Powdered sugar is an important baking ingredient.
It is used in icing, frosting, and baked goods in general.
Powdered sugar is also used as dusting for doughnuts as well as other pastries.
Powdered sugar also goes by the names confectioners’ sugar, icing sugar, and 10x sugar. This type of sugar is finely ground.
Manufacturers make powdered sugar by milling granulated sugar until it forms a fine powder.
Powdered sugar usually contains anti-caking agents like potato starch or cornstarch that absorb moisture and ensure that the sugar does not clamp.
There are different varieties of powdered sugar available.
They all have varying degrees of fineness. You have probably come across powdered sugar that is labeled 10X, XXX, or XXXX.
The more the number of Xs, the finer the powdered sugar is.
Can you use powdered sugar in recipes that require granulated sugar?
I have come across this question so many times. The right answer is no. You cannot use powdered sugar as a substitute for granulated sugar.
The reason is simple. Powdered sugar has anti-caking agents that are not in regular granulated sugar. Therefore, powdered sugar will not give you the same results as granulated sugar.
We all have moments when we have run out of powdered sugar just when we want to bake. I have gone through this countless times.
The good news is that you do not have to rush to the store to buy powdered sugar when you do not have any in the house. Just use a substitute.
You may think that nothing can match the prowess of powdered sugar, but you are wrong. There are several substitutes that can work just as well as powdered sugar.
Homemade powdered sugar, powdered coconut sugar, regular granulated sugar, powdered dextrose (glucose), dry milk powder, and hot cocoa mix are suitable powdered sugar substitutes.
Without wasting time, let us discuss these powdered sugar substitutes in detail.
- Homemade powdered sugar
Homemade powdered sugar is, in my opinion, the best substitute for powdered sugar.
It is actually very easy to make and will be ready in just a few minutes. Here is the simplest way to make homemade powdered sugar
You will need
- Granulated sugar
- Blender/food processor
Pour a cup of granulated sugar into your blender or food processor and blend at a high speed. Keep blending until the consistency of the sugar becomes very smooth.
You will end up with a very fine powder. Use this homemade powdered sugar immediately or store it in an airtight container.
In case you only want to make a small amount of powdered sugar, you can use a spice or coffee grinder.
Just clean the grinder thoroughly before use so that you do not end up with sugar that smells like spices or coffee.
Substitute powdered sugar with homemade powdered sugar in equal amounts. If a recipe calls for one cup of powdered sugar, use one cup of granulated sugar instead.
Tips on making the best homemade powdered sugar
- Only make small batches
Making powdered sugar from granulated sugar in small batches ensures that your powdered sugar turns out perfectly. Do not blend a lot of granulated sugar at once. I suggest blending only one cup at a time.
- Add a little bit of cornstarch
You should add a little bit of cornstarch to your homemade powdered sugar. The cornstarch will act as an anti-caking sugar and ensures that the sugar remains in its powdered form.
It also improves the sugar’s thickening ability which comes in very handy when you are making icing. All in all, if you are not a fan of cornstarch you can always leave it out.
- Powdered coconut sugar
Powdered coconut sugar is another suitable substitute for powdered sugar. Powdered coconut sugar is a bit different compared to powdered sugar.
For starters, it is less sweet. It also has a caramel flavor. Powdered coconut sugar has more minerals and vitamins compared to regular powdered sugar, so that is a plus.
To use powdered coconut sugar as a substitute, you need to mix it with arrowroot powder. Just mix one cup of powdered coconut sugar with a tablespoon of arrowroot powder and you’re good to go.
Use this substitute in the ratio 1:1. If a recipe requires you to use one cup of powdered sugar, use one cup of powdered coconut sugar mixed with one tablespoon of arrowroot powder.
You can use this substitute in your desserts, but just know that they won’t be as sweet as you are used to and they might have a caramel-like flavor.
- Regular granulated sugar
You can use regular granulated sugar in recipes that call for powdered sugar. The only downside with this is that the texture is completely different. However, it still gives you good results when you are making some baked goods.
Regular granulated sugar will give your desserts a grainy texture.
Therefore, I suggest using this substitute in baked goods like cakes and cookies. Avoid using it in icing and dense desserts because it will give them a grainy texture.
For every cup of powdered sugar that your recipe requires, use ¾ cup of granulated sugar. Your cookies and cakes will still taste amazing.
- Powdered dextrose (glucose)
Powdered dextrose, commonly referred to as glucose is also a suitable powdered sugar substitute.
Glucose is one of the ingredients used to make table sugar. It is actually derived from corn starch. Glucose and powdered sugar are very much alike. They both have the same texture.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when using glucose as a substitute for powdered sugar.
First, glucose is less sweet compared to powdered sugar. It also absorbs more liquids compared to powdered sugar. For this reason, you will have to use a little bit more liquid in your recipe.
Glucose also does not withstand very high temperatures. Therefore, if you are making baked goods, you should reduce the oven’s temperature to a maximum of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dry milk powder
Dry milk powder is the perfect substitute when you want to reduce your sugar intake. Non-fat dry milk powder has always worked for me. To use this substitute, you will have to mix it with other ingredients.
You will need;
- 1 cup of cornstarch
- 1 cup of non-fat dry milk
- ½ cup of Splenda
Mix these three ingredients together and blend them in your blender or food processor. You will end up with a fine powder that you can easily incorporate into your dishes.
Substitute powdered sugar with dry milk powder in the ratio of 1:1. If a recipe calls for a cup of powdered sugar, use one cup of dry milk powder.
For the best results, you may have to slightly increase the amount of liquid in your recipe. Add a teaspoon of the liquid at a time until the dish reaches an ideal consistency.
My favorite thing about this substitute is that I never have to worry about my desserts having a grainy texture. I highly recommend using this recipe in desserts and icing.
- Hot cocoa mix
You can also use hot cocoa mix in recipes that call for powdered sugar. Most varieties of hot cocoa mix usually have non-fat dry milk as one of the ingredients. Other ingredients present include sugar or sugar substitutes and cocoa.
To use the hot cocoa mix as a substitute, you have to blend it in your blender or food processor at a high speed. Do this until you end up with a fine powder.
For every cup of powdered sugar that your recipe requires, use one cup of the hot cocoa mix instead.
I highly recommend using this substitute in desserts. If you are making a dessert that has chocolate flavoring, you should consider reducing it because hot cocoa mix already contains cocoa in it.
In case you do not have any of the substitutes we have discussed above, you can use superfine sugar.
In the UK, superfine sugar is called castor sugar. Superfine sugar is not as fine as powdered sugar, but it is finer than regular granulated sugar.
Superfine sugar can be used in recipes that call for powdered sugar. However, you should know that it does not contain cornstarch and this may affect the outcome of some recipes.
Powdered sugar is an ingredient that you can easily substitute, especially when making desserts. Homemade powdered sugar is my favorite substitute because it always gives me excellent results.
Additionally, it comes together in just a few minutes and you can directly add it to your dishes without mixing it with anything else. I use powdered coconut sugar when I don’t want my dessert to have too much sugar.
Regular granulated sugar is also an option if you do not mind the difference in texture.
Glucose, dry milk powder, and hot cocoa mix are also suitable substitutes as long as you use them the way we have discussed.
Let me know how your dishes turn out when you use these powdered sugar substitutes.