4 Demerara Sugar Substitutes

Demerara Sugar
Demerara Sugar. MirageC/Moment/Getty Images
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Demerara sugar is easy to find in some countries and quite difficult to find in others. If you haven't been able to track it down, or you're simply out of it at the moment, there are several other sugars that you can use in its place. Here's how to make a successful substitution.


  •  light brown sugar, turbinado sugar, granulated sugar, or sanding sugar


If you don't have demerara sugar on hand, just use an equal amount of light brown sugar or turbinado sugar in its place. Both of these sugars have that golden brown color and subtle molasses flavor that demerara is known for. If you have both of these sugars in your pantry, use turbinado to make your substitution. Its coarse texture is a better match for the texture of demerara sugar.

Granulated sugar can also be used as a substitute for demerara in a pinch.

Swap it out measure for measure. Since granulated sugar has a finer texture (and no molasses flavor) expect some texture and flavor differences in your recipe. 

Working on a recipe that calls for sprinkling demerara sugar on the top of your baked goods? Sanding sugar would make an excellent stand in, if you have it. Its big crystals will give you a similar visual appeal and crunch. But don't sweat it if you don't have this specialty sugar on hand. A dusting of brown sugar or granulated sugar will still look great and add a bit of crunch.

What Is Demerara Sugar?

Demerara sugar is a partially-refined raw sugar that is made from the first pressing of sugar cane. Once the extracted cane juices evaporate, you're left with large grain sugar that has a golden brown color and a subtle molasses favor. Many prefer demerara to granulated sugar because it's far less processed. Bakers like it because of the texture that it contributes to recipes.

And you'll also find that it's a favorite of coffee and tea connoisseur, who have adopted it as the preferred sweetener for hot beverages. If you've never tried demerara before, pick up a couple packets the next time you're in a coffee shop, and see what you think.

More Sugar and Sweetener Substitutes

There are so many different things that you can use to sweeten a recipe, and it's usually pretty easy to substitute one sweetener for the other. The next time a recipe calls for a sweetener that you don't have, can't find or don't like to use, turn to these substitutes for help:

More Ingredient Substitution Help

Before you jump back into your recipe, take a second to pin or bookmark this complete ingredient substitutions list. It has the information you need to keep recipes on track when you run out of an ingredient or find yourself needing to work around someone's allergy or food preference.