Are you looking for healthier sugar substitutes to include in your daily dishes?
Cane sugar is one of the most popular options – but what are its alternatives? You’ll find the answer here.
In this article, we’ll provide you with the five best substitutes for cane sugar that can make your meals and treats healthier.
Let’s take a look.
What’s Cane Sugar?
Cane sugar is a type of sugar made from the sap of sugar cane plants.
It is also known as unrefined or raw sugar, and is made by pressing and evaporating the juice from the cane.
This type of sugar is often used in smaller quantities due to its intense sweetness compared to other types of sweetener, such as white sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Cane sugar can be used in baking, cooking, beverages and even for sprinkling on top of food before serving.
It has a distinct flavor that is more pronounced than white granulated and caster sugars, making it great for adding an extra dimension to cakes and cookies.
Cane Sugar has a creamy texture with large crystals which help give baked goods an added dimension of texture when used.
There are several methods for using cane sugar: you can substitute it one-for-one with white granulated or brown sugars in recipes; you can melt it down to make delicious caramel or butterscotch sauces; use it raw and unprocessed in smoothies or on cereals; make candied fruits with it; you can use it in the pan when searing meat and fish dishes; or add it to drinks like beer, tea and coffee for extra flavor.
Keep in mind that because cane sugar contains more moisture than normal refined sugars do, cooking times may be slightly longer when using this form.
If cane sugar isn’t available at your local store, there are other possible substitutes: date syrup, maple syrup, honeycomb or molasses each lend unique flavors while still providing sweetness.
For a cheaper alternative you could try agave nectar – a naturally occurring liquid sweetener derived from blue agave — though this will provide a less intense taste than cane sugar does.
The 5 Best Cane Sugar Substitutes in Baking
When baking, cane sugar is often used for sweetness and flavor.
However, if you’re looking for healthier options or just want to try something different in your recipes, there are some great substitutes to consider.
The five best substitutes for cane sugar in baking are honey, maple syrup, molasses, coconut sugar and date sugar.
1 – Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is made from sap that is collected from the flower buds of coconut palms.
It is then boiled to evaporate the moisture and create a thick syrup.
The syrup is then left to further dry and crystallize, producing the brown sugar we know as coconut sugar.
It has a caramel-like flavor and can be substituted for cane sugar in a variety of recipes.
Coconut sugar contains minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, potassium and other trace minerals, as well as some antioxidants that are not found in refined cane sugar.
It’s slightly lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar which means it won’t cause spikes in blood glucose levels like regular white table sugar can.
Coconut sugar also has some fiber which helps slow down its absorption into your bloodstream.
2 – Honey
Honey is a great replacement for cane sugar, and it has a naturally sweet taste and light color.
It’s made from the nectar of flowers, which gives it its distinctive flavor.
Since honey is sweeter than cane sugar, you should use less—about three-quarters of a cup for every one cup of sugar in your recipes.
However, keep in mind that adding honey will add some moisture to your finished product as well as a slight hint of floral notes.
Honey should not be used in baked goods intended to be vegan as it contains animal products.
3 – Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a sweetener made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, and black maple trees.
The sap is collected in the springtime when temperatures reach above freezing during the day and below freezing at night.
After being boiled down and concentrated, it creates a syrup that can range in color from light to dark depending on how long it is cooked.
Maple syrup offers a unique flavor with hints of caramel or vanilla and a subtle kick of smokiness.
While it has a higher calorie count than some alternatives, it can provide an interesting spin to any recipe that calls for sugar.
4 – Agave Syrup
Agave syrup is derived from a plant native to Central and South America that is closely related to the cactus family.
It has a light caramel flavor and is 1-1/2 times sweeter than cane sugar, so it’s an excellent substitution.
It contains fructose, though, which means you may have gastrointestinal issues if you consume large amounts — in general, keep your intake of fructose low for optimal digestion and overall health.
Agave can also be used to make candy and other desserts.
However, due to its sweetness it should be used with a light hand – start by adding half the amount of cane sugar prescribed in the recipe then adjust accordingly.
Another pro tip — it thickens as it cooks, so allow your batter or cookie dough an extra minute of cooking time before you check its doneness.
5 – Beet Sugar
Beet sugar is a natural sweetener commonly used as a substitute for cane sugar in terms of taste, texture and baking properties.
It is produced from the root of the sugar beet plant and contains the same amount of calories, carbohydrates and sweetness as cane sugar – 50 to 55 percent sucrose.
Beet sugar is slightly coarser than regular granulated cane sugar, but this doesn’t make much of a difference in baked goods.
It also has a slight molasses flavor that adds interesting twists to bakes treats.
While beautiful pink hues may result when using beet sugar, it should still be stored away from humidity and direct sunlight as most sugars are prone to clumping.
For those looking for alternatives to cane sugar for a variety of reasons, you now have a range of options available.
While each substitute has its own unique characteristics which may or may not give you the desired result, it is paramount to bear in mind that not all sugar substitutes are suitable for all applications, depending on the recipe.
Nevertheless, an informed choice can taste just as good and even better than your original recipe.
At the end of the day, taking into consideration your nutritional requirements and taste preferences will assist in great strides when selecting alternatives for cane sugar such as those discussed above.
Remember: choose wisely.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!