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Demerara Sugar vs Turbinado Sugar: What’s the Difference?

Are you perplexed about the difference between Demerara and Turbinado sugars? Look no further.

This blog explores the different characteristics of these two popular sweeteners, helping you decide which one is best suited for your baking needs.

From flavor to color, learn all you need to know about Demerara and Turbinado sugars.

What is Demerara Sugar?

Demerara sugar is a type of raw cane sugar that originated in Guyana, a country on the northeastern coast of South America.

It derives its name from the Demerara River, which runs through the region where this sugar is produced.

Demerara sugar has its origins in the Demerara River region of Guyana.

It is light to medium brown in color and has large crystals.

The taste profile of Demerara sugar is unique as it boasts a distinctive caramel flavor with hints of toffee and molasses.

In terms of sweetness, it contains roughly 97% sucrose along with small amounts of glucose and fructose.

In summary, Demerara sugar is essentially an unrefined form of cane sugar that retains some natural molasses content due to minimal processing.

What is Turbinado Sugar?

Turbinado sugar is a type of granulated sugar that is made from sugar cane juice.

It is minimally refined and has a light golden-brown color.

The name “turbinado” comes from the technique used to make this type of sugar, which involves spinning the raw cane juice in turbines to extract the water content.

As mentioned before, turbinado sugar is not heavily processed like some other types of sugars.

This means it retains more of its natural molasses content, giving it a slightly richer taste compared to white granulated sugar.

Turbinado sugar can be used as a substitute for white granulated sugar in most recipes, especially those that call for brown sugar.

However, because it has larger crystals than brown sugar, it may not dissolve as easily.

In summary, turbinado sugar is a minimally refined type of granulated sugar made from sugarcane juice.

It has a light golden-brown color and contains more natural molasses compared to white granulated sugar.

Differences Between Demerara Sugar and Turbinado Sugar

Demerara sugar and turbinado sugar are two of the most popular raw sugars used in various cuisines worldwide.

While both look quite similar, there are a few differences between them that set them apart.

In this section, we will explore the primary differences between demerara sugar and turbinado sugar.

The key difference between demerara sugar and turbinado sugar lies in their production method.

Demerara is produced by centrifugally separating the molasses content present in raw cane juice.

Whereas, turbinado is processed from the first pressing of sugarcane juice through a simple evaporation process.

This difference in processing results in different flavours arising predominantly from different levels of residual molasses production.

Demerara has slightly more earthy tones, while turbinado has subtler notes compared to it.

Another significant disparity is their sources’ origins, where demerara comes from South America’s Guyana region while turbinado has its origins tracing back to Mauritius islands.

However, ultimately they share common features like their coarse crystal texture type and light brown colour.

In summary, while both demerara sugar and turbinado sugar share some similarities in terms of appearance, texture and usage, their distinct differences come down to production method and flavor profile.

Now let’s move on to the next heading ‘Sugar Crystals Size and Shape.


Sugar Crystals Size and Shape

The size and shape of sugar crystals play an important role in their use and flavor.

Demerara sugar and Turbinado sugar are both types of raw cane sugar, but they differ in the size and shape of their crystals.

As you can see, Demerara sugar has larger, irregular crystals that are coarse in shape.

These crystals don’t dissolve easily and tend to hold their shape even after baking or cooking.

This makes Demerara sugar perfect for sprinkling on top of baked goods or using as a crunchy topping.

On the other hand, Turbinado sugar has medium to large uniform crystals that have a cylindrical shape.

These crystals dissolve more easily than Demerara sugar and can be used in place of refined white sugar in most recipes due to their similar texture and sweetness.

In summary, the size and shape of sugar crystals affect their texture, taste, and use in cooking.

Molasses Content

The molasses content in sugar determines the level of moisture, color and flavor.

Turbinado sugar and Demerara sugar are known for having higher molasses content than refined white sugar.

The molasses in these sugars give them a natural brown color, a toffee-like flavor and add moisture to baked goods.

When it comes to baking and cooking, understanding the molasses content of different sugars can help improve your recipes.

Turbinado sugar has a slightly higher molasses content than Demerara sugar, which makes it slightly darker in color and gives it a stronger flavor.

Despite this, both sugars can usually be used interchangeably in recipes that require brown sugar.

It’s important to note that turbinado sugar isn’t the same as “raw” sugar, which is completely unrefined and has higher moisture levels.

Demerara sugar is often mistakenly referred to as raw sugar because it undergoes minimal processing but it’s still partially refined.

When considering the differences between turbinado and Demerara sugars, understanding the molasses content helps explain why they’re not exactly the same.

Depending on your personal preferences or specific recipe needs, one may be a better option over the other.

Flavor and Aroma

When it comes to Demerara Sugar vs Turbinado Sugar, the flavor and aroma play a significant role in differentiating these two types of brown sugars.

Both sugars have similar flavors but differ in their aromas.

Demerara has a deep butterscotch-like aroma with undertones of molasses, whereas Turbinado has a mild caramel flavor with a refreshing sweet smell.

The rich caramel notes in Demerara make it ideal for dishes that require intense sweetness and robust flavors.

On the other hand, Turbinado’s mild caramel flavor pairs well with light desserts or baked goods where sweetness needs to be balanced.

It’s worth noting that the difference in flavor and aroma between these two types of brown sugars is not too drastic.

However, depending on your recipe requirements, using one sugar over the other can elevate or diminish the overall taste profile.

Uses in Cooking and Baking

When it comes to using Demerara sugar or Turbinado sugar in cooking and baking, both sugars can be used interchangeably in most recipes without any significant difference.

However, some bakers believe that the coarser texture of Demerara makes it better suited for incorporating into baked goods with unique textures such as streusel toppings or caramelized components of a pastry.

Both types of sugars are great choices for sweetening tea or coffee, sprinkling on cereal, fruit, yogurt or oatmeal.

In baking, they can be used interchangeably in almost all recipes where white granulated sugar is called for.

Additionally, various pastry chefs use both these raw sugars for different purposes.

For instance, Demerara sugar has a reputation for creating a crispy topping on some baked goods, whereas, Turbinado sugar is frequently used in the preparation of chocolate desserts that have a more complex flavor profile.

In general, whichever type of raw sugar you choose to use probably won’t make or break your recipe unless it calls for a specific sugar with a unique texture or flavor.

Nutritional Value Comparison

When it comes to choosing between demerara sugar and turbinado sugar, a primary consideration is the nutritional value.

Demerara sugar and turbinado sugar are often considered healthier alternatives to refined white sugar due to their lower processing levels.

However, there are some differences in the nutritional value of these two types of sugars that may affect your preference.

Yhere is not much difference between the nutritional values of demerara sugar and turbinado sugar.

Both types of sugars contain almost similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates, and they do not have any protein.

One notable difference is that demerara sugar has no dietary fiber amount while turbinado has none either, but small next-to-negligible quantities were detected in scientific studies.

Therefore, if you are looking for a sweetener without worrying about calorie consumption or concerned only with carbohydrate intake, both options appear suitable choices since both contain nominal amounts.

It means that it ultimately boils down to personal preferences based on taste rather than nutrition.

Popular Brands of Demerara Sugar and Turbinado Sugar

When it comes to popular brands of Demerara sugar, there are many options available in the market.

Some of the top-notch brands include Tate & Lyle, Billington’s, and Wholesome Sweeteners.

Each of these brands has its own unique taste and texture that adds a distinctive flavor to your dishes.

On the other hand, turbinado sugar is also widely available under different brand names such as Sugar in the Raw, Wholesome Sweeteners’ Fair Trade Organic Turbinado Sugar, and Big Tree Farms Blonde Coconut Palm Sugar.

Each brand has a slightly different taste profile that caters to different preferences.

If you are looking for an organic option or want to support fair trade certification, you could go for Wholesome Sweeteners’ products.

In case you prefer a mild-flavored sweetener with coconut notes, Big Tree Farms Blonde Coconut Palm sugar should be on your list.

The choice ultimately depends on individual preferences and what flavors suit their dishes best.

It’s worth noting that while these brands are popular, there are many other options available out there as well.

It may be helpful to experiment with different brands before settling on your preferred one.

Which One to Use: Demerara Sugar or Turbinado Sugar?

When it comes to choosing between Demerara Sugar and Turbinado Sugar, the decision ultimately depends on personal preferences and what role the sugar plays in a recipe.

Both sugars have their unique characteristics that can enhance flavors differently.

If you prefer the taste of molasses and want a sugar with larger crystals, turbinado is the better choice.

It is versatile to use in baked goods like cookies or cakes that can benefit from its crunchy texture.

In contrast, demerara has a stronger caramel flavor compared to turbinado and works perfectly for recipes requiring extra crunch such as crumbles, streusels, or toppings.

It is essential to remember that both sugars are less refined than traditional white granulated sugar so they would add an additional layer of complexity and depth to your recipe’s flavors.

Ultimately, you may feel inspired to create your variations by adjusting the amount you use based on your preference.

Whether making sweet desserts or hot beverages like coffee or tea that need sweetening, choosing between Demerara Sugar vs Turbinado Sugar comes down to individual preference in flavor profile, texture, and color.

Demerara Sugar vs Turbinado Sugar: What’s the Difference?

Andrew Gray
Interested in discerning the disparities between demerara sugar and turbinado sugar? Delve into our comparison to grasp the distinctions between these two types of sugars.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Demerara Sugar
  • Turbinado Sugar


  • Choose between two items based on your preference and availability.
  • Follow the cooking directions for your chosen option, using the appropriate ratio of ingredients.
  • Prepare it according to your desired recipes.
  • Incorporate them into your dish, adjusting the amount to suit your taste.
  • Enjoy the unique taste experience and experiment with different dishes to explore their versatility.
Keyword Demerara Sugar vs Turbinado Sugar
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