Turbinado sugar is a type of sugar that’s partially refined and is commonly used to replace fully refined white sugar. As it is taken from the first press of the sugar-making process, it still contains some original molasses. This gives turbinado sugar a delicate caramel flavor and a light brown color.
Turbinado sugar is a popular option as it is not entirely refined, allowing it to still have its own unique flavor. But, if you cannot find this sugar, there are still plenty of other options you can use to replace it. Here’s a handy list of some of the best turbinado sugar substitutes.
1. Light Brown Sugar
Light brown sugar is like brown sugar, except it contains a smaller percentage of molasses. This type of brown sugar is lighter in color and has a much more subtle flavor with only a hint of molasses. It has a soft consistency and makes the perfect option for cookies and other desserts that are supposed to be tender and chewy.
Light brown sugar is a great alternative to turbinado sugar as it also has a light flavor. Although it does not have the caramel notes of turbinado sugar, it does have the depth of molasses without becoming overpowering. It is the perfect substitute for baking recipes or if you want a flavorful sweetener.
2. Demerara Sugar
Demerara sugar comes from sugarcane in Africa and has a distinct flavor that is similar to caramel. This sugar is light brown and comes in the form of rough granules that are perfect for adding texture to baked goods. Demerara sugar is commonly used for garnishing or to add depth to baked goods.
Demerara sugar is the most common turbinado sugar substitute as these sugars are very similar. Both are refined just enough for consumption, while still having their own unique flavor profile. Demerara sugar does have a more intense molasses flavor, so add a small amount at first.
3. Palm Sugar
Palm sugar is a unique sugar option that is derived from all kinds of palm trees. Depending on the type of palm tree from which the sugar is produced, the taste may differ. However, all palm sugars can be used interchangeably as the differences aren’t very noticeable.
Palm sugar is a fantastic turbinado sugar substitute as it also has a noticeable flavor to it. Palm sugar tends to have notes of caramel or even a slight maple flavor depending on the type of palm tree it comes from. It also has some complexity to it, making it a great addition to a variety of recipes.
4. Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree, which gives this sugar a distinct and unique flavor profile. Coconut sugar is slightly powdery and crumbly and won’t look like your typical sugar crystals. It also has a rich brown color and a strong caramel flavor with slight hints of toasted coconut.
Coconut sugar is an easy substitute for turbinado sugar as both share similar flavors, though coconut sugar is richer. If you want a sugar option that is less refined and has a flavor of its own, coconut sugar is a great option. It adds richness to baked goods and is a unique sweetener option for everyday use.
5. Maple Sugar
Maple sugar is made by boiling maple syrup down and condensing it until only sugar granules remain. This creates a light-colored sugar that is usually coarse and has a strong maple flavor. It is often used to replace maple syrup as it is just as flavorful but slightly sweeter.
Maple sugar can be used as a turbinado sugar substitute, though it will add a maple flavor to anything it is added to. It will also differ from the caramel flavor of turbinado sugar. While you can use both sugars in the same way, just be prepared to have notes of maple when using maple sugar.
6. Muscovado Sugar
Muscovado sugar is a type of sugar that can either be partially refined or unrefined. This sugar is dark and moist with a strong flavor of molasses. It is often compared to brown sugar, but the two are very different as brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added.
You can use muscovado sugar as a substitute for turbinado sugar if you want sugar that has a flavor of its own. Muscovado sugar will add richness as well as moisture to anything you add it to. It is stronger in flavor than turbinado sugar but is very popularly used in baking.
7. White Sugar
White sugar is the most refined type of sugar that is usually made from beet sugar or cane sugar. This is the most common kind of sugar used for various sweetening purposes and is also referred to as table sugar. It is the lightest in color and lacks any real flavor, offering potent sweetness to whatever you add it to.
Though white sugar is not the best substitute for turbinado sugar, it is still a good option if you don’t have access to any other substitutes. The only problem is white sugar will only add sweetness without any complex flavor. You can combat this by adding a bit of molasses to your recipes to infuse deeper flavors.