Agave Nectar: The Sweetener You Need to Know About

Agave nectar is the sweet staple that everyone should have in their pantry! Here's everything you need to know before stocking up.
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A wooden spoon with some agave nectar dripping off of it into a glass.
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Sweeten your day with a drizzle of agave nectar, the golden plant-based syrup that’s a favorite among bakers and dessert-lovers alike.

What Is Agave Nectar?

Made from the blue agave cactus, the same plant used to make tequila, agave nectar is sometimes called blue agave syrup. All natural, with nothing else added, agave used to make spirits is allowed to ferment until the sugars turn into alcohol, whereas agave used to make syrup is boiled down, concentrated, and bottled as is.

agave nectar looks and tastes like honey photo

Types Of Agave Nectar

Most mainstream grocery stores will stock at least two or three types of agave in the baking aisle, while more robust natural grocers can carry a dozen different brands. These are the four unique grades of agave syrup you need to know.

  • Light agave nectar has the mildest flavor and palest color of all the varieties. It’s best used in recipes where you want a neutral sweetness.
  • Raw agave nectar is light agave that’s produced at temperatures below 118°F to protect the natural enzymes.
  • Amber agave nectar has a slight caramel flavor and golden color, giving it more character in finished dishes.
  • Dark agave nectar has the darkest, toasted, nutty flavor, making it a great substitute for woodsy maple syrup.

Agave Vs Honey

Agave is often compared to honey for their similar floral taste and golden color. The primary difference is that agave is thinner in viscosity than honey and has a more concentrated sweetness. It’s still a great vegan alternative to animal-based honey and can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio.

How To Use Agave Nectar

Any recipe that calls for a liquid sweetener can be adapted to use agave instead. For more ideas on incorporating this natural sugar alternative into your daily diet, here are some more sweet ideas.

  • Sweeten drinks. Hot or cold, agave blends into beverages beautifully, in stark contrast to granulated sweeteners that often won’t fully dissolve. That means you can enjoy hot and cold coffee and tea with a touch of sweetness on demand. For a more spirited drink, swap simple syrup for agave in any cocktail, and try an agave nectar margarita while you’re at it.
  • Make candy. You can substitute an equal amount of agave for light corn syrup in any homemade candy recipe, such as hard candies, peanut brittle, and toffee.
  • Top off your breakfast plate. Move over maple syrup! Try agave on that short stack of pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
A stack of vegan waffles, topped with blueberries and drizzled with syrup.

Agave Nectar Brands

Add agave to your shopping list and stock up on the best syrup! These are the best agave nectar options you should know.

Madhava agave

One of the most established brands on the market Mahava Foods keeps it clean and simple with light agave, organic agave, and amber agave, all available in bottles that range from 11.75oz all the way up to 46oz.

A glass bottle of madhava organic amber agave on a countertop next to chips.
Photo source: madhavafoods

Monin agave

Best known for their wide range of flavored syrups, Monin also offers organic agave with nothing else added.

Bottle of Le Sirop de Monin Spicy Agave next to two small glasses of margaritas with limes.
Photo source: Monin USA

Soviia agave

Add a splash of flavor with vanilla, peppermint, lavender, and more! Soviia also produces a “Better Cocoa” chocolate syrup that starts with an agave nectar base.

Vanilla agave syrup by Soviia sitting on a wooden dock next to water.
Photo source: Sovia Agave
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