Do you know your superfine from your turbinado? With so many sugars on the market these days, it can be hard to know which one is the right one for each recipe. Here is a list of the different sugars available, and what they're best suited for.

White Sugar

Granulated White Sugar

Granulated or regular white sugar is made from sugarcane or sugar beets. This sugar has had all impurities and natural molasses removed. This sugar is perfect for regular baking and to sweeten your food.

Easy Sugar Cookies
Easy Sugar Cookies | Photo by Eve Collins

Superfine Sugar

This sugar is also sometimes called ultrafine or caster sugar. It is the same as granulated sugar, but is produced into smaller crystals. This sugar dissolves easily in cold liquids, and is popular for baking in Europe. This sugar is good to add to fresh fruit in a salad as it dissolves quickly. It's also ideal for making mousse, meringues, and pavlova.

Easy Pavlova | Photo by Meredith

Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar is also know as confectioners or icing sugar. It is finely ground white sugar with an anti-caking agent (usually cornstarch) added to prevent clumping. This sugar is perfect for making frosting, and also for decorating traybakes and cakes as well as keeping home-made marshmallows from sticking together.

Photo by Meredith

Decorating Sugar

As the name suggests this sugar is used for decorating. It's large grains of smooth crystals make it perfect for garnishing baked goods (think King Cake). It comes in a variety of colors and the larger crystals make it resistant to heat.

Mardi Gras King Cake
Mardi Gras King Cake | Photo by Wyattdogster

Brown Sugar


Brown sugar is white sugar which has molasses added to it. The amount of molasses added determines the shade of brown sugar. Light brown sugar and golden brown sugar are commonly used in baking, making sauces, and ham glazes. Dark brown sugar is used for a richer bakes such as Gingerbread cookies.

Photo by morganc

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is known as 'raw sugar' that is less refined than regular sugar. It is made from crystallized partially evaporated cane juice. The crystals are larger than regular refined sugar, and it has a light caramel flavor. It is popular for making cocktails and used in baking, for everything from cinnamon cookies to piecrust.

Summer Fruit Galettes
Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Muscovado Sugar

Also known as Barbados sugar, this is another minimally refined product made from cane sugar where a greater amount of molasses remains after processing. It's texture is almost like damp sand and it has a very rich, smoky, caramel flavor. It is used in gingerbreads, Jamaican ginger cake, marinades, and is especially good in coffee.

Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cake
Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cake | Photo by Meredith

White Sugar to the Rescue!

  • Out of brown sugar? make your own by stirring approximately one tablespoon of molasses into a cup of granulated white sugar. Use less for light brown, and more for dark brown.
  • Make superfine sugar by blending granulated sugar in blender until finely ground.
  • Need powdered? You can come close by grinding granulated sugar with a mortar and pestle.

Brown Sugar Tip

Did your brown sugar harden into an unusable lump? Here are 5 different ways to soften it.