Generally speaking, sugar is a staple ingredient in almost any cuisine in the world. This is especially the case with sweet dishes, baked goods, and desserts, although it can be used in savory dishes to some extent as well.
There are many types of sugar, the most popular one definitely being white table sugar, also known as regular sugar. Since it is refined sugar, i.e. a processed type of sugar, it isn’t quite healthy.
Since people are searching for healthier alternatives nowadays, coconut sugar emerges as a solution, i.e., as a healthy sugar substitute for baking.
Coconut sugar is a type of sugar also known as coco sap sugar, coconut palm sugar, and coconut crystals, and it is made from the sap of coconut palm tree flowers. It has a subtle sweet taste with hints of caramel.
Although it is healthier than regular sugar, since it is relatively unprocessed and has a lower glycemic index, it is still relatively high in calories. The total time it takes to make it at home is also very high.
Because of that, people tend to search for more alternatives, and, fortunately, there are quite a few. In this article, I will present you with a list of where you will be able to find the best substitute for coconut sugar to use in your favorite sweet dish.
So, let’s begin.
Overall Best Substitute For Coconut Sugar: Light Brown Sugar
I will start with light brown sugar, a mixture of white table sugar, and about 3 percent of molasses. There are a few reasons why this type of sugar is first on the list.
The most important one is the fact that it has a very similar flavor profile to coconut sugar, as well as a level of sweetness.
Besides that, light brown sugar is very easy to find in almost every grocery store and it is quite affordable.
As you can see, there is no reason to avoid this type of sugar as an alternative to coconut sugar. So, when you are substituting, you can freely use 1 cup of light brown sugar for 1 cup of coconut sugar.
However, since it is a bit sweeter than coconut sugar, you can slightly reduce the amount of this sugar, i.e. about 3/4 cup instead of one cup.
7 Finest Granulated Alternatives For Coconut Sugar
If you like to use sugar in granulated form, here are a few alternatives to consider.
1. Palm Sugar
Since we are searching for a coconut palm sugar substitute, it is a little confusing to find palm sugar to be one of the alternatives.
But the fact is these two types of sugar aren’t the same. Coconut palm sugar is just the type of palm sugar that is extracted from the coconut palm tree.
However, palm sugar, in general, doesn’t need to be extracted from just one type of tree, it can be extracted from sugar palm trees, nipa palm trees, or date palm trees.
The main reason why this type of sugar can be a decent coconut sugar replacement is the fact that it has a similar flavor profile that is a combination of buttery and caramel flavors.
When it comes to the coconut sugar substitute ratio, you can use the same amount of palm sugar as the amount of coconut sugar required in the recipe.
2. White Sugar
Speaking about sugars and sweeteners, ons must mention regular white table sugar. It is probably the most popular type of sweetener out there and it can be a decent sub for coconut sugar as well.
However, you must know that it isn’t a perfect alternative since it is processed with bone char, so it can not be considered as a vegan alternative. It is also slightly higher in calories and on the glycemic index, so it is not that healthy.
Aside from that, its flavor profile is not that similar to the flavor profile of coconut sugar since it doesn’t possess the same toasted caramel taste and it is a little bit sweeter than our coconut sugar.
However, if you eventually decide to use it instead of coconut sugar, you can use it in the same amount if you are OK with sweetness.
If you are not, use only 3/4 cup of regular white sugar for every cup of coconut sugar.
If you’ve never heard about Sucanat, it is actually a type of whole cane sugar that is less processed, and it is made from sugar cane juice.
When it comes to color, it is somewhat similar to light brown sugar, but with a different texture, i.e. with larger crystals than those of regular table sugar.
Because of that, if you decide to use Sucanat sugar as the coconut sugar alternative, it is best to grind it in some kind of food processor like a coffee grinder or spice grinder.
By doing that, you will more easily be able to incorporate this type of sugar in almost any dish, especially in baked goods.
After grinding Sucanat, you can freely substitute it for coconut sugar in a 1:1 ratio in almost any dish.
4. Date Sugar
Speaking about healthy alternatives for coconut sugar, you can’t find one better than date sugar. But, what is date sugar exactly? It is simply dehydrated dates that have been ground into healthy granulated sugar that is very similar to regular granulated sugar.
Since it has a really rich flavor that is somewhat sweet and caramelly, it can be a great alternative to coconut sugar. And hey, it is healthy as well! What else could you ask for?
There is only one problem with this fantastic sugar. It does not dissolve that well when added to recipes, and it doesn’t melt that good as well. So, when you add it to your dish, you will probably see little date particles in the dish.
So, if you are OK with this and you have decided to use date sugar, you can freely use a 1:1 ratio when replacing coconut sugar with it.
5. Maple Sugar
Just like maple syrup, sugar maple is made from the maple tree, i.e. it is made by boiling the sap of maple tree until all that is left are crystals.
Those crystals are closer to granular sugar than to coconut sugar when it comes to texture. I also have to emphasize that although maple sugar has a great flavor profile, it is not that similar to the flavor profile of coconut sugar since it is mainly the maple flavor really.
However, if you are out of options, you can use this type of sugar in the recipe that requires coconut sugar.
Use 3/4 cup of maple sugar for 1 cup of coconut sugar and you are good to go.
6. Turbinado Sugar
It is a type of raw sugar. Turbinado is actually a natural brown sugar that retains some of its sugar cane juice which gives it a darker, i.e. somewhat golden color.
It is a granulated natural sugar with really large sugar granules, i.e. much larger than those of regular sugar. So, it is not a bad idea to grind it in a food processor and then add it to your dish.
If you eventually decide to do that, you can freely use a 1:1 ratio because the sweetness and flavor profiles of these two types of sugar are quite similar.
Another great coconut sugar substitute, panela sugar is a Mexican sugar also known as Piloncillo in Latin American countries, and as Jaggery in Asian countries.
The simplest definition of panela is that it is unrefined brown sugar. So, just like both white sugar, as well as light and dark brown sugar, panela is made from cane sugar, but the manufacturing process is different.
White sugar is refined sugar that doesn’t contain molasses. Brown sugar is refined sugar that does contain it. And panela is an unrefined sugar that contains molasses, but the molasses content in panela is very low, i.e. only about 5%.
But, that is enough to give it a brown color, as well as an intense caramel flavor. Since natural molasses contains some beneficial nutrients like magnesium, manganese, vitamins B6, etc., it can provide you with some health benefits as well.
The only problem with panela sugar is that it comes in a cone or brick shape, so it is not that easy to incorporate it into the dish.
However, if you decide to use it instead of coconut sugar, you can freely use a 1:1 ratio.
3 Liquid Substitutes For Coconut Sugar
If you are not a big fan of granulated sugars, here are 3 liquid alternatives for you to try.
1. Maple Syrup
And, here is one liquid alternative to coconut sugar in the form of maple syrup. Just don’t use high fructose corn syrup.
It can be a great alternative to coconut sugar since it has an amazing flavor profile and since it is highly available and affordable.
The only problem to some extent is the fact that it is a liquid sweetener, contrary to coconut sugar that comes in the granulated form.
Also, it is not recommended to use the commercial version of this syrup because a lot of added ingredients change its flavor profile a lot. Try to find pure maple syrup and use it in your dish.
When you decide to use maple syrup instead of coconut sugar, you need to substitute 1/4 cup maple syrup for every 1 cup of coconut sugar.
2. Raw Honey
Raw honey is one of the most popular natural sweeteners out there that has a golden color and natural sweetness few can resist. It is mostly used for sweetening tea like boba or bubble tea, or some other types of beverages and smoothies as well.
Aside from that, it is becoming more and more popular when it comes to cooking and baking.
Raw, unpasteurized, and non-filtered honey provides a lot of health benefits as well since it is high in nutrients like potassium and calcium, as well as in antioxidants. It also contains propolis which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Since it has a very sweet flavor, it is best to use 2/3 cup honey in place of 1 cup of coconut sugar.
Find out why honey crystallizes.
3. Agave Syrup
It is also known as agave nectar or maguey syrup, and it comes from the agave plant, i.e. from the sap that is harvested from the agave plant.
Although the agave plant itself is very healthy since it contains some important nutrients like B vitamins, agave syrup is made by processing agave sap with heat and enzymes that destroy a lot of those nutrients.
But, during that process, fructans in the agave sap are converted to fructose and that leads to a lower glycemic index, which is beneficial for people suffering from diabetes or high blood sugar.
Nonetheless, agave syrup is a bit sweeter than coconut sugar, so it is best to use it in a lower quantity when substituting it with coconut sugar, i.e. 3/4 cup agave syrup for 1 cup of coconut sugar.
4 Low-Carb Substitutes For Coconut Sugar
If you have problems with blood sugar levels, if you are on the keto diet, or if you’re avoiding carbohydrates for any other reason, the list of 4 great low-carb alternatives is below.
If you are searching for a coconut sugar substitute that really isn’t sugar, then stevia might be your best bet. This means that it doesn’t contain glucose, so it is suitable for all those people who have diabetes or any type of problem-related to blood sugar.
This sweetener is actually a plant-based type of sugar that is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. It comes in liquid form as well as in powdered form.
It is becoming more and more popular as a natural sweetener because it does not raise blood sugar levels and it’s a healthier option as well.
It also lowers your blood pressure, fights pancreatic cancer, and helps you to control weight.
However, when you decide to use it instead of coconut sugar in your recipe, know that it is much sweeter, so you will have to adjust the quantity by your preferences.
Generally speaking, you can use a 1:1 ratio, but I personally don’t do that because my dish becomes too sweet. I use only half the amount, and my dish ends up being perfect in terms of sweetness.
If you have problems with blood sugar levels, erythritol can be a solution since it doesn’t spike those levels the way stevia does. Unlike stevia, erythritol is actually a sugar alcohol that is used as a low-calorie sweetener.
It is made from wheat or cornstarch, i.e. when yeast ferments the glucose in starch, erythritol forms.
There has been a buzz about this sugar alcohol in recent times. It is quite similar to regular sugar when it comes to sweetness and at the same time, it is calorie-free, so people are a little suspicious about it.
However, evidence proves that it really is much healthier than regular sugar and it provides you with a decent level of sweetness. You just have to limit the consumption because, if you overdo it, you might end up having digestive problems.
Although a 1:1 ratio is fine when substituting with coconut sugar, I would suggest you add just a little extra erythritol to your dish to reach the level of sweetness that coconut sugar provides.
Speaking about sugar-free candies, gums, and beverages, the type of sugar alcohol called xylitol is the main star. It is a sugar alcohol derived from plants and it is quite similar to stevia and erythritol.
It is great for weight loss since it has 1/3 fewer calories than regular granulated sugar and it is lower on the GI index as well. People also consume it to reduce the levels of decay-causing bacteria in their saliva since it has been proven that it can successfully fight those bacteria.
It is also good for preventing dry mouth, ear, infections, tooth plaque, etc. However, you have to be careful when consuming it because, in large amounts, it can cause digestive problems.
It is also proven that it can be toxic for dogs, so be careful that you don’t harm your puppy.
When adding it to your dish instead of coconut sugar, you can freely use a 1:1 ratio. However, take note that it is a little bit sweeter in taste, so you might lower the amount if you are not a big fan of sweetness.
4. Monk Fruit Sweetener
This type of sweetener is made from so-called monk fruit, a type of fruit that is native to China. It is quite similar to stevia since it is very sweet but doesn’t contain any calories.
It is quite sweet, so if you want to avoid the empty calories that regular sugar provides you with, this fruit sweetener could be a great option.
Also, when you incorporate it into your dish, it cooks and bakes quite well since it is very stable at high temperatures. However, there are some chemical reactions during the cooking or baking process that can occur because it is no actual sugar.
But this just means that it is not a perfect alternative, but it is a quite decent one.
So, if you decide to use monk fruit eventually, you can use a 1:1 ratio, or if you’re not a big fan of sweetness, you can lower the amount a bit. It is up to you to decide according to your preferences.
What Is Your Best Coconut Sugar Substitute?
Coconut sugar is becoming more and more popular in recent times since it is relatively unprocessed sugar that has fiber and inulin which helps to lower the digestion of sugar itself. It can also provide you with some health benefits since it comes from the coconut plant which is very healthy.
However, it is still relatively high in calories, so many people tend to avoid even this type of sugar. Some people can not find it in the grocery store or they just have some other type of sugar at hand that they want to use.
So, here are the 15 great substitutes for coconut sugar. It is up to you to decide what suits your preferences the best and I am sure that you can’t go wrong.