Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Homemade Jaggery Syrup Recipe- Low Cost Honey Replacement

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Not the most flattering pic, but here's my jaggery syrup
The other day I decided to make up a bunch of healthy muffins to freeze and defrost each morning for breakfasts for my family. I wanted to make them refined sugar free, because if we're going to be eating these for breakfast, why put something unhealthy like refined sugar in it? The thing is, though, that part of the reason I wanted to make these muffins is not just for health reasons, but also for cost... and non refined sugars cost a whole lot more than refined sugars. The cheapest non refined sweetener I can get is jaggery, for $2.33 a pound, while raw honey costs me $4.15 a pound, date syrup is $3.63 per pound, and coconut sugar is $4.50 a pound plus international shipping...

Now what is jaggery? Its basically non refined cane syrup, just boiled down until you get a brick of mostly solid sweetener, and it originates in India, and can be found at Indian grocery stores. There is a very similar product, either called piloncillo or panela, from Central America, and it can be used the same way.
In other words, with difficulty. Jaggery needs to be grated or smashed up, and then melted before use. Not so simple to use in recipes, which makes me hesitant to use it, even though its the cheapest healthier sweetener I can get.
(And is it really healthier? Well, it's jam packed with minerals, especially iron, and its free of chemicals used to refine it, so yes, it is healthier.)
But then, when I was looking at a recipe to try out, it called for honey, and I certainly didn't want to be using an entire cup of honey in that recipe- that's .75 lbs, or $3.11 just for the sweetener in that recipe. I tried to see if maybe there was a way to use jaggery in its place, thought maybe I could make some sort of syrup out of jaggery.
Hit the jackpot.
Apparently, jaggery syrup is the standard way of using jaggery in cooking- only I didn't know! I'm so glad to have figured that one out.
So, I made jaggery syrup and used it in place of honey for the muffin recipe and it came out perfectly! I am super excited! As for cost? Well, I used .19 lbs of jaggery to make 2 cups of syrup, so 1 cup cost me only 22 cents... much less than the $3.11 had I used honey. And it tasted great.

Gluten free, vegan, pumpkin muffins,
sweetened with jaggery syrup instead of honey
Jaggery kind of tastes like brown sugar. Just with a slightly more molassesy taste. And when made into syrup, it is superb.
If you want to know where to buy jaggery or panela or piloncillo, you can either buy it online (I've found it on Amazon and Ebay) or buy it from an Asian grocery store or Mexican or grocery store geared towards people from Central America.

Once you have your jaggery, here's how you make your syrup.

2 cups jaggery (or piconcillo or panela)- 420 grams
1 1/2 cups water

1. Grate or break up your jaggery- the smaller you can get your pieces, the easier it'll be.

2. Add your water- boiling is better but not necessary, and let sit for 10-20 minutes to soften.

3. Using a fork, your fingers, or a potato masher, mash up the jaggery as much as possible.

4. On a medium or low flame, heat up the jaggery until it is all dissolved.

5. Bring to a boil over a medium/high flame.

6. From when you see a rolling boil, time 6 minutes. Let it boil away for that long.

7. Cool down and use it as you would honey or maple syrup. (In baked goods, as a topping for desserts or pancakes, etc...) The texture will be around the same thickness as maple syrup, thinner than honey. This results in a bit under 2 cups of syrup.

8. If you keep on boiling away, the jaggery syrup will reach first soft ball stage, and then hard ball stage, and you can use it as you would any other syrup in candy making. But I stopped at stage 7.


Have you ever used jaggery, panela, or piconcillo in cooking before? How do you/have you used it? Ever made it into syrup before? Does this look like something you'd try?
If you try to stick to non refined sweeteners, what sweeteners do you tend to use and why? What is the cheapest where you live?

Linking up to Real Food Wednesday and Allergy Free Wednesday.


  1. I've never heard of it. Thanks for posting about it. I'm always interested in learning about new and different foods.

  2. I've only used jaggery once, to make jaggery-caramelised walnuts. They were nice, but not very healthy!

  3. Great idea! How do I store this and how long will it keep? Thanks.

  4. I'm excited to try this; I found piloncillo today for $1.49/#, which is far cheaper than sucanat which I pay $2.49/# for when I buy 25 pounds. But really, I want a honey replacement for my bread recipe, so jaggery/piloncillo syrup will be perfect, as I pay $3.20/# for honey.

  5. I have a question. You mention using .19 pounds of jaggery to make just under 2 cups of syrup, but you also have in the recipe that you used 420 grams, which is .93 pounds. I used just under 1 pound (440 grams) with 1.5 C. water and got just over 2 C.

    So did you use .19 pounds or 420 grams?

  6. just made it and it came out great. made cookies and challah with it right away. the rest gotes in the fridge.


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