple syrup, and coconut sugar are good substitutes for mesquite powder in terms of flavor, texture, and function in recipes.
Cocoa or Carob Powder
If you are out of mesquite powder for making hot cocoa alternatives or raw desserts, consider cocoa powder or carob powder instead.
Both cocoa and carob powder provide a rich, chocolate-like flavor that can stand in for the subtle caramel notes of mesquite powder. Carob has an inherently sweet taste while cocoa will need a touch of sweetener.
Substitute cocoa or carob powder 1:1 for mesquite powder. You may wish to start with a bit less cocoa/carob and adjust to taste. Keep in mind the flavor will be more potent.
These powders both mix smoothly into drinks and batters like mesquite powder. Cocoa lends a pretty brown hue while carob powder gives a tan tint.
For sweetening, add maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar or other healthy substitutes. Vanilla and cinnamon also complement chocolate and carob flavors.
Replace mesquite powder cup-for-cup with malt powder. You may need to balance the malt with extra sweetness, as it is not as inherently sweet as mesquite powder.
In baked goods, malt powder encourages browning, adds moisture, and helps ingredients blend together seamlessly. It is especially good in breads, bars, and cookies.
Keep in mind that malt powder does contain gluten, so it will not work for gluten-free diets. Ensure you read labels to find a gluten-free malt powder alternative if needed.
Hailing from Peru, lucuma powder is a popular superfood used in baking. It has a maple-cherry flavor with a slight creamy note.
Lucuma powder can be swapped for mesquite powder in a 1:1 ratio. Since lucuma powder is not overly sweet on its own, also replace any sugar called for in the recipe with another healthy sweetener.
In ice creams and smoothies, lucuma powder mimics the rich flavor and texture of mesquite powder. Add maple syrup to enhance the sweet factor.
Thanks to its grainy consistency, lucuma powder is nice folded into cookie doughs, muffins, and quick breads. A touch of cinnamon brings out its warming side.
Brown Rice Syrup
With its thick, pourable texture, brown rice syrup works as a substitute for mesquite powder's binding properties. Though the flavors differ, the syrupy functionality is similar.
Substitute brown rice syrup for mesquite powder using a 3/4 cup to 1 cup ratio. The rice syrup is intensely concentrated, so you will need less volume than mesquite powder.
Incredibly smooth, brown rice syrup blends seamlessly into batter, preventing crumbling or dryness. It adds moisture and stability.
However, brown rice syrup is not quite as sweet as mesquite powder. Balance it by mixing in molasses, coconut sugar, date paste, or your favorite healthy sweetener.
Be mindful that brown rice syrup is high in calories and can spike blood sugar. Use sparingly and combine with fiber-rich ingredients to help mitigate glycemic impact.
Key Takeaway: Cocoa, carob, malt powder, lucuma, and brown rice syrup can replace mesquite powder's texture and binding properties in recipes. Adjust sweetness as needed.
Applesauce makes an excellent substitute for mesquite powder when you want to add moisture and subtle sweetness to baked goods recipes. Though the flavors differ, the functionality is parallel.
Use a 1:1 ratio when swapping applesauce for mesquite powder. The applesauce provides similar binding action to hold recipes together.
In quick breads, muffins, cakes, brownies, and bars, unsweetened applesauce keeps batters tender and prevents dry crumbling texture.
Be aware that applesauce brings less inherent sweetness than mesquite powder. Combine it with date paste, raisins, maple syrup or another healthy sweetener to balance the flavors.
Keep some unsweetened applesauce on hand in the pantry as a handy substitute for mesquite powder or even eggs in baked goods.
Also called aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas remarkably mimics many functional properties of mesquite powder. Though neutral in flavor, it binds and adds moisture to recipes.
Substitute chickpea liquid for mesquite powder in a 1:1 ratio, using the liquid directly from the can for convenience. Be sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas first.
Whip the chickpea liquid into fluffy peaks as you would eggs, then fold gently into recipes in place of mesquite powder.
This vegan substitute adds lift and stability, preventing baked goods from being dry or crumbly. It helps everything hold together and rise.
The chickpea liquid has a magical binding quality but very little flavor on its own. Boost taste with cinnamon, vanilla, coconut sugar, or spices.
If you want to replicate the texture and protein content of mesquite powder, turn to flours made from beans like chickpeas, black beans, or lentils. Though the flavors differ, the fine flour provides a similar crumbling texture.
Substitute bean flours for mesquite powder in a 1:1 ratio. They dissolve easily when mixed into recipes.
Thanks to their high protein and fiber content, bean flours have an ability to bind ingredients together and add structure.
However, bean flours are more absorbent than mesquite powder. You may need extra moisture from non-dairy milk, yogurt, applesauce, or an overripe banana.
To bring a sweet element, combine the bean flour with date paste, raisins, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to mimic mesquite powder.
Key Takeaway: In terms of binding action and moisture, applesauce, chickpea liquid, and bean flours make good substitutes for mesquite powder. Balance flavors as needed.
Pumpkin or Squash Puree
Dense, sweet pumpkin or winter squash puree offers similar binding and moistening capabilities as mesquite powder. Though the flavor is distinct, the texture parallel makes it a smart substitute.
Replace mesquite powder with an equal amount of pumpkin or squash puree. The puree incorporates smoothly and prevents dry crumbling.
Pumpkin and squash purees work wonderfully in pancakes, muffins, quick breads, and cakes. They keep batters cohesive and lend moisture.
However, pumpkin and squash are not inherently very sweet. Balance the earthy flavor with cinnamon, allspice, molasses, maple, or your preferred healthy sweetener.
When choosing an item, select pumpkins and squashes marked as "pie" or "baking" varieties. These have the best flavor and texture for baking recipes.
Overripe bananas provide the moisture, binding power, and sweetness needed to substitute for mesquite powder. Though banana flavor comes through, it pairs deliciously with common ingredients.
Replace 1 cup mesquite powder with 1 cup mashed banana. Overripe bananas with brown speckles work best to provide concentrated sweetness and starchiness.
Mashed banana blends smoothly into batters and doughs, replacing mesquite powder's binding qualities to create cohesion and moisture.
If needed, boost the sweetness by mixing in a touch of maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla, or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Banana Adds nutrition to recipes with fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Its creamy texture prevents gluten formation in flour-based recipes.
Key Takeaway: Pumpkin, squash, and banana purees mimic the texture of mesquite powder in recipes. Balance flavors with sweeteners and spices.
Can I substitute cocoa powder for mesquite powder?
Yes, cocoa powder can be substituted 1:1 for mesquite powder, especially in recipes for chocolate-flavored drinks, smoothies, and raw desserts. Cocoa provides a rich chocolate taste instead of the caramel notes of mesquite. Balance the bitterness by adding a touch of maple syrup, dates, or other sweetener.
What's a good mesquite powder substitute for coffee?
For sweetening and flavoring coffee, molasses makes an excellent substitute for mesquite powder. Use 1 teaspoon molasses in place of 1 teaspoon mesquite powder. Maple syrup is another good choice with a similar liquid sweetness.
Can I use corn syrup instead of mesquite powder in baking recipes?
It's best to avoid corn syrup, which is high in fructose. Stick to unprocessed substitutes like date paste, applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin puree instead.
Is carob powder a good mesquite powder alternative?
Yes, carob powder has an innate sweetness and cocoa-like flavor that subs well for mesquite powder in recipes. Replace mesquite powder 1:1 with carob powder.
Can I use agave nectar in place of mesquite powder?
Agave nectar does not provide the same binding and moistening properties. It is also very high in fructose. Opt for unrefined substitutes like date sugar, molasses, or brown rice syrup instead.
With its sweet caramel-like flavor and moistening abilities, mesquite powder certainly has its fans. But when you are in a pinch, there are ample options for mesquite powder substitutes to consider.
In terms of replicating both the rich taste and functionality, molasses, date sugar, and maple syrup make excellent alternatives. For mimicking the binding texture, reach for applesauce, chickpea liquid, bean flours, or mashed banana. And for plant-based flavor, try cocoa powder, carob powder, or lucuma powder.