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Dec 18, 2001 10:40 AM

substitute for golden syrup

  • d

I have a cake recipe which calls for "golden syrup"--I'm not certain what this is--more importantly, what might be a substitute for "golden syrup"? Thanks.

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  1. It's British. I've seen it in the syrup section of my local supermarket (but I haven't looked lately). I'm sure you can find it in a British specialty shop.

    It has a characteristic flavor, and while you could probably substitute some other type of syrup, the effect might be quite different.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ironmom

      Hi Dan -- Ironmom's absolutely right that no substitute will give the same result as Lyle's Golden Syrup. It's made by evaporating sugar cane until it thickens and has a rich, toasty and very distinct flavor. It's not especially difficult to find in NYC, since just about every major foodshop (Fairway, Balducci's, etc.) carries it. If you really want to substitute, combine light corn syrup and molasses in a 2 to 1 ratio, but I'd really recommend just picking up a tin of Lyle's.

    2. If "Karo" syrup is still around it might work.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gene

        might work but it's not the has vanilla added

      2. See link below to a great site for all those kinds of questions. This is what they had to say about substitutes for golden syrup: Combine two parts light corn syrup plus one part molasses OR equal parts honey and corn syrup OR maple syrup (This is thinner, and not as sweet.) OR dark corn syrup (This is thnner and
        not as sweet as golden syrup. If you like, try reducing the corn syrup in a saucepan to thicken it.) OR light corn syrup (This is thnner and not as sweet or flavorful as golden syrup. If you like, try reducing the corn syrup in a saucepan to thicken it.)

        Good luck!


        1. My British brother-in-law said that when he was growing up, the special treat his mum gave him for being very, very good was a teaspoonful of Lyle's Golden Syrup. I had some in the pantry and he pointed out the rather bizarre picture and slogan on the can: a dead lion surrounded by insects (supposedly bees), underneath which it says "out of the strong came forth sweetness" (supposedly honey). Never mind that bees eat flower nectar, not dead animals, but I'm just being picky. John Thorne's recipe for absolutely the best pecan pie ever calls for Lyle's Golden Syrup, and I can attest to the fact that it is much more delicious than a p-pie made with Karo. Whole Foods/Fresh Fields carries it, as well.

          7 Replies
          1. re: zora

            That lion with honey coming out of it is from the Bible. It's a story about how Samson kills a lion, then returns to find that the bees have made a hive in its corpse. He eats the honey and doesn't tell anyone, because it was a horrible sin for him to do that (he was a nazirite and touching anything dead was a big no-no. Judges 14: 5-9 for anyone interested.

            1. re: kawaiiflamingo

              Brilliant, kawaiiflamingo! I loved reading about that. But I wonder how that came to be the slogan for Lyle's since, as zora pointed out, it's not honey!

              1. re: roxlet

                According to the history on the Lyle's Golden Syrup site, no one knows why Abram Lyle chose that part of the Bible verse for the company's slogan.

                1. re: parrot1965

                  The bees also appear in Virgil's Georgics (4th part) swarming from a dead ox. If the bees represent making something good from waste (or life from death), it makes sense for Golden Syrup, because Lyle's inspiration was the treacle syrup produced by the sugar cane refining process - went to waste before Golden Syrup! See

            2. re: zora

              That pecan pie idea is inspiring me to try to find some.

              1. re: zora

                About the bizarre picture and slogan. Back in the olden days when everybody went to Sunday Ice Sociables and whatnot, the picture would have made more sense.It comes from the story of Samson who on his way to somewhere killed a huge lion. On his way back some time later, the animal had decomposed baring its ribs from which a hive of bees had hung their combs. This means that the lion was SOME LION. Bigger than big. It's a good story. Though Samson was a total jerk, he was but evidently one tough dude. The reference is here:

                1. re: zora

                  The "Lion and Bees" is a reference to the story of Sampson in the Bible, Judges 14:12-19. The bees built a hive in the corpse of the dead Lion, there they stored their honey. They were not eating it.

                2. I have very successfully substituted golden syrup in recipes that called for corn syrup, so would think the substitution the other way would work also.

                  Lyle's isn't the only brand out there. I use Roger's Golden Syrup, but have to buy it by the case from the outlet store as it's no longer available in Toronto. Used to get it at Safeway, but we don't have Safeway here anymore. I contacted Lantic and found out I could buy it at their outlet store.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sooeygun

                    I think agave syrup could work in a pinch. There are light and amber varieties. I'd buy both and mix and match until the flavour and colour were right. Agave has that toasted caramel flavour that would make a viable substitute, in my opinion.