We all crave a little sweetness in our lives! With all the fantastic health benefits and extraordinary taste that coconut sugar offers, it is no wonder that it is used in many recipes today. In addition, you probably hear all about it in the mainstream media too! However, if you do not have coconut sugar in your pantry, what can you use instead?
There are various alternatives to coconut sugar found in liquid (honey or syrups such as maple syrup) and granulated form (sugars such as brown sugar or sweeteners such as xylitol). The replacement ratio must be accurate to achieve successful results.
But worry not and keep reading because this article shows you alternative coconut sugar options that are easy to switch out, and you won’t even know that you have replaced it.
Table of Contents
Substitutes For Coconut Sugar
- What Is Coconut Sugar?
- How Is Coconut Sugar Made?
What Can I Use To Replace Coconut Sugar?
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Light Brown Sugar
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Maple Syrup
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Maple Sugar
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Raw Honey
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Agave Nectar
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Stevia
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Date Sugar
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Panella/Piloncillo
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Sucanat
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Monk Fruit Sweetener
- Coconut Sugar Substitute: Xylitol
- Is Coconut Sugar Better Than Table Sugar?
- Which Substitute Will You Pick?
Substitutes For Coconut Sugar
Before we dive into the sweet world of coconut sugar substitutions, let us first take a look at what coconut sugar is and how it’s made:
What Is Coconut Sugar?
Before we consider what substitutes you can use to replace coconut sugar, let us first look at what it is. Coconut sugar (also known as coconut crystals, coconut palm sugar, and coconut sap sugar) is a type of sugar made from the sap of the flowers of the coconut palm tree.
Unlike other refined sugars like white or table sugar, it is a more natural type of sugar that is relatively unprocessed and contains health benefits! How is it made, you may wonder?
How Is Coconut Sugar Made?
Making coconut sugar is a simple two-step process that collects sap from coconut flowers and dehydrates the liquid. The granules we buy as coconut sugar come from the broke down dehydrated form. That’s how producers make this amazing caramelly-flavored delight!
What Can I Use To Replace Coconut Sugar?
Have your cake and eat the damn thing too- a wise baker once said! Don’t skip out on that recipe you’ve been dying to make just because you don’t have any coconut sugar on hand! Plus- coconut sugar doesn’t even taste like coconut anyway! So fellow sugar lovers from a person who loves baking, here are eleven different coconut sugar substitutes (with low-carb options too!) you NEED to know about:
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Light Brown Sugar
The first alternative that can substitute coconut sugar is light brown sugar. Refined white sugar and molasses make light brown sugar, which gives the sugar a brown color and a delightful caramelly flavor. Another is also dark brown sugar, which contains more molasses than light brown sugar. Light-colored brown sugar is suited best because it has a similar color, taste, and texture to light-colored brown sugar.
Did you know that light brown sugar is the best and closest option to substitute coconut sugar? Its resemblance is because of its amazing color, texture, and flavor, which is why we have included it first! However, if you only have dark brown sugar, use it! Just remember when replacing them in cooking, use a 1:1 ratio.
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Maple Syrup
The sap from maple trees makes maple syrup possible for us to love and enjoy! The process begins with boiling the maple sap until it reaches the consistency of syrup, and then the liquid gold is sold and devoured by people across the globe. Maple syrup is a quick and easy liquid sweetener substitute for coconut sugar!
The flavor is heavily pungent of maple! However, It does add beautiful sweet notes that work well in any recipe. Use a 1:4 ratio of maple syrup to coconut sugar or 1/4 cup maple syrup for every 1 cup coconut sugar.
Pro Tip: For any substitution, use pure maple syrup because most commercial brands contain many other ingredients!
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Maple Sugar
Maple sugar, made from maple tree sap, and the only difference between it and sugar is that the syrup’s reduced. The coarse granules resemble coconut sugar but have a more maple flavor, similar to maple syrup. It’s still a delightful flavor; it just lacks the light caramel flavor of coconut sugar.
Did you know you can make your maple sugar at home! You’ll need maple sap from a sugar maple tree. Bring it to a boil until it reaches 270ºF; the sugar granules will then form; simply keep stirring until you see the formation of the granules, and VOILA, you have your maple syrup!
Pro Tip: Just remember a handy tip any baker has learned the hard way; if using a liquid sweetener, you should adjust the rest of the liquid ingredients the recipe calls for you to use. But as a coconut sugar substitute, maple sugar works fantastically in a 1:1 ratio!
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Raw Honey
We’re talking about the real thing raw honey and not the pasteurized version! Not only is the complex flavor of raw honey outstanding, but all the health benefits are a bonus too! What exactly is raw honey? Raw honey is honey in its natural state, as found in a beehive or honeycomb.
It is extracted, strained, and packaged, retaining a plethora of beneficial nutrients. It is no wonder honey was Winnie-the-Poohs favorite! If your pantry only has the pasteurized version, use it, but remember the raw honey facts next time.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind for your recipe that honey is a liquid. Use 1/4 of the amount required to replace the coconut sugar. That way, you’ll keep the recipe exactly as written, with no visible changes.
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Agave Nectar
Agave nectar (also known as agave/maguey syrup) comes from the agave plant. The sap is extracted from the plant and then heated and treated with enzymes. This commercial process transforms “miel de agave,” a traditional Mexican syrup, into a highly processed syrup.
The resulting syrup has unfortunately lost the majority, if not all, of its nutritional value. However, the GI index of agave syrup is lower because the fructans in the agave sap convert to fructose during the heating enzyme process.
Did you know agave syrup is one and a half times sweeter than sugar! As with other liquid coconut sugar substitutes, use 1/4 cup agave syrup for every 1 cup of coconut sugar required, and remember to adjust the other liquid ingredients in the recipe.
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Stevia
No calories, low carb, natural, and healthy, what’s not to love about stevia? Stevia is a plant that comes from the Asteraceae herb family. Ever heard that saying too much of a good thing is a bad thing? Remember this as you NEED to portion this substitute correctly because it is twice as sweet as sugar! Individual sachets, liquid or powder form of stevia, the choice is yours!
The best answer is trial and error, as experimentation is vital here due to how sweet stevia is, so taste along as you go. You might as well get your scientific goggles on as you are about to experiment in the world of stevia replacements!
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Date Sugar
Date Sugar is not real sugar crystals, but it is made from dehydrated and ground dates. It is thought to be very healthy, as it contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. Date sugar is not only nutritious and delicious but is best used in baked goods too. However, remember to keep in mind that it is not real sugar, so it won’t fully dissolve like other sugar granules if you use it in beverages and baking.
Date sugar has a mild, sweet flavor and can be substituted for coconut sugar in a 1:1 ratio. However, many bakers prefer to use 1/2 cup of coconut sugar or brown sugar for every cup of granulated sugar and 2/3 cup for every 1 cup of granulated sugar.
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Panella/Piloncillo
Are you looking for a substitute that is minimally processed? Look no further than Piloncillo! It is made by heating raw cane sugar until it becomes a thick, dark brown liquid, poured into molds, hardened, and popped out to reveal the conical shape. However, the flavor of piloncillo is stronger than that of coconut sugar.
It’s frequently compared to regular brown sugar, but the flavor is more complex and intriguing: sweet, hints of molasses, rum, and burnt sugar. It’s an excellent choice for both sweet and savory recipes, which you can find in any Latin or international store.
To use, cut (or grate) chunks from the cone with a sharp knife and then chop them to the size that works best for your recipe. Microwave it in short bursts to soften it If the cone is extremely hard. The recommended ratio for Panella coconut sugar is 1:1 but keep in mind that the flavor will be stronger.
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Sucanat
Sucanat is raw cane sugar that has only been through a few processing steps. The larger crystals and light golden color closely resemble coconut sugar! Furthermore, because sucanat contains natural molasses, the flavor has hints of caramel.
Sucanat’s coarse texture means it will not dissolve as quickly as finer sugars. Use the coarse granules to top baked goods or process the sugar in a food processor to achieve the consistency of table sugar or caster sugar (superfine sugar).
As sucanat closely resembles coconut sugar, it can be used in any recipe for a 1:1 ratio.
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Monk Fruit Sweetener
Monk Fruit sweeteners are available in two forms: liquid and powder. Before throwing in and going crazy with your monk fruit, take note that it is 100-250 times sweeter than normal sugar! READ THE LABEL because some of these sweeteners contain additional ingredients to facilitate substitution.
Most powdered forms of monk fruit sweetener are designed to be a 1:1 substitute for sugar generally. Room temperature is best for monk fruit sweeteners to dissolve. If you want to add it to drinks, liquid monk fruit may be a better option, but substitution ratios will vary depending on the recipe. Your product label should include instructions.
Take full advantage of them because not only are monk fruit sweeteners versatile, they are so healthy, containing zero calories and highly unique and amazing health benefits too!
Coconut Sugar Substitute: Xylitol
Xylitol, a staple in every health-conscious kitchen! Xylitol is a natural sweetener with a sweet taste similar to sugar; this is since this sweetener can be found in trace amounts in some vegetables and fruits (mushrooms and strawberries being good examples). It contains fewer calories than table sugar, but it has a minor effect on blood sugar when consumed in large quantities (10).
Moreover, unlike sugar, researchers believe it may have some health benefits, such as increased calcium absorption and improved dental health (10). So, health-conscious bakers get excited as you can use xylitol in your recipe for every cup of coconut sugar, use 2/3 cup xylitol.
Is Coconut Sugar Better Than Table Sugar?
Coconut palm sugar is thought to be a healthier alternative to table sugar. Even though few studies have backed up the theory, this natural sweetener is already used in various recipes worldwide. Just remember that coconut sugar is still processed. If coconut sugar has no evidential backup, why is it currently all the healthy food rage?
It is because it does contain nutrients and is lower GI (glycemic index). If you don’t have coconut sugar or don’t want to use it, we’ve listed the best coconut sugar substitutes above. While all of the above alternatives are far superior to regular white sugar, they should be used in moderation.
Which Substitute Will You Pick?
There are many options for you to use to replace coconut sugar in recipes; you just have to follow and perfect ratio guidelines. If you replace coconut sugar granules with a liquid sweetener, ensure to adjust the rest of the liquid ingredients in the rest of the recipe. Light brown sugar would be the best substitute as it has a similar taste and texture to coconut sugar.
Now that you have all the “sweet inside scoop” info on substituting coconut sugar in your recipes, you may as well get your apron, gloves, and oven-ready because I’m sure you are ecstatic to start. Get ready to cook up a storm and bake up a storm; ENJOY!