11 Granulated Sugar Substitutes for Any Recipe Calling for a Sweetener

Many of us can’t imagine some recipes without sugar but many other people avoid using sugar for a number of reasons. This article is special for those looking for granulated sugar substitutes for any reason and any case. 

Granulated sugar is regular table sugar also known as refined or white sugar made of beet or cane that’s highly processed. It’s the sugar we use daily to sweeten our drinks, desserts, baked goods, sauces, and dishes as well as to add some moisture to baked goods, improving the texture of the dough. 

The fact is that granulated sugar is not the best variety of sugar but it’s cheaper, more popular, and easier to find than some other varieties. Anyway, there are good substitutes to this sweetener that you can find in local stores and use instead whenever you run out of it or need something else.

The best substitutes for granulated sugar are caster sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, raw sugar, coconut sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, and dates. 

Best Substitutes for Granulated Sugar

1. Caster Sugar

Caster sugar is finely ground granulated sugar and it’s perhaps the closest substitute to consider. You can use it in baked goods and desserts and no one will notice a difference. The taste and the texture of the dish will be the same. 

You can use it in a 1:1 ratio but since the size of crystals differs a little bit you can use more caster sugar to get the same level of sweetness. 

2. Brown Sugar

Whether light or dark, brown sugar is another great alternative to granulated sugar. It’s sometimes referred to as a healthier option. You can use brown sugar the same way as granulated sugar in a 1:1 ratio but it contains molasses and can reflect on the texture of the dish. 

It may also change the taste and color of the dish a little bit but if it doesn’t matter, then it can always come for help when you don’t have white sugar in hand. It’s widely used in baking. You can use it in desserts, drinks, baked goods, cakes, chocolate cookies, and muffins. 

3. Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar is the same as granulated sugar only in a powdered form. The store-bought powdered sugar may also contain a small amount of cornstarch which should be noted before adding it to drinks and other dishes. 

On the other hand, you can make powdered sugar at home with the help of a grinder or food processor and use it as a common sweetener for drinks, desserts, and any other dish. Powdered sugar is often used as a topping for desserts, pancakes, biscuits, candies, and other sweets. 

4. Raw Sugar

When we say raw sugar we mean the possible varieties including turbinado or demerara. They are one of the most popular types of raw sugar you may find in supermarkets. They come with larger crystals and contain molasses that can keep a baked dish moist, fluffier and denser.

So, raw sugar is perfect for baking but a lot depends on your recipe and you should have some experience in baking before you may decide to substitute raw sugar for granulated sugar. You can grind raw sugar to get smaller grains. You can use it in butter, creams, and candies as well and the result won’t disappoint you. 

5. Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener made from the sap of coconut palm trees. Note that it’s not made of coconuts and doesn’t come in white or taste coconutty. It is brown and has a strong caramel taste. It’s used in baking, sweet and savory dishes as well as in sauces. 

You can use coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar in a 1:1 ratio in baking and desserts. It will bring less moisture to the texture of doughs making them crumby. It is a perfect choice for scones, banana bread, shortbreads, and oatmeal cookies. You may also notice a slight difference in taste and flavor. 

6. Honey

Leaving alone all the possible varieties of sugars that you can use instead of granulated sugar, let’s pass on to the liquid sweeteners. So, the first is honey on our list. It is a natural sweetener, an easy and quick alternative to sugar. If you have it at home then there is no need to rush for another subtitle because it works well in drinks, desserts, and baked goods.

Of course, the texture differs but the final taste and result will be similar to what you need. Since it comes in a liquid form, you should reduce the amount of liquid used in your recipe. You can use it in baked goods, cakes, and cookies. It will help your dough bake faster, taste more delicious and stay softer. Use a half cup of honey to replace 1 cup of sugar.

7. Molasses

Molasses is the next liquid sweetener that comes with mild sweetness, and slight bitterness, and has a dark color. It’s a popular sweetener for many recipes and you can safely use it instead of granulated sugar.

It may change the color and flavor of the dish but the result will be as good as in the case of white sugar. You can mix it with some baking soda when adding it to baked goods. ⅓ cup of molasses is enough to substitute 1 cup of granulated sugar.

8. Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is a smooth and glaze-like liquid used as a sweetener for a number of dishes. In some cases, it’s not considered a good sweetener but it works in place of sugar in many recipes. If you have it, then don’t hesitate to add it to the bakery or candies.

Corn syrup is a bit sweeter than sugar and you need to use it in smaller amounts. You can use ¾ cup of corn syrup to substitute 1 cup of sugar. It works well in baked goods, candies, jellies, jams, ice creams, cookies, and nutritional bars. 

9. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is one of the most popular syrups used as a topping and glazing for pancakes and other desserts. You can add baking soda to it when baking. Its taste and sweetness are almost the same as granulated sugar. If you use it in cakes the texture will be denser. 

Maple syrup is used not only in desserts but also in savory dishes, with roasted veggies, as a salad dressing or a glaze over dishes. Use ¾ cup of maple syrup to substitute 1 cup of granulated sugar. 

10. Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is similar to honey and maple syrup and it’s a good choice for drinks, baked goods, and desserts. It’s as sweet as sugar and has a pleasant flavor. ⅔ cup of agave nectar is enough to replace 1 cup of sugar.

Since agave nectar is dense, you need to incorporate the dry ingredients first and then add them to the dough. It’s also important to use baking paper and bake the dish at a lower heat. 

11. Dates

Finally, we have something that differs from the rest of the sweeteners but it’s as sweet and helpful as other substitutes. Dates are used in many desserts and sweets. They are also vegan-friendly and healthy. 

To use it in place of sugar you should soak one cup of pitted dates in water, drain and blend into a paste. You’ll get a sticky texture similar to nut butter.

This sweetener is ready to use in baking, candies, and desserts. You can also refer to date syrup or date sugar both of which are available in many supermarkets. 

FAQs on Granulated Sugar

How can I use bananas to substitute granulated sugar?

It’s simple, easy, and healthy. You can mash ripe bananas and use them as a natural sweetener in place of granulated sugar in baked goods and desserts. Note, that it contains more moisture than sugar and you should be careful with the ratios. 

Is granulated sugar vegan? 

Granulated sugar seems to be vegan-friendly at the first sight but since bone char is used in its preparation to provide it a pure white color, it may not be suitable for vegans.  

Can granulated sugar go bad?

Sugar never spoils but it’s recommended to store it right and use it within two years of opening. 


The usage of granulated sugar is wider than you can think and it’s important to choose a substitute according to your aim of usage and recipe. 

If you need just another sweetener for your dish then things seem easier but if it’s meant for baking or any other purpose, then make the choice wisely. Consider the above-discussed factors for each before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients. 

Note, that in the case of liquid sweeteners used in baking, you need to add flour if the recipe doesn’t include any other liquid for the dish.

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