No Caster Sugar for Your Recipe? No Problem, Here's a Substitute (2024)

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What is Caster Sugar?

Caster sugar, often spelledcastor sugar, is a term that is used in Britain, but most of us here in the states have never heard of it. It is actually just superfine granulated sugar. This kind of sugar is often called for in baking and it will dissolve even in cold drinks.

Recommendation: Super Fine Caster Suger by Medley Hill farms

No Caster Sugar for Your Recipe? No Problem, Here's a Substitute (5)

What is Caster Sugar in America?

In America, you may find caster sugar labeled as simplysuperfine. It’s also calledbar sugarsince bartenders use a superfine sugar for some co*cktail recipes, instead of asimple syrup. In French cooking, it’s calledsucre semoule. An example isC&H Professional Baker’s Sugar.

Do not mistake powdered confectioner’s sugar for superfine or caster sugar. Caster sugar has a consistency that is finer than regular granulated sugar but not as fine as confectioners, which is a powder, Confectioners sugar, sometimes labeled 10x, also contains cornstarch. This sugar is so finely ground that without added cornstarch it would cake. into a solid mass.

Superfine sugar, due to its extra-fine grain size, will of course form lumps more easily than regular granulated sugar. You must keep it in a very dry place and in a well-sealed container.

Caster Sugar in Canada

Reader Leah Jordana has also let me know that in Canada, caster sugar is known as ‘berry sugar.’ If you are in Canada, you may be able to find Roger’s Berry Sugar in your grocery store.

Certain recipes, such as meringues, ice creams, and sponge cakes might specify asuperfine sugar. The difference is that they are not so fine that they are turned into a powder, such as in confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar, which, in the United States, has some anti-caking ingredients (like cornstarch, 3 to 5%) added to keep the sugar from clumping together.

No Caster Sugar for Your Recipe? No Problem, Here's a Substitute (6)

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If you can’t find superfine sugar of any kind at your regular grocery store, or if you are just in a pinch because you have a recipe that calls for caster sugar or superfine sugar (not confectioner’s, icing, or powdered sugar), don’t fret, you can make your own.

The first thing to know is that it is probably not a good idea to substitute regular granulated sugar, as they behave differently and if someone bothers to specify caster or superfine in a recipe, there is probably a reason.

While you shouldn’t replace caster sugar with granulated sugar, caster sugar can often be used in place of granulated and may perform better.

Superfine sugars will incorporate more quickly in whips and dissolve more quickly in creamed mixtures.

Caster sugar is often chosen as a compromise between regular granulated and powdered sugar in pastry doughs, as well, as it gives some of the functional advantages of powdered sugar (workability) with a little more sweetness to the tongue as with regular sugar.

You will often read that caster sugar is used “for cakes and biscuits” and in American that means “cakes and cookies.”

If you do a lot of cakes where you have to cream butter and sugar together, you’ll like it much better than granulated sugar.

It works well for sweetening meringues, as well, where it incorporates more widely and quickly than granulated, without the corn starch that is present in powdered sugar.

Although you should probably avoid substituting regular sugar for superfine, you can usually substitute superfine for regular in most dessert recipes. For making glazes or icings, however, stick to confectioners or icing sugar (they’re the same thing).

Caster Sugar Substitute: Make It Yourself

You can make caster sugar yourself. Making caster or superfine sugar can be easily done with a regularelectric coffee grinder like thisHamilton Beach Coffee Grinder.

A food processor can also work, and it would stand to reason that this would be superior for larger jobs, but a coffee grinder produces fine sugar very quickly and evenly.

Plus, the problem with a food processor is that unless you have a mini processor, you have to do a large enough amount to cover the blades well. A blender will work pretty well, too but only for small amounts.

What you are going for is a finely granulated sugar that is still free-flowing and dry, somewhere between regular granulated sugar and powdered sugar. This can take 1 to 2 minutes for large amounts in a food processor, but in a coffee grinder, it will probably take less than a minute and may be done as quickly as 30 seconds.

No Caster Sugar for Your Recipe? No Problem, Here's a Substitute (7)

Most sources will, however, recommend a food processor. The reason I do not like to use a food processor is that the sharp blades of a food processor are not efficient for grinding but for cutting.

If you have a grinding attachment, this may work better. But the grind is uneven and by the time you can produce a superfine sugar, some of it will have turned to powder.

This is also just a part of trying to produce large amounts in one go. So I recommend the smaller cup of a coffee grinder, and to grind your sugar in batches, so you can get a more even texture.

By all means, though, experiment and use the method that works best for you. A coffee grinder, you will find, is useful for a lot more than just grinding coffee. It’s great for grinding spices as well, for example.

Now, grinding up regular granulated sugar is not how superfine or caster sugar is made in the sugar industry, and for that very reason, plus the lower demand, you’ll pay a premium for it, if you can find it at all.

In grocery stores, it will tend to be more expensive than both brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar. It can cost up to twice as much, per pound, as regular granulated sugar.

To make superfine sugar, they use a different process that results in finer crystals. But for cooking purposes, you can do quite well with your own ground-up version. Your homemade version will tend to look a bit duller than a store-bought version, as you’ve roughed up the crystals.

What About Homemade Powdered (Confectioner’s Sugar)?

You can also turn granulated sugar into powdered sugar the same way. However, a typical grocery store confectioner’s sugar is 10x (10 times finer) and this is hard to achieve at home. You’ll have a mixed blend of fineness.

However, if you produce a powder, it will work fairly well in a pinch. Add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to one cup of regular granulated sugar for this, and make sure to add the cornstarch to the sugar beforeyou grind it.

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No Caster Sugar for Your Recipe? No Problem, Here's a Substitute (2024)

FAQs

What can I substitute for caster sugar? ›

Granulated sugar will usually work just fine as a caster sugar alternative. Substitute on a 1:1 ratio (if your recipe calls for a cup of caster sugar, use a cup of granulated sugar).

Can I use normal sugar instead of caster sugar in a recipe? ›

Caster sugar

White sugar is milled into smaller crystals. It's also called superfine sugar. It dissolves more easily, making it perfect for recipes like custard from scratch, meringues and cakes. In most recipes you can substitute granulated sugar for caster sugar and vice versa.

What happens if you have no caster sugar? ›

If you need a substitute for caster sugar, you can use granulated sugar or raw sugar for similar results. Granulated sugar: You can use regular sugar in place of caster sugar for baking recipes, but the texture may be gritty. The best method is to make caster sugar by finely grinding granulated sugar.

What is caster sugar called in USA? ›

Caster sugar in America is often called superfine sugar, baker's sugar, castor sugar, or bar sugar.

What is a healthy substitute for caster sugar in baking? ›

7 Natural Sugar Substitutes to Try in Your Cooking & Baking
  • Honey. Honey is not only sweet, but it's packed with an array of health benefits! ...
  • Maple Syrup. Maple syrup contains a fair bit of sugar, so consume it rather minimally. ...
  • Applesauce. ...
  • 4. Fruits. ...
  • Molasses. ...
  • Cane Sugar. ...
  • Coconut Palm Sugar.

Can I use brown sugar instead of caster sugar? ›

Darker sugars can be subbed into the place of white sugars, but it might make the final result of a cake darker and slightly moister.

Can I use brown sugar instead of caster sugar in cookies? ›

The sweetness level will be the same, but the brown sugar may change the texture of your baked goods. You'll likely notice a more robust flavor, and the finished baked goods' color may also be darker.

What is a substitute for superfine sugar in baking? ›

Granulated sugar can be used in place of superfine sugar/caster sugar by weight; if possible, blitz in a food processor to make it more finely ground before baking. Turbinado sugar and Demerara sugar can be used interchangeably when sprinkled on top of baked goods.

What happens if I use granulated sugar instead of caster sugar? ›

Granulated sugar can easily be swapped out for caster sugar. All you have to do, to make sure your bake isn't compromised, is cream the butter and sugar together for a little longer, giving the coarser grain more time to dissolve.

How to make caster sugar at home? ›

To convert granulated sugar to Caster sugar: Add the granulated sugar to your blender and pulse-blend in a few bursts until the texture is... well... super-fine, like fine sand. ;-) 1/2 cup of granulated sugar will yield approximately 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Caster sugar.

Does it matter if you use granulated sugar instead of caster sugar? ›

Yep, you can use granulated sugar as a direct replacement for caster sugar in baking. The main difference between the two is that granulated sugar is slightly coarser with large crystals, meaning it takes longer to dissolve in liquids.

What's the point of caster sugar? ›

Because caster sugar is lighter in texture than granulated sugar, it is perfect for making meringues, soufflés, and mousses, and for sweetening whipped cream; it incorporates more easily and dissolves faster in egg whites and creamed mixtures.

What is the healthiest sugar replacement? ›

Natural Alternatives to Refined Sugar
  • Sugar Alcohols: Erythritol and Xylitol. Erythritol and xylitol are low calorie sweeteners. ...
  • Stevia. Stevia is a plant leaf extract. ...
  • Agave. Agave is a plant nectar. ...
  • Coconut Sugar. Coconut sugar comes from the sap of coconut trees. ...
  • Date Sugar. ...
  • Monk Fruit. ...
  • Fruit Puree. ...
  • Honey.
Mar 3, 2023

Is berry sugar and castor sugar the same thing? ›

Berry sugar is simply a smaller-crystal sugar that dissolves more quickly than regular sugar in cold dishes such as fruit salads, drinks and desserts. Sometimes referred to as superfine, ultrafine or bar sugar, it is also known as caster sugar in Britain.

What is the same as caster sugar? ›

It is also known as superfine sugar, baking sugar or castor sugar. Caster sugar dissolves very quickly, making it perfect for meringue, mousse, whipped cream, cookies, cakes, puddings, sweet sauces and beverages.

How much sweetener to replace caster sugar? ›

If you're adapting a recipe that calls for caster sugar, use about a third less. Stevia, which is extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, is a zero-calorie sweetener. It doesn't caramelise when heated, so gives a paler result. Use 50g of the granulated version in place of 100g sugar.

What's the difference between caster sugar and regular sugar? ›

Caster Sugar is granulated sugar's “finer” cousin and because of this, it dissolves more easily than granulated sugar, and weighs a bit more, as well, when measured via volume (i.e.: a cup of caster sugar weighs about 225 g and a cup of granulated weighs in at around 200 g).

Can I use Splenda instead of caster sugar? ›

Splenda Original Granulated Sweetener can be used for baking and cooking. It measures and pours just 1-to-1 like sugar. 1 cup of Splenda Original Granulated Sweetener is equal in sweetness to 1 cup of sugar.

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