What Is Raw Sugar? How It Differs from Its Counterparts

What Is Raw Sugar? How It Differs from Its Counterparts

Usually, when people think about sugar, they imagine the white granulated stuff that comes out of packets or appears in little jars on restaurant tables. Of course, this is the kind of sugar that most of us are familiar with, but white and granulated is not how sugar starts out. Raw sugar, or "sugar in the raw" actually differs from the sugar we are used to, but how? What is raw sugar? Is it really all that different from white sugar and even brown sugar?

Knowing the difference between the most common types of sugar should help you when it comes to cooking and finding healthy alternatives for your favorite recipes. In this article, we'll run through everything you need to know about what raw sugar is and how it differs from its white and brown counterparts.

What is Raw Sugar?

Though its name suggests it is sugar in its natural form, raw sugar is technically a processed food. It gets its name from the end result of processing sugarcane. When sugarcane is refined, it produces a well-known byproduct: molasses. Usually, the molasses is removed during the production of granulated sugar, which is what produces its white color, but this is not the case when it comes to raw sugar.

This is why raw sugar usually has a golden brown color and a sweet caramel flavor. In short, raw sugar is a type of minimally refined cane sugar. It is often referred to as turbinado or Demerara sugar, especially in the United Kingdom.

Raw sugar is also usually less fine than white sugar. The thicker crystals can change the overall texture of some foods as well as add more of a molasses flavor. Still, raw sugar can and has often been used as a substitute for granulated sugar in most recipes, especially for cakes, muffins, and other baked goods.

How is It Made?

Calorie Count

All About Brown Sugar

Brown sugar in cubes

Brown sugar is one of the most popular sweeteners used in baked goods, drinks, and other recipes, but what is it exactly? How is it made? We'll break down everything you need to know about brown sugar below.

What is It?

Dark Brown Sugar

Light Brown Sugar


Natural Brown Sugar

Benefits of Brown Sugar

All About White Sugar

Blocks of white sugar and a spoon

Image by moritz320 from Pixabay

White sugar is the most common type of sugar and is what is most likely found in restaurants and homes the world over. Though it is more generic than brown or even raw sugar, white sugar undergoes the most processing during production.

What is It?

How it is made?

How Raw Sugar Differs
from its White and Brown Counterparts

Raw sugar in a bowl

Image by Jorge Guillen from Pixabay

When it comes to how raw sugar differs from white and brown sugar, the main differences would be production and nutritional value. To recap, raw sugar is the least refined of the three sugar types, giving it a slight advantage in health and nutrition over the others. In addition, it is often used as a healthier alternative in some recipes for baked goods, as a sweetener in drinks and other foods. Due to being the least refined, it also has thicker crystals. These can change the texture of some foods and even provide more body in things like creams, frosting, and spreads.

In addition, raw sugar is also a top choice in body and facial scrubs, washes, and even some lotions. Due to the way raw sugar is produced, it also contains more molasses than white sugar and some brown sugars. The molasses is naturally left in this sugar type instead of added (like in brown sugar) or bleached out (like in white sugar). This gives raw sugar a more distinct flavor that sweet and caramel-y.

So, there you have it. If you have ever asked, "What is raw sugar?" we hope this article answered your question and more. Remember, while sugar does not really have much nutritional value, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. Keep your servings under a careful watch and do everything in moderation! When you take these precautions, you can enjoy all your sweet treats without the guilt.

Featured Image by Tafilah Yusof from Pixabay


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