Jaggery Substitute – 8 Best Alternatives You Should Know

Jaggery sugar is a type of sweetener, appearing in many traditional dishes in Indian recipes. While white sugar comes in the form of white, translucent crystals, jaggery is an unrefined sugar product that can range in color from golden brown to dark brown.

This type of sweetener has been around in the culinary world for a long time, and it is becoming more and more famous for its light, warm sweetness, and beautiful color.

However, many people want to try recipes from this particular spice but do not know where to buy them. If you face the same situation, come to our list of alternatives and find your best suitable jaggery substitute now!

What Is Jaggery Sugar?

Jaggery Substitute
Jaggery Sugar

There are two popular types of jaggery sugar on the market: sugarcane-based and palm-based. 

The two varieties are made in somewhat different ways. Still, the end product is a caramel-colored condiment with a slightly less sweet taste than ordinary white sugar and greater nutritional value. Many dietitians today advocate substituting jaggery for sugar!

The origin of this sugar is quite controversial in the culinary world. Some say the Portuguese were the pioneers in bringing jaggery to India; others state that it came from the same subcontinent. 

This is because the word jaggery comes from Portuguese – jaggara, and Folklores also claim that Portuguese inhabitants discovered jaggery early in Kerala as early as the 1600s. 

Jaggery brown sugar is higher in vitamins and minerals than most other sweeteners. In a cup of jaggery, you can find a rich source of calories, sucrose, fructose, and glucose. So, it definitely has great qualities to make delicious food. 

Let’s scroll down to the next part of the article to see what is similar to jaggery and pick out the best substitute for jaggery from the list now!

Recommended Jaggery Substitute 

Now, we will come to the focus of today’s topic: jaggery sugar substitute. After this, we promise you won’t ever need to wonder “what can I use instead of jaggery” again!

1. Piloncillo


When it comes to jaggery substitutions, the first thing that pops up in our mind is piloncillo, or as some people call it, panela or rapadura. You should know that piloncillo is made entirely of pure molasses by traditional manual methods. By saying that, we mean it doesn’t have any refining additives, just like jaggery.

When comparing the taste between jaggery vs piloncillo, you can see some significant similarities. Both have an appealing caramel brown hue and an equal sweetness. Piloncillo is often offered in liquid form, whereas jaggery is in solid form, but this will not significantly impact your dish.

2. Dark Brown Sugar

Dark Brown Sugar
Dark Brown Sugar

“Can I substitute jaggery for brown sugar?” It is a typical question, as homemakers are unsure whether these two items would make a difference in the flavor of their dishes or not.

The answer to that question would be yes! Brown sugar is perhaps one of the greatest jaggery substitutes. 

Is jaggery and brown sugar the same? No, although they both have a crystalline texture, a somewhat sweet taste on the tongue, and a scrumptious light brown color. Unlike piloncillo, which is quite expensive, brown sugar is very cheap and widely available. Trust us when we say it is hard to find a better deal than that!

There is no set formula for determining how much brown sugar to substitute for jaggery. However, in recipes including 1 cup of jaggery, we propose combining 1 cup of brown sugar with 2 tablespoons of molasses or maple sugar.

3. Molasses


Molasses is a byproduct of the refining of cane sugar. Normally, cane sugar is crushed, melted, and crystallized to produce sugar. Following this procedure, you can see a thick liquid known as molasses. This is the most significant difference between jaggery and molasses, as jaggery is the first product derived from sugar cane or palm plants.

You can use molasses as a substitute for most recipes with jaggery since it’s rich in flavor and has a very appetizing brown color. There are three types of molasses available on the market, but they are all sweeter than jaggery. As a result, you should only use a little on your dish!

4. Demerara sugar

Demerara sugar
Demerara sugar

Another option on the list of jaggery alternatives that we can discuss is demerara. 

You can easily see that its appearance is slightly different from the jaggery with yellow, dark, or light colors. Demerara is also a product of the sugar extraction and boiling process, as most of the sweeteners in this article.

However, demerara is special as it is an unrefined sugar and therefore retains a deep sweetness reminiscent of burnt caramel. In comparison with jaggery, demerara is rougher and drier, so it may add texture to foods and is especially good when coupled with hot beverages to enhance them. 

Due to this trait, home chefs must pay close attention to alter the amount of demerara to fit jaggery recipes.

5. Muscovado sugar

Muscovado sugar
Muscovado sugar

If you want to take a break from using jaggery in recipes for curries or hot drinks, then muscovado will be an ideal choice. This condiment is likewise prepared unrefined from sugar cane, but with the addition of a little lemon. The end result of muscovado will have a sweet taste with a subtle note of lemon, which is great to use in cakes or cookies.

Muscovado has a sticky texture, a bit like beach sand, and is rough. It also has a toffee brown color, creating a very attractive color for your dish that can satisfy any fastidious diner.

6. Black sugar

Black sugar
Black sugar

We would like to introduce black sugar, a famous product from Okinawa, Japan, known as kokuto. The main ingredient of kokuto is sugarcane, boiled and left to form a hard, black mass. 

Black sugar has a sweet flavor with a dash of saltiness and a somewhat malty undertone. When compared to jaggery, kokuto has a deeper sweetness and a fuller flavor profile.

When cooking black sugar, you should grind them into tiny pieces to ensure the final result’s deliciousness, texture, and color. Try to experience this authentic Japanese flavor, and you will be amazed.

7. Palm sugar

Palm sugar
Palm sugar

Since jaggery is also derived from the palm tree, palm sugar and jaggery are arguably quite similar. Still, palm sugar is sweeter than jaggery, so you need to adjust the dosage slightly less in dishes to get the best taste. 

8. Honey


Unlike all the plant-based sweeteners in this article, honey is a sweet liquid that bees make from flowers. There are hundreds of types of honey in the world, and each of them has a special color, smell, and taste.

You can use honey as a good substitute for jaggery in drinks and desserts. The similarity in color and sweet taste will not disappoint you with this choice!


When it comes to the best jaggery substitute, there are many options that you can consider, ranging from popular products to specialties of distant lands. Each of the jaggery replacements has special delicious flavors that are sure to make you extremely satisfied. 

Experiment and find the flavor that best suits you; this journey will surely be interesting.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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