Brown Sugar Substitute – Alternatives for Your Sweet Tooth

Brown Sugar Substitute – Alternatives for Your Sweet Tooth

Many people prefer to use brown sugar instead of regular white sugar as they believe brown sugar has its own health benefits. This conception is not entirely wrong and brown sugar does have some health perks over white sugar. There are some vitamins and fibers present in brown sugar that cannot be found in the plain white sugar. However, it is very likely that one fine day, while being in the middle of a cooking session you find out that you are completely out of brown sugar. Now, you cannot leave your dish midway simply because you do not have brown sugar. That is why it is important to know about brown sugar substitute so that you can use it in your recipe when there is no brown sugar left to use.

There are a number of ingredients that can be used as a brown sugar replacement and a few brown sugar substitutes are mentioned below. These are easily available in the market and the mentioned methods are very easy to apply. Read on to find out what to do when your kitchen runs low on brown sugar.

Molasses with white sugar

When you combine molasses with sugar you find a great brown sugar substitute. This combination works just fine because these are the ingredients out of which brown sugar is made. So, when you are running low on brown sugar, you can mix a cup of white sugar (granulated) with a tablespoon of molasses. In this way, you will have your homemade brown sugar ready in no time. Using this combination would not only serve your purpose but also will not add any significant change in the taste of the recipe.

However, if you prefer your brown sugar to be dark then you can choose to mix two tablespoons of molasses instead of one. This will make your brown sugar darker and stronger.

Coconut sugar

The very name suggests that this kind of sugar is made from the sap of trees of coconut. It is one of the healthier alternatives to the normal white sugar and works as a fine brown sugar substitute as well. There are various minerals, vitamins, and fibers found in coconut sugar that cannot be found in white sugar.

You can easily use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar in a ratio of 1:1. Though these two kinds of sugar taste and look almost the same, the coconut sugar lacks moisture than brown sugar. This can create an issue with texture when something is being baked as it might make the item drier than wanted.

However, this problem can be easily overcome by adding oil or butter to the original recipe. It would help to increase the moisture quotient and balance the dryness caused by coconut sugar.

Maple syrup with white sugar

You can mix white sugar with maple syrup to use it as a brown sugar substitute. Although most people make brown sugar by mixing white sugar and molasses, you can use maple syrup when you do not have molasses.

In order to prepare brown sugar with maple syrup and white sugar, you will have to mix a cup of white sugar with a tablespoon of pure syrup of maple. The best part is when you will use this mixture in your recipe, the end product would taste absolutely the same as if you have used brown sugar itself.

Honey, Agave nectar or maple syrup

Honey or agave nectar or maple syrup can all be used like brown sugar substitute without making is a significant change in the taste. You need to modify these items a bit and you will have the same taste of brown sugar in your dishes even when you have no brown sugar in stock. However, given the fact that all these items are liquid, you will have to be a bit careful about the moisture content in your recipe and decide the portions accordingly. For a general idea, you can replace 200 grams of brown sugar with 160 ml of any of these liquid sweeteners. Make sure to reduce any other liquid ingredient by at least 60 ml for every 160 ml of liquid sweeteners.

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Muscovado sugar

Another brown sugar substitute is muscovado sugar that is a kind of sugar that has been refined minimally. It is quite the same as using brown sugar because this kind of sugar also contains molasses. However, both the moisture and molasses content of muscovado sugar is higher than brown sugar. Because of this, your recipe might get a bit stickier and clumpy when using muscovado sugar.

You can replace brown sugar with muscovado sugar in any kind of recipe but if you are baking then you will have to remove clumps before combining it to your batter. Besides this problem, there is no hindrance in using muscovado sugar as a substitute for brown sugar and that too without making any noticeable change in taste.

Raw sugar

Various kinds of raw sugars like demerara or turbinado can work as perfect brown sugar replacements. These sugars have a natural light amber color and a mild flavor of caramel and these make them very similar to brown sugar, both in taste and in color.

You can easily replace brown sugar with raw sugars without making any significant change in the taste. However, one thing to keep in mind is that raw sugars lack the moisture quotient of brown sugar and thus your recipe might be affected by dryness when you are using raw sugars.

The problem of dryness mainly occurs while baking as the grains of raw sugar does not mix well with the batter or dough. Therefore, you can opt for grinding the raw sugars into a fine dust before using them in your baking recipes.

Normal white sugar

When you are completely out of brown sugar and do not have any other resort, you can simply use normal white sugar as your brown sugar substitute. The white sugar tastes almost the same and though it lacks the rich flavor that brown sugar provides, it does not cause much trouble.

However, if you are baking something then you can notice some changes in the texture. For example, if you bake a cookie with brown sugar then you will get a chewiness that will be missing if you use white sugar. Besides such minor changes, you can easily replace brown sugar with white ones.

Brown sugar in diabetes

There have been many considerations on the role of brown sugar in diabetes. There are a lot of misconceptions as well when it comes o the effect of white and brown sugar on diabetes. People generally believe that brown sugar is healthier than white sugar despite the fact that both of the sugars come from the same origin.

However, if you have diabetes then you need to understand the differences between these two types of sugar and especially the role of brown sugar in diabetes. Some of the important points comparing how brown sugar and white sugar work on a diabetic person are given below.

Increase in blood sugar level

Both brown sugar and white sugar consist of table sugar or sucrose. Now, sucrose is a primary ingredient in leveling up blood sugar. This means that if you are diabetic, no matter what type of sugar you consume, white or brown, your blood sugar level might spike up. Both these sugars affect the blood sugar level in a similar way the food items like sweet potatoes, French fries and popcorn do.

Therefore, given the fact that diabetic people need to take extra care of their blood sugar levels, it is important to maintain a healthy amount of sugar intake. If you have diabetes then you should not be consuming too much of brown sugar as it would affect you in the same way as consuming white sugar.

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Nutrient profile

Though there is a popular belief that brown sugar is healthier than white sugar, both of them actually have the same kind of nutrient profile. The primary reason behind such a similar profile is that both of these sugars come from sugarcane plants or sugar beet.

Brown sugar is made by combining molasses to plain white sugar and that constitutes its darker color. There are also some extra minerals and vitamins present in brown sugar that is not found in white sugar. If measured by grams then brown sugar is a bit lower in carbs and calories than plain sugar.

However, the basic nutrition profile of both kinds of sugars are the same and thus having too much brown sugar will affect a diabetic person in the same way as having white sugar will do. The minor nutrient difference found in these two types of sugars is so less that they remain insignificant in normal servings.

Choosing one sugar over the other

Choosing brown sugar over plain white sugar when you have diabetes is not a very wise decision. The role of brown sugar in diabetes is almost the same as white sugar and thus you should not consume too much of any of it. However, you should stick to using brown sugar if you have diabetes as it has some health benefits over white sugar. But you will have to keep the amount of sugar in check to avoid any further complications related to diabetes.

Brown sugar substitute honey

Honey alone can be a brown sugar substitute. Brown sugar substitute honey is a viscous and sweet liquid and can effectively replace brown sugar in any kind of recipe. However, you will have to be extra careful while using brown sugar substitute honey as otherwise the taste might become somewhat different.


You need to make sure that you are using the right amount of honey for a particular proportion of brown sugar. You can replace a cup of brown sugar with an equal amount of honey. However, if your recipe demands more than a cup of brown sugar then you need to use only 2/3 of a cup of honey for 3/4 per sugar cup.


When you are using honey in place of brown sugar, you are opting for an ingredient that is richer in fructose and also has more water content. Therefore, the ultimate result will be sweeter and moister because of using honey. You can reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients to keep a balance in the cooking method.

Things to keep in mind

Preparing food with honey in place of brown sugar will make it brown faster and thus you need to keep the cooking temperature low. If you do not lower your cooking temperature then the products might burn and all your effort will go to waste.

These are the primary things that you need to know about brown sugar substitute. Brown sugar is undoubtedly somewhat healthier than plain white sugar but that does not mean you should intake it in large portions. For daily servings, you will not find much difference in between white and brown sugar. Therefore, it would be unwise to consume large amounts of brown sugar especially if you are diabetic.

However, you can stick to using brown sugar only if you want to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Given the fact that it is better than white sugar in some aspects, consuming a limited portion of it in small servings will cause you lesser harm than white sugar. The taste that brown sugar offers is also richer than white sugar and the texture it adds to baked items is also better.

Due to these various perks that brown sugar offers many people opt for only brown sugar in their daily diet. If you run out of it then you can easily use the substitutes mentioned above. They will help you to retain the same taste as of using brown sugar and that too without any added hassle.

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