Coconut sugar is very popular in cooking or baking. It is used in desserts, baked goods, beverages, sauces, etc. It is funny that coconut sugar is actually produced by coconut palm tree flower saps rather than coconuts.
It is considered to be a natural sweetener, though compared to some other types of sugar it is higher in calories. This is why you may want to find coconut sugar substitutes for your recipes.
You can substitute coconut sugar with brown sugar, sucanat sugar, maple syrup, date sugar, stevia, raw honey, piloncillo, agave syrup, turbinado sugar, allulose and granulated sugar.
Best Coconut Sugar Substitutes
- Brown Sugar
There are two types of brown sugar: dark brown and light brown sugars. The main difference between them is that dark brown sugar comes with more molasses than light brown sugar. Molasses is the substance that provides these sugars with a distinctive flavor and brown color.
Both of them can be used instead of coconut sugar, but light brown sugar is more suitable. It has the same brown hue as coconut sugar and can be used in a number of recipes such as cakes, muffins and cookies.
Brown sugar offers a mild caramel flavor, and is quite similar to coconut sugar in its texture too. You can use it by 1:1 ratio when substituting with coconut sugar.
As for dark brown sugar, it will provide your dish a darker shade and the end product will have a more robust taste.
- Sucanat Sugar
Sucanat is the same as “sugar cane natural”. This is another natural sweetener that can replace coconut sugar. It has the same light brown color as coconut sugar. Unlike regular sugar, sucanat sugar undergoes less processing that’s why it’s sometimes considered as raw sugar.
When choosing sucanat instead of coconut sugar you should keep in mind that sucanat has a denser texture and it tends to dissolve slower. You can use it by 1:1 ratio in many recipes that request coconut sugar.
- Maple Sugar or Maple Syrup
Both maple sugar and maple syrup are great substitutes for coconut sugar. They are made of maple tree saps and the only difference between these two sweeteners is that the syrup is reduced compared to sugar.
Maple sugar offers a caramel-vanilla taste similar to the taste of coconut sugar. It also looks like coconut sugar in its texture. Maple syrup in its turn, is a liquid form of maple to use as an alternative to coconut sugar. It comes with a pleasant aroma similar to vanilla and caramel blend. You can use both of them in 1:1 ratio in many recipes.
- Date Sugar
Date sugar is made of finely chopped dry dates. It contains less sweetness but still can be used instead of coconut sugar. One big plus about this product is that you can make it at home too from dehydrated date fruits. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals and is considered to be good for your health.
You can replace it with coconut sugar especially in baked goods, but if you decide to use it in drinks, then take into account the fact that it hardly dissolves.
- Turbinado Sugar
Turbinado sugar is another natural brown sugar sometimes considered as raw sugar. It has a mild caramel taste and you can substitute it for coconut sugar in a 1:1 ratio. This sweetener works well in cakes, muffins and other baked goods, but you can use it as a means of topping or dressing for desserts.
Stevia is made from the leaves of a stevia plant. It doesn’t contain calories, which makes it a healthy option to choose for many recipes.
You can use Stevia to substitute coconut sugar in baking by 1:1, but in some cases you may use less because stevia is twice as sweet as regular sugar. Sometimes it replaces many types of sugars including coconut sugar in sauces, salads, entrees and side dishes.
- Raw Honey
If you have no allergies from honey, then use raw honey when you run out of coconut sugar. This is an amazing substitute as a sweetener and you can use it in desserts, baked goods, cakes and cookies.
Raw honey comes with a lot of sweetness, and since it’s a liquid sweetener you may use it in 1:4 ratio when substituting in recipes with coconut sugar.
- Piloncillo/Panela/ Mexican Brown Sugar
Piloncillo, also known as panela or Mexican brown sugar, is one of the most popular types of sugar in Latin America. It comes in both solid and liquid forms and you can use them instead of coconut sugar too.
Piloncillo is a minimally processed type of sugar with caramel-like taste. This sugar is usually sold in pressed forms of cones, blocks, or loaves. You can break them into small pieces and then use instead of coconut sugar.
Compared with coconut sugar piloncillo comes with a stronger aroma and taste which reminds of a well-balanced mixture of molasses, rum, and burnt sugar. You can use it in both savory and sweet dishes but the flavor is going to be stronger.
- Agave Syrup
Agave syrup or agave nectar is found in many stores, and you can easily purchase it. It’s made of agave plant and is often highly-processed because of which offers little nutritional benefits.
This syrup dissolves quickly and is ideal for drinks and desserts. You can use it in baked goods as well if you don’t have coconut sugar on hand. It’s similar to honey and is actually sweeter than coconut sugar.
Allulose is a sugar-free sweetener and if you are looking for a sugar-free substitute to coconut sugar, then this is the perfect option. Allulose is found in several types of fruits including figs. Compared with coconut sugar, it comes with less sweetness. So, you may use more of allulose in your recipes for a better taste.
- Granulated Sugar
Granulated sugar, also known as white sugar, is one of the most available types of sugar to choose instead of coconut sugar. Of course, it’s a highly-processed sugar that’s why it takes the last place on our list. However, you can always consider replacing it with coconut sugar when you don’t have any of the above-mentioned substitutes in your kitchen but your dish should definitely be cooked with a sweetener.
FAQs on Coconut Sugar
How does coconut sugar taste and smell?
If you think that coconut sugar is supposed to taste, smell and look like coconut, then you are mistaken. In fact, this sugar is not produced from coconuts. It’s made of the sap of the coconut palm tree. This sweetener has a strong caramel taste, smells like burning tires and comes with brown color.
Is coconut sugar better than brown sugar?
Since coconut sugar is organic and less refined, of course it’s better than brown sugar which contains less amount of minerals, vitamins and other healthy stuff. Coconut sugar is high in calories and especially fructose.
Is coconut sugar healthier than regular sugar?
While coconut sugar is a natural plant-based sweetener it’s better for your help than table sugar. It’s also believed that coconut sugar is more nutritious than the regular one.
During these years, more and more people choose to use natural sweeteners instead of regular sugar. So, coconut sugar is between the healthiest options. Many sweet recipes call just for this sugar and this guide of coconut sugar substitutes offers you the best alternatives.
One important thing to keep in mind is that when you choose to use liquid substitutes of coconut sugar in your recipes, you may also adjust other liquids, so that the result could be well-balanced.