Craving something sweet only to find out you're out of sugar? Bummer! But wait, there's no need to run to the store. We've got sugar substitutes galore to save the day… and the cookies!

Types of sugar in bowls from Shelf Cooking.

Sugar is one of those pantry staples you can always count on just being there when you need it, right? Well… sometimes life happens and you just run out! Don't toss that sugar cookie dough just yet. Keep reading to find out exactly which sugar substitutes you can use instead!

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Whether you're baking, sweetening your drink, or making an incredible microwave mug cake, we've got 21 easy sugar substitutes that will work for you. Let's get to it!


Honey in a measuring cup from Shelf Cooking.

Granulated sugar is used in SO many recipes, both sweet and even sometimes savory! Check out these awesome sugar substitutes that are here to save the day:

  • Honey – A natural sweetener that can be used in place of sugar in almost any dish or baked good! Use three quarters of a cup of honey for every cup of sugar.
  • Maple Syrup – Maple syrup is another natural sugar that can be used in place of sugar. Use three fourths of a cup syrup for every cup of sugar. Because the maple syrup adds a bit of liquid, you may need to decrease the liquid in your recipe slightly. (We also have a maple syrup substitute and recipe post if you need that!)
  • Coconut Sugar – This sugar is made from coconut palm sap and has a lower glycemic index than granulated white sugar. It can be used as a sugar substitute in a 1:1 ratio with no issues!
  • Brown Sugar – Brown sugar is simply granulated sugar and molasses combined. It comes in light (less molasses) or dark (more molasses). While it does offer a different flavor profile, it can technically be used in place of granulated sugar in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Molasses – Use one and one-third cups of molasses in place of one cup of sugar. Also, reduce the liquid in the recipe and add one-half teaspoon of baking soda to reduce the acidity.
  • Raw Cane Sugar – This is simply a less processed version of granulated white sugar and can be used exactly the same.
  • AgaveSince agave is much sweeter than sugar, use a quarter cup in place of one cup of sugar.

With these clever sugar substitute ideas, you'll never be left staring at the sugarless cookie dough again!


Powdered sugar is simply granulated sugar and cornstarch blended into a finely ground powder. It is often used for dusting baked goods, frosting, or glazes. If you've found yourself in a bind without any powdered sugar around, try one of these powdered sugar substitutes instead!

  • Xylitol PowderA sugar alcohol, this resembles powdered sugar and can be used in place of it in a recipe. It's a lot less sweet than powdered sugar, so you may need to increase the amount used.
  • Dry Milk – Mix one cup of dry milk, one cup of corn starch, and one-half cup of Splenda or another alternative sweetener and use in place of powdered sugar as a 1:1 ratio. The dry milk may absorb more liquid than powdered sugar, so add more accordingly!
  • Erythritol – If you have the finely powdered version of this sugar alcohol, it can be used in place of powdered sugar in most recipes. It's not as sweet, however, so you may need to use more than the recipe calls for to achieve your desired sweetness.

Pro Tip: Make your own powdered sugar by blending two cups of granulated sugar with two tablespoons of corn starch!


Brown sugar in a container from Shelf Cooking.

If you're looking for a brown sugar substitute, we've got an entire post dedicated to just that! Be sure to check that out after you read all these other great sugar substitute options. 😉

  • Honey – Use two thirds cup for every cup of brown sugar.
  • Granulated Sugar – Use in place of brown sugar in a 1:1 ratio. It may change the flavor and the consistency of a baked good slightly, though.
  • Coconut Sugar – Coconut sugar actually somewhat resembles brown sugar in flavor, but it's not quite as sweet. It still makes a great sub if you're out of the brown stuff!

You can also make your own brown sugar by adding one tablespoon of molasses to one cup of granulated sugar. Ta-da… Brown sugar!


Looking for a coconut sugar substitute? Here are some of the best!

  • Granulated Sugar – Granulated sugar is a great substitute for coconut (or palm) sugar. Use it in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Brown Sugar – Dark or light, either will work!
  • Honey – For every cup of coconut sugar, use a quarter cup of honey. (Adjust liquids in recipe as needed.)
  • Maple Syrup – Just like when using honey, use one quarter cup syrup for every cup of coconut sugar.

Use any of these coconut sugar substitutes in a pinch and you'll be satisfying that sweet tooth in no time!


Alternative sweetener in a spoon from Shelf Cooking.

Looking for a sugar substitute that isn't sugar at all? Whether you're trying to cut back on that sweet, white goodness or you're just looking for an alternative, we've got you covered!

  • Monk Fruit SweetenerMonk fruit extract is much sweeter than sugar, so start with a 1:3 ratio and work your way up until you achieve your desired sweetness!
  • SteviaAnother plant-derived sweetener, stevia is also much sweeter than sugar. Use about one teaspoon of stevia in place of one cup of sugar.
  • SplendaSplenda was created to be a 1:1 ratio substitute for sugar so grab that yellow bag and bake away, friend!
  • EqualThis zero-calorie sweetener can be used as a 1:1 ratio sub for sugar, too!

These sweet sugar alternatives are great in drinks and can even be used for baking. Be sure to read the baking directions on each bag of sweetener before you bake!


For the best shelf life, store all sugar and sugar substitutes in a sealed, airtight container in a cool, dark place. Never store sugar in the fridge as that can cause moisture to get in. While it's recommended to toss sugar after two years, it really never spoils if it's properly stored and can be kept indefinitely!

Aren't those sugar substitutes just sweet?! No matter what sugar substitute you're looking for, there's bound to be something on this list that will work for you, you shelf cooking boss!

Do you have a favorite go-to sugar? Tell us what it is and why in the comments below!

Honey pouring into a measuring cup from Shelf Cooking.

Want more sweet kitchen hacks and substitutions?

Have a super sweet day!