The 5 Best Substitute Ingredients For Muscovado Sugar

Seeing an ingredient in a recipe that you cannot find in the cupboard can get stressful. This may be self-raising flour though you can just add a raising agent to all-purpose flour.

Sugar can be a little trickier to substitute as you have the flavor and color to consider. That becomes even more difficult when it comes to substituting muscovado sugar.

The 5 Best Substitute Ingredients For Muscovado Sugar

Finding a substitute ingredient for an unrefined sugar can mean having to look a bit harder.

You may even have to order some sugar online as the ideal substitute ingredient that you want cannot be found in a grocery store.

But if you do want to make a rich, dark cake or gingerbread, you will need to find a sugar close to muscovado sugar.

In this guide, we will look at the five best muscovado ingredients and what you should use them for.

The Substitute Ingredients For Muscovado Sugar

While muscovado sugar is ideal for rich, dark cakes and baked goods, there are substitute ingredients you can use.

These include sucanat, palm sugar, molasses, dark brown sugar, and demerara sugar.

Do be aware that each sugar has its own taste and consistency so it is not simply a case of finding the ingredient and weighing it.

You may have to use another ingredient to fully mimic the effects of muscovado sugar though that should not prove too difficult. 


1. Sucanat

For a truly renegade substitute ingredient for muscovado sugar, try sucanat which you may not have even heard of before.

This is a type of sugar that is made from cane juice that is evaporated, milled, and then crushed. The sugar has a coarse texture so is quite similar to muscovado sugar though a little less refined.

The sugar also comes in a lighter brown color which could affect the appearance of your final baked goods. 

One of the benefits of using this type of sugar is that sucanat contains comparatively more minerals and vitamins.

Despite these benefits, sucanat cannot usually be found in the grocery store so you would need to find and order it online.

You may also find that because it is so difficult to source, it may prove expensive to deliver and take some time to arrive.

Palm Sugar

2. Palm Sugar

As another unrefined sugar, palm sugar can prove to be a reliable substitute for muscovado sugar.

That’s because palm sugar is created in a similar way to muscovado sugar by using the nectar and sap from palm trees.

This is typically in Southeast Asia and the sugar should be a little less sweet and more subtle than muscovado sugar.

However, if you still want to create a similar flavor you should use a bit more palm sugar than you would normally. 


3. Molasses

As muscovado sugar has a high molasses content anyway, you can simply substitute it with molasses.

This type of sugar is created with the byproducts that come from refining sugar cane into regular sugar. Molasses still comes with a dark color and a strong taste so is ideal for savory dishes.

Also, if you typically use muscovado sugar in barbecue recipes then try using molasses instead for that deep flavor. 

Molasses may even become a preferred choice for certain recipes where you want your sugar to create a rich taste.

That makes it ideal for meats though it does create a lot of background flavor so you may want to tone it down.

However, one of the drawbacks of molasses is that it may be harder to find than muscovado sugar, and even harder to find than dark brown sugar.

Dark Brown Sugar

4. Dark Brown Sugar

In the same section of the grocery store as muscovado sugar, you should be able to find dark brown sugar.

This is an obvious substitute and should be more readily available so opt for this if the muscovado sugar is out of the equation or out of stock.

However, this type of brown sugar does have a milder flavor and should be sweeter so it may change the dynamics of your recipe.

Try to use only half of the dark brown sugar as you would for muscovado sugar though check the consistency of the batter is still what you would expect.  

Demerara Sugar

5. Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar may even be harder to find than dark brown sugar and molasses. However, this type of sugar is also brown and may prove to be a more than effective substitute for muscovado sugar.

Demerara sugar is known to be close to muscovado sugar as it is refined from it to give it a rich flavor and dark color.

If you do use demerara sugar as a substitute for muscovado sugar then you may need to use comparatively more of it in a recipe. 

What You Should Use Muscovado Sugar For

With its distinctive flavor and high content of molasses, muscovado sugar has been used since ancient times.

Its origin is based in European overseas colonies like India and Jamaica which are both typically tropical.

Before it was used in baking, muscovado sugar was used to ferment rum and other alcoholic beverages. The substance was also used to preserve fish and meats as well as used to sweeten tea. 

As an unrefined sugar, muscovado sugar should have a stronger flavor than most sugars. The texture should also be sticky which is due to its high molasses content.

For baking (see also ‘The Best Glycerin Alternatives To Use In Baking‘), you should be using muscovado sugar in dark cakes, fruit cakes, and gingerbread.

If you want to give your baking a more intense taste and a richer texture then use muscovado sugar instead of white granulated sugar. 

Final Thoughts

Muscovado sugar can seem to be a pretty specific ingredient that simply cannot be ignored in a recipe. For dark, rich cakes it seems to be a staple ingredient but that is not necessarily the case.

If you have another sugar in the pantry then you can use this though be careful as each sugar has its own specific properties. 

You may find that you need to use a different ratio of one sugar to recreate the effects of muscovado sugar.

Adding treacle and molasses can also help to mimic the consistency and color of muscovado sugar.

If you do not want anyone to know that you have run out of muscovado sugar, that should not prevent you from substituting it adequately.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Refined Sugar Like Granulated Sugar Instead Of Muscovado Sugar?

If you cannot find any of the five best substitute ingredients for muscovado sugar then you can use granulated sugar.

This is typically not ideal yet you can use one cup of granulated sugar as long as you add a quarter-cup of molasses as well as two tablespoons of treacle.

This combination of ingredients should ensure that the granulated sugar creates a similarly brownish color in your baking, which you would expect when using muscovado sugar. 

Can You Make Your Own Muscovado Sugar And Dark Brown Sugar?

Yes, you can make your own muscovado sugar but you do need a couple of ingredients. To recreate muscovado sugar, you will need to mix together regular granulated sugar with molasses.

You can even recreate dark brown sugar by adding in another tablespoon of molasses.

This is ideal if you simply cannot find any muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar either but you do have granulated sugar and molasses.

The 5 Best Substitute Ingredients For Muscovado Sugar

The 5 Best Substitute Ingredients For Muscovado Sugar

Recipe by Jenna

In terms of brown sugar, muscovado remains a popular one for many cakes. However, if you do not have some you may want to substitute it for another ingredient.

Course: Substitutes
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  • Sucanat

  • Palm Sugar

  • Molasses

  • Dark Brown Sugar

  • Demerara Sugar


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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