These days we all want to bake and give in to our favorite sweets. But to bake, you need sugar, and often it is granulated sugar.
You also need this sugar if you want to make a sweet cocktail, or even cook sauces sometimes. If you can’t find any or want a healthier choice, don’t worry as there are many substitutes for you to use.
What Is Granulated Sugar?
First, let’s see, what exactly is granulated sugar?
Also known as white sugar or table sugar, this type of sugar is made from sugar cane or beet sugar. It is very fine and that’s why people prefer to use it in baking, as it dissolves and melts easily without adding texture.
It is also common in cocktails and other drinks because it is very sweet. The downside though is that it is refined and very high in calories, so many look for a healthier alternative sweetener.
Be careful with what sweetener you pick, as it can change the texture and flavor of the end product. There’s nothing worse than spending a long time baking and then have the cake come out too sticky, or too dry, or even just not sweet enough. Whatever the reason is you need an alternative to granulated sugar. Be sure to pick one of these below.
What Can You Replace Granulated Sugar With?
These are some granulated sugar substitutes that you can use for baking or in your favorite drink:
#1. Brown Sugar
This is probably the second most common sugar, and it is made from molasses, which is why it has a distinctive caramel color.
Brown sugar is thicker, often moister than granulated sugar, but it also has a more caramel-y flavor that could change the end flavor of your product. It is often harder to dissolve, though you can find it more refined nowadays, making it easier to use.
Brown sugar can be bought in every grocery store and even convenience stores. This sugar is commonly used to make dark baked goods, like banana bread or chocolate cake, and is now used in drinks as well because it is considered more “natural” and healthier than granulated sugar. To replace granulated sugar for this option, just make sure you add about ⅓ teaspoon more for sweetness.
#2. Agave Syrup
Lately, agave syrup has gained notoriety because it is safe, sweet, and contains only fructose, a naturally occurring sugar.
This sweetener is nectar from the agave plant, which is made from extracting the juice from the plant, then this juice is filtered, and finally, the filtered juice is separated to leave only the fructose sugar. You may have heard of agave if you’re a fan of tequila or mezcal, as it is the plant used to make these alcohols.
You can now find agave syrup in chain grocery stores, but if you don’t see it there, try the organic or holistic specialty stores. This syrup is commonly used in making juices and drinks, but you can try it in baking. Just make sure you adjust for sweetness as it is extremely sweet.
Another natural sugar, honey has regained popularity lately because it is healthy and unrefined. Be careful though, some marketers use the term honey lightly and give you genetically modified fructose that didn’t come from bees. Natural honey is made by bees as they collect nectar from plants, and it doesn’t need to be filtered or refined before using.
Traditionally, honey has been used in sweetening teas, lemonade, or other drinks, but it can safely be used in baking as well. Because it is liquid, you will need to adjust the quantity of liquid you add, and you can add about ½ less of what the recipe calls for since it is much sweeter too.
Like brown sugar, molasses syrup can be a good alternative if you can’t find any other sugars or you have this at home already.
This thick syrup is the result of the refining process in sugarcane or sugar beet. Sugar crystals are removed from the liquid and the remaining product is dark brown molasses. Alternatively, you can also try golden syrup.
You can find molasses not only in most grocery stores but also in liquor stores, as it is sometimes used to make cocktails.
Unlike fructose and refined sugar, molasses is a bit less sweet, so you can add ⅓ more of what the recipe calls for. It is thicker than most choices here, so you should also adjust for this, as it may alter the overall texture of your baked goods.
Other Healthier Options
If the idea is to stay healthy, you can try alternative sweeteners, such as sucralose or Stevia. Some of these are chemically made, which could change the flavor of your baked product, and some are also not safe to use in high heat, as they can result in a very bitter aftertaste.
If you want to add fewer calories, we recommend sticking to sucralose, or the naturally made Stevia, but keep in mind that these are very sweet when compared to granulated sugar.
All these previous options are good for baking, but some sweeteners are not apt for baking, especially because they can give a very bitter flavor to your final product. We recommend brown sugar, honey, or even maple syrup instead, make sure to adjust for sweetness and liquid.
This alternative sweetener is made from a plant, so it is considered natural and healthy. It is extremely sweet and adds no calories, but sometimes it can be considered dangerous, particularly because it may cause low blood pressure. It can also interact with some medications, so you should check before using it.
While caster sugar cannot be substituted with granulated sugar, it can be used as a substitute for the latter. Caster sugar is commonly called baking sugar, and may actually do better when used as a substitute to granulated sugar.
Using granulated sugar may be the right choice in many cases, but if you don’t have any, try one of these alternatives instead. Make sure you taste them first, as some choices may be too sweet for you. Also always measure the amount of sweetener you put in and adjust the other ingredients accordingly. Time to bake!
*Photo by tycoon/depositphotos