What is Golden Syrup?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Golden syrup is a popular sweetener in the UK, resembling honey in appearance, though more similar to corn syrup in its pouring ability. It is sometimes called light treacle and is an essential ingredient in the popular UK dessert, treacle tart. This syrup may also be used as a topping for hot cereal or for pancakes.

Golden syrup is a UK sweetener that resembles honey.
Golden syrup is a UK sweetener that resembles honey.

Sugar cane juice is evaporated to produce the flavor and texture of this syrup. Some call it nutty in flavor, and many praise its light yellow color. Often people feel it is sweeter than sugar. Using it as a sugar substitute should mean using a lesser amount.

Golden syrup might be used as a substitute for maple syrup on pancakes.
Golden syrup might be used as a substitute for maple syrup on pancakes.

Unlike the crystallized form of table sugar, golden syrup is primarily composed of sucrose, fructose, and glucose. This makes it easy to store without worrying that sudden cold temperatures in the house will cause hardness or crystallization of the syrup.

The US does not have a brand of golden syrup, though sometimes it and corn syrup may be mixed to make artificial maple syrup. Most often, one has to get brands from the UK or Australia by mail order or Internet order. International food stores may carry it and may be the best bet for finding it close to home.

In Britain, Tate and Lyle markets the most popular golden syrup under the name Tate’s. Unlike corn syrup, it is usually sold in cans or in jars resembling large jelly jars. It tends not to be available in the bottle format like most corn syrup brands are found in the US.

If a cook cannot obtain golden syrup, he or she can substitute honey or corn syrup in recipes requiring it. This will produce a somewhat different taste, and lack the characteristic flavor, but will still allow one to go forward with certain UK recipes.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


The Canadian brand is called Rogers Golden Syrup and is available in all major grocery stores. It is made in British Columbia. It used to come in a tin, but is now in plastic squeeze bottles.

I grew up on Rogers and I wouldn't think of using anything else for baking. It makes the best gingerbread (instead of molasses), pecan pie, candies, etc. When I was a child one of my favorite desserts was cold rice drizzled with Rogers syrup and heavy cream. To dream on.


King's Syrup is a corn syrup, not made from sugar cane juice.

To make a golden syrup substitute, use 1/4 cup of sugar in a heavy pan on low heat, sprinkle over it 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of water. Don't stir. After about 5 minutes turn the heat up to medium until the syrup turns golden, like honey. It will take about five minutes. Remove from heat, add to the golden syrup 1/4 to 1/3 cup of corn syrup. Let it bubble for two minutes and then stir thoroughly. When it cools down, store it in a container. The combination of the two different sugars will keep crystallization from occurring.

It's basically a simple syrup recipe, with a bit of lemon juice.


Unfortunately Steen Cane Syrup is definitely not the same as Lyle's Golden Syrup from England. I'm an ex-pat Brit and have tried it (and other things like it) as a substitute for the real thing without success.


Both corn syrup and golden syrup are invert sugars. "Invert" refers to the way polarized light is rotated as it passes through the syrup. Put simply, pure sucrose solution rotates light to the right, but when broken into glucose and fructose, the light rotates to the left - inverted.


@Ivana: We were taught that you can substitute Corn Syrup for Invert Sugar 1:1. I don't know what the ratio would be for golden syrup (or even if it's an "invert sugar" as defined).


Is Steen Cane syrup the same as golden syrup?



Kings Syrup is definitely *not* golden syrup, since it is "a special blend of corn and sugar syrups."

Golden syrup is only made from sugar cane juice.


The United States does have a brand of golden syrup.

It is called Kings Syrup. It is from the southern states. It also has a lion as part of their logo.

It has been around since the 1800's I believe. It's great.


What is the difference between Golden syrup and Inverted sugar? Is it possible to substitute the first by the second?


You can also find golden syrup in Canada. I vacation in Canada and buy it there.

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