Cane sugar has an appearance similar to granulated sugar but is exclusively made of sugarcane instead of sugar beets; they also undergo less processing.
Cane sugar crystals are also slightly larger than granulated, with a light golden color. Both plants, however, produce identical molecules of sucrose, which means there isn’t much significant difference between both sugars. This makes granulated sugar the best and closest substitute for cane sugar.
If you are trying to swap out cane sugar from a recipe due to health concerns, there are various natural and healthful cane sugar substitutes you can use in its place, like honey, applesauce, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, fruits, molasses, etc.
If the substitution is simply because you can’t find cane sugar, then you can use other flavorful types of sugar like muscovado sugar, rock sugar, or simple sugar syrup.
This article discusses numerous cane sugar alternatives you can use to sweeten your dish.
Best Cane Sugar Substitute
Honey not only packs a lot of sweetness but also offers an array of health benefits! Before using honey as a cane sugar substitute, you may need to carry out some experimentation so you can determine the correct ratio of honey to sugar your tastebuds can tolerate.
If you want your dish to turn out very sweet, you can use one cup of honey for each cup of sugar, or you can go with a half cup of honey instead to keep the sweetness in check.
When using honey, you’ll need to also adjust the amount of liquid your recipe calls for. Quicker browning and more moisture are some of the advantages you get with using honey instead of cane sugar; honey also contains fewer calories, fructose, and glucose compared to regular sugar.
This, however, doesn’t make them suitable for everyday consumption by people with diabetes; honey still needs to be consumed in small amounts as you would with cane sugar.
2. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is also a “healthier” alternative to cane sugar as it contains a small amount of sugar but also needs to be consumed in small amounts.
Consuming maple syrup instead of cane sugar cuts your sugar consumption down by about 33%, and they also contain nutrients such as antioxidants, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54, unlike table sugar’s 65, which makes the syrup also friendlier toward your blood sugar.
Even if you are skeptical about its taste, you can sweeten your dish with a small splash of maple syrup!
To reduce the number of calories and increase the fiber content in the final dish, you can use applesauce as a substitute for cane sugar.
It is recommended to use unsweetened brands or make your own homemade applesauce, this enables you to achieve the best flavor, and it can also be used as an egg substitute.
If you are on a low-sugar diet, you can sweeten recipes with fruits such as bananas, figs, and dates. Fruits not only sweeten dishes but are packed with other nutritional benefits.
Bananas provide you with fiber and potassium, while figs and dates provide minerals such as calcium and iron; you can also use raisins as another good cane sugar alternative.
When sugar undergoes processing, it results in molasses. Molasses is slightly less sweet than sugar and contain iron, calcium, and vitamins.
Its distinctive flavor can enhance some baked goods when used.
6. Coconut Palm Sugar
Coconut palm sugar is gotten from coconut tree sap and has a lower glycemic index (GI) compared to cane sugar. People with diabetes opt for this substitute option for this reason, but they contain similar carbohydrate and calorie counts as regular sugar.
Dishes like popcorn or oatmeal can be sweetened by sprinkling some coconut palm sugar.
7. Light & Dark Muscovado Sugar
Muscovado sugar has a sandy texture and slightly burnt caramel flavor like light and dark brown sugar. Still, muscovado is slightly less refined than brown sugars and contains a bit more molasses.
However, this difference is very slight, and dark muscovado sugars can be used in place of light and dark brown sugars as a substitute for cane sugar. But keep in mind that there is a difference in depth between the light and dark sugars.
8. Turbinado, Demerara & Raw Sugars
These are three types of minimally processed sugar; this gives them a light, molasses flavor and larger crystal structures, they can be used interchangeably in place of regular sugar.
9. Rock Sugar
Rock sugar is crystallized cane sugar available in large lumps that need to be broken up before use.
It is commonly used in Asian cuisines and adds a touch of sweetness to dishes without imparting too much flavor; this makes it an excellent replacement for cane sugar in savory recipes that need a hit of sweetness.
10. Simple Syrup
You can make a simple syrup using equal parts of sugar and water and use it as a substitute for cane sugar. To make a light syrup, you’ll need two parts water to one part sugar; for a rich syrup, use one part water to two parts sugar.
Sugar syrups can be used to sweeten and flavor liquids from cocktails to iced coffee and tea and added to cakes to keep them moist.
11. Light & Dark Corn Syrup
Light corn syrup has a clear color with a sweet and subtle vanilla flavor. Dark corn syrup, on the other hand, is simply light corn syrup mixed with molasses; this gives the syrup a toasty and more deep flavor compared to the light version.
Both syrups have a viscous consistency and are used to prevent the formation of crystals, especially when making marshmallows; a touch of corn syrup keeps them smooth. They also have shellacking powers which is simply the hardening of caramel corn popcorn shells.
12. Molasses (Aka Treacle) & Blackstrap
Molasses is also known as black treacle and is made from boiling sugarcane or sugar beet juice. The longer it is boiled, the darker and less sweet the molasses gets.
This makes it an acceptable substitute for cane sugar and adds a distinct flavor to dishes.