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Brown sugar in a white bowl
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5 from 2 votes

Brown Sugar Substitute (how to make brown sugar)

This easy two-ingredient substitute is perfect if you need brown sugar but you're all out. 
Course Baking
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 832kcal


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses (for light brown sugar) increase to 2 tablespoons for dark brown


  • Combine sugar and molasses until all of the sugar is an even shade of brown. You can use a spoon or silicone spatula, but I actually find it easiest to just use my fingers to rub the molasses and sugar together.


Once prepared, you can measure out this brown sugar however your recipe indicates. You will be able to pack it (firmly or lightly). Need more or less? You can easily adjust this recipe up or down.
This "substitute" can be used in any recipe that calls for brown sugar and you should not need to make any changes.
Other options
I highly recommend that you use the molasses substitute, but in a pinch, if you don't have molasses you can stir about 2 tablespoons of honey, maple syrup, or agave into 1 cup of granulated sugar. These substitutes will not produce a result as close to brown sugar. The sugar will not be as dark and the flavor will not be as deep and rich. Your baked goods will be lighter in color and the results can vary based on the recipe.


Calories: 832kcal | Carbohydrates: 215g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 297mg | Sugar: 215g | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg