15 Best Substitutes for Granulated Sugar

best substitutes for granulated sugar

Granulated sugar isn’t the only way to sweeten your life. If you’re trying to decrease your sugar intake or reduce calories in your diet, you might be looking for substitutes for granulated sugar that don’t have quite so many adverse side effects on your health and weight.

The following substitutes for granulated sugar are all-natural, and most of them are even more nutritious than table sugar! Plus, some of them even come with added health benefits.

For example, honey and maple syrup are both known for their antibacterial properties, while other sweeteners can help keep yeast infections at bay.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is Granulated Sugar?
  2. Substitutes for Granulated Sugar
    1. White Sugar 
    2. Brown Sugar
    3. Honey
    4. Stevia
    5. Caster Sugar 
    6. Banana
    7. Cane Sugar
    8. Molasses 
    9. Corn Syrup 
    10. Raw Sugar 
    11. Agave 
    12. Coconut Sugar & Palm Sugar
    13. Maple Syrup
    14. Unrefined Sugars
    15. Splenda
  3. Conclusion

What Is Granulated Sugar?

Granulated, or white, sugar is a refined form of table sugar. It is made by processing cane juice or beet juice until all that’s left is a white powder.

It is 100 percent sucrose in its purest form and has no calories or additives. The main reason why you need substitutes for granulated sugar.

When you buy it at the store, however, it often contains additional ingredients like corn syrup (which adds sweetness but no nutritional value), molasses (natural sugar from beets), or high-fructose corn syrup (corn syrup with extra glucose).

Granulated sugar comes in many different forms, including powder, sanding sugar for decorating desserts, and confectioners’ sugar (powdered icing). 

Substitutes for Granulated Sugar

There are wide varieties of substitutes for granulated sugar, and each comes with its quirks. Experimenting with several is key before settling on a favorite.

Still, in general, it’s safe to say that sucralose (Splenda) and saccharin (Sweet’N Low) have fewer side effects than their high-potency counterparts (aspartame, sucralose).

Suppose you are sensitive to one form or other substitutes for granulated sugar. As we know now, they all seem equally effective at delivering sweetness without the calories or a concerning amount of adverse side effects like headaches.

White Sugar

Granulated white sugar has always been one of my favorites, but it’s still loaded with empty calories and carbohydrates. If you’re looking for a less elegant alternative, look for evaporated cane juice or brown rice syrup.

These healthier sugars will provide sweetness without too many carbs and calories. You can also reduce your consumption of processed foods by opting for whole fruit over fruit juices and dried fruits instead of sugary treats.

The choice is clear: Whole foods contain more nutrients than processed alternatives. There’s no substitute for fresh produce when it comes to being healthy, regardless if you’re applying other substitutes for granulated sugar.

Brown Sugar

Like you’d expect, brown sugar is white sugar with a dark molasses coating. It has about 50% fewer calories and about 25% less sweetness, part of the substitutes for granulated sugar.

Brown sugar makes baked goods more flavorful and moist, so it’s suitable for use in quick bread and cookies.

However, it can make cakes dense. If you use it in cookies or cakes, reduce other liquids by about 1⁄4 cup for every cup of brown sugar used.

Substitute one cup of white sugar with 3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar (almost 11⁄4 cups if using dark brown).


For me, honey is one of the substitutes for granulated sugar, and it has a good reason. Honey has all kinds of nutritional value, including vitamins and minerals, but it also contains enzymes that have anti-inflammatory properties.

Plus, you can use honey instead of granulated sugar in most recipes. So, If you’re looking for a lighter flavor with less sweetening power than regular white or brown cane sugar, consider using raw agave nectar (also called agave syrup).

If you’re looking for a more traditional substitute with similar sweetness as conventional white or brown cane sugar (also known as table or sucrose), look into light golden syrups like corn syrup—which has milder sweetness—or beet juice.


Stevia is one of nature’s great gifts for substitutes for granulated sugar, as it contains no calories and does not elevate blood glucose.

It comes in several forms (powdered extract, liquid concentrate, tablets), so it’s easy to swap in for sugar.
For example, if you make a pot of tea with a heaping spoonful or two of sugar (about 30 calories worth).

You can add one packet or two tablespoons worth of stevia instead. It doesn’t take much—and once you get used to it, stevia tastes pretty good.

Caster Sugar

This product of substitutes for granulated sugar is a powder that has little if any, lumps in it. It’s beneficial for making meringues but can also be used anywhere that you might use granulated sugar.

Caster sugar is easier to pour and doesn’t lump as readily as regular white sugar. Therefore, since caster sugar dissolves more quickly than periodic white table or castor (superfine) sugar, it works very well in mixtures like flavored syrups.

In recipes that call for these products, they should not be substituted for brown or confectioners’ sugars because they do not dissolve well enough to give a smooth result and leave grainy textures behind.


Bananas don’t just make great natural substitutes for granulated sugar for milk or cream in baking. They also make a delicious, naturally sweet substitute for sugar.

To substitute banana for sugar, start by mashing up a ripe banana with a fork and adding it to your recipe. If you don’t have bananas on hand (though you really should keep them stocked!).

Use an equivalent amount of applesauce instead, using half apple and half banana if you want it sweeter than regular bananas.

The sweetness level is still lower than white or brown sugar, so experiment with how much you need before deciding how much banana or applesauce is appropriate. Experiment until you get it right!

Cane Sugar

Cane sugar is commonly used as part of the major substitutes for granulated sugar. It can be used in most recipes, though it does tend to be sweeter than white sugar and can alter some recipes.

It may also clump if not mixed well with other ingredients or used in baked goods. Meanwhile, granulated cane sugar works best when dissolved in liquids before use.

Cane juice may also be substituted for granulated cane sugar; however, it is more expensive and is often blended with molasses, which will affect baking recipes.


Granulated sugar has been a staple in our diets for centuries, but it’s not exactly healthy food. Unfortunately, many alternatives to brown sugar are just as bad as the substitutes for granulated sugar.

But don’t despair; there is an alternative that comes with several bonuses – it’s cheap, readily available, and tasty.

A little goes a long way, so you can even use it when baking bread or cakes (though you may get some funny looks at first).

The secret ingredient? Molasses! Sure, molasses is a bit more bitter than plain old granulated sugar, but using about half as much will do fine for everyday use.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup, also known as glucose syrup, is a popular alternative to white granulated sugar. it is made from corn starch (hence its name), a natural source used for centuries.

Some baking recipes may require a different approach when using corn syrup instead of white sugar.

For example, cookies tend to spread more when baked with corn syrup, and brownies will have an aftertaste if you don’t substitute another ingredient like a cocoa powder for some of it.

Other than adapting recipes here and there, you can use it in most ways that call for plain white sugar. Most people won’t notice much difference between substitutes for granulated sugar and light or dark corn syrups either.

Raw Sugar

Raw sugars like demerara, muscovado, and turbinado are similar in color, texture, and taste, and it’s part of great substitutes for granulated sugar.

Their more prominent grain is produced by refining cane or beet juice, which contains molasses. It’s still a processed product—it doesn’t have all of its natural vitamins and minerals—but it has less water content than regular white sugar, so you can use it slightly less without getting that chunky texture with brown sugar.

Therefore, this makes it ideal for baking and adding a little something extra to hot drinks like tea and coffee. The flavor is also milder than refined white sugars.


Agave nectar is low on the glycemic index, meaning it won’t spike blood glucose levels and cause your body to produce insulin.

However, it’s high in fructose, a simple sugar that may not be as beneficial for your health as previously thought (although some studies claim otherwise).

Also, you can buy agave syrup and make substitutes for granulated sugar. Agave is sweeter than traditional sugars, so you might want to reduce other liquids in recipes by adding one tablespoon per cup of agave syrup.

Coconut Sugar & Palm Sugar

Coconut sugar and palm sugar are natural, unrefined sugars that add a unique flavor and depth of color to baked goods.

If you’re tired of using white or brown sugar in your recipes, either of these is an excellent substitute for granulated sugar. Coconut palm sugars can also be used in hot drinks like coffee or tea.

Unlike refined white and brown sugars, these two varieties have only trace amounts of vitamins and minerals—but what they lack in nutrition, they make up for with their delectable taste. Coconut Sugar: Coconut Sugar is made from sap tapped from coconut trees.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a product made from boiling down sap from maple trees. It’s high in fiber and antioxidants, making it a healthy alternative for baked goods.

This is especially true if you use Grade B syrup, which is higher in antioxidants than Grade A syrup. As with many sweeteners, maple syrup does impact blood glucose levels when consumed – though it does so more minor as parts of the substitutes for granulated sugar.

Unrefined Sugars

Unrefined sugars, such as turbinado or demerara sugars, are excellent substitutes for granulated sugar when you want a more rustic texture. They also add mineral and flavor complexity.

While they don’t offer a simple 1:1 substitution rate, can be used in similar amounts as you would use white refined table sugar.

Agave nectar is one other unrefined alternative that works well in baking and is gaining popularity as an all-purpose replacement for white refined table sugar.


Splenda is a mixture of sucralose and dextrose, which are ingredients that make up regular table sugar. According to WebMD, Splenda has no calories and a glycemic index of zero.

This means that it doesn’t raise blood glucose levels, which is excellent for diabetics and people on low-carb diets as part of their substitutes for granulated sugar.

However, Splenda is not a substitute for natural sugar when it comes to flavor—which is why you can find so many recipes online for low-sugar desserts that use Splenda. When used on its own or in coffee, Splenda can have an aftertaste similar to saccharin or aspartame.


Though granulated sugar is a widely use food additive in many different cuisines and cultures, healthier options are available. Fortunately, it’s easy to replace sucrose with its sweeter cousins.

This can be especially helpful if you want to reduce added sugars in your diet while still enjoying foods that taste better with sweeteners.

Sugar alternatives include honey, maple syrup, stevia, and fruit juice concentrates; however, it’s important not to go overboard.

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