What Can You Substitute for Brown Sugar? - 7 Best Brown Sugar Substitutes For Last Minute Bakers

What Can You Substitute for Brown Sugar: If you have started to make cookies and in the middle, you have found that you don't have brown sugar in your kitchen? or when you suddenly get a deep craving for chocolate chips and realized that you don't have brown sugar.

Dont get panic as we are here to give you a solution. Brown sugar is an important ingredient in many baked goods as it adds a sweetness and rich color to any type of recipe that you do.

In this article, we are going to give you an idea of what can you substitute for brown sugar when you dont have it. So using these substitutes will save you from going to the grocery store.

What Can You Substitute For Brown Sugar

What is Brown Sugar?

Brown sugar is granulated sugar that was mixed up with molasses and even it is very soft and moist. In brown sugar, we will have two types, light brown sugar, and dark brown sugar.

If it has less percent of molasses it is light brown sugar,  if the molasses is in a high amount then it is dark brown sugar. When you add brown sugar to the recipes in baking, the recipe will get moisture and gives a very smooth texture.

It gives almost a caramel-like texture and flavor to the recipe. Even we have provided you with the recipe for brown sugar in the below sections. In case you don't have all the ingredients that the recipe uses, then you can go for other best substitutes that were given below.

Best Substitutes For Brown Sugar You Can Use While Baking

  • Molasses
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Honey
  • Date sugar
  • Muscovado Sugar
  • Maple Sugar
  • Agave Nectar
  • White Sugar
  • Piloncillo

You may be feeling that finding brown sugar substitutes is a daunting task. But we are going to provide all the best substitutes for brown sugar in one place.

Look into them and add them instead of brown sugar and get the same texture and flavor to the recipe. If you dont use the best substitute for brown sugar it may affect leavening and spreading.


When you are thinking to substitute brown sugar, then using white sugar along with molasses will be best as brown sugar is made up of these two ingredients.

Molasses is used for brown sugar as it gives deep color and flavor as well as has high moisture content. You can check out our other below sections to know more about this substitute.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is another best substitute that you can use in place of brown sugar and it is very similar in flavor and sweetness to brown sugar.

And as coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut palm, even the color of it will be brown. But when you use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar, the lack of moisture content in coconut sugar makes baked goods crisper and drier.


As we all know, honey can be used as a sweetening agent, and as we will have honey at home always you can use honey as the best substitute in place of brown sugar.

And as honey is sweeter than sugar you need to use less. When you are using honey in baking as a substitute for brown sugar, you can use 2 tablespoons of honey for 1 cup of granulated sugar.

And also as honey has high water content, reduce 1/4 cup of other liquid when you are using 1 cup of honey in baking. Similar Food Substitute Articles:

Date Sugar

Another best substitute for brown sugar is date sugar which is made from ground dehydrated dates. And it will be very similar to coconut sugar because even date palm sugar is also a bit drier compared with brown sugar.

But date sugar has a rich caramel flavor and you can use a 1:1 ratio for brown sugar. If you want a rich caramel flavor in your recipe, you can substitute date sugar with brown sugar.

Muscovado Sugar

If you have this muscovado sugar at home, try using this sugar than other in place of brown sugar as it will same look like brown sugar and even taste like brown sugar as it has a similar amount of molasses in muscovado sugar.

Even the granules are also similar in size. Muscovado sugar also comes in both light and dark varieties, but always use light ones as the dark muscovado has a strong flavor and is slightly bitter in taste. Even muscovado sugar can be used 1:1 ratio for brown sugar.

Maple Sugar

This maple sugar is also an unrefined sugar like many other sugars, and it will be having fine grains and is made from maple trees. Using maple sugar also gives you good flavor to the dish.

As it has a good sweetness it will taste good when you sprinkle it on pastries and cookies. Even you can use it as a brown sugar substitute. Use 3/4 cup of maple syrup for 1 cup of brown sugar.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is produced from the sap in the agave plant. And this will be very familiar to tequila drinkers. If you are having this agave nectar at home as you have bought use it as a sweetener in recipes like sauces, and liquid recipes than baking.

Even if there is no option you can use this even in baking as a substitution for brown sugar. As this is more sweetener than brown sugar, you need to use 2/3 cup of agave nectar for 1 cup of brown sugar. Even you can make brown sugar if you have granulated sugar at home.

White Sugar

Even you can use white sugar as a substitute for brown sugar using one to one ratio and get great results in many recipes. But as white sugar has a low moisture content, it cannot provide the same robust, caramelly flavor as brown sugar and even you will get the recipe crisper. If you are a lover of crisps you can use white sugar instead of brown sugar.


It is another best substitute for brown sugar that was made from sugar cane juice. It is also a syrup that was mostly used in American cooking. This will be available in blocks with both light and dark varieties but you can see the color differences based on the cane they use.

It gives a good flavor to the recipe than brown sugar. When you are using it instead of brown sugar, first great the sugar block and then measure equal to brown sugar(1:1 ratio).

How To Make Brown Sugar Easily At Home?

Making brown sugar at home is very easy. This will help you when a recipe calls for a small amount of brown sugar so that you no need to buy a whole bag.

And this is not a substitute for brown sugar but actual brown sugar is made like this. Take molasses and white sugar for making brown sugar to use in baking and cooking, mix 1 cup of white sugar mix 1 tablespoon of molasses which gives you light brown sugar.

If you add 2 tablespoons of molasses it gives you dark brown sugar. It will be soft and moist and gives a texture and taste like store-bought brown sugar. Once after doing this brown sugar you can use it as it is like brown sugar.

Even you can just change the light to dark brown sugar and even from dark to light brown sugar easily.

Can I Use White Sugar Instead of Brown Sugar?

Yes, you can use white sugar instead of brown sugar, in equal amounts. But the texture of the baked cookies may get affected slightly for some recipes. But for some of them, you cannot able to see the difference even when you use white sugar.

And even due to less moisture content you will get the recipe crisper than normal. You can use white sugar when there is the use of light brown sugar and when you are lacking it.

Using white sugar instead of brown sugar is also a 1:1 ratio. You can avoid using it in recipes where you need caramel flavor.

Can You Substitute Light Brown Sugar For Dark Brown Sugar?

Yes, of course, as dark brown sugar has more molasses and light brown sugar will have less molasses, you can use light instead of dark and dark instead of light. As it will end up with the good and same taste at the final.

When you want to use dark instead of light brown sugar you can add extra white sugar in the brown sugar and use it, so that it will become light brown sugar.

FAQs on Healthy Substitute For Brown Sugar

Final Thoughts

We hope that by reading this article you have got knowledge about what can you substitute for brown sugar when you don't have brown sugar with you.  In case you need any assistance regarding this article, you can comment to us in the comment section below.

For more interesting food substitution articles, you can check out our canyousubstitute.com website.