How to Bake With Coconut Sugar

Baking with coconut sugar is a little different than regular sugar. This article will teach you all that you need to know about this unique sugar and how to bake with it.

what is coconut sugar

What is coconut sugar? The sugar is made from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm.

What does coconut sugar taste like? It tastes nothing like coconut since it comes from the flower bud of the coconut palm, and not the coconut itself. It tastes a lot like a subtle tasting brown sugar. Some say that it has a slight caramel taste to it. 

What are the health benefits of coconut sugar? Coconut sugar has many health benefits, the first being that it is considered a natural sweetener. It has a glycemic index of 35, which is considered a low glycemic food. Coconut sugar has several benefits to it. It contains B vitamins, a high mineral content (potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron). It also contains glutamine.

Are foods made with coconut sugar considered sugar free desserts? No. Coconut sugar is actually made up of sucrose, with small amounts of glucose and fructose. It is considered an acceptable sweetener for those with diabetes because of the way that it breaks down in the body. One teaspoon of coconut sugar contains 15 calories and 4 carbohydrates. One teaspoon of brown sugar contains 11 calories and 3 carbohydrates compared to white sugar that contains 16 calories per teaspoon and 5 carbohydrates.

Is coconut sugar gluten free? Yes, coconut sugar is gluten free and there are several organic non GMO varieties available as well.

Where can I find coconut sugar? You will be able to find it at most health food stores. It is usually sold in bags but several stores have now started carrying it in the bulk section which helps save money.

coconut sugar

Tips for Baking With Coconut Sugar

1. Coconut sugar can be substituted for white or brown sugar in a recipe. However, I have not had much luck using it with recipes containing lemon. Remember that it has a brown sugar type taste, so you will want to use it in recipes that you could interchange white or brown sugar in.

2. Use coconut sugar on a 1:1 basis in recipes. For every one cup of white or brown sugar in a recipe, use one cup of coconut sugar.

3. Coconut sugar is more coarse than white or brown sugar, so if the recipe calls for creaming the butter and sugar, the recipe will have a speckled look to it after baking and will appear more porous.

4. For recipes using melted butter or liquids like milk or water or semi liquids like oil, yogurt, or applesauce, allow the coconut sugar to dissolve for approximately five minutes in the liquid. Stir occasionally. After five minutes, add the mixture to the rest of your ingredients in your recipe. When your recipe is cooked, it will have a very smooth texture similar to cooking with white or brown sugar. This works well for recipes like bread, muffins and brownies, or cookies using browned butter.

5. If you are unsure about switching over completely to using coconut sugar, decrease the amount of sugar that you use slowly. In a recipe using 1 cup of sugar, use 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup coconut sugar until you become used to the taste and can adjust to using more of the natural sweetener in your foods.

If you have any questions about baking with coconut sugar, you can always send me an email and I would be happy to respond. You can also find a link to buying coconut sugar in our store.

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Comments

  1. Heather says:

    If a cookie recipe calls for white sugar and brown sugar do I substitute all of it for coconut sugar or how would I do that? I want to switch to using this sugar but was wondering if it would work with the cookie recipe I’ve been using previously!

    • burntapple says:

      I would substitute all of it for the coconut sugar. Let me know how it turns out! It sounds delicious!!

  2. I was curious as to how coconut sugar works as a topping? I have a recipe for muffins that says to sprinkle sugar on the top of the muffins, I was wondering how that would work?

    • burntapple says:

      So sorry to get back to you so late, we were out of town. Yes, it would work great as a topping. My favorite is still a little turbinado sugar (I like crunch) but I have used coconut sugar and it works great. Enjoy, let me know how it turns out.

  3. I used it in my banana bread. It’s SO GOOD!!!!It tastes better than my usual white sugar recipe.YAYYY!!!!

    • burntapple says:

      Great, I’m glad that you like it. I’ve really found coconut sugar to be really easy to use and haven’t noticed a huge difference in taste when using it. You’ll have to share your recipe sometime, it sounds delicious!

  4. I am new to using coconut sugar and I love it. I was wondering if it can be used successfully in leavening (sourdough) recipes?

    • burntapple says:

      I haven’t tried it in sourdough recipes, but have tried it in other bread recipes. It does well in quick bread recipes, but it seems like yeast recipes it has a little more difficulty. It doesn’t rise as much or the bread is denser. Hope that helps. If you try it, please let me know how it works out.

  5. I just used coconut sugar for the first time the other day, as a substitute for cane sugar in peanut butter cookies. It sent me googling ‘ cooking with coconut sugar’ and I found your post. The batter was much darker and the cookies cooked faster – much. I took them out at my usual time and the bottoms had gotten just a touch burned at the edge with the first batch. Do you find you have to adjust your cooking time? Also, they do not taste like peanut butter cookies – at all. Seriously, I would not have guessed they contained peanut butter. I also would have thought peanut butter was a fairly difficult flavor to drown out, especially in these cookies as they are the old flourless pb cookie recipe: 1 egg, 1 c sugar, 1 c pb, 1 tsp vanilla. As a matter of fact, I cut the sugar down to half a cup, so I am really surprised to have the peanut butter taste overpowered. Have you found many flavors the coconut sugar masks?

    • burntapple says:

      Kate, thanks so much for reaching out to me, I appreciate it. Hopefully I can help tackle your problem or someone else stopping by might be able to as well. I will try to help you as much as I can based on what you told me but sometimes it is difficult because I’m not there with you to know how the recipe was prepared, what recipe you used, what kind of oven, etc. There are so many variables. (Although I could be persuaded to come and help you in the kitchen if you live near a beach, somewhere sunny or somewhere tropical).
      As for the recipe, the batter will always be darker because coconut sugar itself is darker. I haven’t noticed much difference in the cooking times but I always error on the side of less time. I would try half and half (half regular sugar, half coconut) for awhile until you get a taste for it. I might also try it in chocolate cake or brownies as those flavors really do a great job of masking the coconut sugar taste.
      The only flavors I’ve found that the coconut sugar overpowers are citrus flavors–lemon and lime to be specific. Maybe try this double chocolate brownie recipe with coconut sugar. I hate that you had a bad first experience! And please don’t hesitate to write again. Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me. http://burntapple.com/2013/02/27/double-chocolate-brownies/

    • Anonymous says:

      It could be the recipe. Have you baked this recipe before? Did you leave anything out by mistake?

  6. I am supposed to be cutting out cane sugar due to a food sensitivity, but I love to bake breads, especially yeast breads. How does coconut sugar affect the flavor and texture of breads?

    • burntapple says:

      I haven’t noticed it change the flavor of quick breads too much. I do try to dissolve the sugar in whatever liquid I am using in my quick bread recipes for about five minutes. This helps to not change the texture of the bread. Yeast breads I’ve had a little harder time with it changing the texture, not rising as well, etc. It has done okay with cinnamon roll recipes. You shouldn’t notice too much of a change. It’s a little less sweet of a sugar so the baked goods won’t be as sweet and it does taste a little more like brown sugar so some breads don’t taste as good with it (citrus). Hope that helps. If you find a yeast recipe that works, please come back and share it with me. I’m always looking and trying!

      • Hi,

        What brand of coco sugar are you using and how was it? I want to try it.
        I have met a start up company from the Orange County Fair they are selling 35 Coco Sugar by cocoessentials.com and it taste really good. I bought the 1LB for baking and the packets for our coffee. However, their products will not be available into main stream markets until next year, but it will be available on Amazon and eBay by December.

        I checked their website and it is still down and I don’t know when this will be up.

      • Great question. I usually buy my coconut sugar in bulk from Sprouts. If they don’t have it in bulk there are several brands that I have tried. I’ve tried Madhava, Sweet Tree, and Wholesome Sweetners as well as some smaller companies. I haven’t noticed a huge difference in switching brands. I’m glad you’ve found a product you love. (I LOVE the Orange County Fair–they have a lot of fun and unique products like that). Good luck baking and let me know if you have any other questions in the future. Traci

  7. Lori Shecter says:

    Hello.
    I’m want to make my grandson his first birthday cake. I have coconut palm sugar, coconut oil and organic Unbleached flour as well as eggs and vanilla. I’m just not sure how much oil and sugar to use. I want the cake to be like a normal vanilla ( yellow cake ) would be only natural.
    I appreciate any help you can give me.
    Thank you
    Lori

    • Substitute oil in the recipe with melted coconut oil and the white sugar in the recipe with coconut sugar. You use the same amount of coconut sugar as the recipe calls for. Ex: One cup of sugar=one cup of coconut sugar. I would mix the coconut sugar and oil together in a bowl to allow the coconut sugar to dissolve a little bit. This will give it more of that “cake like” texture you want. You can also check out our healthy baby’s first birthday cake ideas here: http://burntapple.com/2014/05/14/babys-healthy-first-birthday-cake/. Let me know if you have any other questions, thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi,

    Have you used coconut sugar in any zucchini bread recipes? If so, how did you like it?

    Thank you!

    • I have, and it works great. Just stir together the sugar and zucchini (or other liquid you may be using) for five or so minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve. It will give the bread a much more traditional flavor. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!

      • First of all, thank you so much for your site! On another note, I baked my zucchini breads just like I always do except I switched the granulated sugar to the coconut palm sugar. I normally bake two loaves at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. However, today I noticed that the loaves started burning and I had to take them out much earlier than usual. They did bake through but I’m guessing that the coconut sugar is the reason they were burning. Have you had this experience?

      • burntapple says:

        Looking through past comments, several others have commented that they have had to decrease their cooking times when using coconut sugar. I would begin to check cookies several minutes before traditional cooking time states (for example if cookies are to be baked for 7-9 minutes, begin checking them every minute at five minutes). I would start checking the bread ten minutes before baking time states. I hope that helps! Let me know how it goes. That zucchini bread sounds amazingly good right now.

  9. Can I use the coconut sugar to make pumpkin butter instead if regular sugars

  10. Hi, how do you use coconut sugar in a frosting recipe to replace confectioners sugar or powdered sugar?

    • burntapple says:

      Great question Linda! For every one cup of powdered sugar a recipe calls for, blend one cup of coconut sugar in a blender with one tbsp of arrowroot or cornstarch. Just a note, you will want to start with the least amount of milk that the recipe calls for. So if it calls for 2-3 tbsp, use 1 to start with. Good luck, let me know how it turns out. I didn’t have terribly good luck but I only tried it once. (I think my blender couldn’t get the coconut sugar to break up enough to get that powdery consistency).

      • Why do you need to add cornstarch/arrowroot? Is this because coconut sugar is more moist than normal sugars? That’s what I have read at least. I wanted to substitute coconut sugar in macarons and supposedly it does not work well 🙁

      • burntapple says:

        I’m not quite sure what recipe you are looking at but typically I only add the cornstarch/arrowroot powder if I am making it into powdered sugar. I haven’t tried coconut sugar in macaroons before but let me know how it works out. Good luck!

  11. Stacey A. says:

    I am wondering what happens when you use coconut sugar in a recipe that calls for lemon… why did you not have much luck? Thank you!

    • burntapple says:

      Coconut sugar has more of a brown sugar taste to it. You don’t see too many recipes that call for lemon and brown sugar. Coconut sugar and citrus just seem to have an off taste when you combine them. Maybe it’s a me thing but I just haven’t had a lot of luck. 🙂

  12. I have been trying to make some homemade chocolates using coconut palm sugar but my chocolate has a grainy texture. Is there a way to make it smoother?

    • burntapple says:

      Unfortunately, coconut sugar is a lot like using raw sugar since it has larger granules. You could try to allow the coconut sugar to dissolve in whatever liquid you are using or place it over low heat with your liquid until it dissolves and becomes smooth. I hope that helps!

  13. Hi. I’m planning on baking a carrot cake and the recipe does call for a bit of orange zest. Do you think substituting all or part of the sugar in the recipe with coconut sugar would affect the outcome or taste?

    • burntapple says:

      Yes, absolutely! I just made carrot cake with coconut sugar and it was delicious! Good luck and let me know how it turns out!–Traci

  14. Forgot to add – recipe also calls for crushed pineapple and I plan to use coconut oil.

  15. Kelly Moore says:

    If you need to break the sugar down what about using a mortar and pestle? Will that help in the powdered sugar recipes?

    • burntapple says:

      Kelly, You can certainly try but I am unsure if the a mortar and pestle could break it down small enough–especially if you are trying to achieve a superfine or powdered texture.

  16. Have you tried heating the coconut sugar… say for an Italian meringue buttercream? Would it react the same way as regular cane sugar under heat, thickening and caramelizing? Great post!

    • burntapple says:

      I have tried heating it to make caramel sauce. It did well but you definitely have to keep stirring. It is also a little difficult to tell if it burns as it is already a deep brown. But the sauce came out wonderful when heated. Let me know how it turns out! Sounds delicious!

  17. Lynn L. says:

    I am so glad I found your site! My husband was told by his Dr. to watch his sugar intake. While researching coconut sugar, there you were! I’ve signed up because I don’t want to miss anything

    • burntapple says:

      Thanks Lynn! I hope your husband is ready because I have a BIG sweet tooth and watching my sugar intake has led me to creatively create healthier dessert recipes. (I wasn’t about to give up the sweet stuff entirely. I don’t know if we get it on the “other side” so I need to enjoy it here all I can now,right?) Most of the recipes in our dessert section have coconut or natural sugar variations to accomodate a variety of different diets. If you have a dessert you enjoy you want me to try, let me know! I’m always happy to help. Excited to have you as a reader and if you have any questions in the future please let me know!

  18. This is so helpful! I’m gluten-free, and have been trying this out in some of my pancake and cookie recipes. I love the taste, but it seems to be drying out the pancakes and cookies when I sub for white sugar. Should I do something differently? Add liquid? Use less coconut sugar? (I’m swapping 1:1) The cookie recipe has no liquids except vanilla extract. Thanks in advance!

    • burntapple says:

      Thanks so much for reaching out to me. I will try to help you as much as I can. Coconut sugar is more dense than white sugar and it might be why it’s drying out a little bit. Maybe try adding 1 tbsp at a time of coconut oil, butter, or oil to the recipe to see if that helps with the drying out. Let me know how it goes! I wish I could be there to help. It is so hard to tell without knowing the recipe or ingredients for sure. Good luck!

      • Sure thing! The cookies recipe is 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/2 sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg, 1.25 cups of gluten-free all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup chocolate chips.

        I tried subbing the white sugar for coconut, and it really dried the cookies out, any suggestions? I’d love to use all coconut, but realize that might not be realistic. (Same thing happened with pancake recipe below)

        Pancakes: 1.25 cups gluten free all purpose flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 3.5 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 tbsp of melted butter, 1 egg, 1.5 cups of milk.

      • burntapple says:

        I’m not sure. It might be the combination of the gluten free flour and coconut sugar. Maybe a little more liquid and decreased baking time? Hope that helps. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will have to make it when I get a chance. It sounds delicious!

  19. Thanks for the help! I am baking a birthday cake for my dad in a few weeks. He only uses palm sugar, (cane sugar causes his arthritis to flare up) and I am wondering if you have any good cake recipes, and any ideas in what to do for the icing.
    Thanks!

    • burntapple says:

      Typically you can use any of your favorite chocolate cake recipes but my favorite to use coconut sugar with is the Hershey’s perfectly chocolate chocolate cake. As for the frosting you could go with a Ganache which is just melted chocolate chips mixed with a splash of whipping cream.

  20. I am baking and selling cupcakes to a group of people of which there are a few that require sugar free baked goods. I’ve been looking at alternatives and think that coconut sugar might be a good alternative for the cake part. 1. Would I use it 1-1 as with real sugar in the recipe…and 2. For the frosting which normally uses powdered sugar, is there some way to process it to make if that consistency? I am at a loss for the frosting! Do you have any experience with this? I would like it to be piped on but would settle for just something I could knife on… I think. I looked at Swerve but am afraid of something so new and don’t want to be responsible for anyone that may have a reaction. Thoughts on frostings and sugar substitutes (not aspartame etc) for anyone that needs sugar free baked goods? Thanks in advance!

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