How to Use Date Sugar as Your Natural Sugar Substitute

October 18, 2022 7 min read

Sugar measured into a bowl

How to Use Date Sugar as Your Natural Sugar Substitute

Welcome to PurDate! As you delve into the world of date sugar as a natural sugar substitute, we hope you are excited, but we also recognize that it can be a little overwhelming to switch this staple food in your life. That’s why we have this entire page focused on how to use date sugar.

What is Date Sugar?

100% ground dates. Date sugar is made by drying whole date fruits and grinding them into sugar grains. No refined sugar is added; the sweet taste comes from the date's natural sugars.

Why You Should Use Date Sugar:

Date sugar is more nutrient-dense than other available sweeteners. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. Date sugar is perfect for those who are trying to reduce refined sugar intake, add healthy nutrients to their recipes, or eat more natural foods.

Date sugar is a powerful tool in your baking, cooking, and even morning coffee. It can be extremely beneficial for your health to introduce it as your white sugar alternative. Do you want to learn more about its health benefits? On our blog, we have discussed: Are zero calorie sugar substitutes really better for your health?, The truth about "Healthy Sugar Substitutes," and Why Date Sugar is a Food Allergy Friendly Sweetener.

Refined sugar

For those not familiar with dates and their nutritional benefits, date sugar is a fantastic superfood to add to your diet. Date sugar undergoes extremely minimal processing, ensuring that all of the nutrients packed into the dates stay in the final sugar product. It also has a lower glycemic index compared to white sugar, so it won’t lead to a typical “sugar crash.” It is also much healthier than other sugar alternatives (and more nutrient dense as well).

So how can you use date sugar? Think about anywhere you currently use white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey and you can almost certainly use date sugar as a natural sugar substitute in that application. There can be some differences in the consistency and chemistry of date sugar, but to help you get started wherever you are interested, we have some different common categories broken down below.

One of the ways date sugar behaves differently is in how it absorbs moisture. Due to its high fiber content (which is a good thing and makes it more healthy!), it will require additional wet ingredients in the recipe compared to white sugar in order to maintain the consistency. Finding the right balance with this can be tricky at first, so that’s why we recommend starting with one of our many  recipes!

Another difference to note is that date sugar adds a caramel flavor to your dish. This makes it ideal for use in breads, pies, and other items that can add caramel nodes. However this can clash in some recipes. For instance, it can taste very different in a coffee compared to a hot chocolate, but whether you enjoy that difference is really your preference!

Date fruit displayed beautifully

Easy Ways to Use Date Sugar as a Sugar Substitute:

Sweeten Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to get started using a date sweetener as opposed to more traditional sweetener options like sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Since smoothies can either be made very sweet or just a little sweet, there really isn’t a wrong answer for using date sugar! You can easily swap it into your favorite existing recipe and simply add 25% more liquid (think water, milk, orange juice, etc) to keep the consistency the same. As always, we love sharing our favorite recipes. For a traditional smoothie, go ahead and try our  Easy Mixed Berry Smoothie or our  Strawberry Banana Smoothie. If you are feeling more adventurous and want to indulge in the flavors of fall, our  Pumpkin Spice Smoothie is also a delicious option!

Add to Natural Yogurt

Natural yogurt with berries

Another fantastic option is to use this date sweetener in your natural yogurt. A lot of the yogurt options at the store, whether milk based or plant based, leverage a high amount of white sugar in their recipes. If you want to opt for a lower sugar level, there are also unsweetened options. These unsweetened options can be sweetened with date sugar exactly to the sweetness level you want and keep that lower glycemic index! This also works if you make the yogurt yourself. As a substitute in the recipe, simply use date sugar and tweak to reach your desired consistency and taste preferences! As a good guide on how to use date sugar ratios properly in this recipe, here’s a simple  fruit yogurt dip recipe. Don’t forget you can also use yogurt as a base for other foods including marinades, dressings, smoothies, and other sauces!

Mix in Oatmeal

As another simple swap, look no further than oatmeal. There are many popular ways to use oatmeal now including traditional oatmeal, overnight oats, and in parfaits. Oatmeal is very commonly made to be incredibly sweet. If you actually check the sugar content of those pre-made oatmeal packets, you might be surprised to see how much sugar each packet already has. So, as a way to adjust the sugar content and substitute a natural option in, you can use date sugar! Date sugar absorbs moisture more easily than white sugar, but for oatmeal, this is often a great feature. If you want to have less watery oatmeal, you can leverage the date sugar to absorb the moisture and reach that perfect consistency on the first try. As a great start, here is our signature  Date Oatmeal recipe for your next morning meal.

Using Date Sugar in Your Baking:

Date Sugar can be used to make absolutely scrumptious baked goods. However, it does require a little bit of math to make the magic happen. See our calculator above or keep reading to learn the secrets!

Since date sugar is different from white sugar, it is not a huge surprise that it behaves a bit differently than white sugar in baking. As a rule of thumb, you can substitute in the date sugar at a 1:1 ratio (meaning you simply use the same amount of date sugar in your white sugar based recipe), but you will either need to decrease your dry ingredients or add wet ingredients depending on the recipe. Typically, decreasing the dry ingredients by about 25% or increasing the wet ingredients by 25% works well (and don’t worry, we have a calculator at the top of this page if math isn’t your forte).  The primary example of a dry ingredient is flour but good wet ingredients to increase could be milk, eggs, or even butter.

If you want to start with a tried and true recipe with the right ratios for sugar alternatives, our website has plenty to choose from! For all of our wonderful dessert recipes, click  here. If you follow a special diet, we also have recipes available for you! Try our  Vegan Morning Glory Muffins or our  Gluten Free Vegan Banana Bread. After you feel more comfortable with the properties of date sugar, then you can go ahead and try it with your own recipes!


Lady cooking with sugar

Cooking with Date Sugar:

Sugar isn’t just found in sweet items like baked goods, smoothies, and yogurt. It is also  frequently utilized in savory recipes. From salad dressings and sauces to marinades and condiments, date sugar can be substituted in as a natural option to make all of your meals healthier. 

As with baking, there are some tricks with how to use date sugar for cooking. First of all, date sugar absorbs moisture more readily than white sugar. Think of it as being similar to cornstarch in a recipe. Adding more date sugar will both sweeten a recipe and thicken the consistency of a sauce. So if you want a runny sauce, limit the amount of date sugar or add more liquid to compensate for this effect. If you want to thicken the sauce, adding more date sugar can help with that (but unlike cornstarch will continue to sweeten the recipe).


2 ladies cooking with date sugar

Another tip is to use consistent stirring when cooking with date sugar. When you stir the date sugar consistently, this allows it to mix better and prevents grainy-ness in the texture of your sauces. Sometimes this isn’t as critical for a savory item, but if you were making a caramel sauce for example, you definitely want to make sure you stir it well enough to have the liquid fully absorb the date sugar. For this reason, it can take a bit longer to cook with date sugar than it would with white sugar so that you can reach the right consistency.

Again, you can follow the same 25% rule as you did for baking (see the baking section above for more details or the calculator at the top of this page) in your cooking recipes. If you want to make some homemade sauces but don’t have recipes at home, here are a few of our favorites. To get that sweet and savory combo, we have our  No Added Sugar BBQ Sauce. Another delicious and light option is our  Crunchy Cashew Salad and Dressing which is the perfect side dish at dinner.

Date Sugar in Beverages

Date Sugar can be a fun way to sweeten your beverages as well. Given its caramel flavor, it can be an easy way to flavor your beverages as well without all the chemicals! We personally love to add it to our  hot chocolate,  frappuccinos, and of course,  smoothies

We recognize at PurDate that date sugar is not the ideal white sugar substitute in every case. With beverages like tea, the high fiber content doesn’t mix well with the drink and often leaves a residue at the bottom. Additionally, the caramel flavoring doesn’t always pair well with the various flavors of tea. Another consideration with date sugar is that it has a much different appearance than white sugar. If presentation is a large factor in what you are preparing, date sugar may not be the best sugar substitute. 

Hopefully this article gave you some helpful tips and tricks to get started with date sugar. Whether you are just looking for a swap in your morning oatmeal or you are looking to start baking full time with date sugar, we are excited to bring you in on this journey. There are tons of delicious recipes to get you started or the calculator at the top of this page if you are feeling adventurous and want to experiment with your own recipes. We would love to hear about the recipes you have had success making, so feel free to share them with us! Enjoy and bon appetit!

If you are ready to give date sugar a try, you can purchase it on our website!

Please share your amazing creations on our IG! You can tag us @purdatesugar or use the hashtags #datesugar, #pudatesugar and #purdate!

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