Chances are you’ve never heard of Turbinado sugar. You may have seen it at the grocery store or even as “sugar in the raw” at your local coffee shop.
It is a coarse, brown sugar that comes in large crystals. Raw turbinado sugar is sometimes marketed as a healthier alternative to regular sugar, but the truth is that it is still somewhat processed and and is still in fact, sugar.
What is turbinado sugar?
Turbinado sugar comes from the first pressing of sugar cane, extracting some of the juice. It is still minimally processed and has a higher molasses content that other sugar varieties.
It retains some of the natural molasses flavors from the sugarcane and has a subtle caramel flavor and the signature camel colored hue. It is also much coarser than white regular sugar or even traditional brown sugar or dark brown sugar, which have a finer grind.
Is demerara sugar the same as turbinado sugar?
They are similar and can often be used interchangeably, but the main difference is that turbinado sugar crystals are slightly finer than Demerara. It is also less sticky, with its crystals having the same dry granules as white sugar.
Can I substitute turbinado sugar for white sugar?
The short answer is yes, but you’ll need to make some adjustments. It can’t be swapped 1 cup for 1 cup.
It is a coarse sugar so you might need more for the same amount of sugar. Unless you are dusting, then you might need less. It really depends on the recipe, but overall turbinado less less per volume because of large grains.
It also doesn’t dissolve well, so beware that you might have a little crunch from swapping it out. It does do well in hot beverages like morning coffee or tea and also in sauces where like barbeque sauce, where the sugar will be melted. Be mindful that using it in things like cookie dough or pastry dough might add a little extra crunch because it won’t fully dissolve.
Is it healthier?
I’ll leave this one up to interpretation. It is less processed, but it is still sugar. Some beleive that it is metabolized slower.
Is it the same as brown sugar?
No. Turbinado comes from raw sugar cane while brown sugar is processed white sugar with molasses. They are the same golden color, but vary in taste, texture (brown sugar is moist) and crystal size.
Brown sugar has a more subtle molasses flavor and is wet like sand because of extra moisture.
How do I use turbinado sugar?
It is the best as a finishing sugar for muffins, strudels, pastries, creme brulee, in spice rubs, and other baked goods.
Since it is coarse, it doesn’t dissolve into batters like granulated sugar. It will leave a crunchy texture. If that is what you are looking for, great!
Recipes with turbinado sugar