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Best Palm Sugar Substitutes (And How To Use Them)

Best Palm Sugar Substitutes (And How To Use Them)

Are you all out of palm sugar but your recipe calls for it? No need to worry, you can still make your dish because there are a number of great palm sugar substitutes. And you probably already have one or two of them in your pantry.

A natural sugar, palm sugar is most commonly used in Asian recipes but it has become popular in many styles of cooking from savory dinners to sweet desserts. So whether you’re making an American style dessert or a Thai inspired entrée, we have you covered with some common ingredients you can use instead of palm sugar.

So what are the best palm sugar substitutes?

The top substitutes for palm sugar are granulated sugar, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, date sugar, and molasses.

Before you run off and finish your recipe, read on for how to sub these ingredients for palm sugar the right way.

Palm Sugar Alternatives

Palm sugar is prized in many styles of cooking because of it’s a natural, no artificial additive sweetener. This has helped palm sugar become ever more popular in recent years as it is used in more and more types of cuisine.

Granulated Sugar

granulated sugar in wooden spoon

Almost everyone has this baking staple in their pantry, and that makes it the most oft used substitute for palm sugar. Technically cane sugar, this common sweetener works in any recipe that calls for palm sugar.

It offers a sweeter flavor and less of a molasses flavor than palm sugar but that doesn’t prevent granulated sugar from making a solid alternative.

This is a particularly well suited substitute for coconut palm sugar.


1 1/4 cups granulated sugar equals 1 cup of palm sugar

Maple Syrup

four jars of natural maple syrup

Natural maple syrup is an excellent palm sugar replacement. Like palm sugar, it has no additives or unnatural flavors.

It provides a sweet and rich flavor that works wonderfully in all types of recipes. It works in everything from traditional Asian cuisine to sweet desserts.

Maple sugar is also popular for those with diets that restrict sugar as a sweetener.


1 cup of maple syrup equals 1/2 cup palm sugar


natural organic honey in glass jar

Honey is an incredibly versatile natural sweetener that works in any recipe that calls for palm sugar. Honey has a deep, rich flavor that compliments so many dishes.

It is particularly popular in American, African, and Asian cooking. Honey offers a nutrient dense sweetener that works in everything from breakfast to dinner and dessert.

Bonus points for using local organic honey, but any natural honey will work wonderfully.


1/2 cup of honey equals 1 cup of palm sugar

Brown Sugar

bowl of brown sugar

Brown sugar is my preferred palm sugar substitute when baking. It offers a moist texture that binds well with the rest of your baked good ingredients.

Brown sugar is not optimal for non baked recipes, but it will work in a pinch. Also keep in mind that brown sugar is quite a bit sweeter than palm sugar. Start with the recommended substitution ratio and add more brown sugar to taste.


1/2 cup of brown sugar equals 1 cup of palm sugar

Date Sugar

date sugar cubes in bowl

Date sugar is actual ground up, dried dates. It offers a similar consistency to palm sugar and it is an excellent natural substitute for palm sugar in all types of recipes.

Because date sugar is produced by grinding the whole fruit, it is not technically a sugar. But it still works well as a sweetener making it a great replacement option.


1 cup of date sugar equals 1 cup of palm sugar


wooden bowl and spoon with molasses

If you have both white sugar and molasses available you can combine them to create a flavor similar to palm sugar. This combination works in all recipes that call for palm sugar and it offers a more authentic palm sugar taste than white sugar alone.

For each cup of palm sugar called for, mix one cup of white sugar with a couple tablespoons of molasses.


1 cup of white sugar and molasses equals 1 cup of palm sugar

Palm Sugar Replacement FAQ

Can palm sugar be replaced with brown sugar?

Yes, brown sugar can used in place of palm sugar in certain recipes. It works best as a baking palm sugar replacement. The high moisture content of brown sugar aids in blending your dry ingredients.

Brown sugar is not the best option for other types of recipes and one of the above substitutes should be used instead.

What is the closest sugar to palm sugar?

The most similar sugar to palm sugar is cane, or granulated, sugar. But cane sugar alone does not offer the same earthy flavor as palm sugar.

To achieve a similar flavor, combine molasses with cane sugar in the ratio listed above.

Is jaggery a good substitute for palm sugar?

Yes, jaggery can be substituted for palm sugar. Jaggery is a popular sweetener in Indian cooking and it is produced by combining cane juice with palm sap.

This sweetener can be used in any recipe calling for palm sugar.

What is palm sugar?

Palm sugar is a popular sweetener commonly used in Asian, Thai, and African cuisine. It is produced out of the sap of palm trees.

Palm sugar can be found in both liquid and syrup form and it provides a sweet, earthy flavor.