Caster Sugar Substitute: Our Top Recommendations

As with lots of other different types of food ingredients, there are lots of different substitutes that can be used in place of caster sugar.

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As you probably already know, caster sugar is a super-fine type of sugar that is commonly used for baking, and it is able to fully dissolve into your desert without leaving a gritty texture as some other sugars would.

It dissolves really quickly, making it great for this purpose, and if you find that your stash has been used up, there are some other things that you can use instead of it. 

If you are half-way through baking your favorite dessert and have come to realize that you are completely out of caster sugar, then we are here to give you some alternative options that you can choose from to save the day. 

Types of Caster Sugar

There are two different types of caster sugar that you will need to be aware of, and these are white caster sugar, and golden caster sugar. White caster sugar is made from sugar cane and refined sugar beet, and it will not change at all in coloring when it is baked.

Alternatively, golden caster sugar is a light gold color and is made from unrefined sugar that still has molasses in it. It has a more complicated flavor to it, and it will darken after baking. 

Can You Make Your Own Caster Sugar?

If you find that you are out of caster sugar, you can actually make your own. You just need some granulated sugar and either a food processor or a blender.

Put the required amount of granulated sugar into the blender or food processor and turn it on, but be really careful not to over-blend it and accidentally create a sugary powder instead of caster sugar.

You will need to keep a close eye out to make sure that you are getting the right consistency.

Caster Sugar Substitutes

If you don’t don’t have the tools to make your own caster sugar, the type of sugar you use as a substitute will depend on the dish that you are trying to make, as some will be better suited to substitutes than others.

Brown Sugar

If you are trying your hand at baking a cake without any caster sugar, then you should be able to get away with using brown sugar instead. This will not alter the taste of the cake, and it shouldn’t make too much of a difference to the overall result.

It is one of the best substitutes to use for this purpose, and it will help to create some delicious results that aren’t too dissimilar to those you would get using normal golden caster sugar.

Honey and Syrup

If you need caster sugar in order to make things like puddings and pies, then you can opt to use either maple syrup or corn syrup as an alternative.

For some dishes, you could use a high-quality brand of honey as a caster sugar substitute, but this would be better for liquid deserts, and not those that are firm like a cake. 

This is because it will likely make your cake or cookies really moist and chewy. Honey will also change the color of the baked product. 

Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar is much more finely ground than caster sugar. If you want to use this sugar for the purpose of its flavor, then it should be fine. You might have some issues in terms of a lack of consistency, so you may need to use other ingredients to make your mixture thicker. 

Granulated Sugar

This result from using granulated sugar will depend on what you are trying to create. If you are baking a cake or cookies, then you will be able to substitute granulated sugar for caster sugar.

Something that you should be aware of is that the granulated sugar does have bigger crystals, so this might make the texture more grainy.

For more delicate desserts that require much more care, like meringue or mousse, then you are definitely going to be able to notice the grainy texture. Ideally, you would want to use nothing other than caster sugar for these recipes if you are looking for the best results. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can be used instead of caster sugar? 

Caster sugar is commonly used in baking, it is a component that brings all the sweetness you need into your cakes and dessert treats. If you are baking a cake and do not have any caster sugar on hand though, you may be wondering if you can use a substitute or if there is something else in your kitchen that you can use as a replacement. 

If you are baking a cake and do not have any caster sugar then you can always use brown sugar or Demerara sugar as a replacement, it is very sweet and will bring that taste that you are looking for. On the other hand if you are making a pudding, a pie, or a pastry you can always use maple or corn syrup as a replacement for the sugar. 

Can I turn granulated sugar into caster? 

Perhaps you have some granulated sugar but no caster sugar, and you are just about to get baking. You can turn granulated sugar into caster sugar with ease. You simply add the granulated sugar to your blender on the pulse setting and give it a good pulse-blend a few times in short and sharp bursts until you find that the texture is super fine and fluffy, a bit like sand. 

Doing this will yield a near equal amount of caster sugar per granulated sugar you put into your blender. You should get a half cup of caster sugar per half cup of granulated sugar you put in, plus one extra tablespoon as well. So you will get vaguely more than you started off with, and it is super easy to do. So if you have granulated sugar at home but no caster sugar, you need not worry. 

Can you substitute brown sugar for caster sugar? 

Caster sugar is quite simply just a superfine sugar. Whereas the sugar you might put in your coffee or on your cereal is a bit chunkier, caster sugar is the same, just extra fine. It is used in recipes where the sugar needs to melt easily. Think of meringues.

However, in other recipes such as cakes and baking you can easily substitute it with different sugars very easily. A brown sugar that is sprayed with molasses is a good choice for many cakes and pastries as it generally gives a richer flavor. 

Brown sugar is often quite a sweet sugar anyway, so it provides the sweetness that you would often get from a caster sugar when it is used as a replacement.

It does depend on your recipe though, as brown sugar is not as suitable for every dish you make, as brown sugar can often have more moisture than caster sugar which can result in effects on the texture of your dish. But it is dependent on the dish. 

Can I substitute powdered sugar for caster sugar?

Caster sugar is very fine, so you may think that substituting it with powdered sugar would work well. But this is not always the case. The best substitute for caster sugar is simply to make your own from granulated sugar.

However, if you are really considering using powdered sugar then be aware that powdered sugar would give your baked goods a thin texture and it has the potential to even ruin your recipe, which you definitely do not want.

On the flip side standard granulated sugar that hasn’t been transformed into caster sugar could have the opposite effect, turning your recipe into a grainy substance. It is best to try and always have caster sugar on hand, or to learn how to make it yourself. 

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community.
She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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