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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Sanding Sugar Substitutes

Sanding sugar’s sparkle makes desserts pop.

Finding a substitute can seem tough. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

Ever been in the middle of baking and realized you’re out of sanding sugar?

It happens to the best of us. No need to run to the store mid-recipe.

We’ve discovered five awesome alternatives that keep your treats looking and tasting fantastic.

These swaps are probably already in your kitchen.

And they’ll save your dessert without skipping a beat.

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.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsSubstitute Ratio
Pearl SugarCrunchy sugar crystals with a subtle sweetnessUse as a 1:1 substitution for sanding sugar
Demerara SugarGolden-brown sugar with a rich caramel flavorUse as a 1:1 substitution for sanding sugar or adjust to desired sweetness
Granulated SugarFine sugar crystals with a mild sweetnessUse as a 1:1 substitution for sanding sugar or adjust to desired sweetness
Rainbow SprinklesColorful and festive sugar decorationsUse as a topping for added sweetness and visual appeal
Homemade Sanding SugarCustomizable sugar mixture made by coloring granulated sugarUse as a 1:1 substitution for sanding sugar or adjust to desired color and texture

When it comes to creating sweet treats and substituting sanding sugar, consider the following options:

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.

It has a subtle sweetness that works well as a 1:1 substitution for sanding sugar, adding both visual appeal and a slight crunch.

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.

It can be used as a 1:1 substitution for sanding sugar, providing a similar level of sweetness and adding a hint of caramel taste to your treats.

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.

While it has a finer texture compared to sanding sugar, it offers a mild sweetness. Use it as a 1:1 substitution or adjust the quantity to achieve the desired level of sweetness.

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.

While they won’t provide the same texture as sanding sugar, they will add sweetness and visual appeal to your treats.

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.

Use it as a 1:1 substitution for sanding sugar or adjust the color and texture to your liking.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sanding Sugar

Searching for the perfect substitutes for sanding sugar? Your quest ends here! Dive into our carefully curated list of the 5 best alternatives that will effortlessly replace sanding sugar in your recipes, ensuring your baked goods maintain their sweet and textured perfection.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


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


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for sanding sugar
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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