What can I substitute for coconut sugar? Learn the best coconut sugar substitute for baking, keto, get healthy substitutes for coconut sugar, and more! You can use regular sugar instead of coconut sugar, but you have lots of other options. Get info on the coconut sugar substitute ratio for various alternatives like brown sugar, honey, and white sugar. You’ll save money and a trip to the health food store with these coconut sugar alternatives.
Looking for a coconut sugar alternative that’s affordable? Or maybe you’d like a coconut sugar replacement that’s easier to find in stores and good for baking. No matter your needs, you’ll find the best coconut palm sugar substitute for you in today’s post.
Coconut sugar is expensive and hard to find in regular grocery stores. Luckily, one of the best coconut sugar replacements around is also cheap- light brown sugar.
However, there are lots of other liquid and granulated sweeteners you can use in place of coconut sugar. You shouldn’t have to make an extra trip to the store if you have a well-stocked pantry. Depending on the recipe, you might not even be able to tell that a coconut sugar substitution was made.
- 🤔 21 Best Coconut Sugar Substitutes
- ➕ What is Coconut Sugar?
- 🏆 Best Natural Substitute for Coconut Sugar
- 🧁 Coconut Sugar Substitute for Baking
- 👉 Coconut Sugar Substitute Keto
- 🥉 Best Coconut Sugar Substitute Overall
- 💰 Where to buy coconut sugar near me?
- 📋 Coconut Sugar Nutrition
- 👩🏻🍳 Recipes Using Sugar
- 🧑🏿🍳 Other Recipe Substitutions
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
🤔 21 Best Coconut Sugar Substitutes
Here is a list of what to use instead of coconut sugar:
- Light Brown Sugar
- Regular Sugar (AKA granulated white table sugar)
- Raw Honey
- Maple Syrup
- Date Syrup
- Agave Nectar
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Coconut Nectar
- Panela (Piloncillo)
- Evaporated Sugar Cane Juice
- Date Paste (Blended Medjool Dates)
- Monk Fruit Sweetener
- Turbinado Sugar (Demerara Sugar)
So, what makes a good coconut sugar substitute? Here are more details on each of these options, as well as coconut sugar substitution ratios (source).
Brown sugar is brown because of the presence of molasses. It’s created either by partially refining sugar crystals, or by adding molasses back to white sugar.
Brown sugar, specifically light brown sugar, is my favorite coconut sugar substitute. It’s inexpensive and has a light caramel flavor that’s similar to coconut sugar. You can substitute 1 cup of light brown sugar for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio).
Dark brown sugar has a stronger flavor than light brown sugar, but can still be used as a coconut sugar alternative.
“Regular sugar” is also known as white sugar, table sugar, and granulated sugar. It’s my second favorite substitute for coconut sugar.
Why does white sugar rank so high as a coconut sugar substitute? It is extremely inexpensive, and nearly everyone has some on hand. Additionally, you can substitute 1 cup of regular sugar for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio).
The one downside of using regular sugar is that you miss out on the caramelized flavor present in coconut sugar. Still, the price point and ease of recipe conversions makes this a substitute not to be missed.
Both regular honey and raw honey can be used as a coconut sugar alternative. Raw honey is less processed than regular honey, which means you may keep more beneficial nutrients in this product. Unfortunately, raw honey is often more expensive, so go with the one that fits your budget.
You can substitute ¾ cup of honey for 1 cup of coconut sugar (3:4 ratio). You may need to adjust the amount of other liquids in your recipe when you use a liquid sweetener.
Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees. Though often touted as a healthier alternative to sugar, it is an added sugar just like many other items on this list. One benefit of pure maple syrup is that it’s higher in riboflavin than white sugar.
You can substitute ¾ cup of maple syrup for 1 cup of coconut sugar (3:4 ratio). You may need to adjust the amount of other liquids in your recipe when you use a liquid sweetener.
Date syrup is a natural sweetener made of dates and water. It has a caramel-like flavor, making it a good alternative to coconut sugar.
Because date syrup has such a strong flavor, you can substitute ⅔ cup of date syrup for 1 cup of coconut sugar (2:3 ratio). You may need to adjust the amount of other liquids in your recipe when you use a liquid sweetener.
Agave nectar, or agave syrup, is an added sugar produced from several species of the agave plant. Like coconut sugar, it tends to be one of the more expensive sweetener options.
You can substitute ⅔ cup of agave syrup for 1 cup of coconut sugar (2:3 ratio). Reduce the other liquids in your recipe by 2-4 tablespoons when you use this substitution (source).
Brown rice (malt) syrup is produced by breaking the starches in brown rice into sugar with enzymes. Some of the liquid is then evaporated off, creating a thickened sweetener that measures similar to molasses.
You can substitute 1 ⅓ cup of brown rice syrup for 1 cup of coconut sugar (4:3 ratio). You may need to adjust the amount of other liquids in your recipe when you use this sweetener.
Coconut nectar (AKA coconut syrup or coconut tree sap) is made by gathering the sap of coconut tree blossoms, and thickening it with evaporation. It’s thick like honey, with a buttery caramel flavor that’s similar to coconut sugar. This makes sense, since coconut nectar is essentially coconut sugar without all the water removed.
You can substitute ¾ cup of coconut nectar for 1 cup of coconut sugar (3:4 ratio). You may need to adjust the amount of other liquids in your recipe when you use a liquid sweetener. Please note that this sweetener is NOT the same as coconut aminos, which has added salt.
There are two big disadvantages of using coconut syrup as a coconut sugar replacement. The first is that it’s pricey and hard to find. The second is that using a liquid sweetener in place of granulated coconut sugar may change the consistency of your recipe.
Panela is whole cane sugar that is unrefined. It’s known by the name piloncillo in Mexico and rapadura in Portuguese. Those coming from other parts of the globe may know of a similar product called jaggery.
Panela has a caramelly flavor that makes it a super substitute for coconut sugar. It’s sold in sold blocks, but the granulated version is easiest to use in recipes. You can substitute 1 cup of panela for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio).
Evaporated cane juice or evaporated cane sugar is considered by the FDA to be a misleading name for cane sugar. It’s essentially the raw sugar obtained by evaporating water from sugarcane juice.
Since it’s less processed than white sugar, it retains some of the caramel flavor from molasses. This quality makes it a good coconut sugar substitute. You can substitute 1 cup of evaporated cane juice for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio).
For those looking for a whole foods substitution for coconut sugar, date paste may be a good choice. Date paste is made by blending Medjool dates, or other types of dates into a thick paste. Water may or may not be added.
The conversion of coconut sugar to date paste depends on which date paste you use. Some are much thicker than others. Experiment with substituting 1 cup of date paste for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio).
Monkfruit sweetener (AKA luo han guo) is a low carb sweetener extracted from a plant in the gourd family. You can find monk fruit sweetener extract sold in powder or liquid form. It’s also available mixed with erythritol in 1:1 sugar substitute blends that are good for baking.
Monk fruit extracts are not good substitutes in baking recipes because the conversion rates are so different. You can substitute ⅔ teaspoon monk fruit powder for 1 cup coconut sugar, or 288 drops of monk fruit liquid for 1 cup coconut sugar. (For liquid extract sweeteners, be sure to check the packaging of the product for the most accurate conversion information.)
Xylitol is a low glycemic and lower calorie sweetener that is a type of sugar alcohol. It’s naturally present in a variety of foods, but is often extracted from birch trees.
You can substitute 1 cup of xylitol for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio). This sweetener is often promoted as being better for dental health and for diabetics than regular sugar.
Allulose is one of the newer keto and low calorie sugar substitutes to hit the US market. It naturally occurs in wheat, figs, raisins, and other foods.
Allulose is not as sweet as regular sugar or coconut sugar, so you’ll need to add more to recipes to maintain the same level of sweetness. You can substitute 1 ⅓ cup of allulose for 1 cup of coconut sugar (4:3 ratio). Keep in mind that adding more dry sweetener may change the consistency of your recipe.
Tagatose is a lower calorie and lower glycemic index sugar substitute derived from lactose. In the US, you can find it under the brand name Whey Low Sweetener. (It’s way low in calories and carbs- get it? Haha)
Tagatose is touted as a 1:1 sugar substitute, but it’s only about 90% as sweet as sugar. You can substitute 1 cup of tagatose for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio). However, keep in mind your recipe won’t be quite as sweet as if you used coconut sugar.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that’s about 70% as sweet as sugar. It’s often blended with other sweeteners (such as stevia or monk fruit) to make 1:1 low carb sweeteners for baking.
Coconut sugar can replace erythritol and vice versa, but not in a 1:1 ratio. You can substitute 1 ⅓ cup of erythritol for 1 cup of coconut sugar (4:3 ratio). Keep in mind that adding more dry sweetener may change the consistency of your recipe.
Sucanat is actually a brand name for a variety of whole cane sugar. The name “Sucanat” is derived from the words “sugar cane natural.” Similar products (like panela and muscovado) are produced across the globe.
Sucanat has a light brown color and caramel flavor similar to coconut sugar, making it a good option for a substitute. You can substitute 1 cup of Sucanat for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio).
Swerve is my favorite low carb and low-calorie sweetener. It is made from a combination of erythritol, oligosaccharides, and natural flavors. I find it’s just as sweet as sugar and it measures 1:1 when used as a substitute in baking recipes.
You can substitute 1 cup of Sucanat for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio). If you want to lower the carbs or make a recipe lower calorie, Swerve is a great choice. Unlike some other sugar substitutes, I find it has no aftertaste (though some may disagree).
Stevia is a natural sweetener that’s derived from the leaves of the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana). You can find stevia extract sold in powder or liquid form. It’s also available mixed with erythritol in 1:1 sugar substitute blends that are good for baking.
Stevia extracts are not good substitutes in baking recipes because the conversion rates are so different. You can substitute ¼ teaspoon stevia powder for 1 cup coconut sugar, or 2 teaspoons stevia liquid for 1 cup coconut sugar. (For liquid extract sweeteners, check the packaging of the product for the most accurate conversion information.)
Turbinado Sugar (Demerara Sugar)
Turbinado sugar (AKA demerara or raw sugar) is made from partially evaporated cane sugar that is spun to have almost all the molasses removed. This type of sugar is light golden brown in color and has large crystals.
You can substitute 1 cup of turbinado sugar for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio). Turbinado is not as moist as regular brown sugar, so its texture is more similar to coconut sugar. However, it tends to be more expensive than brown sugar.
Muscovado is a popular type of sugar in India. It has a strong molasses flavor, and dark brown color. This is the result of this sugar being either unrefined or partially refined.
Like regular brown sugar, you can find light and dark muscovado varieties. Light muscovado is best to replace coconut sugar in recipes. You can substitute 1 cup of light muscovado sugar for 1 cup of coconut sugar (1:1 ratio).
➕ What is Coconut Sugar?
Coconut sugar (AKA coconut palm sugar) is a palm sugar made from the sap of coconut palm flowers. In the US, it’s easiest to find coconut sugar in granule form, but it’s also sold as a block and a liquid.
What is the difference between sugar and coconut sugar? Coconut sugar is similar in carbs and calories to regular table sugar. It counts as an added sugar, and is not a low calorie food.
GI of coconut sugar vs table sugar- is there a difference? The glycemic index of coconut sugar is around 54, while white table sugar is around 60. I would not consider coconut sugar to be much better in support of healthy blood sugar than regular sugar.
The main difference between sugar and coconut sugar is how it is produced. White sugar is made from beet sugar or from the sugar cane. White sugar is highly refined so the molasses is completely removed, giving you a pure white sugar.
How to Make Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar, on the other hand, is made from sap from the flower bud stems of coconut trees. Water is then evaporated from the sap to make a thick nectar, or with more evaporation, coconut sugar crystals.
Coconut sugar becomes brown as the coconut sap is reduced due to caramelization. This gives coconut sugar a depth of flavor not present in white sugar.
🏆 Best Natural Substitute for Coconut Sugar
IMO, the best natural substitute for coconut sugar is natural brown sugar. Light brown sugar is similar in flavor and appearance to coconut sugar, but is much less expensive (in the US). Additionally, there are no large nutritional advantages to using coconut sugar instead of brown sugar.
Date paste is the best alternative for coconut sugar if you need a whole foods option. Using dates instead of coconut sugar will help you increase your intake of fruits. However, dates don’t work well as a coconut sugar replacement in certain recipes.
🧁 Coconut Sugar Substitute for Baking
If substituting coconut sugar in brownies, banana bread, or other baked goods, a 1:1 granulated substitute for baking is best. Light brown sugar is the best coconut sugar alternative for baking in terms of taste, appearance, and price.
👉 Coconut Sugar Substitute Keto
For some, a “healthy substitute for coconut sugar” means one with a low glycemic index or lower glycemic index. Low carb sugar substitutes may help diabetics maintain healthier blood sugar levels in diabetes. The low calorie sweeteners may help support a weight loss goal as well.
Here are some keto coconut sugar substitutes:
🥉 Best Coconut Sugar Substitute Overall
My winner for overall best coconut sugar substitute is light brown sugar. Unless you need a low cal or low carb option, I think brown sugar is the best choice. It works whether you’re looking for something cheaper, natural, or a 1:1 baking substitute.
💰 Where to buy coconut sugar near me?
Coconut sugar is not always available in mainstream grocery stores in the US. You may find it in Whole Foods or other health food stores. If you can’t find it locally, you can purchase coconut sugar online here.
📋 Coconut Sugar Nutrition
Here is the nutrition information for coconut sugar (per Cronometer):
|Nutrient||Coconut sugar per 1 tsp|
Coconut sugar is a naturally low fat, gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan food. It’s an added sugar, and sometimes referred to as “empty calories,” because it lacks essential vitamins and minerals.
Coconut sugar is not a great choice for low carb and keto diets. (This is particularly true because many of us don’t consume sugar in moderation).
Yes, you can use regular sugar instead of coconut sugar and vice versa. Replace the granulated white sugar in your recipe with coconut sugar in a 1:1 ratio.
Yes, you can use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar. Replace brown sugar in your recipe with coconut sugar in a 1:1 ratio.
Coconut sugar and brown sugar have a similar flavor, but they come from different plants. Coconut sugar comes from the sap of the coconut palm tree, while brown sugar is made from sugarcane or beet sugar.
Liquid sweeteners you can substitute for coconut sugar include honey, maple syrup, date syrup, agave nectar, and coconut nectar. These are not 1:1 substitutes for coconut sugar. See the recipe card below for substitution ratios.
Wondering how to make coconut sugar? Your closest “recipe” would be to mix 1 cup white granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons molasses. This is a common recipe substitute for brown sugar, but it works for coconut sugar too.
👩🏻🍳 Recipes Using Sugar
Here are some ways to use coconut sugar (or other sweeteners):
- Air Fryer Sugar Cookies
- Cookie Monster Cookies
- Carrot Candy Recipe
- Sugar Free Strawberry Shortcake (which can also be made with sugar)
🧑🏿🍳 Other Recipe Substitutions
Need more tips on making substitutions in recipes? Don’t miss these!
- Best Applesauce Substitute
- Best Horseradish Substitute
- Corn Flour Substitute
- Best Salsa Substitutes
- Best Nigella Seed Substitutes
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Coconut Sugar Substitute (21 Coconut Sugar Alternatives)
- 1 cup Light Brown Sugar OR
- 1 cup Regular Sugar OR
- ¾ cup Raw Honey OR
- ¾ cup Maple Syrup OR
- ⅔ cup Date Syrup OR
- ⅔ cup Agave Nectar OR
- 1⅓ cup Brown Rice Syrup OR
- ¾ cup Coconut Nectar OR
- 1 cup Panela (Piloncillo) OR
- 1 cup Evaporated Sugar Cane Juice OR
- 1 cup Date Paste OR
- 1 cup Monk Fruit Sweetener (if using a 1:1 substitute with erythritol) OR
- 1 cup Xylitol OR
- 1⅓ cup Allulose OR
- 1 cup Tagatose OR
- 1⅓ cup Erythritol OR
- 1 cup Sucanat OR
- 1 cup Swerve OR
- 1 cup Stevia (if using a 1:1 substitute with erythritol) OR
- 1 cup Turbinado Sugar (Demerara Sugar) OR
- 1 cup Muscovado
- Pick a substitute with flavor profile and texture you want. (IMO light brown sugar is the best substitute for coconut sugar.)
- Substitute 1 cup of coconut sugar in your recipe with the listed amount of coconut sugar alternative of your choosing. (You may need to adjust the amount of other liquids in your recipe if you choose a liquid sweetener.)