brown sugar substitute

Brown Sugar Substitute for Times When You Run Out of It

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Brown sugar substitute options are easy to make and you can definitely try them out at home. If you happen to be in the middle of a recipe and you run out of brown sugar, go ahead and try these tricks below.

Brown sugar substitute ingredients

  • Granulated sugar or Caster sugar
  • Molasses or Black treacle (optional)

How to substitute brown sugar?

Brown sugar is made of granulated sugar and molasses. The white sugar changes its color when molasses is added to it. The molasses gives white sugar the brown hue, that brown sugar contains.

If you are making a recipe and you don’t have brown sugar, simply replace the brown sugar requirement with granulated sugar. But the ingredient measure needs to be kept the same as your recipe instructs.

The end result may have a faint change in the taste, but the difference is negligible. For instance, if you are trying to make cookies at home and you have used granulated sugar as a brown sugar substitute, the cookies will turn out to be a little crispier. The color too will be fainter than usual.

But who knows? Your kids may enjoy these cookies better. It may happen that soon you will have to use granulated sugar as a brown sugar substitute thereon to make them.

How to make Real Brown Sugar?

To make real brown sugar, you need to have granulated sugar and molasses. The two ingredients are just enough to make real brown sugar at home within a minute. You won’t even need the oven to make real brown sugar. In case you run out of molasses, try using maple syrup instead. The taste may differ a little bit but it will turn out just fine.

How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar?

The moisture in brown sugar evaporates when it’s kept lying in a shelf for too long. This makes the brown sugar hard and hence, difficult to use. But you can try softening it by placing some bread slices or an apple sliced with the hardened brown sugar in an air-tight container. Or, you can also place a damp cloth on the brown sugar and rest it overnight. You’ll find the sugar to be soft enough to use next morning.

Dark Brown Sugar

Many people call dark brown sugar, old-fashioned sugar too. Some recipes like gingerbread, baked beans and many more, have a specific requirement of dark brown sugar. In case you don’t have any available at the moment, simply mix a tablespoon of molasses to light brown sugar and your dark brown sugar will be ready.

Maple syrup may also be an alternative to molasses. However, you can just use light brown sugar in the recipes that require dark brown sugar. The taste of your dishes won’t make any difference. Even if you have an opposite requirement in your recipe. You can use dark brown sugar instead of the light one.

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When You Can’t Buy Brown Sugar

You can always use demerara or muscovado instead of brown sugar. The flavor and moistness it contains are just the same as brown sugar and works perfectly as a brown sugar substitute. You can use dark muscovado instead of dark brown sugar and light muscovado instead of light brown sugar.

Simple Brown sugar substitutes

Are you in the middle of baking a cake and you find the brown sugar container to be empty? Don’t you worry! We will show you some easy brown sugar substitutes, where you’ll find most of the ingredients lying in your kitchen shelf already. Go through the points below and you’ll find seven easy brown sugar substitutes.

Mixture of white sugar and molasses

The amalgamation of molasses and white sugar make brown sugar. If you have white sugar and molasses at home, you will be able to make brown sugar easily. Here, we will take you through the process and give you the exact proportions on how you need to make it.

How to make light brown sugar?

Step1: Take a bowl and mix a cup of granulated sugar (approximately 200gms)

Step2: Add two tablespoons of molasses (approximately 15ml)

Step3: Mix it well with a fork and your light brown sugar is ready.

Step4: Store it in an air-tight container. Use it as and when you need it.

How to make dark brown sugar?

Just simply repeat the steps above and double the amount of molasses. If you have poured 15ml of molasses, instead add 30ml of molasses to make the sugar dark brown.

You must store home-made brown sugar in an air-tight container or it’ll turn too hard to use later. Brown sugar loses its moisture easily and can harden if it’s not kept properly.

Mixture of white sugar and maple syrup

Brown sugar is typically made out of molasses and granulated sugar. But, if you are out of molasses, you can always use maple syrup instead. You will find a very similar outcome and the taste of your product will be just the same.

The right proportions to make brown sugar with maple syrup are:

Step1: In a bowl take a cup of granulated sugar. Around 200gms.

Step2: Then, you need to add 15ml of maple syrup.

Step3. Mix it well and your brown sugar is ready.

You can easily try this at home and no one will ever know you used maple syrup instead of molasses.

Coconut sugar

The sap in coconut trees is used to make coconut sugar. Coconut sugar tastes a lot like brown sugar, but the moisture-content in coconut sugar is not as much as brown sugar. By using this as a brown sugar substitute, you will notice your baked recipes to be a little drier and denser than usual. However, you can always increase the moistness by adding a little more butter or oil when you’re baking. Moreover, you can also melt the coconut sugar to allow it to blend well into the other ingredients of your recipe.

Maple syrup, agave nectar or honey

Maple syrup, agave nectar, and honey are all suitable brown sugar substitutes. But these are all in a molten form and the correct proportions need to be kept in mind. Or else you could increase the moisture of the recipe, especially while baking.

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The exact measurements may vary according to what you cook, but you can always keep these basic tips in mind.

Tip1: For every cup (approximately 200gms) of brown sugar, you need to replace it with 2/3 cup (approximately 160ml) of your available molten sweetener.

Tip2: You also need to reduce the other liquids in your recipe by ¼ cup (approx. 60ml) for 2/3 cup of molten sweetener.

Tip3: Remember to reduce the baking or cooking time by a couple of minutes. This tip is particularly important because liquid sweeteners caramelize faster than brown sugar.

Raw sugars

Turbinado and demerara are two kinds of raw sugars. Naturally, they have a light amber color and a caramel-like flavor, which makes them excellent brown sugar substitutes.

You can use these raw sugars easily in most of your recipes to replace brown sugar. Just remember to keep the measurements the same.

Raw sugars are dry and coarse in their texture, which affects the recipes that require a smooth consistency. However, you can overcome this, by simply grinding the sugar crystals into a fine powder. Or you can try melting it in warm oil, water or butter, before you add it to the recipe your making. By doing this, the raw sugar will easily blend into the other ingredients and not leave a grainy texture, which it would otherwise.

Muscovado sugar

Muscovado sugar has a higher content of molasses and moisture, than that of brown sugar. So, it increases the tendency of lumping while mixing it with other ingredients.

But you can always use muscovado sugar for any recipe to substitute brown sugar. However, always remember to remove the lumps and turn it smooth before you add it to a batter or dough. You can always use a hand blender or electric mixer to enhance the consistency of the recipe you’re making.

Plain white sugar

Plain white sugar is the easiest and most convenient option for substituting brown sugar. You need to keep the measurements the same and your recipes will turn out just as you want it to be.

Although, plain granulated white sugar lacks the rich flavor brown sugar gives, you will not find a change in its taste. However, you may notice a slight change in the texture of the product you’re cooking. Like cookies are chewier and is less crispy when brown sugar is used. On the other hand, white sugar makes your cookies a little crispier. However, many people like their cookies to be made that way.


Jaggery is made out of palm tree sap or sugarcane juice. It is an amorphous and molten form of unrefined sugar. Jaggery is made by simply boiling sugarcane juice and reducing it by 20%. Since jaggery is the purest form of sugar, it has a higher nutritional value than other processed sugars. It is rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins. So, while using it as a brown sugar substitute, keep the flavor and sweetness of jaggery in mind.

Limit using added sugar

Natural sugars are always best over the artificial ones. Some of the natural sugar contents are maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar. You can add them to your fruits or any other dessert you enjoy. But, be sure to restrict yourself from sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners. They are processed and filled with preservatives and additives, that can cause multiple ailments.

You must also keep in mind that natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey can also cause harm if you consume high amounts of it. Excessive consumption of any sugar or sweeteners may lead to diabetes and other illnesses. Even high sugar consumption contains huge amounts of calories, that can make you obese. So, it’s important to have a balanced and complete diet to keep yourself healthy.

Shusree Mukherjee

With 10+ years of experience in SEO content writing, Shusree believes content can move mountains while you deep dive into a pool of new experiences through learning and unlearning. Shusree loves to write on travel, health, beauty, celebrity, food, and all that jazz.

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