Agave nectar and simple syrup are both sweeteners used in everything from mixed drinks and other beverages and desserts. If you are wondering what the difference between them is as well as which you can use in your particular recipe, you will find all the answers to your questions right here.
While both of these sweeteners can be used in similar applications, there are some key differences you should be aware of.
Agave Nectar and Simple Syrup Differences, Similarities, and Uses
Agave nectar and simple syrup are both liquid sweeteners that can be used in a wide variety of recipes. If you are trying to decide which of these two sweeteners to use in a particular recipe or beverage, you need to understand what they are made out of as well as what they are best suited for.
What is Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is a liquid sweetener that is produced from the agave plant. The agave plant is a succulent natively grown in Mexico.
Agave nectar is predominantly composed of carbohydrates, of which 80% are fructose and 20% are glucose (agave nutrition facts).
It does contain small amounts of other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fat, and polyols.
Agave syrup contains naturally occurring sugars but is considered an added sugar when used in recipes or beverages.
Related: Agave nectar substitutes
Agave Nectar Uses
Agave nectar is a popular sweetener used in cold and hot beverages as well as baking and even as a topping for pancakes and waffles.
Agave nectar is particularly well suited for sweetening beverages like coffee and tea since it dissolves well without leaving a grainy residue.
It is popularly used in place of honey and sugar in all types of baked desserts.
Because agave nectar is quite sweet (sweeter than sugar in equal amounts) you will want to use half as much agave nectar as sugar for a similar level of sweetness.
What is Simple Sugar
Simple sugar is aptly named. It is made by combining granulated sugar and water. The sugar is dissolved in the water, producing a sweet liquid predominantly used to sweeten beverages and mixed drinks.
Simple sugar is usually made with one of two sugar to water ratios. Standard simple sugar is produced by mixing equal parts water and sugar, while rich simple syrup utilizes a ratio of two parts sugar to one part water. Here is simple syrup’s nutritional content.
Simple Syrup Uses
Simple syrup, sometimes called sugar syrup, is a popular sweetener used in cold and hot beverages. It is particularly well suited for sweetening drinks such as lemonade, iced tea, hot tea, and coffee.
Because the sugar has already been dissolved in water, it mixes into beverages better than sugar alone. This is the primary benefit of using simple syrup over sugar alone to sweeten your beverage.
Unlike agave nectar, simple syrup is not suited for use in baked recipes. Therefore, simple syrup is not a good replacement for agave nectar in baked goods.
Which is Better, Agave Nectar or Simple Syrup
The answer to that depends on what you are making. If you are baking a dessert, agave nectar is the superior sweetener. Simple syrup is not well suited for sweetening a baked dish, so if you do not have agave nectar, sugar is the better choice.
If you are sweetening a beverage, either agave nectar or simple syrup can be used. Because agave nectar is much sweeter than simple syrup, you will need to adjust how much you use accordingly. Standard simple syrup is about half as sweet as agave nectar so adjust the amount used according to taste.
Agave Nectar and Simple Syrup FAQ
Can you substitute agave syrup for simple syrup?
Agave nectar can be substituted for simple syrup in all types of recipes. Agave nectar is about twice as sweet as simple syrup when comparing equal amounts of each. Therefore, use half as much agave nectar as simple syrup.
Is agave or simple syrup better for Margarita?
Both agave nectar and simple syrup can be used for Margaritas. Simple syrup does dissolve faster but agave nectar still dissolves well.
Is simple syrup or agave nectar better for mixing cocktails?
Both simple syrup and agave nectar can be used when mixing cocktails. Keep in mind that agave nectar is sweeter than simple syrup so adjust your amounts accordingly.
How do you convert agave nectar to simple syrup?
When substituting agave nectar to simple syrup, use half as much simple syrup as agave nectar called for in your recipe.