4 Must-Try Honey Alternatives

By Jenné Claiborne April 23, 2013

PHOTO: Blogger Jenné Claiborne’s Raw Buckwheat Granola with Apple, Pumpkin, and Cranberries drizzled with one of her favorite honey alternatives, coconut nectar.

Despite honey’s delicious flavor, versatility, and medicinal properties, pure vegans choose to avoid this tasty nectar since it’s harvested from bees. Thankfully, there are plenty of tasty alternatives to bee honey, all with their own special qualities. These five sweeteners are 100 percent vegan, and some even contain healthy vitamins and minerals that are lost in honey when it is processed. You can easily use these substitutes as you would use bee honey.

BEE-FREE HONEE This sticky “honee” is made with apples, sugar, and lemon. It’s lovely drizzled on vegan yogurt and granola! The only con with this “honee” is the high added sugar content, 16g per serving (1 Tbs.). As with all concentrated sweeteners, you’ll want to use this in moderation. beefreehonee.com

DATE PASTE Making your own gooey date paste is easy! While high in natural sugar, dates contain numerous antioxidants and minerals, and are high in fiber. To make date paste, simply soak pitted Medjool dates in water, orange juice, or apple juice for an hour or more, then blend in a food processor. Use more or less liquid, depending on how thick you want your paste. I like to add 1/2 cup liquid for every 1 cup dates. You can store the paste in your refrigerator for one week. Try it on warm vegan biscuits. Not into making your own? It’s also available online. datepaste.com

COCONUT NECTAR Literally the reduced sap of coconut palms, this sweetener is high in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Coconut nectar is made up primarily of  inulin, but adds a mild coconut flavor. It is low-glycemic, and will not spike your body’s blood sugar levels. I love to drizzle it on raw buckwheat granola, pictured above. One to try: Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Nectar. livesuperfoods.com/coconut-secret-raw-coconut-nectar.html

AGAVE NECTAR The granddaddy of honey substitutes is definitely agave nectar. Agave is so similar in look and feel to honey, that when I worked at a vegan restaurant as a waitress, I would occasionally have customers who were mistakenly offended, thinking I had given them “real” honey! Though agave is not healthier than honey, or any other concentrated sweetener like sugar, it is a fine replacement for honey. One to try: Now Foods Certified Organic Agave Nectar. nowfoods.com/Foods/Real-Food/Products/M099720.htm


About Jenné Claiborne

Jenné Claiborne is a vegan chef, cooking instructor, and health coach based in New York City. On her vegan food blog, Sweet Potato Soul, she shares delicious healthy recipes inspired by her Southern upbringing and world travels. She also has a vegan cooking show on Youtube. Follow Jenné on FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Pinterest.


Next Previous | Next Previous


I was diagnosed with gleutn sensitivity back in June of '08. I had spent the previous year with anxiety and panic attacks, mainly at night. But sometimes they would come on at all hours of the day. I developed the chills at night before bed and I felt as if I couldn't warm up, so I'd sleep with a heating pad on high until about 3 am when I'd wake up to feeling intensely warm and drenched in sweat. I always seemed to have a low grade fever. My doctor tested me for Celiacs, but the blood test came out negative. I was cloudy headed, feeling like I was in a dream, or a little drunk. Some days I couldn't even drive, and most days after getting out of bed I would crash and have to lay on the couch to regain enough energy to just get something to eat, only to feel exhausted again. I spent many days in bed or on the couch feeling like a waste of space. I continued to see my doctor and a couple of others and it was the same story, we don't see anything wrong with you, here take this prescription. I was offered anti-depressants, sleeping pills, allergy pills, ant-acid pills and birth control pills. None of which I would take, because I felt I deserved to fix my issues, not cover them over. As time went on, my skin was looking dull and had a lot of breakouts. I was steadily losing weight. At my worst I only weighed 117 lbs. and for someone 5'10 , it scared me. I felt like I was just going to disappear. My hair was thinning, my nails were brittle. I always felt pains in my gut and near my gall bladder. My joints ached, my circulation was horrible, my feet and legs were always purple. Not to mention the digestive issues. I was not a happy pooper. I had cysts on my ovaries, and a cyst on my thyroid. I was a royal mess, with a capital M . Finally a friend recommended the Helios Integrated Medicine clinic in Boulder Colorado. And that's where I started to find some much needed answers. They had me send in samples to 2 different labs to check for gleutn and dairy intolerance, and they came back positive. Now, being that I'm part Italian and German, I LOVE my pasta, I LOVE my cheese, and I LOVE my beer So, needless to say, I had to go through a mourning period. But I got over it and forged ahead with a very strong desire to feel better and to heal myself from the inside out. It felt liberating that I had kept looking for the answers! After about 6 months I felt good, but not great, there was still something missing. I got in touch with a registered nurse who does something called bio-feedback. Here is where I found that I am also corn intolerant, and since May of '09 my health has steadily turned for the better. I am able to tailor all of my vitamins and natural remedies to what is good for me and my health. Now, it feels like all of that was just a dream, like it was someone else. Looking back on my life, I see the signs for gleutn sensitivity were there. I was always sluggish, and really skinny with a bloated belly. But now, I feel great. Sticking to my diet hasn't always been easy. There were times I stood in the kitchen crying not knowing what I wanted to eat, but I stuck with it and I am so glad that I did. I also had great support from my husband and good friends, for which I am so thankful. If you don't feel as good as you know you deserve, don't just sit on the sidelines hoping the doctor will give you your magic pill, take accountability for your health and take positive steps to find the answers you are looking for.

Tiago - 2015-09-08 14:33:08

We need a vegan cooking show on TV! The Cooking channel doesnt have a vegetarian or vegan cooking show. You would be perfect. Look forward to seeing and learning from you on the Cooking Channel.

judith - 2014-09-27 16:22:40