Can You Substitute Brown Sugar For White Sugar in Tea?

For thousands of years, humans have consumed sugar, a natural substance. Although there are many sorts of sugar, brown and white are among the most widely used. One of the substances used frequently in cooking and baking is white sugar. 

And since it’s a widely used ingredient, we often get used to utilizing it. But brown sugar is an excellent backup if we run out of white sugar. The top outcomes, though, depend on knowing how to switch them properly. When you do, you’ll be able to use brown sugar as a substitute in fudge, brownies, and cakes.

Additionally, you’ll find it helpful while baking bread, cookies, and pies using pumpkin and pecans. Let’s first think about what differentiates brown sugar from white sugar.

White and brown sugar are similar because they come from the same crops, the sugarcane or sugar beet plant. Most brown sugar is a combination of white sugar and molasses, a form of syrup made from sugar. Its darker hue and somewhat higher nutritional content are both due to molasses.

Brown sugar has marginally higher calcium, iron, and potassium content than white sugar, which is the most noticeable nutritional difference. However, it contains negligible levels of these minerals, making it an inadequate supply of any vitamins or minerals.


Compared to white sugar, brown sugar has a few fewer calories, although the difference is negligible. Brown sugar comprises 15 calories per teaspoon (4 grams), compared to 16.3 calories for the same amount of white sugar. Their taste and color are the essential variations between them.

Comparing Brown Sugar with White Sugar

Brown and white sugars are almost interchangeable in their raw state. Both are derived from the juice of sugar cane, a plant that resembles grass and thrives in tropical climates. Beets are a source of certain sugars as well. However, the molasses produced while boiling the sugar to refine it is eliminated to create white sugar. In contrast, brown sugar works the other way around.

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Juice from sugarcane or beet plants browns when heated because the molasses content is more apparent. The molasses is still present in brown sugar after removing the impurities. However, producers have found a more straightforward technique for producing brown sugar. They combine molasses and refined white sugar.

White and brown sugar have comparable sweetness; the main variations are in the textures, amounts of moisture, and colors. As you can see from the ordinary table sugar you encounter daily, white sugar is smoother and has fiber granules.

However, brown sugar has a thicker feel because the granules tend to bunch up due to the sticky molasses. Additionally, brown sugar that has been heated acquires a toffee-like flavor, which will come through in your recipe when you utilize it.

Additionally, white sugar is drier than brown sugar because it doesn’t contain molasses. But because it contains molasses, brown sugar is wet and sticky. The amount of molasses in brown sugar changes how it tastes. You can choose between light brown (which has fewer molasses) and dark brown (higher in molasses). To be more specific, brown sugar contains more molasses the darker it is.

Substituting Brown Sugar for White Sugar


In most recipes, brown and white sugar can be swapped out in equal amounts. But remember that when you do, particular variations will surface. Naturally, this doesn’t spoil the recipe, but it’s essential to know how to substitute brown sugar for white sugar and which recipes benefit from it.

In Bread and Pies

Brown sugar can be used in place of white sugar in a pie or bread dough. The necessary taste would still be obtained since it would offer the same sweetness that white would. But note that brown sugar behaves differently in the dough than white sugar. In contrast to white sugar, brown sugar absorbs moisture, resulting in a moist baked dish used in recipes like banana bread.

Brown sugar will also impact the color of the bread or pie; the darker the bread will seem, the higher the molasses content of the brown sugar. However, this is barely evident if you’re cooking a recipe with a darker color, like pumpkin pie.

When brown sugar is used in place of white sugar, pies with melted butter will have a thicker texture and crust. Lessened air pockets and gluten production are two causes of this disease. Due to its neutral pH, white sugar prevents the production of gluten when used in pies. But because it has an acidic character, brown sugar promotes the growth of gluten. As a result, other gluten develops, and the proteins coagulate if eggs are also present.

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In Tea

White sugar can be successfully replaced with brown sugar in tea. However, use the organic kinds to achieve the best outcomes. They complement the flavor better and are healthier.

In Cookies

White sugar often creates crisper, more firm cookies when baking. White sugar has a drying effect, keeping cookies baked with a lot of it firm, thin, and crispy. The situation is different with brown sugar, though. Brown sugar retains more moisture in cookie dough, and the cookies will take moisture from the air around them after baking.

Brown sugar naturally darkens the color of the cookies because it contains molasses, although this is usually not a big deal. A soft, plump, chewy texture that is still as delectable as you want it to be is the end result of this method.

Additionally, the baking soda in the cookie dough would react with the acidity of the brown sugar. The creation of carbon dioxide resulting from this reaction makes the cookie dough softer and fluffier. The very absorbent qualities of brown sugar combined with this circumstance mean that the final product will be chewy and soft.

Creaming Butter and Sugar

You could be tempted to believe brown sugar would lift in creaming recipes after seeing how it holds more moisture in recipes than white sugar. However, it doesn’t, and here is why. Because white sugar contains loose granules, more air pockets are produced when it is shipped with butter to generate a cream.

Because of this, the dough combined with this cream has a fluffier, lighter texture. However, the grains are closely packed because of molasses in brown sugar. Therefore, less air is trapped in the mixture when the cream is mixed with butter, resulting in a thicker, denser dough when baked.

Can You Use Brown Sugar in Cakes?

Brown sugar is a welcome ingredient in many other baked goods recipes, but it is not a good choice for cakes. The ability of brown sugar to moisten many baked foods, such as pumpkin pies, chocolate chip cookies, and zucchini bread, is quite advantageous. And the darker color and the puffiness it imparts may improve the outcome of these items. 

But because of its densely packed granules, brown sugar can’t ensure that the dough will be light, fluffy, and airy, a requirement for baking beautiful cakes. Additionally, baking soda combines with brown sugar to thicken the dough and is a common ingredient in cake recipes. Brown sugar, therefore, isn’t an excellent alternative to white sugar in cakes.

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Other White Sugar Substitutes

Maple Syrup or Honey

Although honey and maple syrup can give your baked goods a deeper hue, they are still beautiful alternatives to white sugar. Use 3/4 cup honey or maple syrup instead of one cup of white sugar. Both are meant to be rich in nutrients, but you should use less of them because they are sweeter.


If you only have molasses made from sugar, you can use it instead. Molasses is still not as sweet as white sugar; therefore, when using it to replace it, use 11/3 cup instead of a cup. Three types of molasses exist light, dark, and black straps. Blackstrap molasses is the most concentrated, whereas light molasses has a softer flavor.

Fruit Concentrates

White sugar can be substituted with full versions of several fruit juices. Use your judgment because the fruit will decide the flavor and sweetness. Additionally, keep an eye out for products with added sugar and preservatives because those are not suitable alternatives to white sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can brown sugar be used in place of white sugar in coffee?

You can, indeed. The molasses’ color effect won’t be an issue in coffee, either. The same substance is used to make both brown and white sugar.

Brown sugar—is it healthy for people with diabetes?

Not at all, no. Simply mixing white sugar with molasses results in brown sugar. Therefore, it poses the same risks to those with diabetes as any other type of sugar.


Even though it’s not probably your first choice, brown sugar works great in place of white sugar in many recipes. In addition, it has a faint caramel undertone that stands out when cinnamon and nutmeg are present. You’ll discover it to be a helpful substitution in emergency situations after you learn the most important uses for it in baking.

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