9 Best Muscovado Sugar Substitutes

Can you imagine your favorite cookies without the sweet taste of muscovado sugar? It’s not a pretty picture! Muscovado sugar is a type of dark brown, unrefined cane sugar that offers an intense molasses flavor.

Unfortunately, it can also be hard to find in grocery stores and costs about $3 per pound on online stores. 

Luckily, I’ve collected nine perfect substitutes for muscovado sugar so you can enjoy your favorite recipes guilt-free!

The best substitutions for Muscovado sugar are Brown sugar, Demerara sugar, Turbinado sugar, Jaggery, Granulated sugar, White sugar, Stevia, Molasses sugar, and Rapadura.

If you aren’t in a hurry, I’d recommend reading this article till the end as I talk about:

  • What’s muscovado sugar
  • Similarities and differences between these alternatives
  • Where should you use them
  • And if they offer any health benefits

What is Muscovado Sugar?

Muscovado is a type of sugar derived from sugar cane and it’s part of the brown sugar family. This is how it looks:

Muscovado Sugar Substitutes

It has a higher molasses content than other types of sugars, which gives it its characteristic color and sweetness.

In fact, muscovado sugar is an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

9 Best Muscovado Sugar Substitutes

1. Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar

It’s no secret that brown sugar is one of my favorite sweeteners.

Not only does it add flavor to your recipes (it has a delicious caramel aroma), but it also enhances the texture – your treats will get a crunchy texture from the tiny crystals of unrefined cane sugar!

Brown sugars come in two variants – dark and light.

Dark brown sugar has an intense molasses flavor and should be used for savory dishes.

Light brown sugar can be used interchangeably with white granulated flour and it’s delicious with desserts. I personally recommend getting muscovado sugar and light brown sugar.

If you can’t find muscovado sugar, brown sugar will be a near similar substitute.

2. Demerara Sugar

Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar has large, golden crystals and a deep amber color that makes your desserts look more decadent.

In fact, it’s the most popular type of muscovado sugar substitute! This type of unrefined cane sugar originated from Barbados and you can find it in most grocery stores these days.

The crystals are very fine but larger than regular table salt grains which give them a nice crunchy texture that complements many desserts and pastries!

Demerara sugar gives baked goods a sweet-salty flavor.

3. Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado Sugar Substitutes

Another good alternative to muscovado sugar is turbinado sugar, also known as “Sugar in the Raw” or “Cane Sugar”.

You can easily find it in most grocery stores these days! It’s light and fluffy with finer crystals, which make for a crunchy texture.

It offers a strong molasses flavor and is best used as an alternative to white sugar in cookies, cakes, and pies.

Turbinado sugar also tends to melt easier and faster than other brown sugars making it a preferred choice in recipes where a caramelized taste is needed.

4. Jaggery


Jaggery is a traditional sweetener used in many parts of the world.

It’s made by boiling down the juice from sugar cane and then it is dried out to form a thick, dark brown lump.

Jaggery has been used as a sweetener for thousands of years so you can be sure that it isn’t harmful to your health.

It looks similar to chocolate chips but tastes like caramel! Jaggery can be used as a substitution for muscovado sugar in most recipes. 

The only downside with jaggery is that it is loaded with calories – each tablespoon contains 10 g of carbs, which is equivalent to two tablespoons of regular granulated sugar!

5. Granulated Sugar

Granulated Sugar

This one is probably the most popular substitute for muscovado sugar because all you need to do is get a bag of granulated sugar and make sure that it doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners.

You can use granulated sugar in most recipes that call for muscovado sugar.

However, be cautious with the quantity because granulated sugar is slightly sweeter than muscovado.

6. White Sugar

White Sugar

I’ll be honest – white sugar is not an ideal substitute if you care about food nutrition. But, if there’s nothing else available but white sugar, you can use it.

White sugar is made by refining regular granulated cane sugar until it’s white – this strips the molasses from the crystals.

The process also removes many essential nutrients and minerals including iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, and manganese! For that reason alone I recommend staying away from processed white sugars as much as possible. 

If you absolutely must use white sugar in place of muscovado – try using organic cane sugar instead for maximum health benefits.

7. Stevia


Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant. It’s very popular with people who like to avoid sugar because it has zero calories and no carbs.

There are many brand-name stevia products such as Truvia, PureVia, Sun Crystals, and SweetLeaf which make Stevia a readily available muscovado sugar substitute. 

Stevia is available in both liquid and powdered forms. You can use either one of them interchangeably with muscovado sugar depending on your needs.

8. Molasses Sugar

Molasses Sugar

If you’re looking for a 100% natural muscovado sugar substitute, the best bet is molasses sugar.

Molasses has a distinctly strong and bitter taste that most people find unpalatable.

But, in very small quantities it can be used to enhance the flavor of other ingredients in recipes such as gingerbread cookies or pumpkin bars.

It’s thick and syrupy when you buy it but it can easily be mixed with water to make molasses sugar – one of the best alternatives for muscovado sugar!

Molasses sugars are dark brown in color with a slightly bitter taste. You can use it just like regular granulated sugar in most recipes.

9. Rapadura


Rapadura is a type of unrefined brown sugar made from the whole sugar cane juice. It’s less sweet than granulated white sugar, which means you’ll need to use more of it in your recipes.

Unlike refined brown sugars, Rapadura does not go through any centrifugal refining process so it retains all its nutrients and minerals!

Since it retains all of its natural molasses, Rapadura is very similar to muscovado with a similar flavor profile.

The now-defunct Whole Foods Market chain used to carry Rapadura sugar in their stores. If you have access to Whole Foods, it’s worth checking out.

What Does Muscovado Sugar Taste Like?

Muscovado sugar is a type of unrefined cane sugar from the first pressing of the juice. It has a rich brown color and a distinctive taste that’s strong and earthy.

To be precise, muscovado sugar has an intense molasses/caramel flavor profile.

People who love dark coffee, chocolate, and nuts will absolutely love this flavor! If you’ve ever tried Muscovado-flavored rum, it’s very similar to that taste.

Muscovado Sugar Uses & Health Benefits

Muscovado can be used as a substitute for granulated sugar in many recipes but there are some instances where it works better than others.

I recommend trying the following recipes that call for muscovado sugar:

  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Pumpkin bars
  • Sugar cookies
  • Hot chocolate

In terms of health benefits, muscovado sugar is a nutritious natural sweetener. It’s an excellent source of iron and calcium, plus it packs in massive doses of potassium and zinc.

Muscovado Sugar Side Effects and Warnings

Muscovado has a high sugar content which can have adverse effects on your health if you consume large amounts of it.

To be safe, you should try to keep your total sugar intake below 25g per day.

Related Questions

Can You Eat Muscovado Sugar Raw?

Yes, you can! In fact, I recommend eating muscovado sugar raw for maximum nutritional benefits.

Muscovado is made from the first pressing of the sugar cane so it contains a lot of natural molasses which have many health benefits.

Can I Use Demerara Instead of Muscovado?

Demerara sugar is made from the second pressing of the cane. It’s very similar to muscovado but it has more texture because the crystals are larger. So, yes, you can use demerara instead of muscovado in a similar quantity.

Personally, I prefer muscovado sugar over Demerara because the latter has a bitter aftertaste that’s not pleasant.

Can You Substitute Brown Sugar for Muscovado?

Yes, you can do that! There are many recipes where muscovado and brown sugar are interchangeable.

Is Muscovado Sugar Better Than White Sugar?

White sugar is refined to strip off all its nutrients and flavor. It’s packed with chemicals that are harmful to your health.

On the other hand, muscovado sugar is very rich in minerals, contains antioxidant properties, and it’s packed with vital nutrients.

So yes, muscovado sugar is a better and healthier alternative to refined white sugar in most recipes.

It does, however, contain a moderate amount of calories (about 1.5g per teaspoon) so you should not overdo it with this natural sweetener.

Final Words

Muscovado is a healthy natural sweetener that’s loaded with vital nutrients. It has a rich molasses flavor profile and it works well in many different types of recipes.

But, it won’t be an issue if you don’t have muscovado available in your pantry. It can be easily substituted with the aforementioned sugars and sweeteners helping you focus on the recipe and not on a grocery run.

Do you know any other substitute for muscovado that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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...

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