Granulated Sugar Substitutes: The 6 Best Options

Granulated sugar is a crucial ingredient in all kinds of recipes, so it can be mortifying if you suddenly discover that you have none lying around.

Not only is granulated sugar used in baking for things like cookies and cakes, but you will find this ingredient frequently used in cocktails, hot drinks, and a variety of other things!  

As such, it will suck to discover that you’re fresh out. However, if this does happen, what can you use as a substitute?

The good news is, there are plots of different things you could use instead of granulated sugar. The options you pick might decide on several factors, though.

You will need to consider what exactly you are making, but also things like health and calories. 

Some of the options mentioned below are particularly good if you are trying to stick to a low sugar diet, or you want to steer clear of refined products. So, think about that before you pick one, because the results will vary a lot!

Granulated Sugar Substitutes: The 6 Best Options

What Exactly Is Granulated Sugar?

You will usually find granulated sugar in bags of various sizes at any grocery store. In the baking aisle, there are big, medium, small bags of countless rows of various sugars. Granulated sugar is among the most popular, and can be found just about everywhere. 

This is very fine, white sugar that is often used in baking and drinks. It is very sweet, and dissolves quickly and easily to add some delightful sweetness.

This kind of sugar usually comes from sugar beets or sugar cane, where the juice extracted from the plant gets boiled down until it turns into crystals. These crystals then get spun in a centrifuge and the impurities get removed.  

What you end up with is a neutral-tasking, pure, white sugar! This sugar then gets shipped off to a grocery store near you, and you can use it for whatever you like. 

But… What if you have none? Let’s go through some fantastic substitutes for you to consider.

Granulated Sugar Substitutes

Because of how popular granulated sugar is, it comes as no surprise to learn that there are actually a multitude of substitutes you could use!

Like we mentioned before, that option you go with might depend on that diet or lifestyle you are trying to stick to, or what you are using it for. 

Some options will work better for particular things, and others would not be recommended. We will give you a few ideas of what each option is good for below, so you can make a decision easily. 

Now, let’s jump into it and take a look at these granulated sugar substitutes. 

1. Brown Sugar

First up is the classic brown sugar. This type of sugar can be either refined or unrefined. The refined brown sugar goes through the same process that white granular sugar does, and gets molasses added back into it for extra flavor.

Unrefined brown sugar goes through less processing, which allows it to keep some of the molasses in it. 

Brown sugar contains more moisture than granulated white sugar, so bear this in mind when using it. Luckily, however, you can use brown sugar for all the same things that you would for granulated sugar! It can be great in baking (it’s more flavorful), drinks, and more. 

You can use the same amount of brown sugar as you would for granulated sugar, as the sweetness levels are basically the same.

Just bear in mind that you might need to bake your goods a little longer (by just a minute or two), because of the added moisture content. 

2. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is also a good alternative to granulated sugar, and it’s easy to use. This is a particularly good option for baking, as it adds a delightful sweetness as well as a distinct flavor.

Maple syrup is actually sweeter than honey, so be sure to use less of it if you are going to use it in baking. 

Since maple syrup also has a much lower boiling point than sugar does, you will need to be careful to use temperatures that are too high.

It can burn easily, making it more difficult to use in some cases. Some kinds of recipes will not benefit from using maple syrup, so be sure to check the cooking or baking instructions to find out.  

3. Raw Honey

Raw honey is one of the healthiest options you could go with, and this is a completely natural sweetener. Honey can come in various flavors, depending on where the bees are from, and what their diet consists of – just so you know!

Honey is sweet and healthy, and full of medicinal properties. You can use this option for just about anything you would for granulated sugar – from baking to sweetening teas. To do this, we would recommend using one cup of honey for every two cups of sugar. 

Honey is naturally sweeter than sugar, and it has a completely different flavor. As such, you will notice a difference in whatever you are baking!

4. Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is unrefined sugar that comes from – you guessed it – coconuts! Because it is unrefined, this kind of sugar has all kinds of great nutrients, making it pretty beneficial to your diet. 

This sugar has a distinct taste, making that you will need to know what to expect when using it for baking. Luckily, you can use this sugar for all the same things that you would use granulated sugar for, if you don’t mind the taste. 

Just be sure to use less of it, because it is sweeter than granulated sugar. Aim to use about ¾ a cup of coconut sugar for every 1 cup of granulated sugar. 

5. Molasses 

Molasses is a kitchen staple in many places all over the world, but it might be less known in places like the US. This ingredient is very thick, with a delicious and sweet taste that you will immediately fall in love with. 

You can use molasses in a variety of baking recipes, as it will add a rich flavor to the dish.

However, it can also be used in marinades and sauces if you want to add some sweetness and depth. This ingredient contains good amounts of calcium and iron, so it can be beneficial to the diet. 

Just bear in mind that molasses is very sweet, and will definitely impart a different flavor to any dish. It’s roughly three times sweeter than sugar, so measure your ingredients accordingly!

6. Agave

Agave is a popular option in many diets and lifestyles around the world. This ingredient is similar to maple syrup or honey, and is a great alternative for baking and drinks. It is easy to use, with a pleasant flavor. 

However, you will need to reduce the amount of liquid you add to baking recipes, like you would for honey, maple syrup, and molasses. Aim to use around ⅔ of what you would use for sugar, because this is considerably sweeter!

Bonus Granulated Sugar Substitutes To Consider 

There are also a few more options you could try out if you are feeling creative! Depending on what you need to use granulated sugar for, you could consider substituting one of the below options.

Some of these will work particularly well in baking (like bananas and dates), so be sure to think your decision through before you throw something in!

Here are some bonus substitutes you could try out instead of using granulated sugar in the kitchen:

  • Corn syrup
  • Dates
  • Bananas
  • Monk fruit sweetener
  • Pomegranate molasses
  • Powdered sugar
  • Caster sugar
  • Stevia

Final Thoughts 

Granulated sugar is very versatile and widely used, but there are some great options you can try out if you run out of it. Remember – depending on what you need granulated sugar for, some of the above options could be great or terrible choices.

Make sure you do your research before picking one, because things might not turn out the way you hope!

Granulated Sugar Substitutes: The 6 Best Options

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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Cooking time






  • Brown Sugar

  • Maple Syrup

  • Raw Honey

  • Coconut Sugar

  • Molasses 

  • Agave


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: Five Best Sugar Substitutes | Dr. Josh Axe (
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