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Substitute for Coconut Sugar: 8 Alternative Sweeteners

On a hunt for a substitute for coconut sugar? This sweetener is widely available and can be found in almost every grocery store. Still, there are many reasons you might need a coconut sugar alternative.

Maybe, you have run out of it or are looking for a healthier alternative. No matter your reason, the good news is you probably have something that can replace it in your pantry.

small glass bowl filled with dark colored sugar

What Is Coconut Sugar?

Coconut sugar is a natural sugar made from the sap of the coconut tree. It is sometimes called coconut palm sugar, coconut blossom sugar, or coconut sap sugar.

A common error for those who haven’t heard of coconut sugar is that this is made from coconuts. Surprisingly, it’s not! Coconut palm sap is harvested in the same way as maple syrup. Coconut sugar is also made using the same process as maple sugar.

The process continues as the sap is added to water and boiled. This is done until the mixture becomes a syrup. Then, the syrup is dried and hardened. It’s then broken into smaller pieces. Those pieces become the sugar granules you can purchase from the store.

Coconut sugar has become a trendy topic in the past few years. It started as an occasional recipe item, primarily found in vegan recipes. Today, it has become a common option most people use in everyday recipes.

Many bakers use this sugar instead of standard raw sugar as it is a more natural sweetener. This is because it goes through far less processing than white sugar and contains more nutrients.

Some consider this a healthy sugar to consume since it’s derived from plants. Others even look at it as a superfood. However, consider consuming coconut sugar sparingly like any other sugar.

What Does Coconut Sugar Taste Like?

Coconut sugar is primarily sweet. It also has notes of caramel flavor that regular white sugar does not have.

Contrary to popular belief, coconut sugar does not taste like coconuts. Instead, it closely resembles the flavor of light brown sugar.

Why Use Coconut Sugar?

Coconut sugar not only sweetens your recipes but also makes them more nutritious. This is because it contains iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, a few fatty acids, and antioxidants. In addition, this sugar also has Vitamin C and some B Vitamins.

Coconut sugar also has a lower glycemic index than raw sugar. This is what makes it popular for people who watch their sugar intake.

Ways To Use Coconut Sugar

Coconut palm sugar can be enjoyed as a natural sweetener for drinks, smoothies, and juices. It is also widely used as an ingredient for baked goods like pastries, cookies, and cakes.

Remember to only use it in recipes where its dark color won’t be an issue. For instance, your cake won’t be as white if you use it instead of white sugar in baking.

In general, you can use coconut sugar anywhere table sugar would go. That said, its applications are endless.

8 Best Coconut Sugar Substitutes

Many ingredients can be used as a substitute for coconut sugar. As long as they are sweet, then they can be an excellent option.

Each of these alternatives has different flavors and uses. Because of this, you should get to know more about them before choosing.

Here are 8 of the best coconut sugar substitutes:

1. Brown Sugar

Brown sugar comes from either sugar beets or sugar canes. It is a great coconut sugar substitute because it tastes the closest to coconut sugar. This is not surprising, given that they both come from plants.

This substitute comes in light and dark varieties. Both of them can be used as a substitute for coconut sugar. Light brown sugar has fewer molasses than dark brown sugar. Despite this, they taste almost the same.

If you are focused just on taste and not the calories, this is one of the best substitutes for coconut sugar.

Use this replacement in a 1:1 ratio.

2. Raw Honey

Raw honey is the best natural coconut sugar alternative because it is unprocessed.

The most significant difference is that this comes in liquid form. So, this may not work if your recipe calls for sugar granules. However, this will be an excellent option if your recipe requires melting coconut sugar.

Remember only to use raw honey to ensure that you get the unprocessed variety. Processed and commercial honey has added sugars that might affect its flavor.

It is also important to remember that honey is much sweeter. For this reason, you should use less of it as an alternative.

Use 1/2 cup of honey to substitute for one cup of coconut sugar.

3. Pure Maple Syrup

Pure maple syrup comes from the maple tree sap, and it’s processed similarly to coconut sap. It is the second-best coconut sugar alternative since it’s a natural product. It is also loaded with nutrients.

On top of that, it also has hints of caramel flavor that mimic the taste of coconut sugar. In contrast, it comes in liquid form. If you need a granule substitute for coconut sugar, use other substitutes.

Also, remember that the maple flavor may cause a slight change in your dish’s overall flavor.

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

4. Stevia

Stevia is a sugar-free sweetener derived from Stevia Rebaudian. This is more commonly known as the stevia plant. Since it is natural, it maintains nutrients through the whole process. 

Another added benefit of this sweetener is that it contains no calories. This makes it an excellent coco sugar sub for calorie-conscious people.

One notable difference is that stevia is sweeter than coconut sugar. Because of this, do not use the same measurements.

When replacing coconut sugar, start with 1/3 of the required amount. Add more depending on preference.

5. Bananas

You can swap bananas for coconut sugar in your baked goods. This alternative is the easiest to find because most people have bananas at home.

It is important to use ripe ones only when baking with bananas instead of coconut sugar. Unripe ones do not taste as good and lack a sweet flavor. To substitute banana for coconut sugar, mash the appropriate amount into a pulp.

Remember that this option will have a more subtle sweetness than coconut sugar typically offers. That said, you will not get the same taste. On the plus side, this offers adequate sweetness and an additional banana flavor.

This is a fairly good substitute when making a sweet sauce. However, it works best in items like muffins and sweet loaves of bread.

If you want more sweetness than bananas alone can provide, no problem! You can combine this fruit with brown sugar or maple syrup for a sweeter taste.

Use 1/2 cup of mashed bananas to substitute for one cup of coconut sugar.

6. Date Sugar

This swap is made by drying dates and grinding them into powder. This coconut sugar replacement is the closest to coconut sugar’s consistency. This similarity makes it easy to use date sugar instead of coconut sugar in baked goods.

Note that you may notice a slightly grainy texture to date sugar., which can be felt in specific recipes.

Like coconut sugar, you can also use this sugar swap to make sweet sauces and caramels. Just remember that it will provide a different taste as it’s 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 similar to the fruit. This should go well with most sweet recipes.

Overall, date sugar works well as a replacement. This can be a great option if you have some available in your home. Otherwise, date sugar is expensive and may not work with everyone’s budget.

Opt for another option 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 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 drawn out to create this thick syrup.

Once the juice is extracted, it is pressed, filtered, and warmed up. It will then turn into the regular syrup you find on grocery store shelves.

The consistency is between maple syrup and honey, with a sweetness level closer to honey. However, agave has a more subtle flavor. This is excellent if you need a sweetener with less of a strong taste.

Use agave syrup as you would honey or maple. Since you are using a liquid substitute, you need to adjust the other wet ingredients.

If you don’t, there is a high possibility that the consistency will be too runny. Your recipe might also not bake or cook the way you expect it.

Use 1/2 cup of agave syrup to substitute for one cup of coconut sugar.

8. Monk Fruit Sweetener

Monk fruit sweetener is a sugar alternative derived from a melon growing in China and Thailand. However, monk fruit sweetener does not taste like fruit; it only tastes sweet.

Many people use this alternative as a low-calorie option, similar to stevia. It offers a delightful taste to any recipe, which is why many people prefer it.

This replacement uses the dehydrated juice of the monk fruit. 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 because it is extremely sweet.

However, it has a neutral flavor, so you can use it in many baked goods without altering the original taste of your recipe. It blends well with other flavors and works with almost any ingredient.

The downside is that if you crave a fruity taste, you must add a few drops of a flavor extract to achieve it.

Use 1/3 cup of monk sweetener to substitute for one cup of coconut sugar. Add more if needed.

How To Choose The Best Coconut Sugar Substitutes

There are lots of choices available for a coconut sugar substitute. For this reason, it may not be easy to choose.

Here are some of the considerations you need to look at:

  1. Pay attention to the form.

There are both dry and wet substitutes you can choose from. Raw honey or maple syrup will do the job if you are making a sauce.

If you are baking bread, bananas are better. Lastly, if you need something for sprinkling, go for dry substitutes like date sugar or brown sugar.

  1. Consider your budget

Specific replacements are on the expensive side, like date sugar. If your budget allows it, then go for it.

However, choose brown sugar or raw honey as a more practical substitute. They are as good but won’t break the bank as much.

  1. Check diet requirements.

Another factor to consider is your diet. If you are after a sugar-free option or you are watching your weight, stevia is the best. Another low-calorie substitute you can opt for is monk sweetener.

A natural option like bananas will also work, as it does not contain any sugar other than the one coming from the fruit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use brown sugar instead of coconut sugar?

Yes, mainly because they taste almost the same and they come from plants. Therefore, they have the same natural sweet flavor. Brown sugar also does not look that different from coconut sugar. This means that using it won’t affect the appearance of your dish. For this reason, you can use one cup of brown sugar to replace one cup of coconut sugar in every recipe.

Does coconut sugar taste different?

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

Is coconut sugar made from coconuts?

No, coconut sugar does not come from the coconuts themselves. Instead, it comes from the sap of a coconut palm tree.
The liquid is added to water and continuously boiled. Once cooled and hardened, it is broken into granules to make coconut sugar.


Coconut sugar is one of the most popular kinds of sugar today. It is prized for its ability to bring sweetness without adding that many calories. It is also widely available, and its taste does not stray away from regular sugar. Because of this, most people prefer it for everyday baking and cooking.

A coconut sugar substitute is easy to find. To put it simply, you can use anything sweet to replace it. However, if you are after its caramel taste, you should use date sugar or brown sugar.

If you are just looking for something to sweeten your recipes; monk fruit sweetener or raw honey will do. Even bananas are a good option when it comes to baked goods.

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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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