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Tasty Palm Sugar Substitutes for Extra Flavor

Lisa Price
Last Updated on
by Lisa Price

Looking for a healthier alternative to granulated sugar? This article will provide many ideas for substituting any sugary food or dessert with a palm sugar alternative, allowing for a more guilt-free indulgence.

What Is Palm Sugar?

Palm Sugar
Palm Sugar

Palm sugar is a natural sweetener used as a substitute for white or granulated sugar, which is more of a strain on the heart and has a higher glucose level.

Palm sugar is derived from palm trees, in which the sap is extracted from the coconut palms and boiled then simmered until the excess water dries up and it becomes a thick, rich syrup. It is then crystallized and sold as sugar.

It is rich in nutrients and minerals since it is a more organic version of white sugar. Though palm sugar is an organic sweetener, it can be a little pricey compared to other forms of sweetener.

It’s also not the healthiest sweetener that a person might enjoy in their morning coffee or oatmeal.

Best Palm Sugar Alternatives

The typical uses for palm sugar are in many recipes, and granulated sugar is an easy substitute if you don’t have it, although it won’t have the same earthy flavor.

If your recipe calls for palm sugar and you’re not sure what to use, there are many options that I’ll list here that work just as well.

Maybe you are just looking for something to hold you off till you’re next trip to the grocery store, palm sugar is out of the budget, or looking for slightly healthier options, there are a myriad of alternatives available.

The major palm sugar replacements are as follows: maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey, brown sugar, date sugar, molasses, golden monk fruit, or cane sugar.

Maple syrup

Maple Syrup
Maple syrup

Maple syrup is probably one of the best alternatives because it has no additives or unnatural flavors, and provides a rich, sweet flavor very similar to palm sugar. It works in many different kinds of recipes as well. 1 cup of maple syrup is equivalent to ½ cup of palm sugar.

This palm sugar replacement is great with desserts, for example, a yummy healthy zucchini muffin recipe, which only requires ½ cup of maple syrup as a sweetener and is made with oatmeal and whole wheat flour for tons of nutrients.

Or you can try the more savory route, and make a maple-balsamic vinaigrette, great for salads, pasta, or even meats. All you need for this recipe is 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

Coconut sugar

Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar

Coconut sugar is so similar to palm sugar, no one would even notice the difference. They are both mildly sweet, which makes these sugars better for curries.

You can use the same 1:1 ratio since they are essentially the same, 1 cup of palm sugar to one cup of coconut sugar.

For a great yummy and healthy coconut sugar alternative for dessert, you can make these coffee chocolate blondies.

You’ll need two cups of coconut sugar for this recipe, or 1 ½ cups of brown sugar. Or if you’re vegan, try out this delicious vegan chocolate “cheesecake” recipe.

Made with ¼ cup of coconut sugar, and rolled oats, you don’t have to feel as guilty devouring this dessert.



Honey is another versatile sweetener that can be used in a plethora of recipes. This sweetener is very common in American, African, and Asian cooking.

It offers a nutrient-rich ingredient in anything from breakfast to dessert. ½ cup of honey is equivalent to 1 cup of palm sugar.

A yummy game day recipe for anyone who likes a little kick in their snacks while getting sweet notes intermingled will love this spicy honey game day dip. All you need for this recipe is 2 tablespoons of honey.

A great dessert for after the game or any day that you have a hankering for sweets, try out these delicious honey muffins. All you need for this recipe is a ¼ cup of honey.

Brown sugar

Brown Sugar
Brown sugar

Brown sugar is another great substitute for palm sugar, especially when baking. It will provide a moist texture to your desserts, and binds well with the rest of the ingredients.

It is quite a bit sweeter than palm sugar, so it’s not preferred for savory dishes, but will work well in an emergency. ½ cup of brown sugar is equivalent to 1 cup of palm sugar.

Brown sugar is exceptional with desserts, especially the two I’ll mention here. One great dessert is this recipe for gingerbread cake with caramel sauce.

For this recipe, you’ll need 1 cup of brown sugar. And for this slightly healthier dessert, which is packed with flavor and fruitiness, is the cranberry-almond apple pie.

For this recipe, you’ll need ½ cup of brown sugar.

Date sugar

Date sugar
Date sugar

Date sugar, while technically not a real sugar since it is ground up and dried dates, will still provide a great sweetener for any recipe. 1 cup of date sugar is equivalent to 1 cup of palm sugar.

A couple of great recipes for this palm sugar substitute are fudge chocolate torte and date nut bread. Both are healthy considering the sweetener in them is natural coming from a date fruit, also made with coconut palm sugar.

The fudge chocolate torte only requires ½ cup of date sugar, and the date nut bread calls for ¾ cup.



If you have both molasses and white sugar you can use a combination of the two to create a similar flavor to palm sugar.

This works better than replacing it with just white sugar alone. For each cup of palm sugar that the recipe calls for, mix in a couple of tablespoons of molasses. 1 cup of white sugar and molasses is equivalent to 1 cup of palm sugar.

An interesting molasses recipe that will please gingerbread lovers and may put off many others, is the demon cake.

This recipe calls for ½ cup of molasses and a ½ cup of granulated sugar. Another more widely accepted recipe but also is an odd mix between peanut butter and molasses, is the peanut butter cream pie.

For this recipe, you’ll need, ¼ cup molasses and ¼ cup granulated sugar.

Golden Monk fruit

Golden Monk fruit
Golden Monk fruit

Golden monk fruit is a very sweet and natural sweetener extracted from fruit extract. This will work well as a replacement for palm sugar but is much sweeter, so add less than the recipe calls for palm sugar.

Start with ⅓ cup of palm sugar for 1 cup of palm sugar, and add more to taste.

Great for healthy, keto recipes, golden monk fruit is not only a great substitute for palm sugar but for any sugar at all.

For a yummy, healthy but also sweet breakfast, try making these vegan keto pancakes with ⅔ cup of golden monk fruit and ground flax seeds for plenty of vitamins and nutrients. For a healthy dessert after dinner try making this keto coffee cake, which requires ½ cup plus one teaspoon of golden monk fruit.

Cane Sugar

Cane Sugar
Cane Sugar

Cane sugar is a great replacement for palm sugar since it is a very similar taste and texture. It is another sweeter substitute, so replace it for only 25% of what the recipe calls for when needing palm sugar.

For dinner, if your recipe calls for cane sugar or palm sugar, this meal will be sure to impress. Caramelized tofu will be a healthy but yummy dinner for the family to enjoy, requiring only 3 tablespoons of cane sugar.

A great beverage to enjoy using cane sugar as an ingredient is blackberry limeade. This recipe calls for 1 cup of cane sugar or palm sugar.

Can Regular Sugar be Substituted for Palm Sugar?

Regular sugar can be substituted for palm sugar since it’s still sugar it will still work just the same. At a 1:1 ratio, meaning 1 cup of palm sugar for 1 cup of regular sugar, it will work interchangeably.

Palm sugar can be more pricey, so it might be an easier more affordable substitute to get white sugar. However, palm sugar will also darken anything you cook, so it may change which sugar you would like to use, depending on the recipe. 

Can I Use Honey Instead of Palm Sugar?

Honey can be used as a replacement for palm sugar, however since it is a lot sweeter than palm sugar, be careful about how much you add to your recipe. Use half as much honey as you would palm sugar.

It is ideal as a replacement when making sauces and desserts.

Palm Sugar vs Brown Sugar?

Just as with regular white sugar, palm sugar can be used interchangeably with brown sugar at a 1:1 ratio. Simply add the same amount of brown sugar as you would palm sugar to your recipe, and it will work just the same. For instance, 1 cup of palm sugar is equivalent to 1 cup of brown sugar.

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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