Here's What You Can Substitute For Demerara Sugar

If sugar cane had offspring, demerara would be its oldest child. This pale brown sugar comes from sugar cane's first pressing (via The Spruce Eats) and has a mild flavor with notes that mirror that of molasses, butterscotch, or caramel. And thanks to its rather large, crunchy grains, it has long been a favorite of British bakers who like to use demerara as a topping for cakes and cookies, and as a sweetener for coffees and teas (via Spiceography).

Because it has a hint of molasses and its less processed, demerara has the added advantage of being considered a healthier alternative to its sibling, refined white sugar. But as Spiceography points out, both sugars are made of sucrose, and demerara only contains a fraction of natural molasses — which means there aren't enough nutrients and minerals to make a significant positive impact on your diet.

Demerara sugar alternatives

While demerara sugar can easily be found in Europe, Spiceography says it is only beginning to reach U.S. shores. Don't get hung up if you can't score a bag of demerara as there are plenty of stateside options that can act as an acceptable substitute in a baking emergency.

Demerara is as sweet as refined white sugar, which means one can be used to substitute the other with ease. The only drawback you may find when you use refined white in place of its grittier, molasses-perfumed sibling is that your dish won't have the undertones you might be looking for. In this instance, The Spruce Eats suggests you may want to give your dish a booster by adding a tablespoon of molasses for every cup of refined white sugar.

But if you're looking to give your dish an added power-up by using a sugar with more oomph and to give it a more caramel or molasses note, you're better off looking out for turbinado, or raw, sugar. Like demerara, turbinado comes from sugar cane's first press, and is a less processed form of sugar whose brown color also comes from natural molasses (via Raw Spice Bar).