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The Best Turbinado Sugar Substitute For Baking: We Tasted 13

A popular sweetener mainly because of its pleasant taste, turbinado sugar is convenient and easy to use. Its coarse texture and large crystals make it easy to use as a crunchy coating for cakes. This is why it is popularly used in making cakes and other baked goodies.

Having said that, there are many recipes that require the use of turbinado sugar. If you have none available, there are substitutes that you can use. These include the following:

  1. Dark Brown Sugar
  2. Coconut Sugar
  3. Muscovado Sugar
  4. Palm Sugar
  5. Sanding Sugar
  6. Maple Syrup
  7. Maple Sugar
  8. Demerara Sugar
  9. Caster Sugar

Like all types of sugar, it is best to consume turbinado sugar in moderation. While it has some health benefits, excessive consumption may not be suitable for people with high risk of diabetes.

This will be one of the key reason you will want to find healthier alternatives for it.

13 Best Substitute For Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado Sugar Substitute

Turbinado sugar is derived from molasses. Because it only underwent partial refining, it still has some molasses left, which is responsible for its distinct caramel flavor.

Many people refer to turbinado sugar as “raw†sugar. Although it has only been minimally processed, it has undergone enough processing to make it safe for consumption; thus, it is not raw. It is also not “healthier†than other types of sugar.

Turbinado sugar do come with some health benefits, but just like any other type of sugar, it should not be consumed in excess.

Let’s discuss each turbinado sugar substitute in more detail to help you decide which one will work for you.

Dark Brown Sugar


A type of sugar from sugarcane, dark brown sugar still has some of its original molasses even after going through the manufacturing process. This is why it has a molasses flavor and a dark brown color.

Because of its similarity to turbinado in terms of flavor profile, and its accessibility, dark brown sugar is an ideal substitute for turbinado sugar in practically any recipe that calls for turbinado.

Dark brown sugar is a rich source of energy, calcium, and vitamins, among other health benefits. It is best used for dishes like sweet soups and cakes. To substitute for turbinado sugar, use the 1:1 replacement ratio.

Coconut Sugar

A natural product of the coconut sap, coconut sugar is a popular cooking ingredient in Japan, as well as many other Asian countries. It is also a good replacement for turbinado sugar in recipes.

While turbinado and coconut sugar are different in terms or color, they are both mildly sweet, and boast of caramel hints.

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The color of coconut sugar, as well as its flavor and sweetness will vary, depending on the harvest season, the extraction method used, and the type of coconut. And like turbinado sugar, it does not undergo thorough processing to produce.

This type of sugar has a high calorie and fructose content, and too much consumption can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Nevertheless, it can be a good substitute for turbinado sugar.

Muscovado Sugar


Next on the list of turbinado sugar alternatives is muscovado sugar, another unrefined sweetener from cane. The remaining molasses coat each muscovado sugar crystal to darken its color, and make it dense and moist.

The molasses content also provides muscovado sugar its distinct flavor, which is a bit stronger compared to turbinado sugar. And similar to natural cane turbinado, muscovado has vanilla and caramel flavors, and a bitter aftertaste.

Muscovado is a good turbinado replacement in recipes not only because of its color, but also because of its similar flavor profile. To use as a substitute, use the 1:1 substitution ratio, meaning 1 cup of muscovado for 1 cup of turbinado required in the recipe.

Palm Sugar

This is a type of sweetener that is not harsh, and typically used for preparing tea. It is also the preferred cooking ingredient over other sweeteners. It is known to help in digestion and reducing stomach pressure, as well as releasing energy, and promoting the feeling of fullness for a long time.

A fixture in many countries in Asia, it is unlike the more common types of sugar as palm sugar is derived unrefined from the tree itself, the Asian Palmyra palm.

You can use palm sugar as a substitute for turbinado sugar using the 1:1 ratio. However, you may adjust the amount of palm sugar to add since its sweetness level is a bit milder.

Sanding Sugar


Cane or beet is the main ingredient in sanding sugar, and it comes with a strong sweet taste. This is a popular choice when looking for a turbinado sugar substitute.

You can use sanding sugar as a regular cooking seasoning, and include it in many recipes. It is also a popular ingredient in cookies, cakes, desserts, and other baked goodies.

Sanding sugar is sweeter than turbinado, so when using it as a substitute, use a lesser amount than the amount of turbinado needed in the recipe. While it will not give the same flavor that turbinado provides, sanding sugar will bring a distinctive taste.

Maple Syrup

The sweetener is extracted from the sap of the maple tree. It is then boiled to get a concentrate with honey-like consistency.

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Its taste has delicate hints of autumn leaves, with the sweetness level depending on the maple variety. Maple syrup with a darker color is sweeter than maple syrup of a lighter color.

Maple syrup also leaves a smoky aftertaste. This is due to the smell of wood burned during the manufacturing process. If you want a healthier replacement to turbinado sugar than other types of sugar, then this is the one.

The syrup can be used for a wide variety of recipes, but they are most popular in cakes and baked goodies. Just imagine a slice of cake topped by a layer of maple syrup. Yummy!

Maple syrup may be healthier than sugar, but it should not be consumed in excess, just the same.

When used as a turbinado substitute, use less maple syrup than the required amount in the recipe. This is because maple syrup is sweeter than turbinado sugar. Add a little first, then taste to make sure that your dish doesn’t become too sweet.

Maple Sugar


A common sweetener that you can include in almost any recipe, maple sugar is a good turbinado sugar alternative. It is caramelized, sweet, and dark in color.

When using maple sugar to replace turbinado sugar in recipes, use the same amount and in a similar way. Adjustments may be necessary, depending on your taste, as well as the other ingredients in the dish.

To make sure that maple sugar doesn’t overpower the dish, taste after making an adjustment.

Demerara Sugar

When in search for a turbinado sugar substitute in recipes, demerara sugar is a good choice to consider. This type of sugar originated in South America, particularly in the Demerara cane fields. It is now mainly produced in Mauritius, an African country.

Demerara sugar is among the most popular types of sugar in the world. It is sticky to the touch, comes with a caramel flavor and dark brown color, nice texture, large grains, and becomes crispy when baked. The natural sugar contains just a little amount of molasses after processing.

The dark color of the sugar is indicative of the amount of original molasses and minerals contained in it. Because demerara is also a type of sugar like turbinado, the ideal ratio to use when substituting demerara for turbinado is 1:1.

Demerara is best used in cooking or as decoration for baked goodies like cookies and cakes. It can also be used to sweeten hot beverages like chocolate and coffee.

Caster Sugar


Caster sugar comes with a highly smooth consistency. This makes the sweetener ideal for use in baking, for desserts, and for beverages such as cocktails.

Depending on the type of caster sugar (white or yellow) it adds a unique flavor to cupcakes, muffins, apple pies, and chocolate chip cookies.

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When used as a substitute for turbinado sugar, the ideal substitution ratio is 1:1. You may adjust the quantity to achieve the flavor you want.


Everyone may be familiar with honey, but not everyone knows that it can be used as a food sweetener. In fact, you can add it to many dishes, including fried chicken, grilled ribs, deep-fried pork, and even soft drinks.

A natural sweetener, honey provides many health benefits. These include relieving cough, promoting the healing process, fighting heart diseases, and providing antibacterial benefits.

When used as a substitute for turbinado sugar, use a lesser amount than what the recipe requires. This is because honey is sweeter than turbinado. Add a little honey to the dish first, then make adjustments if necessary.

Yacon Syrup


Another healthy sweetener, yacon syrup is an extract from the yacon plant. Its sweet taste is reminiscent of blending the flavors of fresh apples and watermelons.

Yacon syrup, despite being sweet, doesn’t contribute to a spike in blood sugar levels when consumed. Thus, it is the ideal turbinado substitute for diabetics, as well as obese people who may be craving for a bite of sweet treats.

However, just like anything sweet, yacon syrup should be consumed in moderation. After all, anything in excess is not good.

Dark Corn Syrup

Next on the list of suitable substitutes for turbinado sugar is dark corn syrup. It is produced by mixing corn syrup with caramel and molasses. It comes in a deep dark color.

Because of its taste and its molasses content, it is a suitable alternative to turbinado sugar in recipes. Dark corn syrup is ideal for use in baking, but bear in mind that it may darken the color of your food.

You can also use dark corn syrup as topping for waffles and pancakes, as well as any recipe that requires turbinado sugar.

White Sugar

Also known as table sugar, regular sugar, and granulated sugar, white sugar is probably the most popular type of sugar in the world. It can be found everywhere, making it a very accessible substitute to turbinado sugar.

White sugar is typically used as an ingredient when making sponge cakes, as well as cookies that need uniformity in dough mixture, and a high fat content.

Because white sugar is sweeter than turbinado, you must use less of it when using it as a substitute. Add a little amount of white sugar first, then taste to make sure that your dish doesn’t exceed the sweetness level you want.