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The 5 Best Substitutes for Sanding Sugar

When it comes to baking, sugar is an essential ingredient.

But not all sugar is created equal.

For example, you wouldn’t want to use granulated sugar in a recipe that calls for confectioners’ sugar.

And when it comes to sanding sugar, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Sanding sugar is a type of sugar that has been ground into a fine powder.

It’s often used to decorate cookies and other baked goods because it doesn’t dissolve easily in liquids.

However, if you don’t have sanding sugar on hand, there are a few substitutes that you can use.

Here are the five best substitutes for sanding sugar.

What is Sanding Sugar?

what is sanding sugar

Sanding sugar is a decorative sugar that is often used to decorate cakes and other baked goods.

It is usually made from refined sugar, and the grains are generally larger than those of regular sugar.

Sugar is available in various colors, and it can be used to create a range of different effects.

For example, it can create a sparkly effect on frosted cakes or add a touch of color to cookies.

It can also be used to decorate gingerbread houses or Christmas trees.

In addition to its visual appeal, sanding sugar can also add a bit of crunch to baked goods.

As a result, it is a popular ingredient in many recipes.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sanding Sugar

If you’re looking for a sanding sugar alternative, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are five substitutes that will give your desserts the perfect sweetness and texture.

1 – Pearl Sugar

pearl sugar

Sugar has been an integral part of baking and confectionery recipes for centuries.

However, not all sugar is created equal.

Pearl sugar, also known as nib sugar or hail sugar, is a type of coarsely ground sugar used in various sweet and savory dishes.

Unlike other types of sugar, pearl sugar does not melt when exposed to heat.

This makes it ideal for use in baked goods such as pastry doughs and cookies and for decorating cakes and cupcakes.

Pearl sugar is also a popular ingredient in Swedish Lundgaard cream puffs and Belgian waffles.

The large crystals add a lovely crunch to these sweet treats.

2 – Demerara Sugar

demerara sugar

Demerara sugar is a type of unrefined cane sugar that originates from the Demerara region of Guyana.

It has large, light brown crystals and a distinctive molasses flavor.

Demerara sugar is often used as a substitute for sanding sugar, a type of refined sugar used to decorate baked goods.

Sanding sugar has smaller crystals and a more delicate flavor, so it can be difficult to find a good replacement.

However, Demerara sugar works well as a substitute because it has a similar color and texture.

In addition, the molasses flavor of Demerara sugar can enhance the flavor of some baked goods.

3 – Granulated Sugar

granulated sugar

It’s not uncommon to find a recipe for “sanding sugar,” only to realize that you don’t have any on hand.

Fortunately, granulated sugar makes an excellent substitute.

The two types of sugar are very similar in texture and particle size, so they can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

The main difference is that sanding sugar is usually colored, and white granulated sugar is not.

However, this is not a major concern when using sugar as a topping or decoration.

4 – Rainbow Sprinkles

rainbow sprinkles

Who doesn’t love rainbow sprinkles? They’re colorful, fun, and make any dessert feel just a little bit more special.

But did you know that rainbow sprinkles can also be used as a substitute for sanding sugar? If you’re out of sanding sugar and need to decorate a cake or cookie, just reach for the sprinkles.

The small size of the sprinkles makes them perfect for creating a smooth, even surface on your desserts.

Plus, the colors add an extra touch of fun.

5 – Homemade Sanding Sugar

homemade sanding sugar

If you love the look of sparkling Sanding Sugar but don’t want to buy it, you can easily make your own at home.

All you need is some granulated sugar and a food-grade glitter.

Simply mix the two ingredients in a bowl, and voila – you’ve got homemade sanding sugar.

You can use this sparkly sugar to decorate cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and more.

It’s also a great way to add extra pizzazz to plain yogurt or oatmeal.

Just be sure to store your sanding sugar in an airtight container to keep it fresh.


In conclusion, we hope this article was informative and helpful in showing you the different substitutes for sanding sugar.

Although there are a few similarities between each substitute, each has unique properties that make it ideal for specific uses.

There’s no excuse not to get creative in the kitchen with so many substitutes available.

Whether you need a finer powder, something with more texture, or even a liquid form of sugar, there’s an option out there for you.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sanding Sugar

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sanding Sugar
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Pearl Sugar
  • Demerara Sugar
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Rainbow Sprinkles
  • Homemade Sanding 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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