Substitutes for Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar, is a versatile ingredient in the world of baking and confectionery. It acts as a sweetener, thickener, and stabilizer, making it an essential component in frostings, icings, and even some baked goods. However, there are times when we might need to find a suitable substitute for powdered sugar, whether due to dietary restrictions, lack of availability, or simply wanting to try something new.

Substituting powdered sugar is not a difficult task, but it’s important to understand the role it plays in your recipes to ensure successful results. Commercial substitutes, DIY recipes, and natural alternatives provide a range of options to cater to an individual’s specific dietary needs and preferences. Some even offer additional benefits, such as a reduced glycemic index or a more complex flavor profile.

Key Takeaways

  • Powdered sugar substitutes can cater to dietary needs and offer new flavors.
  • Knowing the role of powdered sugar in your recipes helps to choose an appropriate substitute.
  • Options include commercial alternatives, DIY recipes, and natural sugar substitutes.

Understanding Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar is a finely ground sugar variety that you will commonly find in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. It is also known as icing sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and 10x sugar. This type of sugar is created by blending granulated sugar into a fine powder, and then typically adding a small amount of cornstarch to prevent clumping.

As a home baker, you may use powdered sugar for a variety of applications. It is perfect for dusting onto baked goods like doughnuts, pancakes, and pastries, both for its sweetness and its ability to create a visually appealing presentation. Additionally, its fine texture allows it to dissolve easily in liquids, making it an excellent choice for creating icings, glazes, and frostings.

One advantage of using powdered sugar over granulated sugar in your recipes is that it provides a smoother texture in frostings and glazes. You may notice that granulated sugar can create a grainy feel, while powdered sugar lends a velvety finish to these sweet accompaniments.

It is important to keep in mind that powdered sugar is not always a direct substitute for granulated sugar when it comes to measuring. Due to its finer texture, you will find that the volume of powdered sugar is not equivalent to granulated sugar. For example, one cup of granulated sugar does not equal one cup of powdered sugar—instead, you will need around 1 3/4 cups of powdered sugar to achieve the same sweetness.

In the world of baking, understanding the properties and uses of powdered sugar can make a significant difference in the results of your culinary creations. By remembering its unique characteristics, such as its fine texture and dissolving abilities, you will be better equipped to utilize this versatile ingredient to its fullest potential.

Why Substitute Powdered Sugar

Sometimes, you may want to substitute powdered sugar in your recipes for various reasons. One common reason is to reduce the calorie content of your dish. Powdered sugar, like all forms of sugar, contains calories that can contribute to weight gain or hinder weight loss efforts. By substituting powdered sugar with a lower-calorie alternative, you can help manage your calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight.

Another reason to substitute powdered sugar is to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet. Consuming too much added sugar can lead to various health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Reducing your intake of added sugars by using alternatives can help prevent these health risks.

In addition, some people may need to consider the glycemic index of the sweeteners they use. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high glycemic index, such as powdered sugar, can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, leading to increased insulin production and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Substituting powdered sugar with a low or zero glycemic index alternative can help manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetes.

Finally, you might choose to substitute powdered sugar simply for the sake of variety or to accommodate specific dietary restrictions, such as allergies, intolerances, or personal preference. By exploring different powdered sugar substitutes, you can find new flavors and textures that suit your tastes and needs while still enjoying the sweet dishes you love.

The Role of Powdered Sugar in Baking

As a baking enthusiast, you know that powdered sugar plays a crucial role in recipes for various baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and frosting. Specifically, it is a vital ingredient in buttercream frosting, where it helps create the velvety consistency that hallmarks this confectionery delight.

When it comes to consistency, powdered sugar is unparalleled. Due to its fine texture and ability to dissolve quickly, it lends a smooth finish to your frostings and glazes. Additionally, it imparts a lighter, airier structure to your cakes and cookies, especially when creamed together with fat.

Moreover, the delicate sweetness of powdered sugar enhances the overall flavor profile of your baked goods without overpowering the other ingredients you use. As it mixes easily with other dry ingredients, it ensures an even distribution of sweetness throughout your recipes.

When working with powders in baking, do remember that different types of powdered sugar have varying degrees of fineness. Some may contain cornstarch to prevent clumping, which can affect the texture and taste of your finished product. It’s essential to pick the appropriate form for your specific recipe, ensuring you achieve the desired outcome.

In summary, the inclusion of powdered sugar in your baking significantly impacts the final texture and flavor of your masterpieces. Understanding its role will undoubtedly enable you to achieve consistent results and continue enhancing your baking skills.

Substitute For Powdered Sugar

Commercial Substitutes for Powdered Sugar

When you’re in need of a powdered sugar substitute, there are various commercial options available to suit your needs. With each having its own characteristics, finding the right substitute depends on your specific requirements and preferences.

Granulated Sugar: You can use granulated, or regular sugar, as a replacement for powdered sugar in certain situations. Although it’s heavier and coarser, you can achieve a similar sweetness level. To make it a more fitting substitute, you can blend granulated sugar in a food processor or blender until it reaches a finer consistency. However, this may not be ideal for frostings or icings that require a very fine texture.

Stevia: Stevia is a natural, plant-based sweetener that can be used in various forms, such as granulated and powdered. With its zero-calorie properties and high sweetness intensity, it’s an ideal option for those watching their calorie intake. When using stevia as a powdered sugar substitute, keep in mind that it’s much sweeter than sugar, so you’ll need to use less.

Splenda: Splenda, made from sucralose, is another calorie-free sugar substitute. It’s available as a granulated or powdered option, making it a versatile choice. Remember that Splenda is about 600 times sweeter than sugar, so you’ll also need to adjust the quantity when using it as a substitute.

There’s no shortage of commercial substitutes for powdered sugar, and knowing your options enables you to make an informed decision that best suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for a healthier alternative like stevia, or simply need a temporary fix with granulated sugar, there’s a substitute to satisfy your sweet tooth.

DIY Powdered Sugar Recipes

Making your own powdered sugar at home is easier than you might think. With a few simple steps, you can create delicious and cost-effective alternatives to store-bought powdered sugar. Here are a few DIY powdered sugar recipes that you can try using common kitchen appliances.

To make homemade powdered sugar using a blender or food processor, you’ll need regular granulated sugar and a bit of cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Cornstarch helps prevent clumping and ensures the sugar maintains a powdery texture. Follow these steps:

  1. Measure out one cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
  2. Pour the ingredients into your blender or food processor.
  3. Blend on high speed for about 30 to 60 seconds until the sugar reaches a smooth, powdery consistency.
  4. Use a fine-mesh sieve to sift the powdered sugar into a bowl or airtight container, discarding any remaining granules.

Another option for making DIY powdered sugar is using a coffee grinder. This method works well for smaller quantities of powdered sugar. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Measure out 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
  2. Pour the ingredients into your coffee grinder, making sure not to overfill it.
  3. Pulse the grinder several times until the sugar reaches a fine, powdery texture.
  4. Use a fine-mesh sieve to sift the powdered sugar into a bowl or airtight container, discarding any remaining granules.

Remember that homemade powdered sugar can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks. Now that you have these DIY powdered sugar recipes, you can easily whip up a fresh batch whenever you need it. Enjoy experimenting with different sugar types, such as turbinado or coconut sugar, to create unique flavors and textures.

Natural Sugar Substitutes

Searching for a substitute for powdered sugar? You’re in the right place. There are several natural sugar alternatives available to satisfy your sweet tooth while providing additional health benefits.

Coconut sugar is one option to consider. Made from the sap of the coconut palm tree, it has a lower glycemic index than regular granulated sugar. To utilize coconut sugar as a powdered sugar replacement, you can easily pulse it in a blender until the desired consistency is achieved. Keep in mind that coconut sugar tends to have a more distinct caramel-like flavor, which may affect your recipe’s taste.

Another option is raw turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar consists of larger sugar crystals and is made from the first pressing of sugar cane. It is less processed than granulated sugar, retaining more minerals and natural molasses flavor. For a powdered consistency, simply grind it using a coffee grinder or food processor.

Brown sugar is another alternative, but it tends to be moister and could clump in recipes where powdered sugar typically provides a light, airy texture. To turn it into a powdered form, blend or process with a little cornstarch to absorb the extra moisture and prevent clumping.

Apart from these sugar options, liquid natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup can also be used in some recipes as a substitute for powdered sugar. Both honey and maple syrup contain antioxidants and trace minerals that benefit your health. However, be cautious when substituting these liquid sweeteners for powdered sugar, as they will alter the recipe’s texture and moisture content. You may need to adjust the liquid or dry ingredients accordingly to maintain the desired outcome.

Remember that moderation is key when consuming any type of sweetener. With these natural sugar substitutes, you now have the power to make healthier choices in your baking and cooking endeavors, without compromising taste and texture.

Cinnamon Roll Icing Without Powdered Sugar

Sugar-free Substitutes

When looking for sugar-free substitutes for powdered sugar, you have several options to choose from. These substitutes offer a healthier alternative without compromising your recipes’ tastes and textures.

Stevia is a popular, natural sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so you’ll need to use less when replacing powdered sugar. You can find stevia in various forms, such as liquid or powdered, making it easy to incorporate into your recipes.

Another sugar-free option is xylitol powder. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, has a similar sweetness and texture to powdered sugar, making it a great substitute. It’s also low in calories and has dental health benefits. However, be aware that xylitol can cause digestive issues for some people and can be highly toxic to dogs, so keep it out of their reach.

Powdered monk fruit sweetener offers another natural and sugar-free alternative to powdered sugar. Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a small, round fruit grown in Southeast Asia. Its extract is processed into a granulated or powdered sweetener, and it’s 100-250 times sweeter than sugar. This sweetener has virtually no calories and a low glycemic index, making it a suitable choice for diabetics.

In addition to these natural options, there are also artificial sweeteners available that can serve as sugar-free alternatives. However, be cautious when using artificial sweeteners, as some may have an aftertaste or potential side effects. Always read the labels and follow the recommended usage guidelines when using these substitutes.

In summary, you have several choices when it comes to sugar-free substitutes for powdered sugar. Whether it’s stevia, xylitol powder, powdered monk fruit sweetener, or an artificial sweetener, be sure to consider your specific needs and preferences when selecting a substitute. Remember that each option may require different amounts and adjustments in your recipes, so a little experimentation may be necessary to find the perfect balance.

Creative Uses of Substitutes

When you don’t have powdered sugar on hand, there are several substitutes you can use in various recipes to achieve a similar effect. For a topping, a good alternative is a blend of granulated sugar and cornstarch. Mix equal parts of both ingredients in a food processor until the texture becomes fine and powdery. This mixture works well for dusting doughnuts, pastries, and even lemon bars.

In applications such as meringue or glazes, it is essential to consider the properties of your chosen substitute. A combination of granulated sugar and cream of tartar can be used to create a stable meringue. To create a glaze, try replacing powdered sugar with a simple syrup made from granulated sugar and water. This will give you a smooth and glossy finish, perfect for drizzling over banana bread or flourless chocolate cake.

If you’re making pastries or desserts like tiramisu, consider using a powdered sugar substitute with a more robust flavor profile. Light brown sugar or coconut sugar can add depth and warmth to your finished product. These substitutes can enhance the flavors of your dessert while providing a similar texture and appearance to powdered sugar.

Remember, experimenting with different substitutes is key to discovering new and exciting variations of your favorite recipes. By being resourceful and adaptable, you can create delicious and satisfying outcomes without relying on powdered sugar.

Other Ingredients Mixed with Substitutes

When searching for the perfect powdered sugar substitute, you might come across a variety of other ingredients that can be mixed with the alternatives to achieve the desired taste and consistency. Here’s a list of some common add-ons that can be combined with your chosen substitute.

Cornstarch: Cornstarch is often added to granulated sugar to create a homemade powdered sugar. The fine texture of cornstarch helps to create a smooth, lump-free mixture.

Cocoa powder: For a chocolate-flavored powdered sugar replacement, mixing cocoa powder with your chosen substitute is an excellent option. This adds a rich chocolate taste and can be used for dusting desserts, such as brownies, or enhancing the flavor of frosting.

Dry milk powder: Adding dry milk powder to your powdered sugar substitute can enhance the creaminess and richness of the mixture. It works well when making frosting or glaze, giving a smooth texture and dairy-like taste.

Milk and butter: To achieve a smoother and more spreadable consistency, especially in frosting recipes, you can add milk and butter. This not only helps in achieving the desired texture but also enriches the flavor.

Hot cocoa mix: If you want to add a chocolate touch to your substitute, consider incorporating hot cocoa mix. This can add a delightful chocolate taste to your recipes, making them perfect for dusting and flavoring desserts.

To summarize, mixing these ingredients with your chosen powdered sugar substitute will help to create a versatile and flavorful alternative that suits a wide range of recipes. Experiment with different combinations to find the best fit for your desired taste and texture.

Powder Additives and Their Substitutes

When working with powdered sugar, you may encounter various powder additives that serve specific functions in recipes. Here, you’ll learn about common powder additives and their substitutes to help you make informed decisions when adjusting recipes.

Anti-caking agent is often added to powdered sugar to prevent clumping and improve its texture. If you’re looking for an alternative, try using a small amount of arrowroot powder or cornstarch as a substitute. These options can help reduce clumping without affecting the taste of your recipe.

Dextrose is another additive commonly found in powdered sugar. It’s a type of sugar derived from corn and can be replaced with other sweeteners in a pinch. When substituting dextrose, consider using granulated sugar, honey, or maple syrup, keeping in mind that these substitutes may alter your recipe’s texture and overall sweetness.

In some cases, you may need to substitute the main source of starch in your powdered sugar. Instead of the traditional cornstarch, consider using some of the following alternatives:

  • Tapioca starch: Also known as tapioca flour, this gluten-free starch is derived from the cassava root and can be used as a thickener in recipes. Use it in a 1:1 ratio when replacing cornstarch.
  • Potato starch: This gluten-free starch is extracted from potatoes, making it an excellent alternative for those with corn allergies or sensitivities. You can substitute potato starch for cornstarch at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Arrowroot powder: A versatile and gluten-free starch, arrowroot powder is an excellent substitute for cornstarch. Be sure to use it in equal parts when substituting in recipes.

To ensure the success of your culinary creations, remember to account for how these substitutions may impact the overall texture and flavor of your dish. By understanding the function of various powder additives, you can confidently adjust your recipes with suitable substitutes, allowing you to achieve desired results.

Special Dietary Needs and Substitutes

When looking for substitutes for powdered sugar, it’s important to consider your specific dietary needs. In this section, we will provide options for various requirements, including low-carb, calorie-free, keto-friendly, and kosher for Passover diets.

Low-carb and Keto-friendly: If you are following a low-carb or keto diet, consider using erythritol, a sugar alcohol that has fewer calories and carbs than regular sugar. It is available in powdered forms and can be used as a 1:1 substitute for powdered sugar in most recipes.

Calorie-free: If you’re looking for a calorie-free alternative, Stevia is a popular natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is available in powdered forms and can be used in place of powdered sugar. Be sure to check labels for specific conversion ratios, as Stevia is significantly sweeter than regular sugar.

Kosher for Passover: When it comes to kosher for Passover alternatives, consider using potato starch-based powdered sugar, which can be found in specialty stores or online. This substitute can be used in the same way as regular powdered sugar, although taste and texture may slightly differ.

Here are some substitutes based on dietary preferences:

Dietary NeedSubstitute
Low-carbPowdered Erythritol
Keto-friendlyPowdered Erythritol
Calorie-freePowdered Stevia
Kosher for PassoverPotato Starch-based

Remember, the key to finding the right substitute is understanding your individual nutritional requirements and adjusting your recipe accordingly. Experiment with different options to determine which best suits your tastes and needs. Ultimately, it is possible to enjoy sweet treats while still adhering to your specific dietary restrictions.

Proper Storage of Substitutes

Storing your powdered sugar substitutes properly will ensure their longevity and maintain their quality. When it comes to keeping these substitutes fresh, you’ll want to follow a few key guidelines.

Firstly, place your substitutes, such as snow powder, in an airtight container. This will prevent the introduction of moisture and other contaminants that can negatively affect the texture or flavor of your substitutes. Airtight containers can be simple plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids or even resealable plastic bags.

Store your airtight containers in a cool, dry place like a pantry. This will help prolong the shelf life of your powdered sugar substitutes and prevent any spoilage due to temperature fluctuations or humidity. The ideal storage temperature varies between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of about 40-60%.

To keep your powdered sugar substitutes at their peak freshness, follow these steps:

  • Check for signs of spoilage. If you notice any off-smells, discoloration, or clumping, it’s time to dispose of your powdered sugar substitute.
  • Keep moisture levels low. Use silica gel packets or moisture-absorbing sheets to absorb any excess moisture in the storage space.
  • Label and date your containers. This helps you keep track of how long you’ve had your powdered sugar substitute, and ensures you use it before it loses its quality.

By following these guidelines and taking extra care to store your powdered sugar substitutes properly, you can enjoy the benefits of these ingredients for a longer period. With proper storage, you’ll always have a fresh supply of substitutes available for all your baking needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can granulated sugar and cornstarch be used as a substitute?

Yes, you can substitute powdered sugar with a mixture of granulated sugar and cornstarch. To make the substitute, combine 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a blender or food processor. Blend until it reaches a powdery consistency similar to powdered sugar.

What is a good alternative for diabetics?

A good alternative for diabetics is a sugar-free powdered sugar substitute, such as Swerve or Splenda. These substitutes use low-calorie sweeteners that don’t significantly impact blood sugar levels, making them suitable for people with diabetes.

How to replace powdered sugar in buttercream frosting?

To replace powdered sugar in buttercream frosting, you can use an alternative sweetener like Swerve or Splenda. Alternatively, you can make a substitute by combining granulated sugar and cornstarch. Replace the powdered sugar with an equal amount of your chosen alternative, and adjust the consistency of the frosting as needed.

Are there keto-friendly powdered sugar substitutes?

Yes, there are keto-friendly powdered sugar substitutes available. Erythritol-based sweeteners, such as Swerve, are often used in keto recipes as they have minimal impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. These substitutes can be used in the same measurements as powdered sugar in most recipes.

What can be used in place of powdered sugar in whipped cream?

To replace powdered sugar in whipped cream, you can use granulated sugar, a sugar substitute like Swerve, or even maple syrup or honey. When using an alternative sweetener, start with a small amount and adjust to taste.

How to convert granulated sugar to powdered sugar?

To convert granulated sugar to powdered sugar, blend 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a blender or food processor until it reaches a powdery consistency. This mixture can be used as a substitute for powdered sugar in most recipes.

Substitute For Powdered Sugar

Our Best Substitute For Powdered Sugar

These options are sure to be a hit. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
5 from 5 votes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Seasoning, Substitute
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 177 kcal


  • DIY powdered sugar
  • Powdered coconut sugar
  • Powdered dextrose D-glucose
  • 6 X or 4X powdered sugar
  • Xylitol powder
  • Dry milk powder
  • Hot cocoa mix
  • Baker or caster sugar
  • Snow powder
  • Erythritol


  • Try our kitchen tested powdered sugar substitutes.


Select your option.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.


Calories: 177kcal
Keyword powdered sugar substitute
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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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