Coconut sugar has become a popular type of sugar used in baked goods because of its flavor and health benefits over regular sugar. Although it’s become more accessible over the past years, it’s still not sourced everywhere.
You may have found a delicious recipe that you want to make that contains coconut sugar, but you’re unable to source any or run out. Don’t worry; I have some excellent coconut sugar substitutes for you.
What Is Coconut Sugar?
Coconut sugar is sometimes called coconut palm sugar. This is because it’s a type of palm sugar from coconut palm tree sap.
It’s made by collecting the liquid sap from the flower of the coconut palm tree and heating it until most of the water evaporates.
You can sometimes find different coconut sugar brands with slightly different textures. This is because some have evaporated more water out of the sugar than others.
Why Do People Use Coconut Sugar?
Coconut sugar has a tasty caramel flavor, which surprises many as it doesn’t taste like coconut.
It also has a slightly lower glycemic index than table sugar which is why people use it in healthier recipes. The lower glycemic index is linked to a slower sugar absorption rate, reducing blood sugar levels from spikings as much.
Coconut sugar isn’t an empty calorie-like table sugar that only contains carbs. It contains nutrients like vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
What To Think About When Substituting Coconut Sugar
Since coconut sugar has a caramel taste, it is much easier to replace. Most palm sugars or sugars that contain molasses have a similar taste and consistency.
This is great because we can replace all the sugars on this list as a one-to-one ratio. Meaning one cup of coconut sugar will be replaced by one of the replacement sugar.
Soft light brown sugar
Soft light brown sugar is granulated sugar that has been blended with molasses. This gives it a soft texture similar to coconut sugar and a caramel taste.
It’s an excellent substitute for coconut sugar as the flavor and consistency is similar.
It’s also very easy to find at the store and can be made at home by mixing molasses with granulated sugar.
Best Nutritional Sugars
Date sugar involves minimal processing and has no added chemicals. It also contains minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and antioxidants. Making it a great healthy alternative.
It has a sweet butterscotch-like flavor that is slightly more pronounced than coconut sugar but shares a similar texture.
It can also be found in many health stores, making a great choice if the store has run out of coconut sugar.
Maple sugar is made by evaporating the sap of certain maple trees. It’s less popular out of the states but can also be found in many health food stores.
Since maple sugar contains a lower amount of fructose, it also shares a lower glycemic index than white sugar.
It’s easy to bake with and great to use in traditional American baked goods.
Panela is unrefined cane sugar popular in Central American and Latin cuisine. It has a sweet molasses taste and a caramel undertone.
Although it doesn’t have a lower glycemic index like coconut sugar, it does contain vitamins and minerals.
Best Granulated Sugars
This is the most accessible alternative, as it’s an ingredient in most people’s pantries.
White sugar does not provide the same health benefits as coconut sugar but will add the same amount of sweetness.
It can be replaced at a one-to-one ratio and is easy to use. One thing to note is that it will not add brown color to your recipe as coconut sugar will.
Demerara sugar and Turbinado sugar
Demerara sugar and turbinado are both very similar sugars. They are raw sugars with larger crystals than the other ones on the list.
These two sugars will change the texture of certain baked goods but can be used as a suitable replacement in syrups.
Best Soft Sugar
Dark Brown Sugar
Dark brown sugar is similar to soft light brown sugar but has a higher molasses ratio. This gives it a browner color and a bitter-sweet complex flavor similar to toffee.
Dark brown sugar is also a good replacement and will add more complex notes to your recipe.
Finding the best coconut sugar substitutes is easy. If you’re only replacing the ingredient for taste and consistency, use soft brown sugar.
If you’re looking for sugar with similar nutrition, use either date, maple or panela sugar.
If you’re looking for the most effortless replacement, you can always use regular white sugar.