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Most Common Types of Sugar And Common Questions On Uses

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Today I want to talk on all the types of sugar! Have you ever thought what’s the difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar? Or can I use brown sugar instead of white sugar in this recipe? Let me help break down the different types of sugar so you know their uses in a recipe.

types of sugar

My parents divorced when I was younger so I knew learning to cook and bake was something I had to learn. I started to master cooking fork-tender pork chops for my dad and I, and then went on to attempt cookies, cakes and more.

As I spent time in the kitchen, using old-school cookbooks, I became more confident. I then researched all the types of sugars to learn the differences. It helped me a lot when it came to the recipes, knowing what kind of sugar I need for this specific recipe.

Types of Sugar You Need To Know

kinds of sugar

Granulated Sugar

Granulated sugar is one of the most used sugars in many baking recipes. It is a refined sugar that has many purposes.

If you see a recipe call for ‘sugar’ with no other words before or after, it generally means granulated.

If a recipe called for (caster sugar) superfine granulated sugar, instead of buying a whole bag for one recipe, put your sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse until it becomes a lot finer.

This will give you a smoother sugar that you won’t taste the grit when you bite in.

Recipes like cocktails, meringues, dinner rolls, quick pies, fudge, and more all need a fiber sugar or it won’t dissolve and you feel the sugar granules.

Organic Cane Sugar (3 lbs) by Anthony's, Gluten-Free & Non-GMOOrganic Cane Sugar (3 lbs) by Anthony’s, Gluten-Free & Non-GMOOrganic Cane Sugar (3 lbs) by Anthony's, Gluten-Free & Non-GMO

Cane Sugar

Cane sugar comes from you guessed it, sugar cane! You will find cane sugar is a slightly larger grain and is slightly darker in color. It is similar to granulated sugar but it does have a larger price tag on it.

You can use cane sugar like you would granulated sugar in recipes.

Demerara Baking SugarDemerara Baking SugarDemerara Baking Sugar

Demerara Sugar

A raw sugar cane sugar that is hardly refined. Demerara is amber colored and larger granules that can be used to top baked goods for that sugar-crusted top, or even sweeten a cup of coffee or tea!

Some recipes use a larger granule sugar on top for that bakery style muffin look and this is a wonderful sugar to use and buy for that. It has a mild and subtle molasses flavor.

Confectioners Sugar

This light, soft sugar is a sugar that has been ground down into a really fine powder. Top your French toast, use in frosting recipes, toss in the recipe for sugar cookies and more.

Many recipes call for powdered sugar for its powder-like consistency. It adds that sweetness and makes the batter even creamier. I love it on puppy chow, one of my favorite desserts. 

Light Brown Sugar

Light brown sugar offers a wetter and almost sandy texture. It is a white sugar that has a little bit of molasses added in. It will give you that caramel flavor when you use it for baking cookies and other sweets.

Brown sugar is also great for cooking to add sweetness to a dish.

We make steaks and use a small amount of brown sugar in the rub and it gives the steaks the perfect crust as it cooks on the grill. This sugar is super versatile.

Dark Brown Sugar

Dark brown sugar is darker in color and has more molasses mixed in. Sometimes a recipe calls for a dark or light brown sugar. The difference is dark brown sugar is going to bring you a deeper caramel taste whereas light brown sugar offers a mild and softer flavor. So maybe you don’t want that to stand out in a recipe you go with light brown sugar.

Can you use light brown sugar in replace of dark brown sugar in a recipe? Absolutely, these two sugars and so similar you can use one or the other. It will slightly change the flavor but you won’t risk the texture!

Sugar - Dark Muscovado (Mauritius)Sugar – Dark Muscovado (Mauritius)Sugar - Dark Muscovado (Mauritius)

Muscovado Sugar

Similar sandy wet and dark appearance to a brown sugar this Muscovado sugar is called for a lot in things like marinades, barbecue sauce and more. A very deep and rich flavor much stronger than a dark brown sugar.

Muscovado sugar (also known as Barbados sugar) is an unrefined cake sugar that hasn’t removed the molasses. Same as brown sugar you have the option of a light or dark blend.

NOW Foods Organic Turbinado Sugar, 2.5 lbsNOW Foods Organic Turbinado Sugar, 2.5 lbsNOW Foods Organic Turbinado Sugar, 2.5 lbs

Turbinado Sugar

You will find this sugar looks very similar to a brown sugar, but note it is not the same. Turbinado sugar is used a lot for sweetening up drinks. Sometimes you might bake with this sugar but more often you reach for an actual brown or granulated sugar for the recipe.

Is There A Difference Between Regular Sugar and Granulated Sugar

Regular sugar is granulated sugar in most recipes. It can confuse people cause it doesn’t use the technical term of granulated and they say regular instead.

Can I Use Brown Sugar Instead Of White Sugar

Yes. Now know it will change the flavor in your recipe as brown sugar has a molasses flavor. So you will get a more molasses/caramel flavor. Use 1 cup brown sugar per 1 cup of granulated. There is no need to adjust measurements to swap sugars.

Same if you want to substitute white sugar for brown sugar in a recipe.

How Can I Replace White Sugar In A Recipe

There are many options for replacing white sugar in a recipe. Whether you want a sweetener or an all natural sugar I got you covered.

To replace 1 Cup of Granulated Sugar here is conversions:

  • 1 cup brown or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • ⅔ or ½ cup honey and ¼ tsp baking soda for every cup honey (this varies)
  • 1 tsp Stevia
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ⅔ cup agave

Those will give you an idea of what you can use to replace and conversion ratios of what you need!

What is The Difference Between Icing Sugar and Powdered Sugar

Confectioners sugar, icing sugar or powdered sugar are all the same. Some people depending on where you live will call it by a different name.

Can You Make Powdered Sugar

In a pinch, grab granulated sugar and a blender or food processor and let me share how to make powdered sugar!

Pour granulated sugar into your blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until you see the sugar is extra fine, becomes fluffy like powdered sugar.

If you want to give a smoother consistency add in a small amount of cornstarch to help give a silkier consistency.

What is the Difference Between Honey and Sugar

The biggest difference between honey and sugar is honey is a natural item. Sugar is man-made while honey is made when bees produce it.

I hope this helps you to learn the different types of sugars that are mostly used. Plus I wanted to answer some common sugar questions.

Of course, there are so many other types of sugars out there, but this is a great starter to really help you to see how each sugar works in recipes and general uses!

different kinds of sugar

What is your favorite go-to sugar for baking?

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