Coconut sugar, also known as coconut palm sugar, is extracted from the sap of coconut palm trees. It has been around since 1657 when King Amangkurat I of Indonesia started its mass production. But if you need a coconut sugar substitute, you’ll find several suitable alternatives.
This sugar does not taste like coconut. In fact, it tastes more like caramelized sugar. Coconut sugar is a sweetener for tea or coffee. And it is sometimes added to baking recipes because of its dark color and flavor. It’s also often sprinkled on doughnuts and waffles.
This article will highlight several coconut sugar substitutes and provide insight into when they should be used.
What Is Coconut Sugar?
Coconut sugar gained its name from the coconut palm trees from which it’s produced and not from the coconut fruit. It is used as a sweetener for baking, sprinkling, and cooking and is prominent in Indonesian and Asian cuisine.
This sugar is made by extracting the nectar juice from the flower buds of the coconut palm tree. This juice is mixed with water and boiled until a syrup is formed. This syrup is then dried to form crystals that are broken to form the sugar granules.
It is often used to replace white sugar because it contains some minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. It’s also 100% vegan, unlike most cane sugars.
Coconut sugar is said to assist in regulating blood sugar levels. However, it is high in calories, and regular consumption can make you gain weight.
Coconut Sugar Substitute
You’ll find several ideal coconut sugar alternatives below that mimic its sweetness and contain similar nutrients. There is an option for every dish when it comes to sugar, and coconut sugar is no exception. This means you’ll have no trouble sourcing an alternative that works.
1. Raw Honey
Raw honey is unprocessed and has a glycemic index of 55, almost equal to coconut sugar’s 54. This makes it a great natural substitute for coconut sugar.
But this honey contains less fiber than coconut sugar and is in thick liquid form. So, you’ll need to reduce the fluid content of your recipe when using this substitute.
You can replace every teaspoon of coconut sugar with a quarter teaspoon of raw honey.
2. Date Sugar
Date sugar is produced from date fruits. The dates are dried and blended to a powder.
With a glycemic index value of 42, it’s lower than that of coconut sugar. But it does not dissolve into drinks and batters like coconut sugar. So, the types of recipes you can use date sugar for are limited.
When your recipe calls for coconut sugar, you can replace it with date sugar at a ratio of 1:1
3. Date Palm Sugar
This coconut sugar replacement is produced from the sap of date palm trees and not from date fruits. In fact, the method of production is very similar to that of coconut sugar.
With a glycemic index of 35, date palm sugar is slightly better for controlling blood sugar levels than coconut sugar. It’s also lower than date sugar’s value of 42, making it a healthier substitute.
Date palm sugar makes an excellent coconut sugar substitute in drinks, batters, or sprinkled on pancakes. It delivers a similar flavor to coconut sugar, but date palm sugar has a slightly smokey taste. When using date palm sugar as a substitute for coconut sugar, do so at a ratio of 1:1.
4. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is produced from the molasses of sugar cane, unlike white sugar, which is made from sugar beets and sugar cane.
It’s usually unrefined or partially refined and contains some micronutrients similar to coconut sugar. Brown sugar’s glycemic index reading is 64, which is higher than coconut sugar. This makes it a less desirable alternative for people with diabetes.
Brown sugar shares a similar flavor and taste to coconut sugar and is excellent for sweetening hot beverages or batters. When using it as a substitute for coconut sugar, do so at a ratio of 1:1.
5. Maple Sugar
The production process for maple sugar is similar to that of coconut sugar. The maple tree’s sap is extracted, mixed with water, and boiled to produce maple syrup. This syrup is evaporated to form granulated maple sugar.
The glycemic index of maple sugar stands at 65, which is higher than coconut sugar’s value of 54. Therefore, it should be avoided if you’re hypoglycemic.
Maple sugar shares a similar taste and flavor to coconut sugar but is slightly sweeter. However, you can replace coconut sugar with maple sugar at a ratio of 1:1.
6. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is produced from the extracted sap of the maple tree, which is boiled until it forms a syrup. It also carries a high glycemic index value with a reading of 65. Again, this is too high for individuals who have diabetes or need to reduce blood sugar levels for whatever reason.
Also, maple syrup is a bit sweeter than coconut sugar and comes in a syrup form. Although it can’t be sprinkled over donuts and pancakes, it can be drizzled over them. Substitute 4 teaspoons of coconut sugar with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup in your recipe.
7. Agave Syrup
This syrup is made from the agave plant, which is native to Mexico, and it makes an excellent substitute for coconut sugar.
With a glycemic index reading of 19, it is one of the lowest of all the sweeteners. This means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels much and can be consumed by people with diabetes in moderation.
Although it’s healthier, agave syrup is a bit sweeter than coconut sugar. Therefore, when tweaking your recipe, use 1 teaspoon of agave syrup to replace 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar.
You might dislike the flavor of coconut sugar or need a substitute for it in your dish for a different reason. Whatever the case, any coconut sugar substitute options above will be a great addition to your recipe.