Types of Sugar and How to Measure It

What is the difference between white and brown sugar? Can I substitute one type of sugar for another? What is the best way to measure sugar? The answer to these and other burning questions right here!

What is the difference between white and brown sugar? Can I substitute one type of sugar for another? What is the best way to measure sugar?

The most common types of dry sugar used in baking and cooking are:

  • White, granulated sugar
  • Light brown sugar
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Powdered sugar

Each type of sugar is used in a different way and is measured in a specific way.

Can I substitute white sugar for brown?

  • Yes. Substitute white sugar for brown in equal amounts. If you’re making cookies they will tend to be a little crispier and the flavor not as complex. 
  • If you would like to simulate the complex flavor of brown sugar using white then add 2 Tablespoons of molasses to every cup of white that you are using.

Can I substitute brown sugar for white?

  • You can sub brown for white cup for cup. However, brown sugar is a moister sugar than white. Using brown instead of white will result in a change of texture and flavor. It will most likely be softer and have a slight molasses flavor.

What is the difference between white and brown sugar? Can I substitute one type of sugar for another? What is the best way to measure sugar? The answer to these and other burning questions right here!

Can I substitute powdered sugar for granulated?

  • Powdered sugar can be substituted for granulated by using 1 ¾ C packed powdered sugar per every cup of granulated called for.
  • The flavor and texture of your product will most likely be affected. It may be a denser product.

Can granulated sugar be substituted for powdered?

  • Not usually.
  • There are certain situations and recipes that will allow for substituting granulated sugar for powdered sugar, but the recipe should let you know. 
  • Recipes that call for powdered sugar do so for a reason and this reason is why you should not substitute.

What is confectioner’s sugar and caster sugar?

  • Confectioner’s sugar and caster sugar are just other names for powdered sugar.

Can powdered sugar be substituted for brown?

  • Yes. 2 Cups of sifted powdered sugar can be substituted per cup of brown.
  • When substituting powdered sugar for brown you MUST sift first. If you don’t the result will be affected negatively.

What is the difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar?

  • The only difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar is dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light brown. If you are using a recipe that calls for dark brown sugar but don’t care for a deep molasses flavor then you can easily substitute light for dark without any other side effects. 

My recipe just calls for “sugar”. What type do I use?

  • If your recipe does not specify a particular type of sugar then you should use granulated.

What is the difference between white and brown sugar? Can I substitute one type of sugar for another? What is the best way to measure sugar? The answer to these and other burning questions right here!

How To Measure Sugar

Measuring Powdered Sugar

Some recipes merely call for powdered sugar with no specifications on how it should be measured.

For this you will need: 

  • a flat edged butter knife or other straight edged utensil
  • measuring cup

How to Measure

  • Dip measuring cup into powdered sugar and scoop out sugar.
  • Allow powdered sugar to mound over the top of the cup. 
  • Using straight edge of butter knife scrape off the mound of powdered sugar. 
  • If a hole appears add another spoonful of powdered sugar and scrape off again with knife.

Measuring Sugar By Weight

Some recipes (especially those from across the pond) require measuring sugar by weight. One cup of powdered sugar straight from the container weighs about 4.5 ounces per cup. Sifted powdered sugar weighs about 4 ounces per cup.

For this you will need: 

  • a food scale
  • bowl
  • spoon

How to Measure

  • Place bowl on scale 
  • Zero out or tare your scale to prep it for measuring. 
  • Spoon powdered sugar onto scale. 
  • Add powdered sugar to the scale a little at a time until the correct weight is reflected on the scale. 
  • If you accidentally put too much powdered sugar on the scale, no worries, just put some back.
  • Once you have enough powdered sugar by weight it is ready to be added to your recipe.

What is the difference between white and brown sugar? Can I substitute one type of sugar for another? What is the best way to measure sugar? The answer to these and other burning questions right here!

Measuring Brown Sugar – Packed

When measuring un-weighed brown sugar you MUST pack it into the measuring cup. Not packing the sugar will result in a product that is not as sweet nor as moist as intended. The flavor and texture will be affected.

For this you will need: 

  • spoon
  • measuring cup
  • a flat edged butter knife or other straight edged utensil

How to Measure

  • Spoon brown sugar into measuring cup. 
  • Pack it down as you go by pressing your thumb into the bowl of the spoon. 
  • Allow sugar to mound over the top of the measuring cup. 
  • Scrape the top of the measuring cup with the flat edge of a knife or other flat-edged utensil

What is the difference between white and brown sugar? Can I substitute one type of sugar for another? What is the best way to measure sugar? The answer to these and other burning questions right here!

Measuring Granulated Sugar 

Granulated sugar does not require sifting or packing.

For this you will need: 

  • a flat edged butter knife or other straight edged utensil
  • measuring cup

How To Measure

  • Dip measuring cup into granulated sugar container.
  • Allow sugar to mound over the top of the measuring cup.
  • Use the flat edge of the knife to scrape off the mound.

For more Basic tips be sure to check out:

 

 

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1 comment on “Types of Sugar and How to Measure It”

  1. Alexis Dix

    I only use one sugar. It’s a raw, unrefined cane sugar that’s called panela in Latin América. The brand that I use is called “Just Panela” which is found at Whole Foods and on Amazon. How should I use it in view of your article on sugar. Mine has a butterscotch or caramel flavor. Any advice would be appreciated.

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