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Sugar Swap: 5 Best Substitutes for Muscovado Sugar

There are a lot of brown sugars on the market, but muscovado remains one of the most popular types.

This is due to its high molasses content and distinctive flavor.

Muscovado sugar has been around since ancient times.

In the 16th century, it was produced from early European colonies in tropical regions such as India and Jamaica.

People used muscovado to preserve meats and fish, ferment alcoholic beverages such as rum, and stretch the flavor of the tea.

There are many substitutes for muscovado sugar available to use in your cooking.

This article will go over some of the most common substitutes and talk about their flavor.

What is Muscovado Sugar?

what is muscovado sugar

First of all, muscovado sugar is a type of brown sugar.

Unlike the standard white granulated variety, muscovado sugar isn’t refined.

This means that it retains some nutritional value, otherwise lost in processing.

Muscovado sugar has a slightly stronger flavor than cane or turbinado sugars, and its molasses content gives it a slightly sticky texture.

Muscovado sugar is most commonly made from the juice of the sugar cane plant.

Byproducts of the pressing process, including pure cane syrup and muscovado molasses, make it a highly sustainable sweetener.

Although muscovado sugar is sold in supermarkets worldwide, it has a very specific use in baking.

In recipes, it can be substituted one-to-one for white or brown granulated sugar and is crucial for dark cakes like gingerbread.

Muscovado sugar has a rich, distinctive flavor that’s unlike anything else.

You can use it in any recipe where you’d usually use regular brown or white granulated sugar, but remember that it will give your dish a slightly richer, more intense taste.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Muscovado Sugar

If you’re looking for a substitute for muscovado sugar, you have a few options.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsSubstitute Ratio
Dark Brown SugarRich, moist texture with a deep caramel flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for Muscovado sugar
MolassesThick, sticky syrup with a robust and bittersweet flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for Muscovado sugar
Barbados or Demerara SugarCoarse-grained sugar with a subtle molasses flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for Muscovado sugar
Palm SugarNatural sweetener with a complex flavor profileUse as a 1:1 substitution for Muscovado sugar
SucanatUnrefined cane sugar with a rich flavor and dark colorUse as a 1:1 substitution for Muscovado sugar

When it comes to swapping Muscovado sugar in your recipes, consider the following substitutes:

1 – Dark Brown Sugar

dark brown sugar

One of the most obvious substitutes is dark brown sugar.

You can buy this easily at your local grocery store or supermarket, and it will work in almost any recipe that calls for muscovado sugar.

Although brown sugar has a slightly milder flavor than muscovado, it can be easily swapped in most recipes.

However, remember that this is sweeter than muscovado, so you’ll need to cut the amount of sweetener used in your recipe accordingly.

You’ll typically need around half as much when substituting muscovado sugar for brown.

2 – Molasses


Molasses are another ingredient that can be used to replace muscovado sugar directly.

It’s made from the byproducts of refining sugar cane into table sugar and has a strong taste and dark color.

Molasses is a great ingredient to use when cooking savory dishes, and it works particularly well in barbecue sauces.

If you’re looking for a rich flavor that can bring out the character of your meats, molasses makes an effective substitute.

Just keep in mind that molasses contains a lot of sugar – just like muscovado – so you’ll need to cut the amount of sugar used in your recipe accordingly.

Molasses can be bought from most grocery stores, but it may not be easy to find muscovado sugar.

3 – Barbados or Demerara Sugar

barbados or demerara sugar

These two sugars are less commonly known than molasses and dark brown sugar, but they’re still very effective substitutes.

Barbados sugar is produced in the Caribbean, made from cane juice rather than dried cane syrup-like muscovado.

It has a deep golden color and rich flavor.

Demerara sugar is refined from Muscovado sugar, which has similar properties to muscovado.

This sugar is also made from the byproducts of processing cane juice into table sugar, so it’s rich in flavor.

Barbados and Demerara sugars can be found at specialty food stores or online for between $5 and $10 per pound.

However, you’ll need to order several pounds if you’re looking to substitute muscovado in a large number of recipes.

4 – Palm Sugar

palm sugar

If you’re trying to avoid refined sugars, palm sugar is an excellent alternative for muscovado sugar.

This type of sugar is made from the sap and nectar of palm trees and can be found in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.

It has a dark brown color and a rich caramel flavor.

Palm sugar is less sweet than muscovado, but it still works well as a substitute to create unique flavors for baked goods and other desserts.

However, you’ll need to use more palm sugar than what the recipe calls for muscovado.

If you’re unable to find palm sugar in your local grocery stores, you can order it online.

Palm sugar is usually sold in blocks about 6 ounces or 170 grams each and costs around $10 per pound.

5 – Sucanat


Sucanat is the final alternative to muscovado sugar that we’ll discuss.

This type of sugar is made from evaporated cane juice milled and crushed and has a coarse texture.

Sucanat is less refined than muscovado and contains more vitamins and minerals.

It also has a mild flavor, so you won’t need to use as much of this ingredient in your recipes as you would with muscovado or other types of refined sugars.

The downside of using sucanat as a substitute is that it isn’t readily available in grocery stores.

You’ll likely need to order this type of sugar online.


Muscovado sugar has a unique, rich flavor that makes it an excellent ingredient to cook with.

However, this type of sugar can be hard to find and can be quite expensive compared to other types of refined sugars.

Fortunately, several alternatives are available if you need to substitute muscovado for another type of sugar in your recipes.

Depending on the flavor you’re trying to create, molasses, Barbados sugar, demerara sugar, or palm sugar make viable alternatives to using instead of muscovado.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Muscovado Sugar

Searching for the ideal substitutes for muscovado sugar? Your quest ends here! We've compiled a list of the 5 best alternatives that will seamlessly replace muscovado sugar in your recipes, ensuring a delicious outcome without compromising on taste.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Barbados or Demerara Sugar
  • Palm Sugar
  • Sucanat


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for muscovado sugar
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