Demerara Vs. Turbinado

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By: Tom Valenti


In this post, I will compare Demerara Vs. Turbinado, the differences, and similarities that exist between them among other useful things you should know about these type of sugars.

Both Demerara and turbinado sugars are very similar. They are raw sugars which means they undergo minimal processing. But though they appear similar, the two sugars have remarkable differences, which should be put in place when choosing between them.

Generally, these two sugars are single-crystallized, have coarse grains, and are light brown. Their major differences are that demerara is stickier, has larger granules, and has more molasses taste than turbinado.

What is demerara sugar?

Demerara is simply raw sugar made from sugarcane. It undergoes minimal processing and thus has a golden brown hue with large grains that give it an extra crunchy texture.

The origin of demerara sugar is the British colony of demerara, currently known as Guyana. You can find this sugar in grocery stores

How can one use demerara sugar

Demerara sugar is excellent for the final touches in baking. It gives an appealing crunchy top to muffins, cakes, and bread.

The sugar has less amounts of sucrose compared to powdered sugar, thus impacting the texture of baked goods without making them overly sweet.

You can use demerara sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar for a crunchy topping that is not too sugary. It’s important to note that demerara does not dissolve into batters and is best used as a topping and not an active ingredient.

What is turbinado sugar?

Like demerara, turbinado is raw sugar processed from sugarcane and has a golden brown color. It is minimally processed, has large crystals, and less molasses. You can use turbinado sugar as a baking ingredient or in sweetening beverages.

How can one use turbinado sugar

Turbinado sugar is an ideal substitute for white granulated sugar. You can add it to your coffee or tea instead of regular sugar. It gives beverages a richer caramel flavor and contains potassium and calcium deposits, thus making it a healthier choice than regular sugar.

Difference Between Demerara And Turbinado Sugar

As explained earlier, both demerara and turbinado sugars are processed from pressed sugar cane. However, the two differ in the following features:


Turbinado is extracted with the first pressing of sugarcane and thus retains more molasses than demerara sugar.


Demerara sugar has less molasses flavor than turbinado. For this reason, turbinado lenders a toffee-caramel taste more than demerara.

Crystal size

Though this feature is not highly notable and lenders minimal impact on texture, turbinado granules are slightly smaller than demerara granules.


Demerara sugar is sticky, indicating that it has moisture, like brown sugar. On the other hand, turbinado is not sticky, meaning it does not contain moisture and flows freely like regular granulated sugar.

Can One Use Demerara and Turbinado Interchangeably?

Turbinado and demerara can be used interchangeably, but the results may differ slightly. Both sugars are light brown and add sweetness and crunchiness to baked goods. They can also be used in place of white sugar to sweeten beverages.

Nevertheless, the features of these two sugars dictate how you can substitute one for the other. For instance, if a recipe calls for you to sprinkle turbinado sugar, it may not be easy to substitute and sprinkle demerara sugar because of its sticky consistency, which makes it to be clumpy.

Moreover, the flavors in these two sugars are different, and if this affects your recipe, it’s advisable to interchange them in considerable amounts. The two have natural molasses flavor, but demerara has more than turbinado.

Keep in mind that while the two can be used interchangeably, demerara has larger crystals and will not dissolve as fast as turbinado sugar. And because demerara has a stronger flavor, you may need to add more turbinado when substituting the two.


Demerara and turbinado are both brown sugars made from sugarcane. And although they may both appear to be similar, they are different in flavor, texture, and consistency. You can also use the two interchangeably in varying measures to serve the same purpose.

Read more on our blog:

Demerara Sugar Vs. Brown Sugar

Demerara Sugar Vs. Muscovado Sugar

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

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