Types of Sugar: Differences, How to Measure & More

Types of Sugar & Measurement Guide

From whites to browns to powders, how well do you know the various sugars? Though you’re probably familiar with granulated sugar, you might be surprised to learn that some of the other types can add flavor, texture and decoration to a wide variety of both sweet and savory foods. But what exactly is sugar, where does it come from and why are there so many types? We’ve put together this sweet compilation of helpful information to guide you through the most common types of sugar and how to use them, plus a measurement conversion chart to ensure you have the right amount, every time.

Granulated Sugar

When people say “sugar” this is probably the type they’re talking about – but what is granulated sugar? This highly refined, multi-purpose sugar is also known as table sugar, refined sugar and white sugar. The fine crystals in granulated sugar don’t stick together, dissolve easily in liquid and don’t caramelize too quickly, making is great for pastries, cakes, stirring into drinks and more.

Cane Sugar

What is cane sugar? Though it’s often likened to granulated sugar, cane sugar is made exclusively from the sugarcane plant and is minimally processed. When comparing cane sugar vs. granulated sugar, you’ll notice the crystals in cane sugar are slightly larger and darker in color. Cane sugar is a great alternative to granulated sugar.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugars are made by adding molasses to refined sugar and are available in both a light and dark form. When comparing brown sugar vs. white sugar, you’ll notice brown sugars (both light and dark) give your foods a deeper, more complex sweetness. Light brown sugar is great for baking sweets, while dark brown sugar is ideal for savory foods such as baked beans and barbecuing.

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar has large, golden-brown crystals. This partially refined sugar retains some of its original molasses, giving it a subtle caramel flavor. If your recipe calls for it and you’re out, you can make a turbinado sugar substitute by blending together brown and white sugar.

Powdered Sugar

Great for dusting atop pastries or mixing into a frosting, powdered sugar is a very light, fluffy sugar. Though the names are often used interchangeably, powdered sugar and confectioners’ sugar are actually very different. Powdered sugar is granulated sugar that’s been ground to a fine powder, while confectioners’ sugar often contains added cornstarch to prevent melting or caking.

How to Measure Sugar

Since there are so many textures, different sugars should be measured differently. To measure granulated sugar, simply use a dry measuring cup to scoop the sugar straight from the container. When measuring brown sugar, use a spoon to pack the sugar into a measuring cup, patting it down to ensure you get the right amount. For powdered sugar, spoon the sugar into your dry measuring cup but refrain from patting it down.

Since baking is an exact science, it takes exact measurements – which can be hard to do on the spot. How many ounces are in a cup again? How many tablespoons in half a cup? Whether you’re cutting down a recipe or you just can’t find your measuring cups, here’s a simple measurement conversion chart to help make your baking smooth and effortless.

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon or 1⁄2 fluid ounce
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons or 1⁄2 fluid ounce
2 tablespoons = 1⁄8 cup or 1 fluid ounce
3 tablespoons = 1 1/2 fluid ounces
4 tablespoons = 1⁄4 cup or 2 fluid ounces
6 tablespoons = 3⁄8 cup or 3 fluid ounces
8 tablespoons = 1⁄2 cup or 4 fluid ounces or 1⁄4 pint
12 tablespoons = 3⁄4 cup or 6 fluid ounces
16 tablespoons =1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 1⁄2 pint
1⁄8 cup = 2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce
1⁄4 cup = 4 tablespoons or 2 fluid ounces
1⁄3 cup = 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
3⁄8 cup = 1⁄4 plus 2 tablespoons
1⁄2 cup = 8 tablespoons or 4 fluid ounces or 1⁄4 pint
2⁄3 cup = 10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
5⁄8 cup = 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
3⁄4 cup = 12 tablespoons or 6 fluid ounces
7⁄8 cup = 3⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup = 16 tablespoons or 8 fluid ounces or 1⁄2 pint

For more baking tips and tricks, check out our large collection of recipes, where you can find easy-to-make sweets and add all the baking and cooking essentials you need to your cart. For more holiday inspiration, visit our Holiday Meal Shop.

Types of Sugar: Differences, How to Measure & More

Types of Sugar & Measurement Guide

From whites to browns to powders, how well do you know the various sugars? Though you’re probably familiar with granulated sugar, you might be surprised to learn that some of the other types can add flavor, texture and decoration to a wide variety of both sweet and savory foods. But what exactly is sugar, where does it come from and why are there so many types? We’ve put together this sweet compilation of helpful information to guide you through the most common types of sugar and how to use them, plus a measurement conversion chart to ensure you have the right amount, every time.

Granulated Sugar

When people say “sugar” this is probably the type they’re talking about – but what is granulated sugar? This highly refined, multi-purpose sugar is also known as table sugar, refined sugar and white sugar. The fine crystals in granulated sugar don’t stick together, dissolve easily in liquid and don’t caramelize too quickly, making is great for pastries, cakes, stirring into drinks and more.

Cane Sugar

What is cane sugar? Though it’s often likened to granulated sugar, cane sugar is made exclusively from the sugarcane plant and is minimally processed. When comparing cane sugar vs. granulated sugar, you’ll notice the crystals in cane sugar are slightly larger and darker in color. Cane sugar is a great alternative to granulated sugar.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugars are made by adding molasses to refined sugar and are available in both a light and dark form. When comparing brown sugar vs. white sugar, you’ll notice brown sugars (both light and dark) give your foods a deeper, more complex sweetness. Light brown sugar is great for baking sweets, while dark brown sugar is ideal for savory foods such as baked beans and barbecuing.

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar has large, golden-brown crystals. This partially refined sugar retains some of its original molasses, giving it a subtle caramel flavor. If your recipe calls for it and you’re out, you can make a turbinado sugar substitute by blending together brown and white sugar.

Powdered Sugar

Great for dusting atop pastries or mixing into a frosting, powdered sugar is a very light, fluffy sugar. Though the names are often used interchangeably, powdered sugar and confectioners’ sugar are actually very different. Powdered sugar is granulated sugar that’s been ground to a fine powder, while confectioners’ sugar often contains added cornstarch to prevent melting or caking.

How to Measure Sugar

Since there are so many textures, different sugars should be measured differently. To measure granulated sugar, simply use a dry measuring cup to scoop the sugar straight from the container. When measuring brown sugar, use a spoon to pack the sugar into a measuring cup, patting it down to ensure you get the right amount. For powdered sugar, spoon the sugar into your dry measuring cup but refrain from patting it down.

Since baking is an exact science, it takes exact measurements – which can be hard to do on the spot. How many ounces are in a cup again? How many tablespoons in half a cup? Whether you’re cutting down a recipe or you just can’t find your measuring cups, here’s a simple measurement conversion chart to help make your baking smooth and effortless.

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon or 1⁄2 fluid ounce
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons or 1⁄2 fluid ounce
2 tablespoons = 1⁄8 cup or 1 fluid ounce
3 tablespoons = 1 1/2 fluid ounces
4 tablespoons = 1⁄4 cup or 2 fluid ounces
6 tablespoons = 3⁄8 cup or 3 fluid ounces
8 tablespoons = 1⁄2 cup or 4 fluid ounces or 1⁄4 pint
12 tablespoons = 3⁄4 cup or 6 fluid ounces
16 tablespoons =1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 1⁄2 pint
1⁄8 cup = 2 tablespoons or 1 fluid ounce
1⁄4 cup = 4 tablespoons or 2 fluid ounces
1⁄3 cup = 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
3⁄8 cup = 1⁄4 plus 2 tablespoons
1⁄2 cup = 8 tablespoons or 4 fluid ounces or 1⁄4 pint
2⁄3 cup = 10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
5⁄8 cup = 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
3⁄4 cup = 12 tablespoons or 6 fluid ounces
7⁄8 cup = 3⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup = 16 tablespoons or 8 fluid ounces or 1⁄2 pint

For more baking tips and tricks, check out our large collection of recipes, where you can find easy-to-make sweets and add all the baking and cooking essentials you need to your cart. For more holiday inspiration, visit our Holiday Meal Shop.

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