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10 Best Cane Sugar Substitutes for Baking/Cooking

You are in the mood to do some baking, but unfortunately, you find that your sugar container is empty.

Do not fret; there are several ingredients you can substitute for cane sugar. You can experiment with the following ingredients and create fabulous desserts.

1 Minute Summary

For those who want a quick answer, here is a summary of cane sugar substitutions.

1 T. cane sugar = ⅛ tsp. powdered stevia or 2 drops liquid stevia.

In baked goods, I c. cane sugar =

  • 1 tsp. powdered or liquid stevia
  • 1 c. beet or birch (xylitol) sugar
  • 1 c. agave but reduce liquid in recipe by ¼ c. per cup of agave
  • 1 c. corn syrup but reduce liquid in recipe by ¼ – ⅓ c. per cup of syrup
  • 1⅓ c. brown rice syrup, but reduce liquid in recipe by ¼ c. per cup of rice syrup and add ¼ tsp. baking soda per cup of syrup
  • ⅔ – ¾ c. honey or maple syrup but reduce liquid in recipe by ¼ c. per cup of honey/maple syrup and add ¼ tsp. baking soda per cup of honey/maple syrup; if using honey, lower cooking temperature by 25ºF
  • ⅔ c. frozen fruit juice concentrate but reduce liquid in recipe by ⅓ c. per cup of concentrate, lower cooking temperature by 25ºF, and reduce baking time somewhat

  • Dried, pitted dates can be soaked in water for 30+ mins, chopped or pureed, and used in place of sugar or other sweetener in some baked goods including pie fillings and cakes.
  • In some baked goods, such as muffins, mashed ripe bananas or mashed sweet winter squash (butternut, acorn) or sweet potatoes (USA “yams”) can replace, though recipe liquid may need to be reduced.

Other substitutes: maple sugar, granulated or fine date sugar, coconut or palm sugar (jaggery, gur), brown rice syrup powder, soaked and chopped dried dates or prunes, date molasses, coconut nectar/syrup, carob molasses, barley malt syrup, sorghum syrup, yacon syrup, amasake/amazake (rice-derived), FOS (fructooligosaccharides), and commercial sweeteners derived from fructose or fruit juices e.g. fruit powders.

Best Cane Sugar Substitutes

If you’re ready to do some baking and you find you have forgotten to replenish your stock of cane sugar, you can choose one of the following ingredients to use as a substitute.

1. Beet Sugar

beet sugar

Beet sugar is an excellent cane sugar substitute because its taste and texture are virtually identical.

You can use the same quantity of beet sugar that you would have used for cane sugar, and it will take an experienced palate to notice any difference in taste.

Some people find that beet sugar does not caramelize as well as cane sugar and can burn faster. Most people will not notice the subtle differences in baking performance.

2. Coconut Sugar

organic coconut sugar

Cane sugar and coconut sugar can be used interchangeably.

One thing you should keep in mind is that coconut sugar is not as sweet as cane sugar, and you will need to use more to achieve the same level of sweetness.

Coconut sugar also has a hint of a caramel and toffee taste which may affect the flavor of your recipe.

3. Muscovado Sugar

muscovado sugar

Muscovado sugar is an unrefined sugar that contains molasses giving it a dark brown color. This sugar has a unique texture that is most similar to wet sand.

Muscovado sugar has a rich toffee and caramel flavor, enhancing recipes for darker baked goods and savory dishes. You can use the same amounts as cane sugar but remember you may have to adjust to incorporate the taste of caramel and toffee.

4. Demerara Sugar

demerara sugar

You can also use demerara sugar as a replacement for cane sugar.

Demerara sugar is a raw sugar extracted from sugarcane with very minimal processing, and it is light brown with large crunchy grains with a hint of molasses flavor.

The sweetness of demerara sugar is identical to cane sugar, but the difference in texture will be noticed in certain baked goods.

5. Honey


Honey can make an excellent substitute for sugar cane in baking, and honey is sweeter than sugar cane, so you will have to use less.

It is best to use light-colored honey to keep the sweetness as neutral as possible.

Most people use ¾ of honey when a cup of sugar is called for. When your recipe calls for at least ¼ cup of sugar, you will have to add a pinch of baking soda to reduce the acidity of the honey.

You will also have to cut back on the amount of liquids in your recipe, and you should lower your baking temperature because honey can cause baked goods to brown faster [1].

6. Maple Syrup

maple syrup

Maple syrup is another tasty alternative to cane sugar. It is much sweeter than cane sugar, so ⅔ to ¾ of a cup will replace one full of sugar, and you will enjoy the same sweetness with fewer calories.

Health enthusiasts looking for an organic cane sugar substitute can use organic maple syrup.

Organic maple syrup contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants [2], and the syrup will satisfy those with the most demanding sweet tooths.

If you’re interested in this option, check out the best maple syrup reviewed by us.

7. Applesauce

what is applesauce

Applesauce is a great low-calorie substitute for sugar cane.

The texture of the applesauce will affect the texture of certain baked goods. It is best not to use applesauce in recipes that rely on sugar for crispiness.

You can substitute the applesauce for the required sugar equally or in part. If you want to add more sweetness, you can increase the amount of applesauce to your recipe. You will have to reduce the amounts of liquids used in the recipe.

You will need to keep a close eye on your dish because the honey might make it cook faster than usual.

8. Molasses

what is molasses

You can use molasses in your favorite recipes instead of sugar for a healthier option. Molasses has a different texture and taste, so you must adjust the amount depending on your preferences.

It is best to use light molasses, so the taste of molasses does not overwhelm your recipe.

To substitute molasses for sugar, you will need to use more than the amount of sugar required for your recipe. If your recipe calls for two cups of sugar, you will use two ⅔ cups molasses.

Reducing the amounts of liquids in your recipe when using molasses is crucial.

If you’re making cookies, you can also consider the other 10 options instead of molasses.

9. Stevia Sugar

stevia sugar

Another healthy cane sugar substitute is stevia sugar. Stevia is an all-natural alternative that has zero calories.

It is best to remember that stevia sugar is much sweeter than regular sugar, and a pinch of stevia has the same sweetness as a teaspoon of sugar.

Using less stevia sugar will affect the moisture of your recipe, and you will need to decrease the amounts of liquids you use. Baking with stevia sugar will take some trial and error until you get the perfect results.

10. Fruits

fresh fruit

You can substitute fruit for cane sugar when you want to show off your culinary skills.

Dates, bananas, and figs are excellent choices for sweetening your recipe. The amounts will depend on your preferences for sweetness.

FAQs About Cane Sugar

Can you use cane sugar instead of granulated sugar?

Yes, cane sugar can be substituted for granulated sugar.

What is the difference between granulated sugar and cane sugar?

Granulated white sugar is heavily processed, making it easier to melt than cane sugar. Granulated sugar might be easier to work with, but many prefer the robust flavor of cane sugar.

Is cane sugar bad for you?

In moderation, cane sugar can give you a quick boost of energy and increase blood sugar levels. Overindulging can lead to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and fatty liver.


Challenge yourself to create new recipes using substitutes for cane sugar.

You will be delighted with the unique tastes and textures you can produce, and any alternates will provide the sweetness you are craving.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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