13 Dextrose Substitutes [In Ice Cream & More]

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer number of sweeteners there are in the world?

We all know about sugar but beyond that is a whole other world of alternative sweeteners. From sucralose to erythritol, xylitol to allulose, I really can’t keep them all straight!

Dextrose is one of those sweeteners that I occasionally come across in recipes but never have on hand.

I have never even seen dextrose in a grocery store but there is it in the ice cream recipe I wanted to try.

Luckily there are quite a few dextrose substitutes that will work well in baking, brewing and even for making sausages. Yes, dextrose is even used in sausage recipes. It really is everywhere!

The best overall substitute for dextrose is light corn syrup. If you need a substitute for powdered dextrose, use powdered sugar. Malt extract can replace dextrose in brewing and Fermento is a perfect dextrose substitute for sausage making. 

Dextrose Substitute

Dextrose is often used in ice cream to make it sweet and soft. Dextrose can actually lower the freezing point of water.

By using dextrose to make ice cream, the ice cream will be softer even when completely frozen. It eliminates the icy texture of ice cream. 

You may see dextrose in your homemade ice cream recipes for this reason. It will help it stay scoopable in the freezer! If you do not have dextrose to make ice cream, these substitutes will also work well. 

1)Light Corn Syrup

Light corn syrup is very easy to find in the grocery store. It is almost identical to pure liquid dextrose. Both ingredients have the same texture, taste and are both typically made from corn. 

The light corn syrup you find in the grocery store usually has vanilla extract and sometimes salt added to the mix. This will just help your ice cream taste even better!

Use the same quantity of light corn syrup to replace dextrose. One tablespoon of light corn syrup has 62 calories and just 17 grams of carbs. This makes it a little bit heartier than pure dextrose. 

2)Liquid Glucose

You may be able to find glucose syrup in your local candy-making or baking store. It is a great substitute for pure dextrose in ice cream making.

In fact, dextrose and liquid glucose are one and the same! The syrup bottled as “glucose” is just easier to find. 

Glucose syrup helps control the formation of sugar crystals and will help make your ice cream smooth and creamy. Use the exact same amount of glucose syrup to replace dextrose in any recipe.

Both ingredients are identical nutritionally and your recipe will turn out perfectly. 

3)Honey

Honey is a great natural substitute for liquid dextrose. Both ingredients have a sticky, thick texture that helps ice cream stay soft.

Use the same quantity of honey to replace dextrose to make your ice cream taste delicious.

Honey adds a rich, sweet flavor to your recipes. It is very easy to find in any grocery store making it a convenient substitute. A little honey will make any ice cream recipe creamy, sweet and rich. 

Honey has 60 calories per tablespoon with 17 grams of carbs. This is pretty comparable to liquid dextrose. 

4)Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is another natural sweetener that can replace dextrose. Agave nectar is a thick, sweet syrup that comes from the blue agave plant.

It is often used in vegan recipes so it would be a perfect vegan substitute for dextrose in ice cream. 

Replace dextrose with the same quantity of agave syrup. Agave has 60 calories per tablespoon so it is almost the same as dextrose. It is a little richer so it will add more flavor to your ice cream recipes. 

5)Lactose

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk. You can find powdered lactose online or in specialty grocery stores. 

Replace powdered dextrose in your sausage recipe with 1 ½ times the amount of lactose.

Lactose is not quite as sweet as powdered dextrose so you will need a little bit more. Lactose has fewer calories and carbohydrates so it is a leaner substitute for dextrose. 

6)Maltose

You will have to order powdered maltose in order to use it in your sausage recipes. Maltose also goes by the name “malt powder”.

It is a disaccharide sugar which means it is made up of two glucose links, making it a little more complex than dextrose. 

Maltose is very often used as a sweetener and binder in sausage making. Replace powdered dextrose with the same amount of powdered maltose. 

One tablespoon of malt powder has just 30 calories. It does, however, have 1 gram of fat and one gram of protein.

It is also not as sweet as dextrose so your sausage will not be quite as sugary. This can be a good thing! 

7)Fermento

Fermento is a powdered fermentation starter commonly used to make sausage. It is made from cultured whey protein and skim milk. 

It gives the sausage a tangy flavor. Using fermento will help your sausage cure faster and it will add a little bit of sweetness. 

Use fermento and table sugar to replace dextrose in sausage making. Replace one tablespoon of powdered dextrose with one tablespoon of fermento and a teaspoon of granulated sugar.

This will give you the taste you are looking for and help with the overall fermentation process of the sausage. 

Fermento has about 83 calories per tablespoon and 1 gram of fat. It is a little higher than dextrose so keep this in mind when making your sausage.

8)Sucrose 

Sucrose is just the fancy name for table sugar. You may also see it called granulated sugar or white sugar.

It is one of the most common baking ingredients in the world which means you likely already have it in your pantry!

Sucrose is much sweeter than powdered dextrose. If your recipe asks for a cup of powdered dextrose, replace it with ¾ cup of sugar. 

Sugar has more calories than dextrose with 48 calories per tablespoon. It is also higher in carbs with 13 carbs per tablespoon. However, you will be using less sugar to replace dextrose so these nutritional numbers balance out. 

9)Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar is another very convenient substitute for powdered dextrose. Powdered sugar is perfect to use in baking.

The fluffy, light sugar has the same texture as powdered dextrose and will melt right into your batters and frostings. 

Replace powdered dextrose with ¾ the amount of powdered sugar. Powdered sugar is also sweeter than dextrose so you do not need quite as much to get the sweetness you are looking for. 

Powdered sugar has 30 calories per tablespoon so it is the same calorically as dextrose. 

10)Malt Extract

You can find malt extract in either a liquid form or powder. The liquid malt extract blends into beer easier but the powdered version is often cheaper. 

If your brewing recipe asks for powdered dextrose, replace it with the same quantity of powdered malt extract. If it uses liquid dextrose, use the same amount of liquid malt powder. 

Malt extract will help the beer ferment. It also adds an interesting, sweet earthy taste to the beer. 

Malt extract has the same amount of calories as dextrose but it also has many vitamins and minerals. There are many beneficial B vitamins in malt extract that are quite nutritious. 

11)Brown Sugar

Brown sugar can be used in place of dextrose to make a rich, sweet beer. Brown sugar granules will dissolve right away into your liquid brewing mix. They will also readily convert to alcohol. 

Use ½ the quantity of brown sugar to replace dextrose. Brown sugar is very sweet so you will not need as much.

Your beer will also be lower in alcohol, however, since you are using less sugar. Less sugar is available to convert to alcohol. 

One tablespoon of brown sugar has 34 calories and 9 grams of carbs. 

12)Glucose Tablets

You can find glucose tablets in almost any major pharmacy. They are available for over-the-counter purchase and are typically used by diabetics as a way to rapidly increase blood sugar levels. However, they work well as a pre-workout or post-workout supplement. 

About two glucose tablets will give you an immediate boost of energy following a workout. One tablet has about 20 calories and is 100% carbohydrates. 

Be sure to consult a doctor or nutritionist before adding glucose tablets to your workout routine. A little extra glucose is okay but too much can be harmful to your general health. 

13)Post Workout Shake

There are many pre-mixed post-workout shakes that you can use in place of dextrose. Many have vitamins and minerals added to the mix making them even more nutritious. 

Look for a supplement that has branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) which will help rebuild your muscles.

Many post-workout shake mixes are made with dextrose or other simple sugars to give you that energy boost you need. 

The calories and nutritional values of each shake will vary based on brand. Some are high in calories and can be considered a full meal. Overall, they will have more calories, fats, and proteins than plain dextrose. 

What is Dextrose?

Dextrose is a simple sugar. It is made of one molecule and is easy for the body to digest and break down. Dextrose is a starch-based sugar and is made from refined corn, rice, or wheat. 

Dextrose is mostly found in the form of corn syrup. This is different from high fructose corn syrup (also very common in foods) which is made from fructose. Check your corn syrup label and you will see the first line says dextrose!

Dextrose powder is also pretty popular. It looks like powdered sugar but is actually a completely different type of sugar molecule. I told you sugar is complicated! 

Is Dextrose The Same As Sugar?

When you hear the word “sugar”, you probably think of white, table sugar. This is not the same as dextrose. Dextrose is a type of sugar but it is not white table sugar. 

The technical name for table sugar is actually sucrose. It is actually made from two sugar molecules, one fructose molecule and one glucose molecule put together.

Dextrose, on the other hand, is a monosaccharide. It is made of just one glucose molecule.

So while it is not sugar like granulated sugar, it is a type of sugar. It is confusing, I know!

Sucrose is used in all sorts of everyday things. We use it in baking, in our coffee or to sweeten just about anything! 

Dextrose, on the other hand, is sometimes used in baking but is mostly used to make sausage or beer.

It ferments easily so it is used more as a preservative and fermentation agent rather than a regular sweetener. 

Dextrose is also not as sweet as regular sugar. It is also more expensive. Those little facts contribute to why people like sucrose more than dextrose- it’s cheap and sweeter!   

Uses For Dextrose Powder

Dextrose is mainly used as a sweetener in baked goods. Since it isn’t as sweet as sugar, it is a good alternative to make your cookies and muffins sweet but not overly saccharine. 

Dextrose is often used in commercial food production and is added to many savory foods to help disguise high salt content and balance out flavor of foods. It is a very common ingredient in commercial ice cream.

Dextrose helps ice cream stay soft and creamy rather than getting hard and icy in the freezer.

Powdered dextrose is used a lot in sausage making. It helps in the fermentation process and adds a tangy sweet flavor to the sausage. 

Dextrose, aka corn sugar, is a popular sweetener choice in brewing beer. Dextrose ferments completely, giving the beer higher alcohol content.

It also lightens the body and flavor of the brew. One ounce of dextrose in a gallon of beer is the standard quantity and gives the beer consistent carbonation as well. 

Is Dextrose Healthy?

Dextrose is completely cholesterol-free, fat-free, and sodium free. If these points are your top dietary concern, then dextrose is just the sweetener for you! 

Those who have diabetes should avoid dextrose. Your body will absorb dextrose very quickly and is very high in carbohydrates.

Because of this, it can make blood sugar rise rapidly which can lead to complications, especially in people with diabetes. 

Excess consumption of dextrose can lead to weight gain, kidney disease or acne. Many people find that eating too much dextrose can cause an upset stomach as well. Moderation is key, especially when it comes to dextrose!

Dextrose does have its health benefits as well. Many bodybuilders rely on dextrose supplements to load their body with carbs after a tough workout.

Dextrose can boost metabolism and increase energy levels, like many sugars. A little dextrose is okay nutritionally speaking. 

Here is a quick look at the nutritional facts of dextrose. These numbers are based on one tablespoon of dextrose.

Calories36
Fat0 grams
Carbohydrates10 grams
Protein0 grams

Dextrose is essentially pure carbs. That is good for increasing the sweet taste of foods but can be harmful for your overall health. 

No Churn Ice Cream

Easy No Churn Ice Cream

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

Dextrose helps sweetener ice cream and keep it super smooth. It is especially helpful in giving no-churn ice cream a great texture. 

My no-churn peanut butter ice cream relies on dextrose to be creamy and soft when scooped.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup liquid dextrose
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Add the peanut butter, liquid dextrose, ½ cup heavy cream and vanilla to small bowl and whisk together until smooth. 
  2. Whisk remaining 1 ½ cups heavy cream until stiff peacocks form. 
  3. Fold the sweetened condensed milk into the whipped cream. 
  4. Swirl in the peanut butter sauce, stirring it in just a little bit to make nice ribbons of peanut butter sauce.
  5. Pour the mix into a shallow casserole dish. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours. 
  6. Scoop and enjoy! 

Notes

Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 4 hours freezing time

Final Considerations

Dextrose is such a useful type of sugar. It can keep ice cream soft, make sausage tangy and even ferment beer perfectly. However, such a useful ingredient can be hard to find! 

These dextrose substitutes will all work well when you can’t find dextrose in your local store. I hope they help you on your cooking journey! 

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