Demerara Sugar is most commonly used as the main ingredient in many desserts and savory dishes as well. Loved by many people in desserts, ice-creams and chocolates, demerara sugar adds a unique taste with its sweet content. So, what is demerara sugar? And if a recipe calls for it and you don’t have it on hand then what to substitute for demerara sugar?
Demerara sugar is a type of sugar that is extracted from sugarcane. It has a beautiful caramel color to it and is less refined sugar. While it may be easy to find Demerara sugar in some places, it can be challenging to find the product in others. Many other sugar types can be used as a substitute for demerara sugar, such as:
- Turbinado Sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Sand Sugar
- Coconut Sugar
- Maple Sugar
- Dark Brown Sugar
The demerara sugar crystals are slightly larger than white sugar crystals which makes it ideal for adding crunchy texture in baking. The flavor is also unique and rich that elevates the flavors of any recipe.
What is Demerara Sugar?
Demerara sugar is a type of cane sugar that has large crystal size and golden-toffee color.
Originating from the British colony of Demerara, now Guyana in South America, the Demerara sugar gets its name from the region of origin.
This sugar was originally extracted from the sugarcanes grown in the soil of the volcanic region. Today, most of the demerara sugar comes from Mauritius, Malawi as well as Jamaica.
Demerara sugar is quite popular in England; however, it is not so common in the United States of America.
Demerara sugar has a pleasant caramel-toffee flavor, is crunchy and less refined, making it a popular ingredient for baking.
The rise in its popularity has led other countries like India and Mexico, to start production of demerara sugar.
Energy and Nutrient Content of Demerara Sugar:
1 teaspoon of Demerara Sugar provides 20 kcals.
Demerara sugar also contains the following macro and micronutrients that are essential for the body.
It is made carbohydrates in the form of sugar and instantly provides you with energy.
The minerals that it has are Potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium as well as copper. Moreover, it also contains vitamins A and B complex.
Although Demerara provides these micronutrients in the small amount, our body requires them for improved digestion, absorption as well as for improved functioning of different organs
Uses of Demerara Sugar
Demerara sugar can be used in so many ways in sweet and savory dishes, sauces, and drinks. Many bakers and chefs prefer it over other types of sugars for making cookies, shortbread, and cocktails, etc.
- It can be used to make toffees and candies since it has a toffee-like flavor.
- It can be used as a replacement for granulated or light brown sugar in various sweet and savory dishes based on color, depth of flavor as well as texture.
- This sugar is sprinkled over cereals for enhancing the flavor.
- The baked dishes having dried fruit or ginger in it give a splendid taste when this sugar is added to them.
- This sugar is often used as a sweetener for coffee and tea
Is Demerara Sugar Good Or Bad For Health?
Studies have shown that raw sugars are more natural and healthier. As these sugars are minimally processed, they contain good levels of nutrients and dietary fiber, maintaining some natural nutrients from the sugarcane.
As demerara sugar is also a type of raw sugar, it is healthier than refined white sugar. According to experts, the reason is that demerara sugar retains the vitamins and minerals from the sugarcane.
This means that this sugar is very likely to be good for health.
As demerara sugar is a carbohydrate in sugar form, it provides an instant burst of energy. This is its primary health benefit. However, there are other health benefits of Demerara sugar, too, such as:
1. It Helps Prevent Vitamin B Depletion
Refined sugars are known to deplete vitamin B levels in the body as they contain high levels of sucrose.
Whereas Demerara sugar contains less sucrose and retains natural nutrients which help the body to process that sugar.
Deficiency of vitamin B can contribute to many other health and skin problems like acne, epilepsy, and other diseases.
Making a switch to demerara sugar can lower the chances of getting these conditions.
2. Helps Maintain Metabolism
Overdose of any sugar is harmful to the body and metabolism. However, unlike other types of sugars, Demerara sugar can help maintain metabolism when used in place of regular sugar.
While Demerara sugar alone cannot put the body metabolism into action, it, however, does give a kick to the body’s metabolism.
Regular sugar interferes with the metabolization of calcium, demerara sugar does not interfere with it much.
3. It Provides Nourishment To The Skin
One of the most common health benefits of Demerara sugar is not from eating but by applying it on your skin.
Demerara sugar is an excellent skin exfoliator owing to its natural nutrients. Also, Demerara sugar contains Glycolic acid, which helps improve skin health. It helps to keep the skin moisturized and makes it keep looking fresh.
What Is The Difference Between White Sugar And Demerara Sugar?
When it comes to sweetener of choice, there is always a debate on which type of sugar is better. Often white sugar is compared to demerara sugar, and it becomes difficult to pinpoint why demerara sugar is better than white sugar. So, here is a comparison, white sugar vs. demerara sugar
Demerara sugar is a less processed sugar compared to regular white sugar. White sugar goes through a series of cycles of processing until its fine and white.
Whereas Demerara sugar only goes through one cycle. The sugarcane syrup is dehydrated to form crystals.
As the white sugar goes through various cycles of processing, it loses all the nutrients like cobalt, chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc during the process.
Whereas, Demerara sugar still manages to retain small quantities of all these nutrients, which are beneficial for the body.
White sugar is made entirely from sucrose. That’s where it gets the sweetness from. Whereas Demerara sugar has less sucrose and gets most of the sweetness naturally from the molasses, that also lend a toffee-like taste to it too.
Vitamins and Minerals
As Demerara sugar naturally contains molasses, it does contain some vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, vitamins B3, B5, B6, and magnesium.
Despite being a small contributor to the vitamins and minerals, demerara sugar contains these. However, these vitamins and minerals are not present in white sugar
Effects on Blood Sugar
Different types of sugar raise blood sugar in the body at different levels after consumption. The Glycaemic Index (GI) is used to compare the effects of sugar on the blood sugar.
In comparison, white sugar has a GI level of 68, whereas Demerara sugar is slightly below at 48. Both the sugars are used to increase the sweetness of food; both types should be used in moderation to keep blood sugar at the optimal level.
What Is The Difference Between Brown Sugar And Demerara Sugar?
Demerara sugar is a type of brown sugar and should not be confused with brown sugar. Technically both the types of sugars are quite different if you’re trying to decide which one to use or if they make suitable substitutes read on our brown sugar vs. demerara sugar comparison to make the right decision.
Processing and Molasses
Demerara sugar is less processed sugar that goes through centrifugation where most of the natural molasses are lost, but it still retains some.
Whereas the brown sugar goes through different cycles of processing where first molasses is removed to make it into white sugar. Then the molasses is again added back to make it brown sugar.
In both types of sugar, it is the molasses that provide the color to the sugars.
In brown sugar, as molasses are added back the amount added gives it a much darker brown color compared to demerara sugar which gets the golden color from natural molasses.
Taste and Texture
Both brown sugar and demerara sugar get the flavors from molasses and are quite similar with notes of caramel or toffee. But as demerara has fewer molasses, it has a milder flavor than brown sugar.
Also, the texture of both sugar is quite different. Demerara sugar has large crystal size that brown sugar crystals.
Moisture is another factor that makes the two differ. Demerara sugar has less moisture than brown sugar.
As a result, the crystals of demerara sugar are less sticky, whereas brown sugar has more moisture which makes this sugar to clump.
Because of the molasses content, both brown sugar and demerara sugar contain certain notable nutrients like potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium. But as these minerals are present in small quantities, there are not much health benefits.
Where To Buy Demerara Sugar?
Demerara sugar can easily be purchased from grocery stores or online from Tesco, Walmart, Aldi, Lidl or Amazon
Demerara Sugar Substitute
Making a recipe and out of Demerara sugar? Don’t fret because here are the seven best substitutes for demerara sugar that can easily be used to make delicious food without compromising much on taste or flavor.
- Turbinado Sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Sand Sugar
- Coconut Sugar
- Maple Sugar
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
These are the closest and the best substitutes for Demerara sugar in terms of color, flavor, and texture.
1. Can I Substitute Turbinado Sugar For Demerara Sugar?
If you don’t have demerara sugar available, you can easily substitute turbinado sugar for it. Both demerara and turbinado sugar share the same color and molasses flavor profile, making it the substitute of choice.
In terms of texture, Turbinado sugar also has coarse, large sugar crystals like demerara sugar.
Substitute turbinado sugar as a 1:1 ratio for demerara sugar
Health benefits of Turbinado Sugar
- It has fewer calories making it a healthier option compared to regular sugar
- It contains nutrients like potassium, magnesium that are good for the body
- As it is less processed, it retains its natural nutrients
- It is also suitable for vegans because it does not use bone char in processing
- Its GI level is relatively below white sugar which means it does not elevate blood sugar level too much when consumed.
Bad impacts of Turbinado Sugar on health
- Higher intake can increase the risk of heart disease
- Excessive sugar can also increase the chances of type 2 diabetes
- More sugar intake can also lead to obesity
Turbinado Sugar Nutritional Facts
2. Can I Substitute Light Brown Sugar For Demerara Sugar?
Light brown sugar is another close substitute of demerara sugar. The light color of the sugar and the subtle caramel/toffee flavor of the sugar, making it a good substitute.
What makes light brown sugar an excellent substitute is a fact that it is readily available and easier to find compared to Demerara sugar in some places.
Substitute 1 teaspoons of light brown sugar for a teaspoon of demerara sugar
Health benefits of Light brown Sugar
- It contains vitamin B, which helps in improving skin and lowering cholesterol. However, the levels are quite low to provide any meaningful benefit.
- Molasses in light brown sugar contain smalls amounts of minerals and vitamins
- One teaspoon of light brown sugar contains 4.5 grams of carbohydrate, making it an instant energy booster.
Bad impacts of Light Brown Sugar on health
- It is not useful for the treatment or prevention of any illnesses
- As it is used for its sweetness, excessive intake can cause obesity
- It is also likely to cause yeast infections
Light Brown Sugar Nutritional Facts
|Light Brown sugar||15g||0g||0g||0g|
3. Can I Substitute Coconut Sugar For Demerara Sugar?
Coconut sugar makes a good substitute for demerara sugar as it is minimally processed like demerara sugar.
Although it is made from the sap of coconut trees, it does not have coconut flavor; instead, it has a similar flavor to demerara sugar.
It also has a golden-brown color which is slightly darker than demerara sugar but not significant enough to make a difference in most recipes.
Substitute coconut sugar as 1:1 for demerara sugar
Health benefits of Coconut Sugar
- It contains a fiber called inulin which slows the glucose absorption in the body
- Coconut sugar contains phytonutrients which help lower blood sugar, cholesterol and inflammation
- The inulin fiber in coconut sugar makes it suitable for the gut
- Because the GI level of coconut sugar is more moderate than white sugar, it slightly lowers rise in blood sugar level.
- As it retains nutrients found in the coconut palm, it has minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium.
Bad impacts of Coconut Sugar on health
- It is high in fructose which may lead to metabolic syndrome in obese people
- It is high in carbohydrates and calories making it less desirable for weight watchers
- It contains a high level of sucrose making harmful for the teeth
Coconut Sugar Nutritional Facts
Substitute Calories Fat Cholesterol Protein Coconut sugar 15g 0g 0g 0g
4. Can I Substitute Sand Sugar For Demerara Sugar?
For recipes that require a sprinkling of demerara sugar on the top of baked items, a good substitute is sand sugar.
The big sugar crystals of sand sugar give the same texture and visual appeal as demerara sugar and a very similar crunch too. Sand sugar is also a specialty sugar and can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores.
Health benefits of Sand Sugar
- All-natural and organic sand sugar contain minerals and nutrients
- The allergen-free sand sugar is suitable for consumption for most people
Bad impacts of Sand Sugar on health
- It may increase cholesterol and hyperactivity
- This processed sugar can lead to weight gain
- Overconsumption can affect memory and brain function.
Sand Sugar Nutritional Facts
5. Can I Substitute Maple Sugar For Demerara Sugar?
Maple sugar comes from the crystallization of maple syrup which is a reduced sap of maple tree. Maple sugar or maple syrup can be a good substitute for demerara sugar in some recipes.
It is readily available in grocery stores and shares similar caramel/toffee flavor notes. However, when substituting maple sugar or maple syrup, some adjustments might be needed in the recipe.
Health benefits of Maple Sugar
- It is unrefined and natural maintaining its natural nutrients that are beneficial for the body
- It does not contain any allergens making it suitable for consumption for most people
- Along with vitamins and minerals, maple sugar contains high amounts of antioxidants
- Maple sugar contains zinc which may help in the prevention of heart diseases
Bad impacts of Maple Sugar on health
- Maple sugar contains high levels of sucrose that can lead to weight gain
- Overconsumption of maple sugar may cause tooth decay
- It provides an equivalent amount of carbohydrates as of white sugar and is not suitable for diabetic people.
Maple Sugar Nutritional Facts
6. Can I Substitute Dark Brown Sugar For Demerara Sugar?
In a pinch, dark brown sugar can be used as a substitute for demerara sugar. However, the higher molasses content in dark brown sugar has more caramel/toffee flavor notes compared to demerara sugar. Also, because it is dark in color compared to demerara sugar, the dish will be both rich in flavor and dark in color.
Health benefits of Dark Brown Sugar
- Brown sugar when mixed with water helps in digestion and combat constipation
- It has antiseptic properties that help in healing small wounds and cuts
- Brown sugar has been used a folk medicine to treat cold
- It is beneficial for people suffering from respiratory problems or Asthma
- Brown sugar provides an instant energy boost when feeling weak
Bad impacts of Dark brown Sugar on health
- Excessive use increases the chance of diabetes
- Overconsumption of sugar can lead to obesity
- It is also likely to cause yeast infection
Dark Brown Sugar Nutritional Facts
|Dark Brown sugar||15g||0g||0g||0g|
7. Can I Substitute Granulated Sugar For Demerara Sugar?
In the time of need, granulated sugar can also be used as a substitute for demerara sugar.
There will be some flavor and texture differences in the final result because granulated sugar has a very delicate texture and does not have molasses flavor.
The flavor can be adjusted by adding a tablespoon of molasses for every cup of granulated sugar.
Substitute 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar for a teaspoon of demerara sugar.
Health benefits of Granulated Sugar
- Granulated sugar is an as instant source of energy
- Diabetic patients with fluctuating sugar levels can take granulated sugar to revive blood sugar level
- In the case of lower blood pressure taking granulated sugar can instantly increase the sugar level
- It keeps the brain function properly and to avoid blackouts caused by an inadequate supply of sugar to the brain
- Granulated sugar helps in healing the wounds faster
Bad impacts of Granulated Sugar on health
- Overconsumption can lead to severe health conditions like type 2 diabetes or heart diseases
- High intake of sugar can impact the liver function
- It is also associated with obesity
Granulated Sugar Nutritional Facts
3 Best Demerara Sugar Recipes
Following are some recipes you can try to have a memorable delight with this sugar.
1. Apple and blackberry crumble
Serves: 6 to 8 persons
For the stuffing:
- 350-400g blackberries
- 2 lemons
- 900g Bramley apples
- 175g demerara sugar
For the topping:
- 225g plain flour
- 175g butter
- 55g demerara sugar
- 125g muesli
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Peel off, core and cut the apples into small pieces.
- Chop the lemons in half and squeeze it over the apple and blend it well.
- Make a Layer of blackberries, apples, and sugar in a large pie dish.
- Put the flour in a big bowl and then mix in the butter until it appears as breadcrumbs – leaving a few lumps of butter is recommended for an uneven topping.
- Add the muesli and the sugar and mix well.
- With the help of the spoon, sprinkle the topping of crumble evenly over the fruit.
- Bake it until the fruit gets cooked, and there appear bubbles of juices over the top of the dish. It will take roughly 45 minutes for proper baking.
- Allow it to cool for a few minutes. Serve with fresh cream or custard.
2. Treacle pudding:
- 180g unsalted butter softened, and extra for greasing
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
- 180g plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3 free-range eggs
- 180g demerara sugar
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- Grease a 1litre/1¾ pint basin of pudding with butter. Add the golden syrup into the basin’s bottom.
- Take a separate bowl to mix flour, butter, eggs, baking powder, sugar, and treacle until well blend through electric hand whisk.
- Add the blend into the basin and use a greaseproof paper’s piece to cover it.
- With the help of a tin foil piece, make a pleat down the mid, then locate this on the basin’s top and tie it in place as a closure. It will help expand the foil while cooking.
- Puta ramekin or an upturned a saucer a deep saucepan and place the pudding over top.
- Pour boiling water until it comes half-way up the pudding basin. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer slightly for streaming the pudding for around 135 minutes.
- Check the pudding if it is cooked or not by inserting a metal skewer into it. If the metal skewer remains clean when you take it out back, the pudding is then cooked.
- Dish out the pudding carefully from the pan. Use a table knife to loosen the edges around the pudding and dish out on a platter.
3. Demerara Shortbread Cookies
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/3 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup (approximately) Demerara sugar
- With a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter, salt, granulated sugar, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed and pale.
- Slowly beat in the flour until just combined.
- Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a 1 1/2 inch wide log.
- Brush each log with the egg white, sprinkle with the Demerara sugar, and wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerated for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F with a rack in the middle.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment and slice each log into 3/8 inch slices. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 22 minutes.
- Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
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Demerara sugar is a popular sugar with the bakers because of its crunchy texture and caramel/toffee-like flavors. It is mainly used as a natural sweetener for tea or coffee or baking cakes, cookies, desserts, and sauces.
While it may be a popular choice, it may be hard to find in your local grocery stores. Therefore, the seven substitutes mentioned above closely match the demerara sugar in color, texture, and flavor profile.