How does powdered sugar stack up to regular sugar and artificial sweeteners in terms of sugar/carbohydrate content?

  • Well, strictly speaking... Powdered has a lower specific weight than granulated sugar, at least according to this site, so one cup of powdered sugar contains slightly fewer calories than granulated sugar. On the other hand, you get the same effect if you just don't fill your cup to the brim. Less sugar has fewer calories than more sugar. Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 7:10
  • The one difference is the increased surface area in some uses will make it taste sweeter allowing less to be used.
    – neil
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 9:32
  • @FedericoPoloni ... which is only relevant in those regions where you use volumetric measurements, not where a scale would be preferred.
    – Stephie
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


Powdered sugar is, basically, just sugar, but with the grains ground to a fine dust.

To be very precise, powdered sugar sometimes contains an anti-caking agent like corn starch to prevent clumping but as far as nutritional values go, treat it like ordinary sugar.

Powdered sugar is no sugar alternative because it is simply sugar.

  • 4
    Many sugar substitutes come in powder form, but they are labeled as substitutes, not as sugar.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 13:47
  • If you add water to sugar, you get syrup / sugar solution. If you add water to powered sugar, you might very well get a glaze / icing. This is due to the (almost always) added cornstarch or potato flour. So powered sugar is not simply sugar. From a diabetes perspective, it is the same is sugar because it mostly contains sugar. But it is not equivalent from a cooking perspective. So I doubt sugar-replacement sweeteners would be a good replacement for powdered sugar in a recipe.
    – dynamo
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 17:32
  • 6
    @dynamo, the "glaze" has absolutely nothing to do with starch. The crucial thing for a glaze is to dissolve your sugar crystals - powdered dissolves simply faster, but you can get roughly the same effect if you heat sugar with water. Besides, not all powdered sugar contains starch.
    – Stephie
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 17:36
  • Very late here, but you will not get a powdered sugar-type glaze by heating granulated sugar with water. You will indeed make a sticky syrup if you heat or mix regular sugar with water. You will also get a syrupy sticky mess if you heat powdered sugar with water. A nice glaze depends on a proper dispersal of crystals, which then dries, not their dissolution. If you dissolve sugar, you'll have to heat it past 240 (at least) to get any sort of glaze, and it will be different from the simple powdered sugar one.
    – kitukwfyer
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 20:42

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