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What is the Difference Between Honey and Syrup?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Many people enjoy the use of honey and syrup as part of their traditional diet. However, most people tend to make use of these two substances in slightly different ways. That is because honey is produced differently than syrup. While both honey and syrup are both sweeteners and can be used as an additive with a number of foods, there are some important differences.

Honey is a thick substance that is produced in nature. Created by the interaction of flower nectar with honeybees, honey is a natural sweetener that can be used as an additive to many different types of foods and drinks. Persons who like to use natural sources of nutrition will often make use of honey in place of processed sugars, as well as use it to sweeten a tea or tincture that is made with apple cider vinegar. Honey is often used as an ingredient in baked goods, as a natural sweetener in a number of sauces, and as a means of adding a little extra flavor to such dishes as baked beans.

By contrast, syrup is a processed product. While the basis for syrup is obtained from a number of natural sources, such as sugar cane, maple trees, and even corn or rice, the actual creation of the product rests in the manufacturing process. While it is true that syrup can also be used as an additive in a number of recipes, it is more common for syrup to be used as a topping on a number of different dishes. Often, such breakfast favorites as French toast, pancakes, and waffles are doused with a little butter and syrup. There are also a number of syrups that are produced as a means of adding a little extra flavor to coffee or tea.

Of course, there are also syrups that incorporate honey as one of the ingredients in the mixture. This honey syrup combination usually is employed for specialty foods and drinks, rather than home cooking or baking. In some cases, the syrup honey combination is a way of cutting the content of the processed sweetener in the food item, while still preserving the quality of the taste and the smooth texture that is often created with the use of honey and syrup.

While both honey and syrup are both sweet, and both are used widely, they do vary in both some of the applications used for each substance, as well as in the means used to create each of these tasty and flavorful fluids.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including DelightedCooking, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By galen84basc — On Oct 14, 2010

Does anybody know a good way to clean out a honey and syrup dispenser? I have a couple that have been sitting in the fridge for a little too long, and it seems like I can't get that stuff out for the life of me!

Are there any good tricks for cleaning out a honey or syrup dispenser, or do I just need to can them and get new ones?

By naturesgurl3 — On Oct 14, 2010

I'll tell you one thing you definitely can't use honey and syrup interchangeably for -- lemon honey tea.

There is really nothing more soothing than a lemon honey tea, and it actually has a lot of health benefits too.

Honey has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for everything from infections to arthritis, and now there is an increasing amount of research to back up the claims. For instance, honey has high antibacterial properties, and has also been shown to fight carcinogens in the body.

Likewise, lemon juice (not lemonade) has a lot of health benefits too. When mixed with hot water it is excellent for digestion, and also acts as a diuretic.

When you combine those into a honey lemon infusion, you get a ton of benefits from both the honey and the lemon that you definitely would not get if you switched it out with syrup!

By StreamFinder — On Oct 14, 2010

How would you say that a natural glucose syrup like honey to a one like corn syrup? High fructose syrup or low fructose, either one.

I cook a lot, and I try to substitute corn syrup in recipes with honey because of the health difference, but I recently read an article that said that glucose syrups might not be all that much better than high fructose corn syrup.

Do you know anything about this; can you tell me?

By hangge — On May 26, 2009

This article needs more scientific information about the difference. I hope some biologist will describe the difference. Please include some examples the non-biologist can understand.

Right now all we have is the cooks point of view.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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