Turbinado Sugar Substitute

Turbinado Sugar
Turbinado Sugar. J Shepherd/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
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Preparing a recipe that calls for turbinado sugar and wondering what, if anything, you can use in its place? Another sugar from your pantry should do the trick. Here's how to make a successful substitution, so you don't have to make a special trip to the store.


  •  light brown sugar, muscavado sugar or demerara


If you don't have turbinado sugar, or can't find it at the store, just use the same amount of light brown sugar in its place. Brown sugar is more refined, and has a slightly higher molasses content, but it'll contribute a similar color and flavor to your recipe. It's okay to use dark brown sugar, if that's all you have. Just know that it'll contribute a darker color and a bit more moisture than the recipe intended, which you may find is a good thing.

Demerara or light muscavado sugar can also be used in place of the turbinado sugar.

If you live somewhere where it's difficult to find any of these sugars, just whip up your own brown sugar from granulated sugar and molasses. Here's how.

What Is Turbinado Sugar?

Turbinado sugar is a natural brown sugar that is made by pressing sugar cane to extract the juice. The resulting sugar cane juices are allowed to evaporate, leaving behind large, light brown sugar crystals. Turbinado sugar is less processed than granulated sugar, and retains some of the natural molasses from the sugar cane juice. This makes it more moist and flavorful than granulated sugar. Some cooks prefer turbinado because it's minimally processed; others prefer it because the large crystals lend themselves to decorating the tops of baked goods. 

If you decide to buy turbinado sugar, be sure to store it in an air-tight container. Like brown sugar, it's prone to hardening when exposed to air.

But don't fret, if yours turns brick hard. It's easy enough to soften it back up.

More Sugar and Sweetener Substitutes

When a recipe calls for a type of sugar or sweetener that you don't have in your pantry, don't like to use or can't track down locally, turn to these substitutions to keep your recipe on track:

More Ingredient Substitutions to Try

Keep this list of substitutions handy, so you can refer to it whenever you find yourself out of an ingredient, or needing to make a change to accommodate an allergy or food preference. With over 70 substitutions (and counting), it's sure to have the information you need to get the job done.