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Substitute For Brown Sugar In Cookies

Substitute For Brown Sugar In Cookies

If you’re baking cookies but you’ve run out of brown sugar, there’s no need to fear! There are numerous substitutes you can use instead of brown sugar no matter what type of cookies you are making.

Brown sugar is a common ingredient called for in all sorts of cookie recipes. And for good reason.

Brown sugar provides sweetness and moisture to your cookies. This results in cookies that have a delicious, chewy texture.

The structure is also effected by the use of brown sugar as it helps in the leavening process, resulting in fluffier cookies.

So when replacing brown sugar in a cookie recipe we want to use ingredients that will provide the same benefits.

So what are the best substitutes for brown sugar when baking cookies?

The top brown sugar alternatives you can use to make any type of cookie are molasses with granulated sugar, granulated sugar with honey, white sugar with maple syrup, palm sugar, and turbinado sugar.

Each of these alternative ingredients will provide some differences when it comes to flavor and texture, but they all can be used when you’re all out of brown sugar.

Make sure to read on to find out how to use each of these in your particular recipe.

Related Recipe: Chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar

Brown Sugar Alternatives for Baking Cookies

batch of homemade cookies on plate

Me and my kids love to bake homemade cookies. That fresh from the oven flavor never fails to brighten our day.

Whether it’s chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, sugar cookies, or any other type, baking cookies is a real family tradition in my home.

And over the years of baking cookies I’ve had to find ways to replace ingredients, including brown sugar.

Because brown sugar plays such an important role in creating a great texture and flavor it’s important to use the right replacement ingredients.

Lucky for you, you can avoid the experimentation and use one of the following tried and true brown sugar substitutes no matter what type of cookies you are making.

Related: Baking with brown sugar

Molasses with Granulated Sugar

top view of bowl of molasses with spoon

This combination will provide you with results the most similar to using brown sugar. In fact, brown sugar is white sugar combined with molasses.

The addition of molasses to your white sugar gives you the moisture you need. While the sugar obviously provides the sweetness.

When combined in the right proportions, white sugar with molasses will give your cookies a wonderful, chewy texture with just the right amount of sweetness.

This combination can be used in any cookie recipe that calls for light or dark brown sugar. To substitute for dark brown sugar, simply double the amount of molasses noted below.

Related: Molasses alternatives


1 cup of granulated sugar combined with 1 tablespoon of molasses equals 1 cup of brown sugar

White Sugar with Honey

glass jar of organic honey

Honey is another great way to add moisture to your white sugar, and this combo is flavorful way to replace brown sugar in any type of cookie recipe.

Honey has a wonderful flavor that goes incredibly well with cookies. The texture it produces is soft and only a little flatter than when using brown sugar.

I recommend using local, organic honey, but any type will work when baking cookies. And as long as you enjoy the flavor of honey, you will love how your cookies turn out.

Related: Substitutes for honey when baking


1 cup of white sugar combined with 1 tablespoon of honey equals 1 cup of brown sugar

White Sugar with Maple Syrup

glass container of pure maple syrup

Maple syrup can also be used to increase the moisture level of white sugar and this combo is another flavor packed substitute for brown sugar.

If you haven’t baked with maple syrup you are in for a pleasant surprise! The flavor pairs incredibly well with most types of cookies, and the texture is soft and chewy.

Much like honey, the structure is a bit flatter than when brown sugar is used, but the flavor more than makes up for it.

Go with real maple syrup as the imitation variety just doesn’t produce the same results.

Related: Maple syrup alternatives


1 cup of white sugar combined with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup equals 1 cup of brown sugar

Palm Sugar

two scoops of palm sugar

Palm sugar is an great replacement for brown sugar as it has a decent moisture content. You can use palm sugar alone instead of brown sugar, or add a tablespoon of molasses, honey, or maple syrup if you prefer.

The flavor works in any type of cookie and the texture is quite similar to what you get using brown sugar. The structure is a bit flatter, but overall it’s a great option when you’re all out of brown sugar.

Related: Palm sugar alternatives


1 cup of palm sugar equals 1 cup of brown sugar

Turbinado Sugar

bowl full of turbinado sugar

Turbinado (and muscovado) sugar is a great substitute for brown sugar if you have it available. While not as popular as other options on this list, it provides a similar flavor and moisture content to brown sugar.

It produces chewy cookies with a great flavor. In fact, you can use turbinado in any cookie recipe that calls for brown sugar.

Related Recipe: Monster cookies without peanut butter


1 cup of turbinado sugar equals 1 cup of brown sugar

Brown Sugar Replacement in Cookies FAQ

batch of fresh baked peanut butter cookies

Can you use white sugar instead of brown when baking cookies?

You can substitute white sugar for brown when baking cookies. But it will effect the structure and texture of your cookies.

When using white sugar you cookies will be flatter and lack chewiness. For that reason, it is recommended that you add molasses, honey, or maple syrup to increase the moisture content.

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing brown with white sugar.

Can you substitute light for dark brown sugar?

Yes, light and dark brown sugar can be used interchangeable. Dark brown sugar has a higher amount of molasses so the flavor is richer and the moisture content is higher.

This will subtly alter the texture and flavor of your cookies, but they will still turn out chewy with a great flavor.

What is a good substitute for brown sugar without molasses?

You can combine white sugar with maple syrup or honey. They will both provide you with the right amount of moisture for replacing brown sugar.

Add one tablespoon of honey or maple syrup for each cup of white sugar.