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December 7, 2017

Updated: 13 Dec 2022

Who doesn't love a sweet treat?

We all do. Whether it's a cake, muffin, shake, or cookie, we all love to have these sweet treats time and again. But at the same time, we risk increasing weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cardiovascular diseases.

Our altered lifestyle demands to alter the way we eat food. It requires us to reduce the calories and sugar we eat in our food.

Don't know where to start?

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In baking, sugar does more than add sweetness to baked goodies. Sugar is the food for yeast. Sugar is also used in caramelization, a type of non-enzymatic browning reaction. So baking without sugar could be challenging.

Let's look at some 20 best sugar substitutes you can use in baking and cooking and avoid all the risks of white sugar.

And if the question is, "how much sweetener do I substitute for sugar in baking" then do not worry. This article will cover the same for you. 


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Sugar substitutes in baking

#1. Fruit concentrates

Using fruit pulp to sweeten my baking recipes is my first choice when I think of sugar substitutes for baking. And with fruit pulp, I did not mean packaged fruit juices available in the market. They have added preservatives and sugar, which defeats the purpose of healthy baking.

While using fruit pulp in your baking recipes, reduce 3 tbsp of other liquid for every ¾ cup of fruit pulp you add.

#2. Ripe Bananas

In baking, you could substitute bananas for sugar. As the banana ripens, the starch in the fruit starts to convert into sugar, making it more flavorful and sweeter.

The ripened banana is also soft, and mashing it is easy. To use bananas in your baking recipe, mash them to smooth. 

Replace 1/3 cup of mashed banana with 1 cup sugar in a recipe.

#3. Dates

Consider dates to be one of the best natural sweeteners for baking. The versatile fruit is available in liquid and in crystalline form.

Date Syrup

Check my carrot date muffin recipe to know the health benefits of Dates. Dates are a natural sweetener and can be added to sweetness your baked items.

I recently did Sugarfree Quinoa Brownies using Date syrup, and trust me, a brownie could not be healthier than this. In the recipe, you will also find the details of how to make date syrup.

Usage: Use 2/3 cup of date syrup for 1 cup of sugar

Date Sugar

Looks similar to brown sugar but is less processed. Easy to replace white sugar with date sugar on like to like basis. Since date sugar does not melt, it may not work in some baking recipes.

Usage: Use 1 cup of date sugar for 1 cup of sugar.

#4. Brown Sugar

Can we use jaggery instead of brown sugar in cookies? Brown sugar is sugar that is not refined completely. The amount of calories remains the same in white and brown sugar. However, the presence of Molasses makes it nutritionally significant.

Usage:  Use 1 cup of brown sugar for 1 cup of sugar.

#5. Muscovado Sugar

It is produced from cane sugar without removing molasses from it. So in brown sugar, Molasses is added back. However, in Muscovado, the molasses were never released.

Muscovado will be slightly sticky sugar to hold. There is no difference in using table sugar or Muscovado sugar because they are both nutritionally comparable.

Usage:  Use 1 cup of Muscovado sugar for 1 cup of sugar.

Discover the amazing health benefits of dates! These delicious dried fruits are packed full of nutrients and can help improve digestion, reduce cholesterol levels, and boost energy.
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#6. Jaggery

Can we use jaggery instead of sugar in cake? Jaggery is my best alternative to sugar in baking. An unrefined version of brown sugar that is less sweet than sugar, Jaggery is a traditional Indian sweetener. Jaggery retains all mineral salts in it and hence is healthier than sugar.

Again, the amount of calories in Jaggery and Sugar remains the same as they both are derived from Sugarcane. There are numerous benefits of Jaggery over sugar, and wellbeingmantras.com has beautifully captured them.

Usage:  Use 1+1/3 cup of Jaggery for 1 cup of sugar.

|Recommended Recipe: Benefits of Jaggery

#7. Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a trending healthy sugar substitute for baking because of its higher nutritional value and lower glycemic index. It is also rich in potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, and antioxidants.

Coconut sugar is extracted from the coconut plant. The availability of coconut sugar in crystalline form makes it easy to substitute in any baking recipe. You can replace white or brown sugar with coconut sugar equally.

Usage:  Use 1cup of coconut sugar for 1 cup of sugar.

#8. Honey

Honey is one of the best sugar substitutes for baking. Honey is available in distinctive flavors because the flavor depends on the types of flowers honeybees have gathered the nectar from.

While using honey in your baking recipes, reduce 2 tbsp of other liquid for every cup of honey you add to the recipe.

I have spoken about the benefits of honey in my honey buttermilk bread and honey glazed almonds recipes.

Honey is sweeter than sugar, so you will use less honey than sugar. Though the number of calories in honey is slightly higher than sugar, its health benefits make it a great sugar substitute.

Usage:  Use 3/4 cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar.

#9. Agave Syrup or agave nectar

Agave is about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar; hence, you need less agave sugar in your baking. This natural sweetener is derived from the same plant used to make tequila.

While using agave syrup in your baking recipes, reduce 4 tbsp of other liquid for every cup of agave syrup. Also, reduce the oven temperature by 25 percent. You may also like to use parchment paper when baking with agave syrup as the syrup is sticky and may make demolding difficult later.

The syrup is high in calories and might not suit people on weight loss. The low glycemic index value of 27 makes it a suitable sugar substitute for baking diabetes-friendly recipes.

Usage:  Use 2/3 cup of agave syrup for 1 cup of sugar.

#10. Maple Syrup

Americans have used maple syrup as a substitute for sugar in their pancakes for years. Despite high sucrose levels, a natural sweetener with antioxidant properties is considered safe for Type 2 Diabetes.

While using Maple Syrup in your baking recipes, reduce 2 tbsp of other liquid for every cup of Maple Syrup you add to the recipe.

Maple syrup is also considered to be good for enhancing the immune system. With a lower glycemic index of 54, it is an excellent replacement for sugar in baking items.

Grade A maple syrup is light in color and has a less molasses-ish taste, whereas Grade B syrups are darker and have a strong maple flavor.

Usage:  Use 3/4 cup of maple syrup for 1 cup of sugar.

#11. Molasses

Not as sweet as sugar, Molasses is a by-product of the refined sugar production process. Once the sugar is extracted from sugarcane or sugar beets, the juice is further boiled to concentrate. The boiling process is divided into three levels.

While using Molasses in your baking recipes, reduce 5 tbsp of other liquid for every cup of Molasses you add.

At level 1, termed Barbados, the product is sweet and light in color. The liquid is further boiled to level 2, termed dark molasses. The product becomes dark, thick, and less sweet at the second level.

The final boil, the third level, also known as blackstrap, has a mineral-rich flavor.

Usage:  Use 1+1/3 cup of molasses for 1 cup of sugar.

#12. Monk Fruit Extract

This sugar substitute is extracted from a monk fruit, typically found in southern China and Thailand. For centuries people have been using the medicinal benefits of this fruit to cure cough, constipation, diabetes, etc. 

Monk fruit acquires its sweetness from powerful antioxidants called mogrosides. Monk fruit compounds are up to 300 times sweeter than cane sugar. However, they come with zero calories.

#13. Applesauce

Reduce a ¼ cup of other liquid for every cup of applesauce

It comes in a wide variety and sweetness levels, but if you want preservative-free applesauce, making applesauce at home shall be an excellent idea.

Applesauce makes a great deal when it comes to reducing the number of calories you will eat eating sugar. A cup of sugar has about 775 calories compared to 102 calories in a cup of applesauce. Worth substituting sugar with applesauce if you are on a diet.

Usage:  Use 1 cup of applesauce for 1 cup of sugar.

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#14. Cane Syrup

Reduce 2 tablespoons of other liquid for every cup of Cane Syrup
Sugar cane is the source of table sugar as well as cane syrup. Sugarcane juice is simmered until it becomes a thick syrup, like molasses. However, unlike molasses, cane syrup does not contain sulfur.

Usage:  Use 3/4 cup of cane syrup for 1 cup of sugar.

#15. Stevia (Steviol Glycosides)

Because of its stability at high temperatures, Stevia can be considered one of the best sugar substitutes for baking. It is available in liquid and powdered form, making it easier to use in baking, Indian sweets, beverages, etc. 

This sweetener is extracted from stevia leaves called Stevioside and Rebaudioside A. Stevia is native South American plant.

Zero calories & zero impact on blood sugar levels make Stevia a diabetic-friendly sugar substitute. This natural sweetener is almost 200-300 times sweeter and tastes slightly different from sugar.

Usage:  Use 1tsp of stevia for 1 cup of sugar.

#16. Corn Syrup

Reduce 2 tablespoons of other liquid for every cup of Corn Syrup
Corn syrup is high in fructose and tastes sweeter than processed sugar. Further, using corn syrup in baking items increases its shelf life.

Usage:  Use 3/4 cup of corn syrup for 1 cup of sugar.

#17. Splenda (Sucralose)

Splenda, 600 times sweeter than sugar, is an artificial no-calorie sweetener. Do not use this sweetener in recipes where sugar is responsible for structure and texture, for example, frosting a cake. 

Splenda cannot be used for activating the yeast. Baking time with Splenda will reduce by about 15 – 20% in cookies. Although the baked items with Splenda taste equally good, they don't stay fresh for longer.

If you wish to keep them fresh for longer, consider keeping them in the refrigerator. Some studies discuss Sucralose's detrimental effects, and you should read them before using Splenda.

Usage:  Use 1 cup of splenda for 1 cup of sugar.

#18. Saccharin

One of the earlier artificial sweeteners is almost 300 times sweeter than sugar. The advantage of saccharin is that it does interfere with your triglycerides or glucose levels in the blood.

Saccharin is unstable to heat and needs to be used with sugar or another sweetener. Saccharin also has an aftertaste and hence should not be used standalone. To make the best use of Saccharine and make delicious recipes, consider checking recipes as sweetnlow.

#19. Erythritol

Erythritol is a calorie-free sweetener with a taste and texture similar to sugar. It is naturally present in foods like fruits, some foods, and fermented foods like beer. It does not affect your blood sugar levels or cause tooth decay.

Erythritol is an excellent choice for baked goods because it retains moisture. If you're removing sugar from baked goods to remove calories, adding Erythritol replicates your desired sweet taste.

Go to Erythritol, but do not use it for bread recipes that will call for yeast. Erythritol cannot activate yeast as sugar does.

Usage:  Use 1+1/4 cup of erythrithol for 1 cup of sugar.

#20. Xylitol

Xylitol, also known as birch sugar, has a lower glycemic index and fewer calories than refined sugar. Xylitol is diabetic-friendly due to its low glycemic index. White sugar causes tooth decay, but Xylitol doesn't.

In baking, Xylitol works well with baking soda and baking powder but cannot be used as a sugar alternative to activate the yeast. It also doesn't caramelize at high temperatures, so it doesn't add to the recipe's color like brown sugar.

Usage:  Use 1 cup of xylitol for 1 cup of sugar.


In conclusion,sugar substitutes can be a great way to reduce your sugar intake without sacrificing texture and flavor.

Natural substitutes like honey, maple syrup, and dates are healthier alternatives to processed sugars and provide a unique flavor profile.

Furthermore, artificial sweeteners such as stevia, erythritol, and sucralose are low-calorie options that can replace white or brown sugar in baking.

Experimenting with different types of sugar substitutes can help you determine which option works best for you and your recipe.

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About the Author Sonia Gupta

Founder of AnyBodyCanBake, Noted Entrepreneur, Celebrated Baker, Certified Baking Instructor, and Accomplished Food Blogger.

  • Mam what is raw cane sugar plz suggest the link to purchase. and how to make or get jaggery powder

  • Comment:thank you Sonia, I have been looking for a way to bake with other sweeteners, and you have done well by sharing thank you

  • Hi Sonia, very useful, informative write up!! Thanks for shedding g light on some of the sweeteners we are using blindly without knowing it’s properties!! This info should be archived! All Baker’s should keep this handy!!??

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