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The 10 Best Substitutes for Icing Sugar

If you’re looking for a way to sweeten up your desserts without using traditional icing sugar, then you’ve come to the right place.

Icing sugar is an important ingredient in many cakes and other baked goods, but it can be tricky to find or expensive to buy.

Fortunately, there are some great alternatives that you can use instead of icing sugar – and they all have their own unique flavors and textures.

From coconut palm sugar to maple syrup, here are ten substitutes for icing sugar that will help add sweetness and flavor to your recipes.

What is Icing Sugar?

Icing sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar, is a finely ground white sugar that has been mixed with cornstarch to prevent clumping.

It is used in baking and cooking for its sweet flavor and smooth texture.

Icing sugar can be used to make icings, glazes, frostings, and other desserts such as meringues.

Icing sugar is made by grinding granulated white sugar into a fine powder using a food processor or blender.

The finer the grind of the icing sugar, the smoother it will be when added to recipes.

To further refine the texture of icing sugar, manufacturers often add cornstarch (about 3%) which helps absorb moisture from the air and prevents clumping.

This makes it easier to measure out small amounts accurately without having lumps form in your recipe ingredients.

Icing sugar can also be used as a topping on cakes or cookies for an extra bit of sweetness and decoration.

When making icings or glazes with icing sugar you’ll need to add liquid such as water or milk so that it’s thin enough to spread over whatever you’re decorating – this will help create an even layer of sweetness across your dessert!

The 10 Best Substitutes for Icing Sugar

Icing sugar is a key ingredient in many desserts, but it can be difficult to find.

If you don’t have access to icing sugar, here are ten substitutes that will give your recipes the same sweet taste:

1 – Granulated Sugar

Granulated Sugar

Granulated sugar, also known as regular or white sugar, is a staple in many baking recipes.

It is made by refining and grinding raw sugar into a fine powder that resembles table salt.

This type of sugar has a mild sweetness that can be used to sweeten drinks, desserts, and other dishes.

When substituting granulated sugar for icing sugar, it’s important to remember that the texture will be slightly different due to the larger grain size of granulated sugar.

To make up for this difference in texture, you may need to add more liquid when using granulated sugar in place of icing sugar.

Granulated sugar can also be used as an alternative topping for cakes and cookies instead of traditional icing or frosting.

2 – Honey

Honey is a natural sweetener that can be used as an alternative to icing sugar.

Depending on its nectar source, honey can range in flavor from floral and fruity to smoky, woody, spicy, nutty or earthy.

The texture of honey is thicker than icing sugar and it has a more intense sweetness.

When substituting honey for icing sugar in recipes, you may need to adjust the amount used as well as the other ingredients accordingly.

For example, when baking cakes or cookies with honey instead of icing sugar, you may need to reduce the amount of liquid added and increase the oven temperature slightly.

Honey also makes a great glaze for roasted vegetables or meats – simply brush it onto your dish before cooking and enjoy its delicious caramelized flavor!

3 – Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a great substitute for icing sugar, especially when baking.

It has a deep, caramel or toffee-like flavor due to the added molasses, which makes it ideal for chocolate cakes and cookies as well as rich fruit cakes.

When using brown sugar instead of icing sugar in recipes, you may need to adjust the amount of liquid used since brown sugar contains more moisture than its powdered counterpart.

You can also use brown sugar to make your own homemade frosting by combining it with butter and cream cheese.

For an even richer flavor, try adding some cocoa powder or espresso powder into the mix.

Brown sugar can be used in many different ways and adds a unique depth of flavor that will take your desserts from ordinary to extraordinary!

4 – Maple Syrup

Real maple syrup is a great alternative to icing sugar for those looking to add sweetness and flavor to their recipes.

Unlike pancake syrups, real maple syrup has a complex flavor profile with hints of caramel, vanilla, and prune.

It can be used in baking as an alternative sweetener or added to savory dishes like roasted vegetables or glazed meats.

When substituting maple syrup for icing sugar, it’s important to remember that the liquid form of the syrup will affect the texture of your recipe.

To avoid making your dish too wet, reduce other liquids in the recipe by half when adding maple syrup.

For best results, use Grade A Dark Maple Syrup – its robust flavor will give you a delicious result every time!

5 – Confectioners’ Sugar

Confectioners’ sugar is a finely ground form of granulated white sugar.

It has a smooth texture and dissolves easily in liquids, making it ideal for baking and frosting recipes.

The sweetness of confectioners’ sugar is the same as that of regular granulated white sugar – however, its finer consistency makes it easier to incorporate into batters and doughs without leaving behind any grainy residue.

When substituting confectioners’ sugar for icing sugar in recipes, you may need to adjust the amount slightly since confectioners’ sugar contains cornstarch which helps prevent clumping.

This type of sweetener can be used to make glazes for cakes and cookies or even whipped cream toppings. It’s also great for dusting over desserts like donuts or cupcakes!

6 – Coconut Palm Sugar

Coconut palm sugar is a natural sweetener made from the sap of coconut palm trees.

It has a rich, caramel-like flavor and looks similar to brown sugar.

The production process begins with collecting the sap from the tree’s flower buds, which is then boiled down until it thickens into syrup.

The syrup is then dried and ground into granules or crystals.

Coconut palm sugar can be used as an alternative to icing sugar in baking recipes, although you may need to adjust the amount depending on your desired sweetness level.

It also works well in savory dishes like curries and stir-fries, adding depth of flavor without overpowering other ingredients.

For those looking for an interesting twist on traditional icing sugar, coconut palm sugar is definitely worth trying!

7 – Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is a type of raw cane sugar that has been minimally processed.

It is light golden in color and features large, coarse crystals.

The flavor of turbinado sugar is more subtle than the molasses-like taste of brown sugar, so it may be slightly different from what you are used to when baking.

Turbinado sugar also takes longer to break down and melt in your baked goods due to its larger crystal size.

If you’re out of icing sugar, why not try using turbinado sugar as an alternative?

It can be used for everything from cookies and cakes to frostings and glazes.

Just remember that the texture will be slightly grainier than with icing sugar, which could affect the overall look of your finished product.

8 – Date Sugar

Date Sugar

Date sugar is a natural sweetener made from dried dates that have been ground into a fine powder.

It has a sweet, butterscotch-like flavor that’s much more nuanced than brown sugar, although it shares a similar appearance.

Unlike icing sugar, date sugar does not dissolve easily in liquids and can be used as an alternative to granulated or powdered sugars in baking recipes.

It is also lower on the glycemic index than other sugars and contains minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.

When substituting date sugar for icing sugar in recipes, use half the amount of date sugar as you would icing sugar and add additional liquid to help with consistency.

Date sugar is an excellent choice for those looking to reduce their refined sugar intake while still enjoying sweet treats!

9 – Molasses


Molasses is a thick, syrupy sweetener made from the boiled-down juice of sugar cane or sugar beets.

It has a warm, sweet, and somewhat smoky flavor that varies depending on its type.

Dark and medium molasses have the most robust flavor, light molasses has the mildest flavor, and blackstrap molasses is considerably less sweet with a distinct bitterness.

If you’re out of icing sugar but need something to add sweetness to your baking recipes, try using molasses instead.

It can be used in place of white or brown sugar in cakes, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods.

When substituting for icing sugar specifically though, it’s best to combine it with an equal amount of all-purpose flour as this will help thicken the mixture while also providing structure to your baked goods.

10 – Stevia

Stevia powder

Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant, native to South America.

It has been used for centuries as an alternative to sugar and other artificial sweeteners.

The sweet taste of stevia comes from naturally occurring compounds within the plant called steviol glycosides.

These compounds are up to 300 times sweeter than table sugar, making it a great substitute for icing sugar in recipes.

However, some people find that stevia can have a bitter aftertaste or licorice-like aromas, as well as metallic and astringent mouthfeels.

To reduce these effects, try blending it with other natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

Stevia is also calorie-free and does not raise blood glucose levels like regular sugar does – making it an ideal choice for those looking to cut down on their sugar intake without sacrificing sweetness in their desserts and baked goods!


In conclusion, icing sugar is a great ingredient to have on hand for baking and making desserts.

However, if you find yourself in a pinch and don’t have any icing sugar, there are plenty of other ingredients you can use as substitutes.

The best substitutes for icing sugar are granulated sugar, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, confectioners’ sugar, coconut palm sugar, turbinado sugar, date sugar, molasses, and stevia.

Each of these ingredients brings its own unique flavor and texture, so you can experiment with different combinations to find the perfect flavor for your dessert.

Using the right substitutes for icing sugar can help you create delicious desserts without sacrificing flavor or texture.

icing sugar

The 10 Best Substitutes for Icing Sugar

What if you want to make a cake but don't have any icing sugar? Don't worry – I'm here to help! In this article, I'm sharing my top 10 substitutes for icing sugar that you can use to get the same results. From honey and maple syrup to cream of tartar and cornstarch, I'll explain how to use each one to create the perfect icing and frosting for any cake. So if you ever find yourself in a pinch, you'll know exactly what to do!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitutes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 360 kcal


  • Granulated Sugar
  • Honey
  • Brown Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Date Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Stevia


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.