Brown Sugar Substitutes

Do you love brown sugar? It’s delicious, nutritious, and versatile. But sometimes it just doesn’t taste as sweet as you’d like.

What does brown sugar really mean? Is it good or bad for us? How much should we eat?

Brown sugar is a type of granulated sugar that contains added tablespoons of molasses during processing. The molasses content gives the sugar its dark color and rich flavor. Brown sugar is often used as a sweetener in baked goods and savory dishes.

Brown sugar is a natural source of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin B6. It also contains antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. These compounds promote heart health and fight cancer.

But what do you do when you run out of brown sugar?

When you add honey, maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar, etc., to your recipes, you get a whole new flavor profile. In fact, these “brown sugar substitutes” can make your recipes even sweeter and more flavorful!

I’ve compiled a list of the most popular brown sugar substitutes and how to substitute each one for real brown sugar. This will help you create nicer versions of your favorite recipes without sacrificing any of the original flavors.

Go check your pantry or nearest grocery store and see if it has either of these best brown sugar substitutes: muscovado sugar, white sugar, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar.

Best Brown Sugar Substitutes

Brown sugar may be substituted for a variety of reasons: you’re out, you’re looking for a different flavor, or you need something with a lower glycemic index. Several alternatives are available if you want to replace brown sugar due to an absence or because it’s no longer working for your recipe.

Muscovado Sugar

Muscovado sugar is made from unrefined sugar cane, which retains more nutrients than refined sugars like white sugar. Muscovado sugar is darker than light brown sugar but lighter than raw sugar cane. This makes it perfect for baking since it doesn’t affect the final product too much.

Muscovado sugar is similar in calories to granulated sugar, but it contains significantly higher minerals. It includes more vitamins than brown sugar, but it should still be used in moderation.

You can use muscovado sugar to replace brown sugar in baking recipes and savory dishes. Substitute brown sugar with muscovado sugar in a one-to-one ratio. 

White Sugar Is A 1:1 Replacement For Brown Sugar
White Sugar Is A 1:1 Replacement For Brown Sugar

White Sugar

White sugar is a refined version of regular sugar. It is processed to remove impurities and make it easier to handle. White sugar is sweeter than brown sugar, so you will have to use less of it in your favorite recipes. In many recipes, people use white sugar to keep them moist and fluffy. They also utilize white sugar to give the food a beautiful golden color, nutty taste, and crunchier texture.

The average serving size of white sugar is about 1 tablespoon (15 grams). In most recipes, you can use this amount as a substitution for brown sugar. If you want to add sweetness to a dish, use half the white sugar that you would normally use.

See Brown Sugar or White Sugar Which Burns Faster

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is extracted from coconut sap through “saponification.” Coconut sugar is naturally sweeter than both brown sugar and white sugar. It is naturally low on the glycemic index, making it suitable for those with high blood sugar levels.

There are two types of coconut sugar: organic and non-organic. Organic coconut sugar is produced by heating coconut milk until all water evaporates. Non-organic coconut sugar is made by boiling coconut flesh. Both types of sugar contain high levels of fiber and protein.

If you want to use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar, you’ll need to adjust the amount of each ingredient accordingly. Use 1 cup of coconut sugar for every 2 cups of brown sugar. You can also use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar in baked goods. 

Agave Syrup Can Also Be Used In Some Recipes As A Substitute For Brown Sugar
Agave Syrup Can Also Be Used In Some Recipes As A Substitute For Brown Sugar


Honey is naturally sweet and has a milder flavor than other sweeteners such as molasses and maple syrup. It is good for cooking and baking, but it does not work well in bread dough.

Honey comes in various hues and flavors, each with its distinct flavor. Furthermore, the darker the shade is, the more antioxidants it contains. To enjoy the sweetness without the undesirable additives, check the labels for any extras, such as high fructose corn syrup, and go for the purest form possible.

Honey is one of the liquid sweeteners that works best as a brown sugar substitute. When substituting honey for brown sugar, you will need to reduce the amount of honey. For example, replace one cup of brown sugar with ¾ cup of honey.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a thick, amber-colored liquid derived from the sap of maple trees. Maple syrup is very versatile when it comes to cooking and baking. Some people prefer using maple syrup over brown sugar because it has a stronger maple flavor. However, some people find maple syrup too strong or bitter flavor.

Given the maple’s sweetness, a little of it is required to improve the taste of a meal. Use 2/3 cup maple syrup in place of one cup of sugar. This ratio makes your baked goods soft and chewy.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is an alternative to cane sugar and honey. Agave nectar is extracted from the agaves plant and is considered a healthier option than traditional sugars. The agave plant is native to Mexico and Central America. Agave nectar has a slightly lower calorie content compared to other sweeteners.

When used in place of brown sugar in recipes, you will need to decrease the amount of agave nectar. To create stunning honey or maple syrup taste, replace one cup of brown sugar with 2/3 cup of agave nectar.