Looking for the best palm sugar substitutes? Then, you have come to the right nook of the internet. In this article, we are going to talk about just that. But before we jump into the substitutes of palm sugar, let’s talk about what palm sugar is. Palm sugar is a natural sugar or sweetener made from palm trees.
Palm sugar has a hint of caramel flavor that is less sweet than cane sugar. Palm sugar’s texture, flavor, and color depend upon its cooking process. It has the same amount of calories and carbohydrates (approximately 15 calories/g) as white sugar. Therefore, finding the healthiest substitute for palm sugar is necessary.
So I am sure you must be wondering, what are the best palm sugar substitutes? The best palm sugar substitutes are brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, date sugar, molasses, white sugar, honey, golden monk fruit, stevia, muscovado sugar, jaggery, and rock sugar.
Sugar is our weakness, and sometimes it’s impossible to resist. There are various types of sugar available in the market, and you may have tried one or two! But still, are you unsure of which sugar substitutes you can use for cooking? No worries! In this article, I will tell you all about palm sugar substitutes.
We have done great homework to find the most suitable palm sugar substitute for you. It will benefit your health and help you cut down on sugar and get to your fitness goals. However, before we get to the substitutes, tell me more about palm sugar itself. This will definitely make it easier for you to pick your substitute.
Quick Peek: Palm Sugar
This section has all the information you need on palm sugar. You will get to understand the ingredient, its flavor, texture, uses, and nutritional information. So, let us discover palm sugar.
What Is Palm Sugar?
A little fact, palm sugar comes from the sap of coconut palm tree flowers. It is known as natural sugar because it has minimal processing and contains no harmful chemicals. Sap from trees is heated to drain moisture, producing thick syrup, which is then reduced to crystals.
Palm sugar is usually available in stores in various packing forms like block, granular, and also in liquid forms. A fun fact: historically, palm sugar was used in cake recipes, and people used it in either shaved or grated form.
Palm sugar is widely used in Asian cuisine and used in curries, sauces, and desserts. It has gained popularity in various cooking techniques, from savory entrees to desserts. So, whether you’re creating an American-style dessert or a Thai-inspired entrée, we’ve got you covered with amazing palm sugar substitutes.
Describing Palm Sugar: Flavor and Texture
Palm sugar has a caramel taste with notes of smoke or maple. Some people also feel the taste of butterscotch notes. Palm sugar has more depth and is less sweet than refined white sugar and brown sugar. However, the sugar’s taste will vary depending on the processing and the quality of the ingredients.
The sugar has a faint caramel flavor. A richer and deeper flavor than refined white sugar allows it to give a particular taste to recipes. And when in liquid form, you can resemble the taste of honey.
Yet, in granular form, it tastes very similar to white sugar. The color of palm sugar can range from golden yellow in Thailand to almost black in Indonesia, depending on how it’s processed.
Uses of Palm Sugar
Palm sugar generally is used in curries, desserts like puddings, and sweet snacks like peanut brittle. It is widely used in Indian sweets prepared for special occasions like Diwali.
It also goes well with the famed “Masala Chai” and other spiced beverages. Did you know that Nam taan sod is a famous Thai drink made with fresh palm sugar juice? Think about the sugar’s role in the recipe if you can’t find palm sugar. If it only asks for a tablespoon or two of sugar, you may easily replace it with other sugar substitutes.
Palm Sugar On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Palm sugar is unprocessed sugar. Therefore it’s high in minerals and vitamins. It includes minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, manganese, and copper.
Palm sugar has a low glycemic index. However, it contains the same calories compared to white sugar. Therefore, looking for substitutes for palm sugar is vital. Moreover, many people may be allergic to palm sugar, so there you will require to find the best alternative to palm sugar.
Why Use A Substitute For Palm Sugar?
Why use a substitute when you can just use palm sugar? While there are many reasons to use palm sugar, like using it in baking, there are other reasons why you should use substitutes for palm sugar.
Firstly, unless you live near an Indian market, it is difficult to find palm sugar in supermarkets. Also, it is costly too. Therefore, considering a substitute for palm sugar is the best thing you can do. You can get almost various options for palm sugar substitutes to deliver the proper taste notes.
Moreover, palm sugar is not quite as sweet as white sugar. Therefore, palm sugar may not be a great choice if it is used in a recipe that requires sweetness priority on the top. Also, to make your recipe sweeter, you need to add a higher amount of palm sugar. And that will result in making your recipes more expensive.
Lastly, palm sugar is available in various qualities. Therefore, it becomes a bit difficult to choose the best one. Also, palm sugar is often sold as coconut sugar, but that’s not true. In that case, palm sugar alternatives can be your savior for the recipes.
I believe I have given you ample information on palm sugar. Now, let me quickly take you to the best palm sugar substitutes!
12 Best Palm Sugar Substitutes
This section has all the best palm sugar substitutes. Moreover, you will also understand how to use each substitute in place of palm sugar.
1. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is an excellent substitute for palm sugar. Unlike palm sugar, brown sugar has a harder, stickier consistency and is sweeter. So, you won’t need as much to bake or cook. Some bakers recommend mixing a tablespoon of molasses with a cup of brown sugar, which is comparable to a cup of palm sugar.
Baking with brown sugar is my preferred method for replacing palm sugar. The texture is moist, and it binds well to other ingredients in your baked goods.
Non-baked dishes do not normally require brown sugar, but they can be used in a pinch. Keep in mind that brown sugar is sweeter than palm sugar. Start with the specified substitution ratio and add brown sugar to taste as you go. You can use brown sugar for baked goods, sauces, marinades, and even bacon.
2. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is the best natural substitute for palm sugar. Maple syrup contains no additives or artificial flavors. It has a sweet and creamy flavor that works well in various recipes.
You can use maple syrup in the same way that you would use palm sugar. The syrup goes well with pie, pancakes, waffles, cocktails, snack mix, and fajitas. It goes well in everything from traditional Asian dishes to sweet desserts.
Maple sugar is also popular among people who follow low-sugar diets. However, add the same amount or adjust according to your recipe’s other ingredients. Keep an eye on how much sugar you use because it may be sweeter.
3. Date Sugar
Date sugar is made from powdered dates that resemble granulated sugar. It has a sweet, caramel-like flavor and can substitute for palm sugar in baking and cooking. The fun fact is you can also produce your own date sugar from scratch. Isn’t it amazing?
Dates are fibrous, so that they won’t dissolve like palm sugar. Instead of palm sugar, you can use date sugar in your recipes. You can make desserts, pastries, and other food preparations using date sugar. We promise you no compromises on taste and blend well. However, please note that It will not disintegrate instantly after being added.
One interesting way to use molasses is by combining white and sugar molasses. It will give the same flavor as palm sugar. It is suitable for all palm sugar recipes and provides a more realistic taste than white sugar alone.
If you’re concerned with palm sugar-like consistency, 1 cup of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of white sugar works magic for your recipes. So, next time if you don’t have palm sugar, make such an amazing combination with molasses.
Molasses is a sugarcane-based sweetener that can be used in place of palm sugar in nearly any recipe. The flavor and texture of molasses improve the taste of the food. Use molasses in various recipes like cookies, bars, cakes, and other baking items.
5. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is the nearest substitute for palm sugar. Coconut sugar is also a natural sugar derived from the sap of a coconut palm and contains nutrients and vitamins beneficial to your heart health.
It has a lighter color and has a very delicate sweet taste with overtones of caramel, akin to palm sugar. Like palm sugar, if you are looking for a milder sweet taste, this is the best choice.
It’s best to use coconut sugar in baked products, drinks, pancakes, waffles, or anything else that calls for palm sugar. Moreover, coconut sugar has the nearest taste profile to palm sugar. Therefore, it makes the best substitute for palm sugar.
6. White Sugar
White sugar will suffice if you want to add more sweetness to your dishes. However, you will miss out on the additional caramel flavors, but this will not matter. Also, many times it happens that you run out of palm sugar. So, white sugar can be your savior when looking for a palm sugar substitute.
Our kitchen cabinets usually contain white sugar. In beverages and delicious desserts, white sugar is a common sweetener. Our backup plan for sugar is always white sugar. White sugar comes in two forms: granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Use various forms of white sugar according to your needs.
For example, using granulated sugar in desserts is not recommended. It takes a lot of time to mix with baking ingredients. In that case, powdered sugar form is the best choice.
Honey is an extremely adaptable natural sweetener that may be substituted for palm sugar in any recipe. Honey has a deep, rich taste that goes well with many foods. It has a thick sticky texture and tastes similar to fruity, floral, and woodsy.
Use honey in various dishes as spreaders like oats, crackers, pancakes, and even mix with yogurt. Also, use honey as a sweetener in tea and other beverages.
Moreover, honey is one of the healthiest choices of substitute for palm sugar. It’s very popular in American, African, and Asian cuisine. Honey has a similar nutritional profile to palm sugar. Due to its liquid nature, you may need to adjust your other wet ingredients to prevent the recipe from changing consistency.
8. Golden Monk Fruit
If you want to add natural fruit sweetener to your recipes, the golden monk fruit is the closest substitute for palm sugar. However, monk fruit is not easily available in various countries. So, you need to check and then decide upon the closest substitute to get.
Golden monk fruit is also known as Lo Han Guo. It’s a small round fruit native to southern China. The best thing about golden monk fruit is that it’s a no-calorie sweetener. So, if you are on a diet, golden monk fruit is the best choice.
Moreover, monk fruits are quite sweeter compared to sugar. So, adding into a perfect proportion is the best advice. Monk fruit can be used as a natural sweetener in soft drinks, juices, dairy products, desserts, candies, and condiments.
Another sugar-free substitute option for palm sugar is granular white stevia. If your dish contains many other strong flavors, you won’t notice the aftertaste. It is more intense than monk fruit, so start by adding less to your recipes.
There is a significant difference between stevia purchased at the grocery store and stevia plants grown at home. Products offered in supermarkets, such as Truvia and Stevia in the Raw, do not contain whole stevia leaves.
Stevia sugar is great for sweetening a cup of coffee, a mug of tea, or a bowl of oats. You can also use it in baking if you adore the taste of stevia. Stevia sugar is substantially sweeter than conventional sugar and should not be substituted for sugar in recipes. It can lose the natural recipe taste.
10. Muscovado Sugar
Muscovado sugar can be your last-ditch substitute for palm sugar if you haven’t found any other ingredient. Muscovado sugar is made from the juice of the sugar cane plant. Therefore, it’s sweeter than palm sugar and has a thick texture like molasses. Works magic in your recipes!
There is a long history of usage of muscovado sugar. People used to preserve meat and fish and ferment alcohol in ancient times with muscovado sugar. It is not refined sugar, and therefore, it retains nutritional value the same as palm sugar.
So, it can be a great substitute for your recipes. Also, muscovado sugar has a stronger flavor than cane and a slightly more sticky texture than palm sugar. So, it goes well with recipes like sauces, marinades, and other liquid textures. Overall, it has a thick, slightly bitter, and smokey flavor, unlike palm sugar.
Find jaggery as another great option for a palm sugar substitute. It is also extracted from sugar cane but without the separation of molasses. Widely used in various parts of India and Southeast Asia, jaggery is a versatile ingredient.
Jaggery comes in various colors, from golden brown to dark brown. Mix it into drinks or use it in desserts. However, jaggery is sweeter than palm sugar. So, when you switch with it, make sure to add accordingly.
Just adjust to your preference, and you are good to go. Use jaggery in various recipes like bread, candies, cakes, and other baked items and desserts. One interesting thing is that jaggery and palm sugar are similar in color and flavor. So, you won’t feel much of a difference and it can easily be incorporated into your recipes.
From a health point of view, jaggery is way better and a super cool option. It’s natural non-refined sugar and also beneficial to diabetic patients. So, jaggery makes a healthy alternative to palm sugar.
12. Rock Sugar
Rock sugar is the last palm sugar substitute on our list. Usually made from palm, cane sugar, or beet, it is hard, angular, and uneven. The flavor is similar but without the caramel undertones.
Asian cuisine uses rock sugar primarily for sweetening savory dishes and balancing desserts’ flavor. Since rock sugar is not very sweet, it does not affect your recipe. Therefore, you may have to add more but adjust according to the recipe.
Rock sugar confection is made from granulated sugars. Sugar granules and boiling water come together to form big, hard crystals. It takes about 6 to 7 days to develop fully and is widely manufactured and consumed in China.
It comes in two varieties: translucent white rock sugar made from refined white sugar. Golden-colored rock sugar is made from sugarcane extract or brown sugar. Rock sugar has a mild sweet taste and goes well with sweet or savory dishes. Also, rock sugar dissolves in sauces, braises so well, and gives a unique texture.
Short Recap Of Best Palm Sugar Substitutes
I am sure you must have gone through all the substitute options. However, are you still confused about which one would work best in your recipe? For that, I have broken it down further into three categories. Have a look!
Most suitable: The most suitable palm sugar substitute is coconut sugar.
Easily available: Brown sugar and jaggery are the most easily available palm sugar substitutes.
Best flavor profile: White sugar will give the best flavor profile when used as a palm sugar substitute.
Palm Sugar Substitutes
- Brown Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Date Sugar
- Coconut Sugar
- White Sugar
- Golden Monk Fruit
- Muscovado Sugar
- Rock Sugar
- 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.
As we have reached the end of this article, I hope you were able to find the best substitute for palm sugar. While palm sugar adds a great taste to your recipes, it can be difficult to find one easily in the market.
Having said that, substitutes with a nearer flavor profile also work extremely well as palm sugar substitutes. You can pick the best substitute based on what suits your flavor profile the best, and I am sure you will cook amazing recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is palm sugar better than sugar?
Palm sugar has plant-based compounds which have antioxidant effects and this sugar contains higher levels of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients than sugar.
Is palm sugar natural?
Palm sugar is a natural sweetener made from flower buds of coconut palm trees that involves the least amount of processing and no chemicals.
Is palm sugar and coconut sugar the same thing?
Coconut sugar is also called coconut palm sugar which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant. Both the sugar looks similar but they are made from different types of palm trees.
Can we use palm sugar in dessert to make it healthy?
Palm sugar is the best healthier alternative to regular sugar and it is ideal for diabetes too so you can easily use it in desserts to make it healthy and nutritious.
Is palm sugar better than jaggery?
Jaggery is a sugar that is made from cane juice, called cane sugar. Palm sugar is less sweet than jaggery and it has more nutrients than jaggery.