Coconut sugar is a lower-glycemic sweetener than regular sugar that comes from the sap of coconut palm tree flowers. It is a great sweetener for baking, but what happens if you don’t have it on hand? Learn the best substitutes for coconut sugar.

Bowl of coconut sugar with spoonful of sugar on metal surface.

Overview of Coconut Sugar

To get the coconut sugar, the sap from the coconut tree flowers is boiled down until it thickens and crystallizes, yielding a product that is rich in flavor and nutrients.

What it tastes like

Coconut sugar has a unique flavor that is often compared to brown sugar. However, it is not as sweet as brown sugar and has a slightly nutty taste.

Nutrition info

It is sometimes touted as a potentially healthier alternative to other sugars as it contains more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is important to note that coconut sugar is still a form of added sugar and should be consumed in moderation.

How it’s used

Coconut sugar is used when you want a less sweet flavor and a hint of caramelization.

When used in moderation, coconut sugar can be a delicious and healthful way to sweeten your favorite recipes. I use it often in my baking recipes.

Best Substitutes for Coconut Sugar

Most people are familiar with the classic white sugar that is used in baking and cooking. However, there are actually a variety of different types of sugar, each with its own unique flavor and uses.

And, many of these can be used as a great substitute for coconut sugar.

Spoonful of cane sugar with blocks of sugar on wooden surface.
Cane sugar.

1. Cane sugar

Cane sugar is a type of sugar that is made from the juice of sugar cane. It is also known as sucrose and is widely used in food and beverages.

The sugar cane plant is native to New Guinea and has been cultivated for centuries. The juice of the sugar cane plant is extracted and then boiled to remove the water content. This process leaves behind a thick syrup, which is then crystallized to form cane sugar.

It is also a popular choice for baking due to its sweetness and flavor. Cane sugar is an excellent substitute for coconut sugar without any change in flavor.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use one cup of cane sugar.

Spoonful of brown sugar on metal surface.
Brown sugar.

2. Brown sugar

Brown sugar is a type of sugar that is brown in color and has a slightly molasses-like flavor. It is made by adding molasses to white sugar.

Brown sugar is often used in baking, as it adds a unique flavor to recipes. It can also be used as a topping for baked goods or as a sweetener in coffee or tea.

Brown sugar is an essential ingredient in many types of candy, including chocolate candy and caramel. In addition, it is often used as a glaze for ham and other meats. Brown sugar is a good substitute for coconut sugar, but it may impart a flavor of molasses.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use one cup of brown sugar.

Blocks of maple sugar on wooden surface with fall leaves.
Maple sugar.

3. Maple sugar

Maple sugar is an all-natural sweetener made from the sap of maple trees. It has a unique flavor that is perfect for baking and cooking. Depending on how it’s processed, maple sugar contains healthy vitamins and minerals.

The process of making maple sugar begins with tapping the sap from the tree. The sap is then boiled down to concentrate the sugars. Finally, the syrup is poured into molds and allowed to cool. Once it hardens, the maple sugar is ready to be used in any number of delicious recipes.

Maple sugar looks a lot like coconut sugar and is a great substitute without much alteration in flavor.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use one cup of maple sugar.

Ground date sugar on wooden spoon and table surface.
Date sugar.

4. Date sugar

Date sugar is a type of sugar that is made from dried dates. It has a high sugar content and is often used as a sweetener in baking and cooking.

Date sugar is also a good source of dietary fiber and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. It can be used as a topping for oatmeal or pancakes or mixed into yogurt or smoothies.

Because date sugar is more slowly absorbed by the body, it is thought to have a lower glycemic index than other types of sugar.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use one cup of date sugar. I find that substituting date sugar for coconut sugar results in a slightly less sweet outcome.

Metal spoonful of raw sugar on wooden surface.
Raw sugar.

5. Raw sugar (also called turbinado sugar)

Raw sugar is less processed than white sugar, and as a result, it retains some of the molasses flavor. It is also larger in grain size, which gives it as lightly crunchy texture.

When baking with raw sugar, it is important to keep these characteristics in mind. For example, the larger grains may not dissolve as easily as white sugar, so it is important to give them ample time to dissolve.

Raw sugar can also add a deeper molasses flavor to baked goods, so be sure to use it judiciously if you want to avoid an overly sweet taste.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use one cup of raw sugar.

Bottle of maple syrup on wooden surface.
Maple syrup.

6. Maple syrup

The sweet, amber-hued syrup we pour over pancakes and waffles comes from the sap of maple trees.

To harvest the sap, producers drill small holes into the tree trunk and insert spouts. The sap flows out of the holes and into buckets or tubing, which is then collected and transported to a sugar shack. There, the sap is boiled down to concentrate the sugars and remove water.

Maple syrup is graded according to color and flavor.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use 3/4 cup of maple syrup. You may need to make some further adjustments to your recipe considering that coconut sugar is a dry sweetener and maple syrup is a liquid sweetener.

Bottle of honey with wooden honey stirrer and white background.

7.Honey

Honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowers, and it is stored in their hive as a food source. Honey is often used as a sweetener in foods and beverages, but it can also be eaten on its own.

Thanks to its unique flavor and versatility, honey can be used in any number of ways. Also, since honey is a liquid, you may want to reduce other liquids in the recipe.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use 1/4 cup of honey. You may need to make some further adjustments to your recipe considering that coconut sugar is a dry sweetener and honey is a liquid sweetener.

Spoonful of stevia with erythritol and fresh stevia leaves on wooden surface.
Natural sweetener.

8. Monk fruit, erythritol or stevia

Monk fruit, erythritol and stevia are all-natural sweeteners that meet these criteria. A small melon grown mostly in southern China; Monk fruit extract is about 200 times sweeter than sugar but does not raise blood sugar levels.

Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is found in fruits and vegetables and it’s about 70% as sweet as sugar.

Stevia is a plant, and the leaves are about 300 times sweeter than sugar but have a slightly bitter aftertaste.

All three of these natural sweeteners are good alternatives to artificial sweeteners and can be used in baking. With monk fruit and stevia, I recommend tasting it first, starting with less and adjusting to taste.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use 1/4 cup of monk fruit.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use one cup of erythritol.

To substitute one cup of coconut sugar, use 1/4 cup of stevia.

Conclusions

There are many substitutes for coconut sugar that can be used in baking and cooking. Some of these substitutes, such as date sugar and raw sugar, retain some of the molasses flavor. Others, such as honey and maple syrup, are natural sweeteners with their own unique flavor. And finally, there are calorie-free substitutes, such as monk fruit, erythritol and stevia, that can be used in baking and cooking. No matter what your preference is, there is sure to be a substitute for coconut sugar that will suit your needs.

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