16 Best Cane Sugar Substitutes For You

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You can renounce it all you want to but believe me; there is no turning back when it comes to sugar, especially when talking about cane sugar. Everything’s sweeter with a bit of sugar, right?

Cane Sugar

Cane sugar is the same as it sounds – the sugar made from cane (that’s why it’s called sugarcane). It is a type of sugar obtained by crystallizing boiled sugarcane juice. It is available in various forms. 

Cane sugar is extensively used as a sweetener in jams, cereals, cookies, and toppings. It tastes similar to refined sugar and thus finds applications in the cooking world, particularly baking.

But what can you do if you are out of cane sugar? You definitely need a bunch of ingredients that can substitute for cane sugar. Some of the best cane sugar substitutes are honey, maple syrup, bet sugar, applesauce, molasses, and coconut sugar.

Before we find answers to the substitutes for cane sugar, let us take a closer look at cane sugar.

Quick Peek: Cane Sugar

The following sections will give newbie chefs an idea about cane sugar, its flavor, texture, uses, and health benefits.

What Is Cane Sugar?

Cane sugar is the sugar obtained from sugarcanes (too much sugar in these sentences). Sugarcane is a grass plant type, majorly cultivated for its juice and the subsequent products obtained from it.

The term cane sugar can mean any type of sweetener derived from sugarcane. That is, they can be either dry sweeteners that come in granulated, cube, or tablet forms or liquid sweeteners like syrups and molasses.

Types of Cane Sugar-Based On Processing

You thought there was only one? Nope! Cane sugar is available in three varieties – refined, unrefined, and raw. 

Refined cane sugar is simply crude sugar that is obtained after the removal of impurities. It is deemed to be the purest sugar form. Several processes like remelting, filtering, evaporation, and centrifuging take place to get rid of the impurities. 

Unrefined cane sugar belongs to the least refined sugar category, including brown sugars or jaggery. Raw cane sugar is the crystalized sugar – crystalized only once. They are processed from freshly harvested sugarcanes and are available in the form of coarse crystals.

Types of Cane Sugar Based on Crystallization

Okay, so I am not going to bore you by detailing around ten types of cane sugar. But a little knowledge is no harm, right?

Cane sugars can be simply distinguished based on the process of crystallization. So, we have crystallized and uncrystallized cane sugars (non-centrifugal). 

Crystallized cane sugars comprise the following – organic sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, liquid sugar, invert sugar, confectioners sugar, demerara, turbinado, muscovado (phew!). Whole cane sugar is uncrystallized sugar. 

How Is Cane Sugar Made?

Shall we see how this tasty sugar is made? Sugarcanes are chopped into chunks, and the juice is extracted. The juice is boiled to a thick syrup (nothing but unrefined molasses), which is subjected to crystallization.

The crystallized syrup is further centrifuged to separate the crystals from molasses. Every type of cane sugar is obtained in this manner, but the level of processing categorizes it into raw, refined, or unrefined.

Describing Cane Sugar: Flavor and Texture

Cane sugar, like any other sugar, tastes sweet like candy. But, depending on the type of sugar – refined, raw, or unrefined, the intensity of sweetness may vary. More the refining, less will be the flavor.

Cane sugar is available in granulated, cube, or tablet varieties. This means that the crystals have a semi-hard texture with a smooth surface.

Uses of Cane Sugar

Cane sugar, which has a sweet taste, obviously functions as a sweetener. It can be used in cookies, muffins, cakes, bread, or desserts to simply kick up the sweetness profile of any dish you want. Not to mention the availability of cane sugar in various forms, which can be used according to the nature of your recipe.

Apart from these, adding cane sugar to food is helpful in the onset of fermentation in fermented foods such as yogurt, sourdough bread, and soy sauces. It also helps to extend the shelflife of food by preventing spoilage.

Some famous recipes that include cane sugar are chocolate buttercream frosting, Swedish rye cookies, zucchini bread, caramelized tofu, and nectarine raspberry jam.  

Cane Sugar On The Health Radar/Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Cane sugar can render more energy, and this energy is stored as healthy fats. It boosts your digestive system and aids in the proper development of bones and teeth. 

Cane sugar helps fight against cancer, STDs, and UTIs. It is also beneficial for the proper functioning of the liver. It fights against bad breath and tooth decay and helps get rid of acne too!

Why Should We Substitute For Cane Sugar?

So, what makes this sweet boy go bad? Umm, the fact that cane sugar is a potential obesity propellant! (*silently takes the sugar off the table*)

Also, over the board consumption of cane sugar can increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, gout, tooth decay, pancreatic damage, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and schizophrenia (yikes!)

These reasons can make your mind rethink your food choices. You might be on a diet or avoiding cane sugar for personal reasons. That’s when you need the help of the alternatives for cane sugar. Let us talk about them now.

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

16 Best Cane Sugar Substitutes

Enough with the cane sugar research paper. Let’s get down to business. The sixteen best cane sugar substitutes are listed below:

1. Honey

Honey is a brown-colored sweet, syrupy liquid extracted by honeybees to guzzle nectar from flowers. It has a sweet flavor and is one of the best substitutes for cane sugar due to the same.

Honey is also gluten-free, making it a healthy alternative to cane sugar as well. You can easily swap cane sugar with honey in similar quantities, but obviously, the nature of the recipe has to be considered.

The amount of liquid used in the recipe will have to be adjusted due to the syrupy consistency and color of the honey. Also, it might not be a better option for diabetic people to consume honey in large quantities.

That said, honey’s sweet flavor profile, easy availability, and health benefits make it the best substitute for cane sugar. Here’s how you can make some honey butter.

2. Maple Syrup

Boiling the sap of maple trees, you get the sweet, sugary, brown-colored, sticky maple syrup. (That’s a load of adjectives, I get it).

Maple syrup has a thick consistency and a distinctive sweet flavor profile. It is a much better healthy swap when it comes to cane sugar as it has a low glycemic index and is rich in antioxidants, calcium, iron, and potassium.

Maple syrup is another best alternative for cane sugar in baking recipes, considering its unique sweetness and low glycemic index. Here’s how you can make maple glaze for donuts.

3. Beet Sugar

Beet sugar is obtained from the sugar beet plant. Apart from sugarcane, sugar beet is prominently used to produce white sugar. In addition to white sugar, sugar beet is used to produce refined sugar and molasses as well.

Beet sugar has a high concentration of sugar, making it intensely sweet. It has an aftertaste that tastes like burnt sugar, unlike cane sugar which has a sweet mouthfeel and aftertaste.

Beet sugar has a similar flavor and texture to cane sugar and is very easily available, making it a very good substitute for cane sugar.

4. Applesauce

Applesauce is the resultant mixture that you get when you slow-cook apples until they are softened. It has a smooth texture with a chunky consistency. It has a sweet and tart flavor like that of apples.

So, how is it a substitute for cane sugar? If you don’t mind the slight tartness that is characteristic of apples, the sweet flavor of apples can be used to substitute for cane sugar.

Make sure you use unflavored applesauce so that the taste of your recipe isn’t altered. Or you know what’s even better? Prepare your own version of applesauce for replacing cane sugar.

5. Molasses

You would know what molasses is, won’t you? It is a thick, glossy brown-colored syrup that is a product of refining sugar or sugarcanes. It has an intensely sweet flavor and a smooth texture. 

There are three varieties of molasses available – mild molasses, blackstrap molasses, and dark molasses. Depending on your recipe, you can opt for a particular variety of molasses. 

Molasses is a great alternative to cane sugar since both have the same sugar base and almost similar taste profiles.

6. Fruits

Fruits that are sweet by taste can be considered substitutes for cane sugar. Most commonly used fruits for the same are figs, bananas, and dates. They have a unique sweetness that will definitely go well with baking recipes.

Depending on the preferences, the quantities of the fruits can be fixed. Fruits are good alternatives for cane sugar, considering their health benefits, taste profile, affordability, and easy availability.

7. Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is also known by the name coconut palm sugar. It is obtained from the sap of coconut palm trees. The sap is boiled with water to produce a thick syrup which is then left to dry and crystallize. 

The dried sap is broken into sugar granules which resemble the much familiar table sugar. This plant-based natural sweetener is rich in iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium and has a low glycemic index.

Coconut sugar is a worthy alternative to cane sugar since it can sweeten recipes the same way as cane sugar. In fact, diabetic people opt for coconut sugar in their diets for its health benefits.

8. Muscovado Sugar

Also known as Barbados sugar, muscovado sugar is simply unrefined cane sugar. It is deemed to be an artisanal sugar considering the intensive production processes involved in the making.

Sugarcane juice is mixed with lime, evaporated, and then cooled to obtain sugar crystals. The molasses is retained, which results in a brown-colored sugar with a sandy texture. 

The presence of molasses gives muscovado sugar a deep, complex flavor as that of caramel. It is available in light and dark varieties, both of which differ in flavor and in terms of complexity.

While choosing to replace cane sugar with muscovado sugar, opt for dark muscovado sugar. Here’s how you can make eccless cakes using muscovado sugar.

9. Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is a type of raw sugar extracted from sugarcane. It is golden-brown in color with a big grain size and a crispy texture. It has a neutral sweet flavor with subtle hints of caramel and toffee. 

The good thing about demerara sugar is that, owing to minimal processing, it is rich in nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B3.

The only downside is that demerara sugar is not that easy to find. Other than that, demerara sugar is a considerable replacement for cane sugar due to its distinctive sweetness. Here’s how you can make Gordon Ramsay’s crème Brule.

10. Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is a sweet syrup made from the starch of corn. It also goes by the name glucose syrup in the parlance of confectioneries. There are two types of corn syrup – light and dark.

Light corn syrup has a smooth consistency with hints of vanilla flavor. Dark corn syrup has a caramel-like flavor with a dark-brown color since it retains much of the molasses. 

Corn syrup basically enhances food flavor, prevents sugar crystallization, and can be a good alternative for cane sugar, considering its subtly sweet flavor. But, keep in mind corn flavor can render a different flavor to your recipe.

11. Agave Syrup

Agave syrup, which also goes by the name agave nectar, is the fluid extracted from the inside of a blue agave plant. It is similar to honey in taste and is sweeter than sugar. What makes agave syrup different is that it lacks aftertaste, which is very common with most sweeteners.

Agave syrup can be a good alternative to cane sugar, just like maple syrup, for its sweet flavor. While opting to swap cane sugar with agave syrup, go for organic maple syrup since that is devoid of artificial flavors or chemicals.

12. Rock Sugar

Rock sugar also goes by the names rock candy or sugar candy. It comprises medium-sized white-colored crystals which are obtained by cooling sugar syrup. You can use any type of sugar to make rock sugar.

Rock sugar is also used for its health benefits, apart from its sweetening properties. It can boost energy and fight against cough and sore throat. It also helps in improving hemoglobin levels.

Rock sugar is basically unrefined sugar, making it a healthy sweetener that is quite popular in Asian cuisine. Since rock sugar is cane sugar in lumps, it is a very good choice as a substitute for cane sugar in cakes, muffins, or cookies.

13. Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is also known as Luo Han Guo and Swingle fruit. It is a small, round fruit commonly seen in China but is very well-known as a natural sweetener that adds zero calories. 

Monk fruit is incredibly sweeter than sugar – in fact, you only need a pinch of this sweetener to replace many spoons of sugar. It is quite stable at high temperatures making it suitable for baking recipes.

Monk fruit is a low-calorie alternative to cane sugar as a sweetener due to its intense sweetness, health benefits, and stability at high temperatures.

14. Stevia

Stevia, based on the plant Stevia rebaudiana, is yet another cane sugar substitute from America that is also devoid of calories. 

Stevia is an incredibly sweet natural sugar sweetener with neither calories nor carbohydrates. Stevia is available in both liquid and granulated forms. Liquid stevia sweetener is sweeter than granulated stevia. 

Stevia is a plant-based alternative to cane sugar and a befitting sweetener in many recipes. While replacing cane sugar, go for liquid stevia in case of drinks or creams and granulated stevia in baking recipes. 

15. Artificial Sweeteners

If you are out of cane sugar and the above-mentioned substitutes, try finding a few artificial sweeteners to do the sugary job for you. Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that may or may not be derived from natural sources.

Sucralose, saccharin, or aspartame are some of the commonly found artificial sweeteners. Each of them will have various levels of sweet flavors. You should check the contents before finalizing one of them for your recipe.

16. Sugar Syrup

Sugar syrup is as simple as it sounds – a few granules of sugar crystals mixed with water. This substitute can be readily made and used to sweeten cereals, cakes, cookies, or desserts. 

Simply mix equal amounts of sugar and water to prepare sugar syrup. For an intense flavor, use 1 part water and 2 parts sugar. Sugar syrup definitely works as an alternative to cane sugar in any recipe that calls for it.

How To Use Cane Sugar Substitutes In A Recipe

Cane Sugar

Cane Sugar Substitutes

Cane sugar is extensively used as a sweetener in jams, cereals, cookies, and toppings. It tastes similar to refined sugar and thus finds applications in the cooking world, particularly baking. But what can you do if you are out of cane sugar? You definitely need a bunch of ingredients that can substitute for cane sugar.
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  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Beet Sugar
  • Applesauce
  • Molasses
  • Fruits
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Muscovado Sugar
  • Demerara Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Agave Syrup
  • Rock Sugar
  • Monk Fruit
  • Stevia
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Sugar Syrup


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Musings

That was all about the list of best cane sugar substitutes. Most of them are just different types of sugar, and some of them include plant-based sweeteners as well. Feel free to experiment with any of them based on your preferences and let me know the results. See you soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can Be Used Instead Of Cane Sugar?

Cane sugar can be replaced with beet sugar, various types of raw sugars, honey, maple syrup, and applesauce.

Can Brown Sugar Replace Cane Sugar?

Brown sugar is actually a type of cane sugar. Therefore, brown sugar and even white sugar can be readily used to replace cane sugar.

How Is White Sugar Different From Cane Sugar?

White sugar can be obtained from any sugar-based plant – both sugar beet and sugar cane. But cane sugar is exclusively made from sugarcane. They are not the same but can be used interchangeably in recipes.

Can Cane Sugar Be Used Instead Of Granulated Sugar?

Certainly, cane sugar can replace granulated sugar since they share similar taste profiles for sweetness. 

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