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Brown Sugar Substitute Ideas That Will Keep You Cooking

Were you really looking forward to a recipe with brown sugar?

Did you just discover that the store of brown sugar you had has run out?

Or maybe it has clumped up and turned into an unusable block? Trust me, I’ve been there and it can be a real let down.

We even help you figure out if brown sugar has gone bad

But, don’t worry, you don’t have to put that recipe aside for another day. There are different alternatives to brown sugar that you can try out instead. 

Here are some brown sugar substitute ideas that you can search for in your pantry.

They don’t take much time to put together and will give you a taste very similar to brown sugar.

1. White Sugar with Molasses 

In case you didn’t already know this, brown sugar is essentially made of white sugar and molasses.

So, if you’re out of brown sugar, this is the closest substitute you’ll find. 

All you have to do is mix 1 tablespoon of molasses into 1 cup of granulated white sugar. This will give you light brown sugar.

For dark brown, add 2 tablespoons of molasses to 1 cup of white sugar. 

You can mix the ingredients in a food processor or add them separately to the recipe you are making.

They’ll mix together when you blend everything at the end.

2. Honey or Maple Syrup

You’ll have to keep in mind that because these are liquids, they might make a difference in the way your recipe tastes.

However, they’re still dependable substitutes.

All you have to do is take 2/3 cup of any one of these liquid sweeteners for every cup of brown sugar needed.

For each 2/3 cup of honey or maple syrup, you should also reduce the amount of other liquids in your recipe by 1 quarter of a cup. 

Since liquids have a different cooking and baking time, you should also tweak your cooking time down by a few minutes to prevent burning your dish.

Dessert recipes to check out:

3. Coconut Sugar

If you were thinking, what can I substitute for brown sugar? You probably didn’t think of this.

You don’t need to make any adjustments to the ratio either—just add as much coconut sugar to your recipe as you would add brown sugar.

The two sugars taste very similar, but again, they vary in their baking times.

Coconut sugar does not contain as much moisture as brown sugar, so your baked items may come out drier than expected. 

To correct this, one trick is to add some extra moisture into the mix.

Consider adding some butter or oil in small quantities until you get the same consistency as you would with brown sugar. 

4. Muscovado Sugar

You might not have heard of this sugar, but it’s actually the only substitute that contains molasses—just like brown sugar.

The molasses is why their tastes are almost identical. 

The only difference is that muscovado sugar has much more moisture and molasses than brown sugar.

This makes it a bit difficult to use while baking because it might all stick together in heaps and not blend properly into your recipe.

However, because of their similarity, the amount of muscovado you need to substitute brown sugar is equal.

You should just keep in mind that the mixing time will be much higher. Consider using a blender, or only adding in small proportions of muscovado sugar at a time until it is fully blended.

Types of Brown Sugar

There are two types of brown sugar: light brown and dark brown. So, what’s the difference between the two?

Both types of sugar are made from refined white sugar, along with molasses. However, there’s a difference in the way they taste.

Light brown sugar comprises 3.5% molasses in the white sugar. Dark brown sugar is twice that percentage, almost 6.5%.

The difference in the ratio of molasses to white sugar is why dark brown sugar has a richer taste, like caramel.

However, most people use either of the two because the difference is minor. 

Final Words

You should keep in mind that although the substitutes we have talked about here taste almost the same as brown sugar, their consistencies may affect the baking or cooking time that is mentioned in your recipe.  

To play it safe, keep a careful watch on the oven and make sure that your food isn’t drying up or burning.

Another way to counter the difference inconsistencies is by adding each substitute little by little.

This will help you get a better idea of how well it mixes. You can also try adding in some liquid to compensate for the drier substitutes, like butter or oil.

Brown sugar substitutes

Brown sugar substitutes

Here's the best brown sugar alternative if you're running out or low on the ingredient


  • 1 tablespoon of molasses
  • 1 cup of granulated white sugar
  • Food processor


  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of molasses into 1 cup of granulated white sugar using a food processor. 

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