Dark Brown Sugar Substitute: 3 Delicious Swaps That Work

What Is Dark Brown Sugar?

Brown sugar is, in simplest terms, white sugar that has been flavored and tinted with a bit of molasses.  It’s is an important ingredient in many recipes for both flavor and color.

Dark brown sugar (also known as old-fashioned brown sugar) is a complementary ingredient in several recipes. It is used in barbecue rubs for meat, spice cakes, baked beans, gingerbread, and other dishes that require a deep molasses flavor.

For all purposes, you should keep some brown sugar at hand at all times. If you don’t have it, there are few good replacements for dark brown sugar.

Difference between Light and Dark Brown Sugar

Some of the recipes like coffee cake, sweet potato casserole, or honey-baked ham need to have dark brown sugar.

Dark brown sugar is, quite simply, white sugar that has been flavored and tinted with a good bit of molasses. The darker the brown sugar, the more the quantity of molasses contained in it.

Light brown sugar contains fewer molasses. It contains about 3.5 percent molasses compared to 6.5 percent in the dark brown version. This is what accounts for their differences in color and flavor.

Dark brown sugar has a deeper and complex flavor. Its color and flavor are similar to caramel or coffee.

Best Replacements For Dark Brown Sugar

Have you found yourself in a baking aisle? Are you wondering which variety of brown sugar to use for your recipe?

And in some situations, it may become absolutely necessary for you to find an alternative to dark brown sugar.

So we want to share with you 3 delicious and effective substitutes for dark brown sugar.

Substitutes For Dark Brown Sugar

1. Light Brown Sugar

Undoubtedly, the best dark brown substitute is light brown sugar.

It contains molasses and refined sugar like dark brown sugar.

The only difference is that it contains less molasses than the darker version.  To mitigate this drawback, you can add a tablespoon of molasses to each cup of light brown sugar.

Without any addition, you may also use unadulterated light brown sugar instead. Of course, in this case, you will miss a bit of molasse’s color and flavor.

2. Honey

When you are left with no brown sugar at all, honey is an excellent substitute option.

Importantly, honey can make your dish more moist and flavorful with more sweetness than dark brown sugar.

However, before using honey in place of dark brown sugar, you should be aware of some facts.

First and foremost, use honey in less quantity than the actual amount of dark brown sugar required for your recipe. This is because honey is sweeter and heavier than the equivalent amount of dark brown sugar. Approximately, 2/3 cup of honey is enough to replace one cup of dark brown sugar.

Secondly, the acidic nature of honey may affect the flavor and taste of some of the dishes you prepare with it. If that is the case, you can use ¼ teaspoon of baking soda for each one cup of honey to neutralize the acid.

Lastly, overheating of honey can destroy some of its nutrients and spoil the flavor. Therefore, add honey to your dishes towards the end of cooking or baking.

3. Maple Syrup

If you are happy to have a dark brown sugar substitute without molasses then maple syrup is a healthy option.

While substituting, you can use about ¾ cup of maple syrup instead of every one cup of dark brown sugar. You will have to reduce other liquids in your dish while using maple syrup.

Another option is to combine 1 cup of granulated white sugar with 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup to use as a substitute for dark brown sugar.  Even the most sophisticated palette will find it difficult to distinguish the difference in your dish.

4. Make DIY Dark Brown Sugar

If you have run short of dark brown sugar you can easily make it at home.

By adding 6.5 percent molasses to white sugar you get dark brown sugar. For this purpose, make sure to add only light or dark molasses but not the blackstrap molasses.

Input it briefly, you get brown sugar by adding some molasses to it.  The exact formula is 1/4 cup of molasses per cup of white sugar.

Please note, it is not simply combining and mixing two ingredients. As you increase the measure of white sugar also increases the quantity of molasses in proportion. For example, for every three cups of white sure add 1 cup of molasses.

Mixing the two ingredients with the hand is the traditional method of making brown sugar. However, using a mixer ensures the perfect blending of molasses and white sugar. It makes the finished product exactly look like the prepackaged dark brown sugar.

So, DIY brown sugar is the best replacement for dark brown sugar that you buy from grocery stores.