What can I use instead of brown sugar in banana bread recipes? We suggest using jaggery, white sugar mixed with molasses, muscovado sugar, raw sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, golden syrup, brown rice syrup, or honey. Our top pick is jaggery.
The brown sugar in banana bread adds a caramel, toffee taste to the delicious deep banana flavor in banana bread. The best way to retain the same character without using brown sugar is to choose a sweetener with a rich caramel or molasses taste.
Our top nine substitutes will surprise and delight banana bread lovers.
The Best Brown Sugar Substitutes In Banana Bread
Jaggery is a delicious substitute for brown sugar in banana bread.
Jaggery is a natural, unrefined sweetener with a caramel to dark brown color, made from date palm or sugar cane. This spicy, caramel-toffee-tasting sugar contains raw molasses, which gives brown sugar its taste and color.
Palm sap or cane syrup is reduced and poured into molds, which gives jaggery (called ‘gur’ in India) its cube or dome shape.
The color and flavor of jaggery are much like brown sugar, and the extra buttery texture combines well with bananas.
Jaggery needs to be grated or pounded before using it. Alternatively, you can soften jaggery in the heated butter used in the banana bread recipe.
The molasses content in jaggery adds micronutrients like iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Use jaggery in a 1:1 ratio when substituting it for brown sugar.
White Sugar & Molasses Mix
Combining white sugar with molasses is an easy substitute when you don’t have brown sugar.
Molasses is a dark, flavorful substance extracted from sugar cane in sugar-making.
Light molasses has a sweet, earthy-toffee flavor. The combination of white sugar and molasses comes close to the taste and texture of brown sugar.
Mixing molasses with white sugar adds the ingredient taken out to make white sugar so white.
Molasses can have health benefits as it contains micronutrients and has an antioxidant effect. However, only a tiny amount of molasses is combined with white sugar, so the benefits are not noteworthy.
Most banana bread recipes ask for 1 to ¾ cup brown sugar. When using white sugar, add 1 tablespoon molasses to the mix. You can substitute molasses with maple syrup if you need an alternative.
Another worthwhile substitute for brown sugar in banana bread is muscovado sugar.
Muscovado is an unrefined sugar produced slowly and laboriously, which is why it is considered an artisanal sugar.
The liquids in sugar cane juice are evaporated while retaining the molasses content of the muscovado sugar.
Muscovado sugar (also called Barbados sugar) is an excellent substitute for brown sugar as it has a dark color with a hint of burnt caramel.
The color, taste, and texture are excellent in banana bread.
Because of its molasses content, tiny amounts of minerals and nutrients are present in muscovado sugar. Muscovado sugar has a higher molasses content than brown sugar.
Replacing brown sugar with muscovado is straightforward. Just use the amount the recipe suggests. Muscovado sugar should be sifted, as it is less free flow than brown sugar.
Choose raw sugar if you need a mild substitute for brown sugar in a loaf of spicy banana bread.
Demerara and turbinado are raw sugars derived from sugar cane but less refined than regular brown sugar. These sugars have a rough crystalline structure with a golden color and a subtle caramel flavor.
Raw sugar is a good substitute in banana bread recipes where cinnamon or other spices are added because of its subtle taste.
Demerara and turbinado sugar have a high sucrose content (up to 99%) and tiny amounts of molasses.
Raw sugars will therefore have the same effect on blood sugar levels as regular brown sugar.
Use demerara or turbinado as a substitute for brown sugar in a 1:1 ratio.
To retain the same soft banana bread texture, break up the coarse raw sugar crystals in a blender before adding them to the recipe.
Coconut sugar is a perfect brown sugar substitute when baking banana bread.
Coconut sugar is the crystals left after evaporating the sap from coconut palm flowers. It is considered a high-quality natural sugar.
The amber-brown color and soft coconutty taste make coconut sugar a perfect ingredient in banana bread.
Coconut sugar with a glycemic index of 54 and is considered healthier than regular sugar (GI of 60).
The truth is that coconut sugar is still relatively high in fructose and will raise your blood sugar levels the same way as regular sugar does.
Micro amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, and potassium are present in coconut sugar.
Coconut sugar has a drier effect on the banana bread mix than brown sugar, so adding 2 tablespoons yogurt or milk is advised. Use the same amount of coconut sugar as you would brown sugar.
Substituting brown sugar with maple syrup adds extra flavor to banana bread.
Maple syrup is a luxuriously thick and flavorful syrup obtained from the sap of sugar maple trees. It has an earthy, mildly toffee flavor prized in many dessert recipes.
Maple syrup is sold according to the color, which ranges from golden to amber to dark.
Best results for baking are achieved with amber-colored maple syrup that boasts a deep flavor ideal for banana bread. Always look out for A-grade maple syrup without extra additives.
Maple syrup’s health benefits include some minerals and antioxidant values.
When you substitute brown sugar with liquid syrup, it is advised to add a tablespoon coconut flour or corn flour and to reduce the baking time slightly.
Use ¾ cup syrup for every cup sugar used.
For a cheaper brown sugar substitute than maple syrup, we suggest using golden syrup in banana bread.
Golden syrup can be described as crystal sugar in an amber-colored, caramelized form. Use golden syrup or treacle as a vegetarian replacement for honey.
In banana bread, golden syrup adds a sticky-toffee flavor that simulates the taste of brown sugar.
There are no health benefits to using golden syrup instead of brown sugar.
Golden syrup is roughly 25 % sweeter than regular brown sugar. Use ¾ cup golden syrup for every cup brown sugar in the recipe.
Remember to reduce the baking time, as syrup heats up faster than sugar. To counter the liquid state of the sweetener, add a tablespoon or two tapioca or corn flour.
Brown Rice Syrup
Try brown rice syrup as a healthier alternative to brown sugar in banana bread.
Brown rice or malt syrup is a liquid sweetener created from fermented brown rice. It has a flavorful yet subtle caramelized, malty taste that goes well in banana bread.
Brown rice syrup is considered low fructose, high glucose, and, therefore, a healthier alternative to sugar. Glucose is the sugar form that is easiest to digest.
Brown rice syrup contains beneficial minerals like potassium and calcium.
As brown rice syrup adds liquid to the bread mix, it is advised to add two tablespoons rice flour.
Alternatively, omit the white of one of the eggs in the recipe. Mix in ¼ teaspoon baking soda when using rice malt syrup.
Use ¾ cup malt syrup for every cup of sugar in the recipe.
Nothing beats honey as a flavorful, healthy alternative to brown sugar in banana bread.
Honey is an all-natural product made by honey bees from flower nectar and pollen.
Different types of honey add different flavors to baking. We suggest using mild-tasting honey like wildflower or aloe that won’t be overpowering.
Try roasting bananas (skins intact) in the oven for 15 minutes to enhance the caramel flavor in banana bread.
Raw honey has valuable health benefits and contains various vitamins and minerals. Honey won’t spike your blood sugar levels like regular sugar, as it has a low GI.
Use less honey than the sugar specified in the recipe, about ¾ cup honey for every cup of sugar.
Adjust the liquid to dry ingredient balance by adding a tablespoon of tapioca flour, or add a ¼ cup of coconut just for fun.