White and Brown Sugars

what are the types of sugar

  • Demerara Sugar
    small raw, unrefined cane sugar crystals
    – contains about 2% of molasses
    – delicate flavour and aroma, perfect for coffee, cereals and cooking

brown sugar crystals

  • Turbinado Sugar
    – light brown unrefined large cane sugar crystals
    – subtle flavour, ideal for coffee, topping for cakes, ice creams, crumbles

light brown soft sugar

  • Light Muscovado Sugar
    – type of soft light brown unrefined cane sugar
    – good for baking, cooking but also coffee or tea
  • Dark Muscovado Sugar
    – type of soft dark brown unrefined cane sugar
    – rich flavour, good for baking, cooking but also red bush tea

very dark brown soft cane sugar

  • Molasses Sugar
    – type of very dark soft brown, can be refined or not, check the labels
    – very rich flavour, perfect for baking and cooking

soft dark brown sugar name

  • Dark Brown Soft Cane Sugar
    – type of molasses sugar, can be refined or not, check the labels
    – ideal for cooking, baking and red bush tea with milk

sugar types photos gallery

  • Light Brown Soft Cane Sugar
    – type of molasses sugar, can be refined or not, check the labels
    – ideal for cooking, baking and red bush tea

white very fine sugar

  • Icing Sugar / Powdered Sugar / Confectioners’ Sugar
    – ground white sugar, refined
    – ideal for baking, cooking of sprinkling

fine white sugar

  • White Granulated Sugar
    – highly refined sugar, made from cane or sugar beets
    – on most occasions can be replaced with light brown sugar

sugar lumps

  • White Sugar Cubes / Sugar Lumps
    highly refined sugar, made from white sugar
    – look good on espresso saucer ;)
  • Caster Sugar
    – very fine white sugar, refined
    – perfect for cooking, baking
  • Golden Caster Sugar
    – very fine light brown sugar, can be refined or not, check the labels
    – perfect for cooking and baking

Generally all sugars divide into unrefined (raw) sugars and more or less refined sugars. Raw sugars are the only ones that are not treated with chemicals and those sugars are the most safe to use. Only some of the brown sugars are unrefined, they are called natural brown sugars and they are produced from the first crystallization of the sugar cane, for instance: Demerara, Muscovado (also called Moscovado) and Turbinado. Unfortunately some of other brown sugars are partially refined or made of white sugar (highly refined) with addiction of cane molasses. It is done so because this way it is easier for producers to control percentage of molasses.

Brown sugars can contain different percentage of molasses, what decide about how dark they are. Molasses give sugar natural moist and soft texture, that is why molasses sugars are called “soft”.

Caster sugar can be made from both white and brown sugar crystals, it is just fine sugar that is used for baking and cooking.

White sugars are the most refined of all sugars, can be made from cane or sugar beets. Various chemicals are used to achieve white colour.

Personally I try to avoid using those highly refined white bleached sugars as much as possible because apparently there is a possibility that refined sugars are responsible for some types of cancer.


Please feel free to correct me if any of above information is wrong.
I will be updating this post with new information and images as soon as I will get a chance to have closer look at any other type of sugar.

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Your thoughts…

  1. Thanks for this, very useful so I am going to bookmark it! I do have a question, I sometimes buy sugar made of beets, do you know if they only make that as refined sugar or if there is a healthier version of it?

  2. Ilva – thank you for your comment, I was actually thinking of finding out if they are selling raw beet sugar, before they bleach it. During State of War in Poland my father was trying to make sugar from beets and we end up having brownish sugar syrup that was as good as sugar. I will keep you updated ;)

  3. It seems that I have some exploring of sugar to do.

  4. I baked with Demerara Sugar to make cookies and they were really good. There are some of the sugars that you are talking about that I have never heard before. That’s a great post.

  5. Do you know if i could use dark muscovado sugar instead of golden caster sugar in a baking recipe?

  6. Scott – it will change taste of the dish, dark muscovado is very rich in molasses. Also it is wet and sticky and golden caster sugar dry so the quantities may be not the same.

    Hope it helps.

    I’m not american and I was always wondering during long hours of reading recipes, what are all the different kinds of sugar, how they look like, even a short description… wonderful, I’ll refer to this post whenever in doubt!

  8. Interesting article. I really enjoyed it and have some thoughts.

  9. hi
    very informative, thanks. i subscribed to you by my email address so as to know more.
    good job!

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