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Types of Sugar and How to Use Them

There are many ways of sweetening food, but sugar is the most common. However, there are also many types of sugar and each has its own, unique characteristics. If you experiment, you’ll soon discover not every type of sugar is appropriate for every dish.

For a guide into better use of the sugar you have – and to encourage you to try something new with your next recipe calling for sugar – read on.


Types of Sugar

1. White Sugars

White sugar is the most commonly used sugar, but it comes in many types.

White Sugars


2. Baker’s Special Sugar

Baker’s Special Sugar is far more fine than standard sugar, making it ideal for many baking projects, including cakes and donuts.

Baker’s Special Sugar


3. Caster Sugar

Sometimes spelled “castor” is finer grained still. It dissolves almost immediately, making it a good choice for liquids or drinks. It can also be used interchangeable with Baker’s Special Sugar.

Caster Sugar


4. Superfine Sugar

Also called “ultra fine” is the finest grain sugar. It’s used in lightly textured baked goods, meringues and iced drinks.

Superfine Sugar


5. Confectioner’s Sugar

Also called “powdered sugar” or “icing sugar” is powdery and smooth. It has a small amount of cornstarch in it and comes in three levels of fineness, but 10X is the finest and the only grade available at grocery stores.

Confectioner’s Sugar


6. Coarse Sugar

Also called “decorating sugar” or “pearl sugar” is more crystallized. This type of sugar is best for confections, liquors and fondants.

Coarse Sugar


7. Granulated Sugar

Sometimes also called “white sugar” or “table sugar” is the standard sugar of the United States. It’s often placed in coffee and tea sugar bowls and is what’s called for in most recipes. Sugar cubes are made from granulated sugar that’s moistened and pressed into cube-shaped mold.

Granulated Sugar


8. Brown Sugars

Dark and light brown sugar still have molasses syrup in them. Dark brown sugar has more molasses (and a stronger molasses flavor), while light brown sugar has less molasses (and a lighter molasses flavor). These types of sugar are commonly used in baking, glazes, and in condiments.

Brown Sugars


9. Demerara Sugar

Demerara Sugar is light brown sugar made of sticky, large, golden crystals. It’s commonly used for British tea and as a topping for hot cereals.

Demerara Sugar


10. Barbados Sugar

Also called “Muscovado sugar” is a British brown sugar that’s quite dark and strong in molasses flavor.

Barbados Sugar


11. Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado Sugar is a raw sugar that’s partially processed. Only some of the molasses is cleaned away, giving the sugar a mild flavor and a light tan color.

Turbinado Sugar


Other Types of Sugar

Other Types of Sugar

Black Sugar is an unrefined sugar that’s nearly black in shade. It is sometimes eaten as candy, or added to desserts or drinks.

Beet Sugar is sugar made from the beet vegetable, while Cane Sugar is made from the sugar cane plant.

Coconut Sugar is a brown sugar made from coconut palm sap.

Date Sugar is made from dehydrated dates. It’s high in fiber and doesn’t readily dissolve when added to liquids.

Palm Sugar is made from the nectar of the sugar palm tree.

Raw Sugar (also called “unrefined sugar”) can vary from a yellowish to a brownish shade and is less processed than other types of sugar. This type of sugar has more flavor and better nutritional value. It contains between 85 and 98% sucrose, whereas ordinary granulated sugar has 99%. Raw sugar is only made from sugar canes.


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Types of Sugar and How to Use Them


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