There are times when you might need to have a handy substitute for coconut sugar when making meals. Not every kitchen has this component available, so you will need to think outside the box when you are faced with such a situation.
So, what is the best substitute for coconut sugar? The best substitute for coconut sugar is raw honey, which matches the former in versatility. Both are natural sweeteners, and they work for pretty much the same thing. While raw honey has a much shorter shelf life than coconut sugar, its versatility and health benefits make it the perfect substitute nonetheless.
An Overview of Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener derived from the coconut palm tree. Many consider it more nutritious and healthier than regular sugar as it has a lower glycemic index.
Essentially, consuming more coconut sugar will lead to a slower rise in blood glucose levels than when you take regular sugar. Primarily, this feature is because coconut sugar contains inulin – a fiber that can reduce the body’s ability to absorb glucose.
In addition, coconut sugar also contains several vital nutrients instead of sugar, which primarily delivers empty calories. With a healthy content of potassium, iron, and calcium, coconut sugar delivers an excellent one-two punch of nutritional components and great taste. While it still has a high calorie content, it is a great sweetener that promises better health benefits on the whole.
As expected, you can use coconut sugar in any recipe that requires brown or granulated sugar. It has a similar flavor to brown sugar, although its flavor is a tad more intense. It also has a more granular texture than brown sugar, and it is also not sticky like the latter. While it isn’t relatively free-flowing as regular granulated sugar, coconut sugar remains a great sweetener on all fronts.
Why Replace Coconut Sugar?
- Calorie content: Despite its health benefits, coconut sugar still contains a significant percentage of calories. If you’re watching your calorie intake, then you need a substitute sweetener instead.
- Non-availability: Coconut sugar isn’t always readily available. If you have a time crunch and you need a sweetener, a substitute should be on hand.
Options for Coconut Sugar Substitutes
Best Substitute for Coconut Sugar: Raw Honey
Raw honey is the perfect substitute for coconut sugar. They are both natural sweeteners, and they can help to improve the taste of pretty much anything. While they don’t originate from the same source, rest assured that they are the ideal substitutes for each other.
Honey is a sweetener that is a byproduct of bees and their biological processes. Now, it is used as a sweetener pretty much all over the world.
While this is true, raw honey is quite different from the regular honey we see and consume daily. Raw honey is taken from the honeycomb directly. Usually, beekeepers and manufacturers just filter the honey to take out any debris that is in it from the biological process – debris could be beeswax, pollen, and some body parts of dead bees.
So, while the regular honey that we take is pasteurized, raw honey isn’t. Raw honey contains all the properties you could expect, even more since it doesn’t undergo any pasteurization. Thanks to its additional content, raw honey has a more opaque and cloudy appearance.
Note that raw honey is entirely safe to consume. You don’t have to fear it at all. However, since raw honey doesn’t go through any pasteurization, its shelf life is much shorter than regular honey. Raw honey is susceptible to yeast, which can affect its taste if you leave it for long.
Some believe that raw honey provides more health benefits than the pasteurized version. Whether or not this is true, rest assured that its taste will definitely be a great addition to whatever you’re making.
Best Substitute for a Palette Change: Maple Syrup
Maple syrup has all the hallmarks of an ideal sweetener. It is sweet and it also has several health benefits – including a low content of fructose and a low glycemic index.
You can get maple syrup from the maple tree. While it goes through processing, that itself is pretty minimal. Many manufacturers also add several minerals and antioxidants into maple syrup in the processing and packaging steps. So, you get additional components like riboflavin, manganese, and magnesium that can be good for your health.
With all of these, maple syrup particularly shines because it doesn’t really taste like coconut sugar. This sweetener comes with a complex mixture of flavors, which include prune, vanilla, and caramel. So, if you’re tired of the conventional sugar taste, you can get maple syrup and switch things up.
You can use maple syrup in pretty much the same way you use sugar. However, it is also a better component in waffles and other pastries. Keep in mind that you want to look out for the grades.
When purchasing maple syrup, ensure that you get one with a “100% maple syrup” label. Some manufacturers sell corn syrup with maple flavoring. You definitely don’t want that.
Best Healthy Substitute for Coconut Sugar: Stevia Extract
Stevia is another natural sweetener gotten from the Stevia plant’s leaves. The plant itself is native to North America, particularly Paraguay and Brazil.
Stevia extract is the ideal substitute for you if you’re looking to swap out coconut sugar for health reasons. It has a much lower glycemic content than coconut sugar, and that’s saying something. While it provides the same sweet taste, it still has a more negligible effect on your blood sugar.
Stevia is also a nonnutritive sweetener. Essentially, this means that its content of calories is incredibly low as well. So, this is a sweetener you want to check out if weight loss is top on your priority list.
You can use stevia extract in just about everything you use coconut sugar for. Since you can use it in a 1:1 ratio with coconut sugar, you’re pretty much in the all-clear.