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Substitute for Coconut Sugar


Below you’ll find the best substitute for coconut sugar that you can keep in your pantry in case you run out of coconut sugar, looking for a healthier alternative, or can’t find coconut sugar at the store.

small glass bowl filled with dark colored sugar

What is coconut sugar?

Coconut sugar has become a trendy topic in the past few years. What started as an occasional recipe item (usually in vegan foods) turned into a sugar option that many people use weekly or daily recipes. Many people consider this a healthy sugar to consume since it’s natural (derived from plants). Some consumers consider it a superfood that they add to dishes.

A common misconception for those who haven’t heard of coconut sugar is that this sweetener is created from coconuts. Surprisingly, it’s not! Coconut palm tree sugar is more similarly harvested like maple syrup – as sap from a tree. 

The process continues as the sap is added to water and boiled until it turns into a syrup. Then, the syrup dries and hardens. Here’s where the magic comes in – it’s broken into smaller pieces which are the sugar granules you can purchase from the store.

Many bakers use this sugar instead of standard white sugar as it’s considered a more natural sweetener.

Best coconut sugar substitute

Many excellent sweeteners can be used as a substitute for coconut sugar. Below you’ll find a few different categories – choose the option that works best with your goals and needs.

1. Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is the most similar tasting coconut sugar substitute. As far as baking with brown sugar, you’ll find it has the closest taste to coconut sugar. 

If you’re not concerned with the number of carbohydrates in the sugar but are focused just on taste, this one is at the top for a coconut sugar substitute.

Use this replacement in a 1:1 ratio.

2. Raw Honey

Raw Honey is the best natural coconut sugar alternative. If you have a recipe that can easily use liquid sugar, this is a great alternative.

For every cup of sugar, use 1/2 cup of honey.

3. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is the second-best coconut sugar alternative since it’s a natural product loaded with nutrients. It also has similar caramel notes and flavor.

For every cup of sugar, use 3/4 cup of maple syrup.

4. Stevia

Stevia is derived from a South American plant named Stevia Rebaudiana, putting it into the natural sweetener category. Since it is natural, it maintains nutrients through the extraction process.  Another added benefit of this sweetener is that it contains no calories, making it an excellent sub for coconut sugar for calorie-conscious people, whether that be for weight loss or for other reasons.

Use stevia in a 1:1 ratio

5. Bananas

If you’re looking to cut out refined sugar from your baked goods, you can swap bananas for coconut sugar. This replacement for coconut sugar is easy to find (most people have a banana lying around) and easy to use.

To bake with bananas, you will need to use ripe bananas. Mash the appropriate amount into a pulp. This option will have a more subtle sweetness than coconut sugar typically offers. While you will not get the same flavor that coconut sugar provides, you will find mashed bananas offer sweetness and banana flavor. In some recipes, this taste will be more apparent than in others. While you can use bananas to make a sweet sauce, it’s best to use this sub in items like muffins and sweet loaves of bread.

If you seek more sweetness than bananas alone can provide, you can combine this fruit with additional sweeteners such as brown sugar or maple syrup.

Use ½ cup of mashed bananas for every 1 cup of sugar.

6. Date Sugar

This swap is created by drying dates and then grinding them into a powder. You will find coconut sugar replacement to be the closest consistency-wise to coconut sugar. This makes it easy to use date sugar in baked goods instead of coconut sugar. You may notice a slightly grainy texture to date sugar that can be felt in specific recipes.

This sugar swap can also be used to make sweet sauces and caramels like coconut sugar. It will provide a different flavor as it’s created from fruit instead of tree sap. The flavor of date sugar is somewhere between brown sugar and butterscotch. If you’ve eaten dates before, you’ll find the taste to be very similar to the fruit. The taste should complement most sweet recipes.

Overall, date sugar works well as a replacement. If you have some available in your home, this can be a great option. Otherwise, date sugar runs on the pricey side and may not work with everyone’s budget. Opt for another replacement such as brown sugar, bananas, or stevia if this is the case.

Use this replacement in a 1:1 ratio.

7. Agave Syrup

This sugar alternative is created from an agave plant that typically grows in Mexico and Texas. While many believe that agave plants are cacti, they are succulents. The sap from the center of the plant is extricated to create this thick syrup then processed. Once the juice is drawn out, it is pressed, filtered, and warmed up until it turns into the familiar syrup you find on grocery store shelves.

The consistency is somewhere between maple syrup and honey, with a sweetness level closer to honey. However, the flavor is much subtler with agave. If you seek a sweetener with less of a strong taste for recipes, this is an excellent option.

You can use agave syrup in the same way maple syrup or honey as a swap. As you are adding in a liquid instead of a dry sugar substitute, you will want to adjust the other wet ingredients. If you don’t, there is a high possibility the consistency will be too runny and not bake correctly. You can use agave syrup in the same way maple syrup or honey as a swap.

Use 1/2 of the required amount.

8. Monk Fruit Sweetener

Monk fruit sweetener is a sugar alternative that derives from a melon growing in China and Thailand. Many people use this alternative as a low-calorie option, like stevia. It offers a highly sweet taste to any recipe, which is why many people prefer it.

This replacement uses the juice of monk fruit which is dehydrated. Once dried, it yields a powder form with a consistency similar to granulated white sugar. While this sweetener can replace coconut sugar, it is trickier to work with due to its extremely sweet taste.

You can use monk fruit sweetener in many baked goods as it does not have a strong taste. Monk fruit does not taste like fruit; it only tastes sweet. This neutral taste can be both a pro and con as it blends well with other flavors and can work in many recipes. However, if you crave a coconut or fruity taste, you will need to add a few drops of a flavor extract. Always start with less sweetener and increase the amount slowly.

To use monk fruit sweetener, start with 1/3 the amount requested by the recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use brown sugar instead of coconut sugar?

Yes, it has a similar flavor, swap the sugar in the ratio 1:1.

Does coconut sugar taste different?

Yes, coconut sugar has a slightly caramel-like taste.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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