Cane Sugar vs Granulated Sugar for Baking

Almost every baked good is going to have sugar in the recipe. But there are so many different types of baking, such as granulated and cane sugar. What’s the difference? Truth is, cane and granulated sugar can be used interchangeably in baking, although they do differ slightly.

Hi! My name is Michelle and I love sugar, so it’s no wonder why I love baking, too; they go hand in hand! Over the years, I have tried out different kinds of sugars to see what the result would be. I found out that cane and granulated were essentially the same, and I’m here to share.

When it comes to finding the “right” sugar for your recipe, it doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you’ve only got granulated or cane on hand, then you’re set for a great, tasty finish. But it’s still handy to know the difference between the two.

Let’s talk about sugar, sugars!

Cane Sugar vs Granulated Sugar for Baking

When a recipe calls for “sugar” it can easily mean cane sugar or granulated sugar. Both can be used interchangeably when it comes to baking specifically. Other things, such as syrups, are a bit stricter with the sugar needs. 

But we’re here to discuss cane sugar vs granulated sugar for baking, only, in which case you can use either one with ease. 

Cane sugar and granulated sugar can be used in all baking recipes interchangeably, such as with cookies, muffins, and cakes. That’s because each type of sugar comes from a plant with the same molecules of sucrose, so there is no significant distinction.

Is granulated sugar the same as cane sugar? Not really. There are actually a few key differences between the two.

Let’s take a closer look.

Granulated Sugar

Granulated sugar is the most common type of sugar found in kitchens across the country. It is also referred to as white sugar. 

This type of sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beet. It is highly refined and has all of the natural molasses removed. Stored properly, this super-fine sugar will not cake together. That is why it is ideal for baking, as the sugar needs to be measured for perfect results.

Another reason why granulated sugar is so popular is that it does not change the appearance of baked goods (or anything else, for that matter). The white coloring will blend in with any recipe, making it the go-to over other kinds of sugars. 

Cane Sugar

Cane sugar, on the other hand, is less refined and comes solely from sugar cane. Minimally processed, it has a tendency to retain more sweetness compared to granulated sugar. On its own, it has more depth of flavor, but when cooked, you can’t tell the difference.

The biggest drawback to using cane sugar or granulated sugar is that it can alter the appearance of your baked goods. Since the molasses is not entirely refined from cane sugar, it has a darker color. This can alter your baked goods, for example, a darker shade of cookie.

Flavor-wise, everything remains the same. So, if you don’t mind your baked goods being a bit darker than they’re “supposed” to be, you can easily use cane sugar in place of granulated sugar. 

Which Sugar is Best for Baking?

When it comes down to specifics, granulated sugar is technically the better option for baking. That is because it is an incredibly fine white sugar that can be measured and applied to any recipe without altering the outcome.

Cane sugar can be used in place of granulated sugar. The only thing to remember is that your end product might be slightly darker in appearance. Certain recipes, such as double chocolate cookies, won’t be impacted like a sugar cookie might.


Granulated and cane sugar are both excellent choices for baking. If you still have some questions about this topic, keep reading. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about cane vs. granulated sugar in baking.

Is cane sugar healthier than white sugar?

Neither sugar is going to be “healthy”, but cane sugar can be viewed as slightly healthier as it retains more of the fiber content. 

What is the best sugar-free substitute for baking?

Some of the best sugar-free substitutes for baking include honey, maple syrup, stevia, and agave. Each has its own pros and cons. For example, agave might alter the flavor and texture. Honey can be sticky and difficult to work with.

Does caster sugar measure the same as granulated sugar?

Technically, yes, but caster sugar is finer and therefore takes up less volume than granulated sugar. That said, your baked goods will be a lot sweeter using the same amount of granulated sugar.

Final Thoughts

Granulated sugar and cane sugar can be used interchangeably in baking, although cane sugar may produce a slightly darker appearance.

Do you use granulated or cane sugar for baking?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Holly

    So glade I found you I’ve been trying to figure out what sugar to use in a cookie recipe if I still want to have that sugar texture in my cookies. Let me explain I tried a cookie from a market and I could still taste the sugar crystals in the dough like it didn’t dissolve love the texture that’s what I’m trying to get please help..Thanks

    • Michelle

      Hi, Holly!
      What kind of sugar did you use? The granules were likely too large. Try a different sugar. Hope this helps!

  • Linda

    Interesting, in my part of the US, Pacific NW, what u call cane sugar, we call brown sugar. And the term “granulated” isn’t used very often, it’s just white or brown. I know in the other parts of the country, esp. the south east, baking terms can be different.

    • Michelle

      HI Linda,
      Yes, things are different all over! Pretty interesting. Thanks for sharing.