Turbinado sugar is a versatile sugar that is also sold as Sugar in the Raw. It is often the best choice if you want to make something with caramel notes that are not as strong as those from brown sugar. Turbinado sugar is useful but may not be easy to find in many places. If you cannot find it and cannot wait for it to be shipped to you, we have a few great turbinado sugar substitutes that you can try.
Your best bet: A blend of white and light brown sugar
Refined white sugar and light brown sugar are two forms of sugar that are easy to find in that most western grocery stores will have both. In addition, both are relatively affordable. Those factors make a combination of the two the easiest turbinado sugar substitute to implement.
Light brown sugar consists of refined white sugar to which molasses has been added to give it color, moisture and flavor. Typically, light brown sugar consists of 3.5 percent molasses blended with 96.5 percent sugar. It is a way of replicating partially refined sugars like turbinado sugar and muscovado.
Turbinado sugar does not have as strong a molasses flavor or as deep a brown color as light brown sugar. By combining them, you dilute the molasses flavor and the brown color. This gives you something very close to the flavor of turbinado sugar and when dissolved, it will have a similar pale brown color as well.
Use your refined white sugar and brown sugar blend as a 1:1 substitute for turbinado sugar.
A decent second choice: Demerara sugar
Demerara sugar is a British version of Turbinado sugar. It was shipped from the port of Demerara back when Guyana was still a British possession, hence the name. Like turbinado sugar, it is often referred to as a raw sugar. It is not actually raw, just partially refined. Turbinado sugar undergoes a little extra processing in the form of steaming to remove some of its molasses content. This means that demerara is actually slightly darker and has a slightly more intense molasses flavor.
However, the processing it undergoes is minimal so it has a similar pale golden appearance as that of turbinado sugar and a similar amount of moisture. In terms of its caloric content per ounce, it is identical to that of turbinado sugar. Both sugars are used similarly in recipes; however, you will usually only see a recipe that requires demerara sugar in British cookbooks.
Use demerara sugar as a 1:1 substitute for turbinado sugar.
In a pinch: Maple sugar
Maple sugar is made by crystallizing maple syrup. While it has a maple flavor instead of the molasses flavor that you get from turbinado sugar, that flavor can work in most recipes that require turbinado sugar. It also has the light, golden brown color and large crystals that you get from turbinado sugar. Use as a sweetener for coffee or tea as well as in baked goods like apple pies and chocolate chip cookies.
Maple sugar is sweeter than turbinado sugar, so you will want to use about 2/3 cup of it for every cup of turbinado sugar that you are replacing.
Honey can be an effective substitute for turbinado sugar despite the fact that it is a liquid. Turbinado sugar’s flavor is often likened to that of honey and both sweeteners give a light brown color to foods. Note that because honey is a liquid, you will have to adjust the other liquids in your recipe to compensate. It can also cause baked goods to brown at lower temperatures, which means that you may also have to adjust temperatures and baking times.