5 Best Substitutes for Brown Sugar (Updated 2024)

brown sugar substitute

Are you looking for some good alternatives to substitute for brown sugar? Stick around as we share our top recommendations.

Whipping up something from scratch requires a whole lot of ingredients. From essential seasonings to various spices that give depth to your cooking, you need to have specific components on-hand to make sure you get the right taste and aroma the recipe calls for.

One of the most basic ingredients is brown sugar. It is used for different types of recipes, whether baking sweets or making savory dishes.

Brown Sugar

Those who love baking or cooking probably make it a point to buy the ingredients you usually need in advance, including brown sugar.

However, there will come times when you find your pantry lacking this one essential component. If you are in need of this ingredient and you do not have it on hand, there is no need to worry.

You can use replacements to complete the recipe without compromising taste and aroma. Wondering what you can use in lieu of brown sugar? Here’s what you need to know.

Best Brown Sugar Substitutes

Now that you have a clearer understanding of what brown sugar is, you may be curious as to what you can use as a replacement for this ingredient.

Here are some of the best substitutes that can help you stay true to the recipe you are following:

1. White Sugar

White Sugar alternative for brown sugar

The easiest alternative is to simply use white sugar, especially as refined brown sugar is made from it.

However, you need to keep in mind that brown varieties have a slightly caramel-like flavor, thanks to their molasses content.

Because of this, you might want to opt for a more DIY approach and make your own refined brown sugar by adding molasses to white sugar.

This will give you an approximation of the color and taste offered by store-bought brown sugar.

If you do not have molasses in your pantry, you can also mix maple syrup in your white sugar. This will give you a similar caramel flavor and appearance.

However, you can expect other characteristics of maple syrup to be present in the final product. This includes smoky and toffee-like tastes.

2. Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar

Should you find yourself also missing white sugar, you can opt for coconut sugar. Made from coconut tree sap, it has sweet and nutritious attributes.

However, keep in mind that it has a drier texture as it holds less moisture than the original component.

Worry not because you can make up for this lack of moisture by adding more butter or oil. Just make sure to add the right amount to avoid overcompensating for moisture.

3. Muscovado Sugar

Muscovado Sugar

If unrefined brown sugar undergoes less processing than refined brown and white sugars, muscovado is processed even less than that.

Because of this, you will find that this makes a good replacement for the original ingredient because of its molasses content.

However, keep in mind that it is moister than other options, which can affect the final output. So, make sure to sift it before adding it to the recipe.

4. Raw Sugars

Raw Sugar

Take a look at the less common ingredients in your pantry and maybe you will find turbinado or demerara.

These are much drier and more granulated than the original ingredient.

Just like what you can do with coconut sugar, give them some more moisture before using it.

5. Molasses, Honey, Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup

Honey substitute for brown sugar

Should you find your pantry lacking in dry ingredients, your best bet is to use sweet and caramelly wet ones including molasses, honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup.

These will be enough to compensate for the flavor offered by the actual ingredient.

What Is Brown Sugar?

Brown Sugar

Before we proceed with the best substitutes for brown sugar, it is important to know what exactly this ingredient is. The key point that makes brown sugar different from the white variety is color.

Aside from this easily observable distinction, the brown kind also has slight variations when it comes to nutritional content and flavor. Brown sugar has marginally higher iron, potassium and calcium content.

Moreover, it has fewer calories, but only by a little.

Producing brown sugar from canes or beets entails the creation of the white kind. This is done by extracting the juice from the plants, then purifying and heating the liquid to make molasses, a brown, concentrated, sweet syrup.

Then the small, white crystal is extracted from this syrup using a centrifuge, thus creating white sugar.

To make refined brown sugar, manufacturers simply add molasses back into the white crystals, making them brown.

On the other hand, unrefined brown sugar simply follows the process of making the white kind but with less processing to help retain molasses and its natural tint and flavor.


Knowing what ingredients best replace brown sugar, nothing is stopping you from making your baked good or dish if this is the only component you are missing.

So, make sure to check for these ingredients and you are good to go.


5 Best Brown Sugar Substitutes

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Check out these great substitutes for Brown Sugar that have been shared on Pinterest.

  • Author: Recipe Marker



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