Here's What You Can Substitute For Brown Sugar

When you see a great new recipe, it's natural to get so excited about it you have to go bake it right away. But, it can be really frustrating to find that you are actually out of one of the pantry staples you actually need, like brown sugar. Luckily, like in the case of many pantry essentials, there are some substitutes you can use in place of brown sugar, but it is important to understand which is best to select.

Brown sugar is essentially sugar that still has some sugar cane juice or molasses in it, though some has evaporated. Granular sugar has all of the molasses removed from it and light brown sugar has had up to 10 percent molasses by weight added back into white granular sugar (via King Arthur Baking). There are more differences between white sugar and brown sugar that don't make them exactly interchangeable, though.

Brown sugar is acidic and can lower the pH of a recipe. This means that baking soda is often added as a leavening agent because the reaction between the low pH brown sugar and the high pH baking soda help baked goods rise. White sugar does not have the same pH as brown sugar, which can lead to uncertain results. Some baked goods might be fine while others might not spread or rise correctly if you use white sugar as a substitute. However, The Pioneer Woman claims that it's still possible to make a swap.

Possible substitutes for brown sugar

Luckily, there are other alternatives that make for better brown sugar substitutes. The best substitute you can use for brown sugar is granulated white sugar and molasses together. You don't even have to mix them together first; you can simply add them to your recipe at the same time. For every cup of dark brown sugar you need, just use one cup of white granulated sugar and one tablespoon of molasses. You can use the same ratio but with two teaspoons of molasses instead of a tablespoon if you need a swap for light brown sugar.

If you do not have molasses, you can use other liquid sweeteners such as honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup. The ratio is slightly more with one cup of white sugar and two tablespoons of the liquid sweetener of your choice per cup of brown sugar.

Other suitable sugars that you could use in place of brown sugar include coconut sugar or muscovado sugar. Turbinado or date sugar could both work, too. Just do a little scouring of your pantry to see what you have that could work in the place of brown sugar and you may be pleasantly surprised.