What are substitutes for powdered sugar?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “What are substitutes for powdered sugar?” and will discuss different alternatives for powdered sugar.

What are the substitutes for powdered sugar?

No matter whether you’re on a diet, attempting to decrease your glycemic index, or just out of powdered sugar when baking, you’re in luck. Powder sugar may be replaced with a variety of other ingredients.

·         Homemade powdered sugar

·         Sugar-free substitutes

·         Powdered coconut sugar

·         Dry milk powder

·         Hot cocoa mix

What is powdered sugar, and how does it differ from regular sugar?

Before looking at viable substitutes for powdered sugar, we need to know precisely what it is. Milling granulated sugar into a fine powder is the process of creating powdered sugar. Confectioner’s sugar, icing sugar, or 10X sugar are other names for it.

For frosting, icing, and glazing baked items, finely crushed sugar like this is an excellent choice. As a result, confectioners often use it.

This type of sugar is not crystalline like refined sugar. Beside undesirable physical properties and changes (stickiness, lumping, caking, agglomerating, or crystallization) of amorphous powders or products containing amorphous components during storage and production, amorphous powders are required and have numerous advantages as compared to crystalline ones in many food applications. A typical example is icing sugar (also known as powdered sugar or confectioners sugar) produced by milling of crystal sugars into very fine particles. Due to the presence of a large proportion of amorphous regions and very fine particles, icing sugar dissolves into water much more easily and quickly than crystal sugars. This property makes it become a preferred choice for food applications in which a quick dissolving sugar is required such as in preparation of fruits, milkshakes or any cold beverages, or for those in which the smoothness is required such as icing, frosting, and other cake decorations in bakery production or fondant (1).

Pastries and doughnuts often have a little coating of snow-like powder on them. Typically, you’ll find powdered sugar sprinkled over baked goods as a beautiful adornment and to provide a touch of sweetness.

Although it is very appealing, it is not the most nutritious foodstuff. Sugar in any form, even powdered, may harm a person’s health. Sugar intake is the major cause of obesity, type-2 diabetes, and other debilitating, chronic illnesses, according to doctors and experts throughout the globe.

Alternatives of powdered sugar

Homemade powdered sugar

Powdered sugar is produced by milling crystalline sugar. As the objective of milling is to reduce particle size, this can be also done by grinding using a grinder (2). It’s easy to create powdered sugar at home if you have ordinary sugar on hand but have run out. Blend them all together:

·         Cornstarch or arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon

·         Sweetener or granulated sugar: 1 cup

For best results, use a blender at high speed to continuously blend the mixture until it is at an extremely fine powder. To replace normal powdered sugar, just follow the recipe’s directions and use the homemade powdered sugar in a 1:1 ratio.

The cornstarch or arrowroot is added to act as an anticaking agent. Caking is defined as a phenomenon in which particles of amorphous powders are progressively deformed until they stick to each other, eventually forming large agglomerates. Cornstarch and arrowroot are able to absorb moisture and therefore reduce agglomeration of the particles (2).

Substitutes without Sugar

Use a calorie-free sweetener in place of conventional granulated sugar in your homemade powdered sugar recipe if you’re looking for a calorie-free substitute. Blend them all together:

·         3/4 cup Splenda or another sweetener of your choice

·         Cornstarch: 2 tbsp.

Sugar-free powdered sugar may be substituted for ordinary powdered sugar in a 1:1 ratio in any recipe.

Splenda is a sugar substitute called sucralose. The sucralose chemical name is 1 ‘, 6 ‘ – dichloro – 1 ‘, 6 ‘ -dideoxy – β-D – fructofuranose – 4-chloro – 4- desoxy – α-D – fructofuranose, and is one derivative of the halogeno sucrose. It is mild and mellow, has an aromatic flavor and stable properties, it is also low in calories; and can be used together with the traditional sweetener, or independently. Methods to produce sucralose include chemical synthesis and biosynthesis (3).

Granulated Sugar

If you’re short on time and don’t have a blender, you may use plain granulated sugar for powdered sugar in certain recipes (like frosting and thick pastries).

1 cup of granulated sugar is equal to 1 3/4 cup of powdered sugar.

If you are making frosting or dessert toppings, you may want to use granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar; however, you may find that these baked products are less thick when using granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar.

Coconut Sugar Powder

Coconut sugar powder is produced conventionally by heating the coconut sap until reaching a saturated solution, and crystalline coconut sugar powder finally is formed. The main composition of coconut sugar is sucrose with the amount more than 80% (per total solid) and followed by a tiny amount of glucose and fructose (about 2.3% per total solid) (4). 

In place of pure white sugar, you may produce your own powdered sugar using coconut sugar, which has a lower glycemic index, is less sweet, tastes like caramel, and has more vitamins and minerals than refined white sugar. Simply combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine well.

·         1 cup of coconut sugar.

·         1/4 cup powdered arrowroot

Using coconut sugar powder as a replacement for powdered sugar will reduce the sweetness of your dish and give it a caramel-like taste, but this is an acceptable substitution.

Dry milk powder

Nonfat dry milk powder may be used in place of powdered sugar if you’ve run out or just want to cut down on the amount of sugar you consume. It is preferable to use fresh dry milk instead of processed dry milk. Fresh milk powder has an amorphous characteristic, such as the one found in powdered sugar, while processed milk powder is similar to the crystalline refined sugar (1). Blend them all together: 

  •  1 cup powdered nonfat milk
  • Cornstarch, 1 cup
  • ½ cup of Splenda or another sweetener of your choice

There is no need to worry about a gritty texture in icings and dessert toppings since dry milk powder already has a powdered consistency.

When using dry milk powder for powdered sugar, you may need to slightly increase the liquid quantity in your recipe. Observe the texture of your dish as you gradually increase the amount of liquid you use. Use real powdered sugar, and then stop when it seems like the recipe calls for it to be finished.

Hot cocoa mix

Powdered sugar may be substituted with a hot cocoa mix if you have some on hand. Nonfat dry milk, cocoa, and sugar or a sugar replacement are common constituents in commercially produced hot cocoa mixes. When making chocolate-flavored recipes, just grind the mixture to a powdery consistency and use it as a substitute for powdered sugar.

You’ll likely need less chocolate flavor in your recipe if you make this switch. It may take a few attempts to get used to the added chocolate flavor, but you may find it to be a pleasant surprise!: 1 cup of

For best results, use a blender at high speed to continuously blend the mixture until it is at an extremely fine powder. To replace normal powdered sugar, just follow the recipe’s directions and use the homemade powdered sugar in a 1:1 ratio.

Other FAQs about Sugar that you may be interested in.

How to soften hardened brown sugar?

How to melt brown sugar on the stove?

How to Make Sugar Glass without Corn Syrup

How much table sugar to prime beer?


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Substituting powdered sugar” and discussed different alternatives for powdered sugar.


  1. Ho, Thao M., Tuyen Truong, and Bhesh R. Bhandari. Methods to characterize the structure of food powders–a review. Biosci biotechnol biochem, 2017, 81, 651-671. 
  2. Dozan, Tea, M. Benkovic, and Ingrid Bauman. Sucrose particle size reduction—determination of critical particle diameters causing flowability difficulties. J Hyg Eng Des, 2014, 8, 3-10.    
  3. Luo, Ye, Lei Xu, and Xiaofei Sun. Synthesis of strong sweetener sucralose. Mod Appl Sci, 2008, 2, 13-15.
  4. Nurhadi, Bambang, et al. Physical characteristics of amorphous and crystalline coconut sugar powder with the addition of tricalcium phosphate (TCP) as an anticaking agent. Int J Food Sci, 2020.

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