What is brown granulated sugar?

Brown granulated sugar
Brown granulated sugar is a darker sugar type with a more complex flavor profile than white granulated sugar. It is made by mixing white granulated sugar with molasses, which gives it its characteristic brown color and flavor. Brown granulated sugar looks similar to white granulated sugar but has a darker brown color and a slightly coarser texture.

What is granulated brown sugar?

Brown granulated sugar
Brown granulated sugar

Granulated brown sugar is a type of sugar that is made by adding molasses back into refined white sugar crystals.

Solid brown sugar is composed mainly of sucrose, a type of disaccharide consisting of fructose and glucose.

OriginUnclear origin
AppearanceLooks similar to white granulated sugar
Flavor profileDepends on its molasses content, usually sweet with hints of toffee and butterscotch


The origin of granulated brown sugar is unclear, but it is common in Western cuisines, particularly in baking recipes such as cookies, cakes, and brownies.

It is also present in Asian cuisines like Chinese and Thai for making sauces and marinades.


Granulated brown sugar looks similar to regular white granulated sugar but has a slightly darker color due to the presence of molasses. It is typically sold in bags or canisters and found in most grocery stores.

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Flavor profile

The flavor profile of granulated brown sugar depends on its molasses content, giving it a rich, complex flavor different from regular white table sugar. It has a sweet, slightly caramel-like taste with hints of toffee and butterscotch.

Is brown sugar healthy?

Much has been discussed about whether brown sugar is healthier than white sugar. Nutritionally speaking, brown sugar doesn’t differ much from white sugar, having many of the same health benefits.

It has some minerals, such as calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium, which are absent in white sugar. However, these minerals are present in insignificant quantities, so there are no significant health benefits of using brown sugar over white sugar. 

Therefore, it’s healthy as long as its’ not used in excess.

What is the difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar?

Light brown sugarContains a lower percentage of molasses, has a milder flavor and lighter color
Dark brown sugarContains more molasses, has a robust, more complex flavor and a darker color, stickier

The main differences between the two sugars are their taste and impact on baked goods.

Light brown sugar contains a lower percentage of molasses than dark brown sugar, giving it a milder flavor and lighter color. You can use it in baking recipes that require a more subtle sweetness.

On the other hand, dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light brown sugar, which gives it a more robust, more complex flavor and a darker color. You can use it in recipes that call for a deeper, richer flavor, such as gingerbread, glazes, or barbecue sauce.

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Regarding texture, dark brown sugar tends to be moister and stickier than light brown sugar due to its higher molasses content. The molasses affects the texture and consistency of baked goods, so using the correct type of brown sugar specified in a recipe is essential.

What is the difference between raw and brown sugar?

“Raw sugar” is also called brown sugar, which is a natural sugar that hasn’t undergone the complete refining process. However, most manufacturers add molasses to white sugar to create a blend with roughly¬†5% amount of molasses.

They use the kind that comes from the sugar beet of the sugar cane that becomes refined sugar. This is why brown sugar is not natural.

Brown sugar types comparison table

There are a few types of brown sugar out there, so let’s compare them:

DemeraraMade from partially refined sugar cane and has a subtle molasses flavor
TurbinadoMade from partially refined sugar cane, has a mild caramel flavor
MuscovadoMade from unrefined sugar cane and has a strong molasses flavor, has a strong molasses flavor
  1. Demerara sugar: This sugar has large, golden-brown crystals with a crunchy texture. It is made from partially refined sugar cane and has a subtle molasses flavor. It is common in baking recipes as a sweetener for coffee and tea and in baking recipes.
  2. Turbinado sugar: This sugar is similar to demerara sugar but has slightly smaller crystals and a lighter color. It is made from partially refined sugar cane and retains some natural molasses, giving it a mild caramel flavor. It is a key ingredient in toppings for baked goods and beverages.
  3. Muscovado sugar: This sugar is the darkest and most moist of the three, with a deep brown color and a sticky texture. It is made from unrefined sugar cane and has a strong molasses flavor. It is present in recipes with rich caramel flavors, such as gingerbread and fruit cakes.
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What does brown sugar do for baked goods?

Brown sugar can have several effects on baked goods:

  • Flavor: Brown sugar has a rich, molasses-like taste that can add depth and complexity to baked goods.
  • Moisture: The moisture content in brown sugar is higher than in white sugar, which can help baked goods stay moist and tender.
  • Color: Brown sugar can help baked goods develop a golden brown color due to its caramelization when baked.
  • Texture: The molasses in brown sugar can contribute to a softer texture in baked goods, making them more tender and chewy.
  • Leavening: Brown sugar can aid in the leavening process of some baked goods by reacting with baking soda to produce carbon dioxide gas, which helps the dough or batter rise. This is thanks to its higher acidity that reacts with the baking soda.

Recipe idea with granulated sugar: Chocolate Chip Cookies

What is the best brown granulated sugar replacement?

Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar

Coconut sugar would be the best brown sugar substitute. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of coconut palm trees and has a caramel flavor similar to brown sugar.

This sugar contains trace amounts of minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. It also has a lower glycemic index than brown sugar, meaning it causes a slower rise in blood sugar levels.

Coconut sugar has a flavor similar to brown sugar, making it a suitable replacement for recipes that call for brown sugar. Use it as a direct substitute in the 1:1 ratio. Still, it may change the color and texture of some baked goods.

How to make granulated brown sugar?

You can make brown sugar by combining sugar and molasses or sugar and other sweeteners such as maple syrup. Here is how you can do that:

  1. Take 1 cup of granulated sugar and1 a tablespoon of molasses maple syrup
  2. Mix them
  3. The final product is a close-to-perfect replacement for brown sugar

You can store sugar in your pantry in an airtight container for years but using it within 2 years is best.


Alexandra is a passionate writer with a deep appreciation for food - not just as nourishment but as an expression of culture, a reflection of history, and a celebration of life. She knows that everything in life requires a little spice - and gets a kick (get it?) every time she achieves the perfect combination of heat and depth.

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