I have an American recipe that calls for Cane Sugar, is this the same as Demerara or is it Light or Dark brown sugar?

  • Welcome to the site @PatAnderson, could you please post the recipe?
    – GdD
    Dec 18, 2017 at 10:56
  • 1
    Note that in the UK you can get specifically cane white sugar (as opposed to beet sugar) - so the terminology doesn't match and the OP is right to ask.
    – Chris H
    Dec 18, 2017 at 11:46

3 Answers 3


If it only says "cane sugar" without any other qualifier, just use the normal white crystal sugar you have. There is a common attitude that cane sugar is supposedly superior to beet sugar (which is the prevalent sugar in Europe), although this might well be the result of successful advertising campaigns. In any case, if you use beet sugar, I am pretty sure nobody will notice the difference.

If it says something more than just "cane sugar", (e.g. "light brown cane sugar") it could be Demerara or something else. But then your question is not answerable without describing the full term.

See also The difference between beet sugar and cane sugar.

  • 3
    There may be some regional differences, but I really have never seen in the US for "Cane Sugar" to mean anything but white crystal sugar. Usually in an US recipe, if the molasses taste and extra moisture is desired light or dark sugar will be called out specifically. I agree that the source between beet and cane is likely 99% or higher marketing and the size of grain tends to effect things far more than the source.
    – dlb
    Dec 18, 2017 at 18:12
  • Note that both cane sugar and beet sugar are common in the UK. Tate & Lyle produce cane sugar.
    – Richard
    Feb 26, 2019 at 8:42

it depends in the recipe, if the specific aromas of molasses are important for the taste of the final product you can use a cane sugar rich in molasses (dark, brown, demerara), if not go with granulated light cane sugar, or even white sugar!

In general for all things baked I do not generally use raw sugars 'cause they're too wet, they have a very rich flavour, and their behaviour is quite unpredictable (because their exact molasses content, and therefore their water content, is unknown)


In french, "Sucre de canne" means Light Brown sugar. For the taste, it's not exactly the same as the white sugar, with a light aroma of molasse. So for your recipe you should use Light Brown sugar.

  • The recipe is American, not French, and in the USA, "cane sugar" is standard white crystal sugar. "Light brown" or Demerara sugar would be described as "raw (cane) sugar" or "turbinado sugar."
    – Allison C
    Feb 26, 2019 at 21:32

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