Everything you need to know about coconut sugar

Is coconut sugar good for you? Is it an adequate white sugar substitute for healthy baking and how do I use it? Find answers to all of these questions in this post! 

Everything you need to know about coconut sugar aka is coconut sugar good for you - Pin

What is coconut sugar? 

Coconut sugar also called coconut crystals or coconut palm sugar sometimes is a great alternative to refined white sugar.

The golden brown coconut sugar is obtained by heating the sap of the coconut flower until most liquid has evaporated. In other words, it’s hardly processed.

Now, does that make it a “healthy” alternative to white sugar? Is coconut sugar good for you?  Let’s have a look.

Coconut Sugar vs White Sugar aka. Is coconut sugar good for you? 

coconut sugar vs white sugar nutritional table

As you can see from the chart, coconut sugar and granulated sugar have a very similar nutritional profile.

 One tablespoon of coconut sugar has 45 kCal and 12 grams of carbs, while one tablespoon of white sugar has 48 kCal and 12.6 grams of carbs. Pretty much identical.

If you’re just looking to reduce your calorie or carb intake, coconut sugar might not be the good choice for you.

But what these numbers don’t tell you is that coconut sugar has a much lower glycemic index than white sugar. It means that it won’t make your blood sugar spike as normal sugar does. It’s also a bit more nutritious.

Where white sugar basically provides empty calories, coconut sugar contains a small amount of minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium.

The takeaway here is that coconut sugar is probably not your friend if you’re trying to lose weight, but is still a better choice than refined white sugar because it’s less processed and more nutritious.

So is coconut sugar good for you? Well, it depends on what your goals are. Weight loss or overall health.

How to use coconut sugar for cooking and baking 

Using coconut sugar is quite similar to cooking and baking with brown sugar. It has a light but distinctive flavor, close to brown sugar or molasses.

 Keep in mind that it will make your batter brown, so it’s not ideal for some recipes.

If you’ve never tried coconut sugar before, start with a recipe that has been developed using coconut sugar, try it and see how you like it. Then you can start replacing it in your favorite recipes.

To replace white sugar with coconut sugar in your recipe, the ratio is usually 1 for 1 (use 1 cup of coconut sugar for 1 cup of granulated sugar).

You might need to play around with your recipe, adjust the other ingredients and the baking time but I found the substitution pretty easy to do.

two bags of organic coconut sugar on a rustic wooden table

Where to buy coconut sugar

  • In the “health food” aisle of your supermarket, or sometimes even in the “baking” aisle, next to the white sugar. My local supermarket (Coles) carries different brands in both aisles (one is organic, the other is not).
  • In a health food store
  • If you can’t find it in stores, Amazon has a great selection of brands and it might be your cheapest option. Browse the different brands here.

 two healthy Apple Pie Oatmeal Bars made with coconut sugar stacked on top of each other

Recipes using coconut sugar

Now that you know everything about coconut sugar, let’s get to the actual cooking!

Here’s a selection of my favorite recipes. And watch out this space, there’s plenty more coming your way!

{Healthier} Apple Pie Oatmeal Bars (pictured)

Apple Pie Spice Muffins (Gluten Free)

Healthy Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free)

Lemon Pie Bars (Gluten Free)

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gluten Free)

Cherry Oatmeal Bars (Gluten Free)

Japanese Miso Eggplant

And for the most recent recipe using coconut sugar, click here.

Still, have questions about coconut sugar and how to use it? Ask below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

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posted in
Clean Eating Healthy Living Misc. Recipes Refined Sugar Free Tips & Tricks
  1. Great post, Marie! I knew that coconut sugar was healthier, at least insofar as it is less refined. But I didn’t know about the lower glycemic load. Very interesting. We’ve been using evaporated cane juice instead of refined granulated sugar, because it’s less processed. Around here, the coconut sugar is harder to find (until we get our Sprouts grocery on our side of town), but I will probably be using it more in my cooking now.

  2. Coconut sugar is a natural and healthier sweetener.Like table sugar, coconut sugar is a blend of glucose and fructose.We have studies showing fructose contributes to insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.I like this blog.

  3. In my world, people looking for a good substitution for white sugar, is also looking for a worthy substitution for all purpose flour. True there is gluten free all purpose but it is sooooo processed. I would love some of your delicious recipes to use almond, coconut or even einkorn flour. Those of us who do alternative baking also usually can’t tolerate corn, gluten, soy and a lot of times dairy. Gratefully I can get away with raw dairy! Thanks for your input!

  4. Hi!

    I am following a recipe that calls for light brown sugar, however, I only have coconut palm sugar. Would the ratio be 1:1?

  5. I’m making plum butter (overnight crock pot recipe) and I’m short on brown sugar. Will using some coconut palm sugar change the taste much?

  6. I just found my coconut sugar in the pantry (I forgot I had it) and it is as hard as a rock, do you know any way to soften it?

    1. Yes it happens to me too sometimes and I just try to “hammer” it a little. If this doesn’t work, you could try to pulse it in your food processor.

  7. Well actually this is the first time I hear about coconut sugar! I often use brown sugar when making sweets, but I am now excited to try coconut sugar instead, especially that I love coconut sweets!

  8. I want to do a carrot cake I’ve done before which has 225g of light brown sugar, can I just replace like for like with coconut sugar?

    1. Yes you definitely can! I would maybe add a little less coconut sugar (say 200g) because the flavor is a bit stronger than light brown sugar, but other than that, you can substitute it with the same proportion

  9. I used coconut sugar when I was making Swiss roll today, but I found my eggs didn’t rise as much as when I use caster sugar. Why is this? I ended up having to use a smaller baking tray.

    1. It could be because coconut sugar has a larger grain than caster sugar – you could try pulsing it in the food processor to make it finer.

    1. I don’t see why not. The syrup might be a bit brownish though – it could be important depending on what you’re planning to do with it.

  10. Tried coconut sugar in my coffee (with milk) and it’s great tasting… similar to brown sugar! Love it and will now be using it with my coffee and also tea (herbal).????

  11. Hi Marie. I like you, use it measure for measure. There is one thing I have noticed however, when using a normal recipe like cake, (I am gluten free so my flour is also) I find cookies, or cakes are a wee bit dryer than a refined sugar product. I was wondering if you have noticed the same and if so if you have figured out a solution. I think regular sugar actually has moisture. So I am thinking water, oil or syrup addition may bridge the gap. Would love to hear your opinion. PS. There is a brand that is now offering a finer grain/blonde color. I find my coffee bean grinder can get me finer for those of you wondering about the granular size. 🙂

  12. I use coconut sugar in all my baking and I love it, but when I use it in milk pudding or vanilla ice cream the result have this brownish grey color, it is totally unappetizing. Can I find white coconut sugar?

    1. Unfortunately I’ve never see white coconut sugar – I don’t think it exists. And they would have to process it a lot, potentially with harsh chemicals, to make it white so I’m not sure it would be a healthy option anyway 🙂

  13. What about freezer jam? Would the ratio still be 1:1? I’m trying to recreate all my favorite recipes replacing cane sugar with coconut sugar. TIA

  14. I don’t tolerate sugar so use stevia. Can stevia be substituted for coconut sugar (wish I could use c sugar) any idea of the exchange for it?

  15. Hi! I’m supposed to stay away from refined sugar as it is a high inflammatory agent. Do you know anything about where coconut sugar sits, as far as being an inflammatory agent?

  16. I have an issue when baking with coconut sugar; the end product is a bit dry/crumbly. I made a wonderful coffee cake using the same recipe I have used for years and, it came out slightly dry and “crumby” (too many crumbs, almost crumbly). I also made some “blondes”, same dryness issue. Everything has tasted great and I’m not going to stop using it, but, has anyone altered any of the other ingredients to fix the dryness/crumbles?

  17. Oh my goodness I’m one of those really old fashion types well over 65 just stat some pain management treatments for my old bones broke my backinseveralplac3s it’s recomended not to use white sugar as it dose aggravate inflammation in those areas so a completely new life style of eating the one thing I would not change is my tea or coffee had to have sugar not like suryup but sweeter I absolutely refuse to use artificial sugar that fake stuff just sits in my mouth for days but I’ve decided this week to try a natural sugar coconut sounded awsome with lest processing with it well to the point I’m on my third day of use I’m happy to report it’s good replacement and being natural my body knows what to do with it not turning it into some toxic wAste stored in the fat best of all it’s not gmo contaminated I bought organic as I have for my complete lifestyle change all foods organic or they not passing through this mouth yes that’s one of my illnesses toxic thank you for allowing me to text here with my thoughts blessings to all yup cookies are on my list next to make as a southerner sweets are just in our blood . Any feed back is welcomed .

  18. In making cranberry sauce, can I use coconut sugar instead of white sugar? I have seen the comments above with the ratio 1:1 for baking. Is it same for sauces?

    1. Yes, coconut sugar would be perfect for cranberry sauce and you can use the same amount you would for white sugar. Happy thanksgiving!

  19. What about cheesecake. I saw no real recipe online for using Coconut sugar. I guess according to your blog its just a swap out .. maybe using slightly less for flavor?

    1. The issue with cheesecake is that coconut sugar will darken the white batter, and yes, you might taste it a bit, unless the recipe is heavy on the lemon or vanilla extract. In terms of texture, I think it would work just fine.

    1. Yes, I think it would work fine! But know that brands have different grain size. If yours is on the bigger side, you may want to blend the sugar first (in a blender or food processor) to make sure it’s fine and doesn’t make your fudge grainy.

  20. Trying to make cookies that call for almond flour and maple syrup..2 c of Flour/1/2 c syrup.
    I want to use coconut sugar instead of maple syrup but since this is a dry ingredient, I am wondering should I add some water to combine ingredients, and how much to add?

    1. You are right, substituting a dry ingredient for a wet one can be tricky. I’m not an expert baker at all, but I wouldn’t recommend using water.

  21. Wondering if I can use coconut sugar in place of granulated sugar in a braised red cabbage recipe. I haven’t tried coconut sugar yet but am intrigued by the glycemic benefit. Thank you!

    1. I think it should work well, yes! I’m sure the taste will be good, I’m just wondering about the color but since it’s red cabbage (=pretty dark) it shouldn’t alter the presentation either.

    1. I wouldn’t use coconut sugar in cupcakes if you care about how they’ll look. Unless the batter is already dark (if you’re making chocolate cupcakes for instance) the coconut sugar will turn the white batter brown-ish so not they prettiest 🙂

  22. Hi there!

    I have a condition called pica, in which I have the craving to eat sand. This occurs because I am anaemic (= I have a an iron deficiency). Instead of eating sand I substitute it by eating coconut sugar, more than several times a day. Is that a bad thing for my health?

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