chocolate chip cookies with yacon

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Yacon

So all you agave haters gather round.  These gluten free chocolate chip cookies are completely free of agave, I have used yacon instead.

What is yacon?  It is a perennial root, composed primarily of water and Fructooligosaccharide (FOS). These short chain sugars have a lower caloric value (as they are digested anaerobically) and high fiber content. FOS is a prebiotic that is extremely helpful with digestion.

I use yacon as my “brown sugar” or “molasses” in my recipes.  For example, in my book, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, I use yacon in my recipes for Gingerbread Men and S’mores.

Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Yacon
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Stir together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry
  4. Form ½ inch balls and press onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

So, for those of you that are agave averse, what is your favorite substitution for this ingredient in my recipes?  I’ve heard of people using everything from apple sauce and stevia to honey.  If you have a formula or a favorite recipe that replaces agave with another ingredient, be sure to leave it in the comments section!

One of my favorite bloggers, Chris from Celiac Handbook is featuring me on his Facebook page this week.  Chris is an amazing guy who does so much to spread awareness of celiac disease and is always selflessly promoting other bloggers in our community.  He is fabulous.


  1. says

    Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog site in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in
    Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted
    to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  2. Lisa Popelka says

    Hi Elana!
    This is Ellie, aged 10. I just wanted to let you know that when you look up ‘yacon syrup’ in ingredients that it shows it is being sold at iHerb, but I went to iHerb and found yacon syrup was discontinued. But it is sold at the other website.
    Thanks and I really want to try these yummy-looking cookies ASAP!
    PS I love how you pronounce your name-it’s really pretty!

  3. Npeterson says

    I don’t mean to be rude, but what does being digested anaerobically have to do with them having a lower calorific value? I’m a biochemisty student, and that doesn’t ring any bells, although I’m sure that there are many many things I don’t know yet :)

  4. Erin says

    I’m surprised there aren’t more people using coconut palm (aka palm) sugar.
    It’s even lower glycemic than agave (agave always spiked my blood sugar and made me shaky, so I have my doubts about its true GI).

    You can find granular form at health food stores (it has a brown-sugary taste) or you can find semi-solid at Asian grocers (it’s the traditional sugar of Thailand) and it will be labeled “Palm Sugar”- you just have to make sure the ingredients list only “sap from coconut blossoms”. It’s very inexpensive. I think I payed about 5 bucks for 32 oz.

  5. says

    “agave haters gather round” that cracked me up. as for sweetener substitutes preference, i’m a date syrup girl, obviously. this recipe is in my oven as i write. preparation for road trip this week. can i wait until tomorrow to eat one?

  6. eliana says

    I’m so happy to see this post! I’m allergic to agave and have been substituting honey but I’m not too crazy about the taste, well, since I’m not too crazy about honey itself. I’m going to try adding some non-dairy milk plus stevia and see what comes out!

  7. says

    We love yacon as a sugar substitute so we couldn’t wait to try the recipe. Since we did not have almond flour, we substituted coconut flour and used almond oil instead of the grapeseed oil.

    We also wanted a “control” for this experiment in yacon, so we created the same cookie, using the same recipe, but substituting coconut sugar for yacon. In this picture, the cookies with yacon are on the left and the “control” group with coconut sugar are on the right. The ones made with coconut sugar look better, maybe because coconut sugar is a more reasonable substitute for refined sugar. However, I want to assure everyone that the ones made with yacon were just as delicious (and sweet) as the ones made with coconut sugar.

  8. Jane says

    Hi Elana, I don’t hate agave, I just don’t like it in certain recipes, like anything with fruit. It doesn’t seem to bring out the flavor of fruit as well as honey does (eg in the pear crisp). I liked it in the scones/ cookies and breads.

    I’d be interested in trying yacon – looked for it actually but none in any of the stores here- but then I saw the price. It’s insanely expensive, isn’t it? – something like $25 for a jar containing 8 ounces? Does anyone have a good source for this product?

    Am curious to see if I’d react to it. My naturopath had me try FOS supplements along with probiotics and it made me feel not very well. (probiotics good.. FOS not so much :-). Symptoms were uncomfortable bloating, which went away when I went off the FOS. Am a longtime probiotics user so … it wasn’t the probiotics.

    • Vickie says

      Because there are still those wanting to know where to buy yacon, I will share the good news with you again (see July 15). has 11.5 oz. for $10.79. Yes, it’s very expensive, but it’s cheaper here than buying the 8.8 oz. jars for about the same price or more. Hope this helps.

  9. Michiru says

    Hello- I am from Germany and today I tried the first recipe from this mouth watering site. But sadly I think I translated it wrong from “cup” to “gramm”. Have you ever thought about translating your recipes? It would help your international guests!
    The cookies taste very good though, so I might just have to exeriment a bit with the ingrediens. :-)

  10. Maureen says

    I believe that agave nectar is just fine in small amounts for people who tolerate fructose well. Yes, you do need a treat once and awhile.
    Mercolas’ site advocates nutritional typing diets. He does say that as long as you avoid the offending foods 90-95 percent of time that anything can be included as a treat. Not, however, a staple of the diet. I think his attack on agave is that he wants no one to believe that sugary foods are food for sustenance. In my case, I have fructose malabsorption where fructose cannot be digested unless in perfect balance with glucose. Most fruit is problematic and yacon would also not be acceptable. Fruct Mals usually tolerate cane sugar (best), brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup (not good for celiacs) and stevia. I like the idea of mixing cane sugar with almond milk to use as a sweetner in recipes. Elana keep up the great work your doing. Us fruct mals need your inspiration. Everyone is on their own individual journey to understand their metabolism. We all need to acknowledge how the food we are eating is affecting our health. Even in the case of celiacs and fruct mals and many other yet to be discovered combinations food that is deemed to be beneficial for some is poison for others.

  11. says

    I have used yacon some and really like it. I usually use less than what the recipe calls for because it is SO expensive! I probably wouldn’t use it in place of agave all the time though because I think it has a much stronger taste. I tend to use stevia more than anything else. To replace the liquid that I would normally have from the agave, I just add some almond milk etc. to the recipe. So far, it has worked everytime for me :)

  12. says

    I found some interesting info around here and the recepies are all great. Just tried this one and it was delicious. Personally, I have nothing against agave, but it worked great without it. I’ll also try replacing it with honey and the other stuff you’ve mentioned, just to see how it works out.

  13. says

    Even though I’m not anti-agave (in moderation), for all or a portion of the Agave I usually do:

    1 Medjool date or 2 California dates (soaked and pitted)= 1 Tbsp. Agave

    Put the soaked dates and wet ingredients into the vita-mix and blend until smooth and use this mixture as the recipe instructs to use the wet ingredients.

    While I’m fully aware of the “agave hater” arguments, Agave works best for me as someone super-sugar sensitive as a straight-up sweetener when a recipe requires a stronger sweetness than fruit, vegetables or dates can provide. It doesn’t give me the sugar loopiness, hangover and resulting carb/ sugar cravings that other sweeteners do.

    Thanks for regularly creating so many delicious and healthy recipes Elana!

  14. Krissy says

    I currently use coconut sugar crystals from Wilderness Naturals or coconut nectar from Coconut Secret. Coconut sugar is very low glycemic.

  15. Kristin says

    First of all I love you cookies….YUMMY!!!! The only thing I do differently is I use maple syrup instead of agave. They turn out great. Thank you for sharing your recipes. My gluten free existence isn’t so boring anymore actually it is quite delightful :O)

  16. says

    @Megan – I’m all over bacon chocolate chip cookies. Send the recipe once perfected — the ‘test kitchen’ phase doesn’t entirely tempt!

    Elana – gorgeous photos, especially love the rooster glass!

  17. marsha hubner says

    I substitute honey for agave nectar in all your recipes. And I have used probably 30 to 40 of them. It works wonderfully.

  18. Mia says

    Hello Elana!

    I love your website. I have been inspired by your dessert recipes, since I’ve changed my diet to support my health.

    I mainly use Xylitol (, Navitas Natural Yacon Syrup, dates, and will be trying organic brown rice syrup soon.


  19. Lorinda says

    Hi Elana!

    I have been doing the same thing with the yacon in this recipe so little Matteo can have cookies. The only difference is that I used yacon because I thought the yacon would be the substitute for brown sugar and then I sprinkle about a tablespoon of xylitol to add the sweetness flavor of the “white” sugar.

    They are a hit in my house, since now that Matteo (2 years old) is diabetic, we all have given up eating sugar and use very little agave.

    Thank you!

  20. Megan says

    Darn. I thought perhaps yacon was a bacon substitute. I can tell that I’m hungry when bacon chocolate chip cookies sound amazing!

  21. Nicole Thomas says

    I tend to substitute yacon syrup in anything that calls for agave, but if it’s something that I think demands a higher level of sweetness, I use raw coconut nectar ( — a low-glycemic sweetener with much more potent sweet taste than yacon’s mellow butterscotchy flavour.

    I have been hearing a lot about Jerusalem artichoke syrup as an amazing low-glycemic sweetener, but have yet to try it. I use stevia a lot as well, especially the Sweetleaf flavored liquids, which provide a bit of a boost for recipes that call for chocolate, lemon or what have you.

  22. says

    I still use some agave, Elana. And, guess what … I have yacon syrup on hand because I just got it from iHerb to try because you used it before. :-) And, I have all the other ingredients in this recipe–woohoo! We’re going camping this weekend with Son and a bunch of his friends, so several batches of healthy cookies are in order (last time they ate 8 dozen in a few hours!). Thanks so much for this one!


  23. Jenny says

    Some fun subs I made which turned out amazing! (Also, all I had in my kitchen ;)

    1/2 T vanilla 1/2 T almond extract
    1/4 cup coconut + 1/4 cup dried cranberries instead of chocolate chips
    3/4 cup yacon + 1 1/2 T raw honey

    Yum!!! Thanks Elana : )

  24. Vickie says

    Finally, a cookie recipe using yacon! I have been using agave, but have recently become sensitive to it. Hot tip: has a larger yacon syrup, 11.5 oz for a only a few cents more than the 8.8 oz that sells. And for a short time only, there is free shipping at Vita Cost over $79. The manufacturer of this product has been out for some time. So I was thrilled to see it was back in.

  25. Charmaine says

    I haven’t tried yacon syrup yet, but from day one of making your recipes, I have always substituted agave with coconut palm sugar by making a syrup out of it. This was posted on the forum, and that’s how I got the idea and have always had great results:

    Coconut Palm Sugar Syrup

    * 1 ½ cups palm sugar
    * ½ cup water.

    1. To make the syrup, bring the coconut palm sugar and water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stop stirring and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 3 minutes. Keep warm if to be used immediately. Or, let it cool and keep refrigerated to use later on.

    Also, I buy the Navitas Naturals brand of palm sugar (same brand as the yacon syrup) from, and a 1 lb. bag will yield about 12 oz. of syrup. So, if the yacon is pricey for some, for about half the price you get more ounces of palm sugar syrup than you do yacon syrup.

    • laura balsley says

      I chuckled when I saw “all you agave haters!” This is the first I have seen since Dr.Mercola made that announcement ( long ago) I have dropped agave nectar like hot cakes since I am a prediabetic. Just wanted to say “yay” for that comment you made!


  26. RH says

    I don’t have a big sweet tooth, so I often sub with brown rice syrup. I know it’s not an option for everyone, though.

  27. Jess says

    I like to use a combo of xylitol and brown rice syrup (brown rice syrup is not high in fructose, which is the cause of my aversion to agave).

  28. donna says

    sounds good elana…as far as sweeteners go i feel any of them are sugar and not good for you in excess…even stevia ( which i can’t stand- bordering on hate ;-) ) we use sparingly and i vary them…raw honey- agave- organic sugar-xylitol- and sucanat…we just don’t use them much…we like out chocolate REALLY dark- almost unsweetened and once in a blue moon are bad and eat something with sugar we should not..i have seen yacon but- very expensive…perhaps i will try it if our food coop gets it in bulk at some point…i am just not going to worry about eating a little something sweet now and then…there are so many worse things i can think of…but thank you elana for always experimenting and coming up with great recipes for all of us ;-)

  29. Marjorie says

    I don’t hate agave, I just don’t have it on hand that often. =)
    I always substitute with a stevia high fiber baking blend I have and add a little extra moisture, water, 1/2 & 1/2 or cream……Has worked in all the recipes in the cookbook…..

  30. Kimberley says

    We don’t have too much trouble with sugars in the house( as in nobody is diabetic or has blood sugar issues. We do avoid convetional sugar completely). I substitute pure maple syrup in your baking recipes and love it! Everyone has different reasons for using grain free and or gluten free recipes. I love your recipes and they have been so helpful to fill the gap for us for treats!
    Just made your vanilla cupcakes and cut them in half ( in rounds), put fresh berries and a drizzle of coconut milk and a drizzle of maple syrup on top. Like strawberry shortcake, Yummy!

  31. says

    Personally, I’m an agave lover. I was under the impression that the big issue was that there were types of agave nectar sold that weren’t pure, were overly sweetened, had additives etc. Anyway, in moderation, I’m happy using agave, local wildflower honey or turbinado sugar (which, by the way, works very well in your muffins).
    These cookies look great. Can’t wait to try them.

  32. Chelsea says

    If I sub for agave, I use honey 1:1. I haven’t had a recipe turn out bad with that substitution yet.

  33. Cristy says

    I made the carrot cake yesterday substituting 1/2 cup coconut milk (the thick creamy kind) and a bit of powdered stevia for agave. didn’t need much sweetner w/ carrots and raisins. everyone raved. texture was great. also made cream cheese frosting w/ liquid stevia and coconut milk. delish.

    • says

      I’ve been replacing the agave with almond milk or coconut milk, with a secret addition. Hopefully soon I can share it! Still testing, but if it proves to work, then it will be a great substitute for agave and honey. I’m glad that plain coconut milk worked! It brings more confidence in my experiments, ;).

      • Amy says

        I don’t mind the agave at all, but I love hearing new ways of doing things. Do share when it’s ready! ;)

  34. says

    These little cookies look really good. I have been wanting to try out Yacon for a while now, but haven’t ventured out into that ingredient yet. I do wonder what the sugar proportions are in its molecular structure, just to see how much fructose it does contain. It’s probably time to do some research.

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