9 Best Demerara Sugar Substitutes

Do you love the taste of demerara sugar but your favorite shopping place has run out of it right when you needed it?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

If you’re looking for an alternative with a similar taste and something that will still give your dessert the right amount of sweetness, try one of the demerara sugar substitutes I will discuss today.

The nine best substitutes for demerara sugar are turbinado sugar, light or dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, honey, agave nectar, maple sugar, coconut sugar, dark brown sugar, muscovado sugar, and sand sugar.

Continue reading the article to know about the similarities and differences between demerara and turbinado sugar, its health benefits, and some mouthwatering recipe ideas.

What is Demerara Sugar?

Demerara sugar is a type of coarse, raw cane sugar.

It is unrefined and retains all the natural molasses content that gives it its distinctive flavor and color. It’s often used to sweeten desserts or as an ingredient for baking.

Demerara Sugar Substitutes

Lately, demerara sugar has become a favorite of coffee and tea connoisseurs as it adds a little toffee flavor to their beverages.

However, it’s still a little difficult to find in some places and that’s why you need a replacement with similar flavoring and texture.

9 Best Demerara Sugar Substitutes

1. Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado Sugar Substitutes

Cane juice crystals, better known as turbinado sugar or raw cane sugar have a similar flavor to demerara. It’s the result of first boiling then cooling the extracted juice from sugarcane.

Like demerara, it contains some mineral deposits but also has some added molasses. The flavor is similar to brown sugar but not as intense with a bright yellowish color.

2. Light or Dark Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar

A. Light Brown Sugar

Light brown sugar is what most people think of when they think about raw cane sugar, or sucanat (as it’s sometimes referred to). It looks and tastes very similar to demerara sugar.

The only difference between these two is the light brown sugar has been refined more than demerara sugar, which means it’s not raw anymore and all its nutrients have been removed.

The natural molasses taste in light brown sugar has also been amplified giving you a sweeter flavor than the raw turbinado sugar.

B. Dark Brown Sugar

Dark brown sugar is made by adding molasses to regular light brown sugar.

The added molasses gives dark brown sugar a more intense flavor and darker color compared to its counterpart, but it’s not as strong when compared to demerara sugar.

If you’re looking for a substitute sweetener that’s close to natural demerara sugar, dark brown sugar is the one.

3. Granulated Sugar

Granulated Sugar

Granulated white sugar is what most of us are familiar with. You can find it at almost every store and the flavor and texture are identical to demerara sugar, especially when it’s not combined with any other ingredient in a recipe.

Since granulated sugar has been refined, its nutrients have been removed as well as some of its natural molasses flavor.

The only difference between this sugar and demerara is the color, which is white in granulated sugar compared to yellow in demerara.

4. Honey


Honey is not quite a substitute for demerara sugar but a lot of people like using it as an alternative because of honey’s sweetener benefits and rich flavor.

Although it only has a subtle toffee taste, honey is one of the best demerara sugar substitutes because of all the health benefits it offers.

It will give your desserts an extra boost of antioxidants and nutrients which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

5. Agave Nectar

Agave Nectar

This sweet syrup comes from agave plants that are native to Mexico.

The syrup is extracted from the core of the plants and has a similar flavor to molasses. This makes agave nectar one of the best demerara sugar substitutes because it pairs well with other nutty or spicy flavors.

Agave nectar can be very viscous so it’s best to dilute it with water when you use it as a substitute for demerara sugar.

6. Maple Sugar

Maple Sugar

You probably didn’t know that you can extract maple syrup from sap too, did you?

Maple sugar is made by boiling concentrated levels of sap until the mixture becomes thick then pour in trays where it eventually cools into a soft solid.

Although it’s not as readily available as the other substitutes we’ve discussed so far, maple sugar is a sweetener that you can’t get enough of in desserts.

It has a light flavor and similar texture to demerara sugar despite having been refined.

7. Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a new type of sweetener that’s been marketed as an alternative to the more common white sugar. However, it is not extracted from coconuts but rather from the sap of several types of palms including coconut trees.

Like demerara sugar, its flavor profile contains hints of caramel and molasses; however, the texture is much different and closer to brown sugar.

Although it’s is a great alternative, there are some concerns over its production methods since it’s created using organic materials from the farm but it can be processed in a conventional factory too.

8. Muscovado Sugar

Muscovado Sugar Substitutes

This brown sugar cousin of white granulated sugar is extracted from crushed sugar cane stalks.

The flavor is not as intense as demerara sugar, in fact, you could probably describe it as light, but muscovado sugar has a stronger molasses taste compared to the common brown sugar.

It’s also somewhat similar to demerara because it contains a small proportion of yellowish refined white sugar; however, you can find all-natural muscovado sugar.

9. Sand Sugar

Sand Sugar

This is a fairly rare sweetener that has been used in Middle Eastern countries for centuries.

It’s naturally extracted from the sap of date palms. It has a unique texture and flavor that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

Although it works as a demerara substitute, sand sugar is not readily available and can be quite expensive.

What Does Demerara Sugar Taste Like?

Demerara sugar is coarsely ground, natural sugar with large crystals. It has a slight caramel and molasses flavor that’s much stronger than regular sugar.

Because the crystals are large, the texture of baked goods made with demerara sugar is more coarse and gritty.

For tea and coffee drinkers, demerara adds a toffee flavor to the drinks.

Demerara Sugar Uses

There are many desserts, drinks, and dishes that you can make using demerara sugar as one of the ingredients. Here are some of the more popular recipes you can make:

  • Demerara Sugar Donuts
  • Demerara Sugar Cookies 
  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Demerara Crumble
  • Butter Pecan Pastry Bites with Demerara Glaze

Since demerara sugar is a natural product, it contains some vitamins and minerals including 4% of your daily recommended amount of calcium.

Related Questions

Demerara Sugar vs Turbinado Sugar: Are They Same?

Demerara sugar and turbinado sugar are relatively similar to one another.

Both types of sugars come from sugar cane and are lightly refined, meaning that they retain some of their natural color and flavor from the raw plant.

Turbinado is a little lighter with finer crystals than demerara; however, there’s not much of a difference between the two.

You also might come across ‘raw’ sugar in the grocery store which is produced in a similar way to turbinado with much larger crystals and natural brown coloration.

So, if you can’t find demerara sugar or don’t feel like spending more money on it, you can use turbinado sugar instead.

Does Demerara Sugar Have Calories?

Yes, demerara sugar does have calories even though it’s not as sweet as regular sugar.

A 1/4-cup serving of demerara sugar contains 139 calories, 0 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fiber.

A 1/4-cup serving of granulated white sugar, on the other hand, contains 144 calories, 0 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fiber.

As you can see, they’re roughly the same calorie count.

Can You Use Dark Brown Sugar Instead of Demerara?

Yes, dark brown sugar can be substituted for demerara sugar in recipes.

Dark brown sugar has a stronger flavor; however, the molasses is not as pronounced compared to demerara sugar.

Moreover, dark brown sugar is less sweet than demerara; however, there really isn’t a difference between the two in terms of taste and baking ability.

Is Demerara Sugar Good Or Bad for Health?

Although demerara sugar is a natural product, it contains some refined white sugar. So, in moderation, you can still enjoy treats made with demerara sugar without feeling guilty about it.

However, when it comes to calories, it is compared to regular granulated sugar and contains just a tiny bit fewer calories.

So, if you are on a diet, I recommend using it carefully so that you don’t consume too many calories.

Where To Buy Demerara Sugar?

Many grocery stores and coffee stores will carry demerara sugar. But if your place doesn’t you can also purchase it online at various quantities and prices on Amazon.

Final Words

Overall, demerara sugar is well worth the extra cost for its fine texture and flavor. It will make your coffee, tea, and desserts much tastier!

But if you don’t have it handy, there are plenty of substitutes to try without affecting the taste of your food.

I hope this article on the 9 best demerara sugar substitutes was helpful to you. Be sure to read my other articles on this blog for more information!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

Leave a Comment