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The 5 Best Substitutes for Rock Sugar

Ever heard of rock sugar but are curious about how and where to use it in your cooking?

Rock sugar is commonly used in Chinese and Indian cuisines, as well as many other cultures’ desserts and stir-fry dishes.

But what do you do if you can’t find rock sugar at your local grocery store or market?

Fortunately, there are several substitutes that can be used to replace it.

Whether you want to approximate the sweet flavor of rock sugar or want something sans sugar altogether, these five substitutes each offer their own unique benefits.

What’s Rock Sugar?

Rock sugar is an exotic type of sugar that has become popular in many cuisines around the world.

It originates from Far Eastern countries and has grown in popularity due to its fragrant, flavorful nature.

The sugar typically comes in a dark yellow color with a crystalline structure giving it a unique look and texture.

Its taste can be described as mildly sweet flavor with subtle hints of caramel.

Rock sugar can be used to add depth of flavor to dishes such as curries and stir-fry items; some may also sprinkle it over hot beverages for added sweetness and flavor enhancement.

Overall, rock sugar provides the perfect balance of sweet and savory for any dish or drink – making it an excellent addition for cooks who enjoy experimenting with various ingredients.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Rock Sugar

If you’re looking for a good substitute for rock sugar, then you’ve come to the right place.

Rock sugar is an essential ingredient in making authentic Asian desserts and other dishes, but it can be hard to find or expensive.

To help you out, we’ve rounded up five of the best substitutes for rock sugar.

1 – Granulated White Sugar

Granulated white sugar is a pantry staple that can be used in nearly any sweet recipe.

It has an unmistakable sweetness with a very fine texture making it easy to dissolve and mix into drinks, sauces, and batters.

It can also be sprinkled atop desserts like cookies or cakes for a little crunch.

If you prefer rock sugar and are looking for the same effect, you need not worry – this regular granulated white sugar is substitutable just by crushing it up some in a mortar and pestle or within a sealed plastic bag (just don’t use your hands).

This way, you can still get the texture and sweetness of rock sugar even when you don’t have access to it.

2 – Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is an incredibly versatile ingredient that adds a warm sweetness to many recipes.

It has a rich, caramel-like flavor – giving it a delicious taste that helps elevate dishes to the next level.

The texture of brown sugar is neither gritty like white sugar nor as grainy as rock sugar.

Instead, its lumpy granules dissolve nicely in drinks and coat uniformly when used for baking.

If you don’t have rock sugar but need something similar, simply sub out equal parts of brown sugar, as it still offers the same earthy sweetness without too much of a difference in taste.

3 – Palm Sugar

Palm sugar is a type of sweetener that has been used for centuries in traditional Southeast Asian cuisine.

Its flavor is slightly less sweet than regular white sugar, and it has a rich caramel taste which adds an interesting dimension to dishes.

Palm sugar’s texture is crystalline but much softer than rock sugar.

As such, it can easily be dissolved in warm liquids without needing to be crushed, making it an ideal substitute for an even consistency when using it in recipes.

As a less refined product than other sugars, palm sugar provides a great alternative to those looking for more nutritional value and fewer processed sugars in their diet.

4 – Cane Sugar

Cane sugar is one of the most recognizable, time-honored sweeteners around.

It has a very mellow sweetness and smooth texture that easily dissolves in hot or cold beverages.

It’s a versatile type of sugar that can be used for baking, sweetening drinks, and other recipes—its taste pairs well with many flavors.

For those looking to make a healthier switch from rock sugar, cane sugar is the perfect substitute.

As a natural and unrefined product, it is rich in trace minerals, often lost in processed sugars.

To switch to cane sugar, you can simply replace tablespoon-for-tablespoon or cup-for-cup with no change to flavor.

5 – Beet Sugar

Beet sugar is a type of unrefined sugar that has been gaining popularity lately for its sweet, earthy flavor.

It is derived from the natural sweetness of beets and looks a lot like light brown muscovado or dark brown turbinado sugar.

The texture is also similar to regular white granulated sugar but with just more grittiness thanks to the course beet fibers, which are visible in it.

Beet sugar makes an especially excellent replacement for rock sugar in recipes that call for extra sweetness without adding any other flavors.

Furthermore, since it’s not overly processed like granulated white sugar, it has a richer, nuttier taste that many find more enjoyable.


In conclusion, rock sugar may not always be available in stores or pantries, but there are plenty of other types of sugar that can act as a suitable substitute.

You can use brown sugar for its caramel-like flavor, palm sugar for its earthy sweetness, cane sugar for its mellow taste, or beet sugar for its extra grittiness.

No matter which substitute you choose, you can still enjoy the exact same effect without sacrificing any of the sweetness and flavor.

So, go ahead and experiment with these delicious alternatives to rock sugar.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Rock Sugar

The 5 Best Substitutes for Rock Sugar
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Granulated White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Palm Sugar
  • Cane Sugar
  • Beet Sugar


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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