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Explore Substitutes: 5 Best Substitutes for Glycerin

Glycerin is a sweet, colorless, and nearly odorless liquid that has traditionally been widely used in cooking.

The chemical has a variety of functions in cooking.

It can be used as an emulsifier, humectant, and sweetener.

When you’re looking for a food additive to boost your product, glycerin is a good option.

It has a neutral flavor and helps to keep foods from going bad.

However, there are substitutes for glycerin that can give your product the same benefits without any negative taste or effects on freshness.

Keep reading to learn more.

What is Glycerin?

what is glycerin

Glycerin is a chemical compound found in many different foods and products.

It is often used as a sweetener or preservative and is found in various foods, including baked goods.

It can be made from animal fat or plant oils, and it comes from the word “glycerol”.

It also acts as a solvent for medications. However, glycerin’s main use today is in soap making.

Glycerin is known for its ability to hold water, and it is commonly used as a moisturizer in bath products.

Glycerin also has non-cosmetic purposes, such as making explosives with nitroglycerine.

In this way, glycerin is an important chemical foundation for creating many different products.

Cooking with glycerin is not commonly done, as glycerin is difficult to work with because of its water-holding properties.

However, cooking oils or butter can be mixed and made into a cream for baking purposes using glycerin.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Glycerin

If you are trying to cut down on glycerin in your cooking, there are simple alternatives you can try.

Here’s a detailed comparison of the 5 best substitutes for glycerin, along with their key characteristics and proper ratios:

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Corn SyrupCorn syrup is a sweet, viscous liquid that can serve as a substitute for glycerin in many recipes. It provides moisture and sweetness.Use an equal amount as glycerin in the recipe
Maple SyrupMaple syrup is a natural sweetener with a distinctive flavor. It can be used as a substitute for glycerin in baking and cooking.Use an equal amount as glycerin in the recipe
HoneyHoney is a natural sweetener with a thick consistency. It adds moisture and sweetness to recipes as a substitute for glycerin.Use an equal amount as glycerin in the recipe
Sodium LactateSodium lactate is a liquid salt derived from lactic acid. It can help retain moisture in baked goods and serve as a substitute for glycerin.Use 75-80% of the amount of glycerin called for
Vegetable OilVegetable oil can replace glycerin in some applications, providing moisture and reducing stickiness. It is a vegetable-derived substitute.Use an equal amount as glycerin in the recipe

Now let’s explore each substitute in more detail:

1 – Corn Syrup

corn syrup

In North America, corn syrup is the most common substitute for glycerin.

This comes from a form of starch called dextrose.

It has a fairly neutral flavor and acts as a sweetener in many baked goods.

The only downside to using corn syrup instead of glycerin is that it can make your recipes rather sweet.

However, many consumers enjoy the taste of corn syrup nonetheless and prefer it to glycerin for this reason.

It’s also worth mentioning that corn syrup does not have as many preservative properties as glycerin.

When baking, it is often necessary to add preservatives to ensure your food doesn’t spoil.

To substitute: Use an equal amount of corn syrup as you would glycerin in your recipe.

2 – Maple Syrup

maple syrup

Many people are surprised to learn that maple syrup is a good substitute for glycerin because of its thickness.

It has a rich flavor and smells delicious.

This makes it the perfect addition to many different types of baked goods.

In some cases, maple syrup can be substituted for glycerin in a 1:1 ratio.

However, if you want a lighter taste and more sweetness, add a bit more of this substitute to your recipe.

It’s important to note that maple syrup is not the same as a pancake syrup or table syrup.

Pancake syrup has a much different consistency as it is typically used as a topping instead of a cooking ingredient.

Table syrup is simply maple syrup with additives and preservatives.

3 – Honey


Honey is another sweetener option that can be used in place of glycerin.

It has a very similar consistency and flavor but with no preservative qualities that glycerin has.

Honey is a rather ancient sweetener that has been used for thousands of years.

It’s one of the earliest forms of sugar known to man, and it remains a common substitute for cooking all across the globe.

However, consumers should be aware that honey does not have as long a shelf life as glycerin does.

It can spoil rather quickly, which is why it’s best to keep it refrigerated.

To substitute: Use honey in the same amount as glycerin in your recipe.

4 – Sodium Lactate

Sodium lactate is one of the best substitutes for glycerin in its preservative properties.

It acts as an emulsifier and has a range of applications for cooking.

Lactate, in general, is used throughout different food industries to make cheese or yogurt, but you can also find it in other food products.

For example, it is commonly used in bread to help with fermentation and texture.

However, sodium lactate also acts as a humectant, which can pull moisture out of the air and store it in itself.

This makes it an ideal substitute for glycerin when cooking food that takes longer to prepare, such as dough or meatloaf.

To substitute: Use 75-80% of the amount of glycerin called for in your recipe when using sodium lactate.

5 – Vegetable Oil (Vegetable Substitute for Glycerin)

vegetable oil vegetable substitute for glycerin

You can also use vegetable oil to substitute for glycerin in many baking recipes.

This is one of the most common substitutes that consumers choose when looking to cut down on their glycerin intake.

This substitute has almost no flavor, but it does act as an emulsifier and binder in most recipes.

It is very similar to glycerin in many ways, which is why consumers often turn to this alternative when they are looking for something that will not change the flavor of their food.

However, keep in mind that this substitute will not work for every food product.

It only acts as a preservative on foods cooked at a lower temperature, such as cakes and other baked goods.

On the other hand, this substitute does little to nothing for foods you intend to cook at higher temperatures.

High heat can cause oil substitutes to break down, which in turn causes your food product to lose its intended flavor.

To substitute: Use an equal amount of vegetable oil as you would glycerin in your recipe.


Glycerin is typically used in cooking as a preservative.

However, there are many substitutes that you can use if you are looking to cut down on your glycerin consumption.

Honey, maple syrup, sodium lactate, and vegetable oil are good alternatives for this ingredient.

Try experimenting with these different sweetener options if you’re feeling adventurous instead of using glycerin.

Not only will you be able to eat more of your favorite food items, but you’ll also be doing yourself a favor by cutting down on preservatives that are often found in the supermarket today.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Glycerin

Searching for the best substitutes for glycerin? Your quest ends here! We've compiled a list of the top 5 alternatives that seamlessly replace glycerin in various applications. Discover these alternatives and ensure your recipes or products maintain their desired texture and moisture.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Corn Syrup
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Sodium Lactate
  • Vegetable Oil Vegetable Substitute for Glycerin


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for glycerin
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