15 Best Cane Sugar Substitutes To Use In Your Baking

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Cane Sugar Substitutes

Do you have a recipe that calls for cane sugar and you don’t have any on hand? Or maybe you’re looking to cut down on the amount of refined sugar in your diet. Either way, there are plenty of great substitutes for cane sugar that will work perfectly in your baking recipes!

In this blog post, we will discuss 15 different substitutes for cane sugar that you can use in your favorite recipes. So whether you’re looking for an all-natural alternative or just a substitution to lower the glycemic index, we’ve got you covered!

15 Best Substitutes for Cane Sugar

From all-natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup to more processed alternatives such as agave syrup and stevia, there are plenty of options available when it comes to finding cane sugar substitutes. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best ones!

1. Honey

Using honey as a sugar substitute is becoming increasingly popular as more individuals become aware of its numerous health benefits. Honey is naturally sweeter than sugar, contains more vitamins and minerals, and raises blood sugar levels more slowly than cane sugar.

This makes it an ideal option for those looking to reduce their sugar intake but still satisfy their sweet tooth. Plus, when used in baking or cooking, honey will keep your products moister for longer due to its natural humectant properties. 

However, using honey as a substitute for cane sugar isn’t always straightforward. It’s important to take into account its color and flavor profiles since they will differ from recipe to recipe. For example, you might not want to use dark honey in a recipe that calls for a light and mild flavor.

The amount of honey you would use in place of cane sugar will depend on the recipe itself. As a general rule, you should use between 1/2 and 2/3 cups of honey for every cup of cane sugar. Once you begin to experiment with different recipes, you’ll get a better sense of how much honey to use in each one.

2. Maple Syrup

Real maple syrup is an excellent substitute for cane sugar. Not only does it have a unique flavor profile with caramel, woodsy maple and hints of vanilla in its taste, but it can also provide nutritional benefits that you won’t find when using cane sugar.

Maple syrup ranks lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar, making it a better option for those with diabetes who need to monitor their blood sugar levels.

In addition to being lower on the glycemic index scale, real maple syrup also contains antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-bacterial properties. Cane sugar does not contain any of these beneficial compounds because of the highly refined process it takes to achieve the product. 

Replacing cane sugar with real maple syrup is easy to do in many recipes. To do so accurately while still achieving desired results in your recipe or dish, use 2/3 cup of maple syrup for every cup of cane sugar that is called for in your recipe. Also, you might need to reduce all other liquid ingredients in your recipe by about 1/4 cup as well to prevent adding too much liquid and affecting the results.

Keep in mind though that when using real maple syrup instead of cane sugar, you may notice that the color of your final product will be slightly darker due to the natural woodsy tone of real maple differing from that of white cane sugar. 

3. Beet Sugar

Beef sugar is a great option to consider when looking for a replacement to cane sugar. It has a similar sweetness and texture as regular white sugar. Therefore, it can be used in recipes with the same quantity that you would usually use for cane sugar. However, there are some differences between the two types that you should be aware of when making this substitution. 

However, because of their different characteristics (e.g., taste and caramelising capabilities), some recipes may require adjustments for the end product to obtain desired results. For instance, if you are baking something where caramelisation plays an important role then you may want to opt for cane sugar instead of beet; on the other hand, if you are looking for a crunchy texture-like then you’ll want to use beet instead. 

Finally, do note that both beet and cane sugars contain sucrose which can be harmful if consumed in excess amounts. For this reason, it’s important to practice moderation when using either type in your diet and limit your intake of any type of sweetener. 

4. Applesauce

Applesauce is an excellent substitute for cane sugar in many recipes, creating a healthier and more flavorful dessert. Applesauce lends a hint of apple-like sweetness that can brighten up any dish. It also adds moisture, keeping desserts from becoming dry or crumbly.

Using applesauce as a sugar substitute also helps to reduce calories and added sugars. Since apples are naturally sweet, they provide flavor without adding any refined sugars or empty calories which can lead to weight gain over time.

Additionally, when made from scratch at home, homemade applesauce contains more dietary fiber than store-bought versions. This means that when incorporated into desserts, there’s an added bonus of higher nutritional value compared to if you were to use regular cane sugar. 

To use applesauce as a sugar replacement, one should generally follow a one-to-one ratio; however, depending on the recipe and the sweetness of the applesauce, this ratio can be increased to 1 1/2 parts applesauce for every part of sugar. 

When using applesauce to replace sugar, it is important to remember that as it is a wet ingredient, other wet ingredients must be decreased by ¼ cup for each cup of applesauce used. This ensures that the texture or consistency of the finished product is not affected.

5. Agave Syrup

Agave Syrup has a light, honey-like flavor and offers many health benefits, including being low in calories and containing various vitamins and minerals. Agave syrup can be used as a sugar substitute in cakes, cookies, and other desserts.

Another thing to keep in mind is it may not have the same sweetness or consistency as regular high-fructose corn syrup. As such, it is best to taste the agave before you begin cooking so that you can adjust your recipe accordingly.

Furthermore, because different brands of agave nectar will have different sweetness levels, do not rely solely on measurements when substituting one for the other. You may need to increase or decrease the amount depending on what type of agave nectar you are using and how sweet you want your dessert to be.

However, generally, I adhere to the 75 percent rule when using it as a substitute for cane sugar — in other words, use three-quarters of the amount of agave compared to what is called for in regular recipes

6. Molasses

Molasses is a healthier alternative to cane sugar due to its rich nutrient content. It’s packed full of essential minerals such as calcium and iron which makes it great for helping to boost your immune system and improving heart health. Additionally, due to its high content of antioxidants, it can act as an anti-inflammatory agent and help reduce symptoms caused by inflammation. 

When using molasses as a substitute for cane sugar in desserts or other recipes, it is important to understand the nuances of how the two ingredients interact. Molasses is much less sweet than regular cane sugar, so you may need to use more if you want the same level of sweetness. But as a general rule, you can replace an equal amount of cane sugar with molasses in most recipes.

It’s important to consider the type of molasses you’re using as well. There are three types of molasses available: mild, blackstrap and dark molasses. Depending on your recipe or preference you can choose the variety that best fits your needs or even mix two or more together for greater complexity when baking with molasses instead of cane sugar. 

7. Coconut Sugar

When it comes to sweetness, both coconut and cane sugars are similarly sweet. The same goes for granulated texture — both have very similar textures which makes substituting one for the other even easier. In most cases, you can simply use the same amount of either type of sugar when making a recipe with no difficulties. 

While coconut sugar and cane sugar are very similar, there may be slight differences in cooking time. In some recipes, you may find that the cooking time is longer when using coconut sugar meanwhile, in others, you may find that the cooking time is shorter. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on your food when using coconut sugar as a replacement for cane sugar.

Coconut sugar is also slightly lower in calories than regular granulated sugar and has a more complex flavor. This can be a great benefit for those who prefer baking with a more unique taste and added nutritional value.

8. Muscovado Sugar

Muscovado sugar, also known as Barbados sugar, is an unrefined cane sugar that is more intensely produced than white or brown sugar. In terms of flavor, muscovado sugar has a distinct caramel quality that makes it superior to other sweeteners. Its sandy texture is what sets it apart from regular granulated sugars, allowing for a unique texture and flavor.

In baking, muscovado sugar is often used for making dark cakes like gingerbread. It’s also important to bear in mind that Muscovado sugar has more moisture than traditional cane sugar. This means that recipes may need to be tweaked slightly if using this type of sugar in place of regular cane sugars

But for starters, when substituting muscovado sugar for regular cane sugar, use the one-to-one ratio. This means that if you are using one cup of regular sugar in a recipe, you should use the same amount of muscovado sugar instead. From there, you can adjust the sweetness level and cooking time depending on your desired results.

9. Fruit Syrup

Using fruit syrups as a substitute for cane sugar. The sweet and tasty syrup is made from various fruits, making it an excellent option for those who want to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit while avoiding the added sugars found in cane sugar. 

When substituting cane sugar for syrup, it is important to remember that you need to reduce the liquid ingredients by 3 tablespoons for each cup of sugar. Additionally, most guides recommend substituting ¾ cup of fruit juice for every 1 cup of sugar. 

There are two main types of fruit syrups available on the market – ones that are designed as substitutes for sugar and ones that maintain the flavour and colour of the original fruit used in making them.

It’s not quite straightforward how much fruit syrup you need to replace a cup of cane sugar. But most guides recommend using ¾ cup of syrup for each cup of sugar in a recipe. In addition, you should reduce the amount of liquid ingredients by 3 tablespoons for each ¾ cup of syrup used.

This will ensure that you get the desired sweetness without adding too much liquid to the recipe.

10. Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is an excellent substitute for cane sugar in many recipes. It is a liquid sweetener made from cornstarch, and it has a number of culinary uses including making candy, jams, jellies, frostings and baked goods. Unlike regular table sugar which consists mostly of sucrose (a combination of glucose and fructose), corn syrup is mainly composed of pure glucose. 

There are both light and dark versions of corn syrup. Light corn syrup contains less molasses than the dark version and may be slightly less sweet on its own. However, the darker version has more intense flavors like caramel or butterscotch which can enhance certain recipes. Consider the strength of the other flavors in your recipe before choosing either light or dark corn syrup.

To use corn syrup as a substitute for cane sugar, the general rule is that whichever type of corn syrup you choose should be used in a 3/4 cup-to-1 cup ratio with the cane sugar.

11. Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is a type of raw sugar extracted from sugar cane and can be used as a replacement for regular cane sugar. The golden-brown color, big grain size, and crisp texture of this type of sugar adds an extra level of flavor to dishes that would otherwise be missing. Furthermore, the neutral sweetness allows it to complement many other flavors without overpowering them.

Not only does it provide unique flavor and texture, but it also offers nutritional benefits. Demerara sugar is rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium which can aid in digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties.

When using demerara sugar as a replacement for cane sugar, the general ratio is one cup of demerara for every one cup of cane sugar. It is important to remember that because the grains are larger, you may need to grind the demerara until it reaches the consistency of fine sand before adding it to your recipe.

12. Rock Sugar

Rock sugar is especially popular in Asian cuisines, where it is used to enhance the flavor of teas, desserts, and even savory dishes. Rock sugar has a milder sweetness as compared to granulated white table sugar. This makes it an ideal choice for those who are looking to add a subtle sweetness to their recipes without making them overly sweet. 

When considering replacing cane sugar with rock sugar in recipes, it’s important to note that the amount may need to be adjusted depending on the type of recipe to obtain the desired sweetness level. Generally speaking though, rock sugar can be used as a direct replacement for cane sugar in a 1:1 ratio. For example, if you’re making jam or jelly and the recipe calls for 1 cup of cane sugar, then you would use 1 cup of rock sugar instead.

13. Sugar Syrup

Simple syrup is an easy, affordable alternative that works well in many applications. To make simple syrup, all you need is equal parts of sugar and water combined into a pan and brought to a boil.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved completely. The syrup should have a syrupy consistency when done. This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks so that when you need it, it’s already prepared. 

When substituting simple syrup for cane sugar, use a 1:1 ratio or ¾ cup of simple syrup for every cup of cane sugar if you are looking for a lower-sugar option. Be sure to mix well so that all of the ingredients are properly distributed throughout your recipe or drink before consuming.

You’ll also want to take into account that since there’s water in simple syrup, it will affect your recipe differently than straight-up cane sugar, so don’t forget to adjust accordingly. 

14. Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is a great alternative for those wanting to reduce the amount of sugar in their diet. It has been used for centuries in China as a natural sweetener due to its incredibly sweet taste, and is now becoming increasingly popular around the world. Monk fruit sweeteners are made from the extract of this small round fruit, which can be found growing in many Asian countries.

Unlike cane sugar, monk fruit contains zero calories per serving and is 150 to 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. Its intense sweetness means that only a pinch of it is needed to sweeten recipes the same way many spoons of cane sugar would. 

Furthermore, monk fruit sweetener is incredibly stable even when heated at high temperatures, making it a great option for baking recipes. 

15. Artificial Sweetener

Artificial sweeteners are artificial or synthetic sugar substitutes that come in different forms, such as sucralose, saccharin, and aspartame. When using artificial sweeteners instead of cane sugar, it’s important to understand that different types have different levels of sweetness.

For example, sucralose has a greater sweetness level than saccharin or aspartame so less sucralose will be needed to achieve the desired level of sweetness.

It’s also important to note that not all artificial sweeteners can be used for baking purposes. Therefore when cooking with an artificial sweetener one should always read the label thoroughly before using any product. 

In terms of side effects, some artificial sweeteners have been associated with potential health risks when consumed in large amounts. Therefore it is best to use natural alternatives such as monk fruit or rock sugar whenever possible and only use artificial sweeteners in moderation.


Finding the perfect substitute for cane sugar can be tricky, but there are plenty of options out there. Whether you’re looking for a more natural alternative or a way to cut down on the refined sugar in your diet, these 15 substitutes for cane sugar can provide you with an ideal solution. Experiment and find out which one works best for your recipes! Good luck and happy baking!

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!