Guide to Alternative Sweeteners for Baking

  in Blog

White and brown sugar are familiar sweeteners for baking but did you know there are numerous alternative and natural sweeteners, many of which are lightly processed, preserving nutrients. It’s easy to make your favorite sweet treats with natural sweeteners, all of which are gluten-free except for barley malt. Whether you are reducing your sugar intake or just want to experiment with a different flavor profile, check out the following sweeteners available at Oryana.

Turbinado Sugar

Raw sugar that has been partially refined and washed. It is made the same way as white sugar except for the last extraction of molasses. Replace sugar with an equal amount of turbinado.

Date sugar

Ground dehydrated dates. The taste and appearance is similar to brown sugar, but less sweet. Contains all the nutrients found in dates including fiber. Does not dissolve in liquid and burns easily so take care in baking. Substitute 1 for 1.


Sucanat is a brand name (Sugar Cane Natural) for a product that is made from evaporated sugar cane juice. It retains its molasses giving it a brown sugar flavor. Can be substituted 1 for 1 for brown sugar

Coconut palm sugar/crystals

Not as sweet as cane sugar but more flavorful, with a molasses-like flavor similar to brown sugar. Use as you would sugar.


Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by bees and other insects from the nectar of flowers. It’s sweeter than table sugar and is excellent for baking. Reduce liquids by 1/8 and oven temp by 25 degrees and increase baking time a little.

Rice Syrup

Made from rice that has been soaked, sprouted and cooked with a cereal enzyme that breaks the starches into maltose. Rice syrup has a light, delicate flavor and looks similar to honey but is less sweet. Reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 and add 1/4 tsp baking soda for each cup of rice syrup.

Maple Syrup

Made from the boiled sap of sugar maple trees. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup! Substitute 1 1/2 cups of maple syrup for each cup of granulated sugar and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of maple syrup used. When maple syrup is substituted for all the sugar in a recipe, reduce the amount of liquid used by half.

Maple Sugar

Completely evaporated maple syrup with crystals remaining. Has a strong maple flavor and aroma and is sweeter than sugar. 1/3 cup of maple sugar = 1 cup of granulated sugar.

Agave Syrup

Made from the sap of the agave root bulb, a plant found in Mexico. Agave is processed with heat and enzymes to convert the starch into a high fructose syrup which is 40% sweeter than granulated sugar. For each cup of white sugar that you are replacing, use 2/3 cup of agave and reduce other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup.

Sorghum Syrup

The concentrated juice of crushed and boiled sorghum stems. It is a thick, light brown syrup with a slight molasses taste. Use 3/4 of the amount of sugar called for in the recipe.

Barley Malt

A complex carbohydrate sweetener from sprouted barley, roasted and cooked down to a syrup. Has a malt-like flavor, is dark, thick, and half as sweet as sugar. Reduce liquid by 1/4 and add 1/4 tsp baking soda for each cup of barley syrup.

Coconut Nectar

Made from cooking down coconut nectar from coconut palm flowers. Has a mild caramel flavor and can be used 1:1 in place of other liquid sweeteners.


Stevia is a naturally sweet herb native to Paraguay. It is non-caloric and 30 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia extract can be substituted into baked goods if another food is used to replace the lost bulk that the sugar would have added.


A brand name for a certified organic calorie-free erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol. It’s derived from organic sugar cane juice, which is fermented, filtered and crystallized. Subsititute 1 for 1 with sugar.