What is typically the best substitute for palm sugar? I've been getting away with brown sugar or molasses if I really have no time to get the actually stuff.

Honey, granulated sugar, maple syrup are others I've tried but they don't seem as effective as the main two I use.

Am I forgetting an obvious substitute or is there a simple way to make palm sugar that's fast that I should be doing instead?

  • Explain what is the result you want to achieve using palm sugar in lieu of other available sugars?
    – Cynetta
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 20:49
  • The caramel finish it has along with that brown sugar taste. I think brown sugar is pretty much my answer but I was curious if there was something better.
    – Jade So
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


I don't think you can any better than light brown soft sugar! It has a similar taste, similar moisture content (though palm sugar varies hugely in moisture content from a thick honey texture to a solid block), similar color and caramelizes in a similar way.

An ever closer option is jaggery, which is almost identical to palm sugar, just made from sugar cane rather than palms. It is probably more difficult to get hold of though, and the difference is rarely noticeable in a finished dish, so I would say light brown sugar is your best option

  • Why light? I've been using dark.
    – Jade So
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 7:06
  • 1
    Light is definitely more similar in flavour. Palm sugar is actually quite mildly flavoured compared to brown cane sugar, especially when made from coconut palms rather than sugar palms. I also find dark brown sugar a bit too rich tasting. Ultimately it's a matter of preference though, so stick with dark if that's what you prefer!
    – canardgras
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:24
  • 1
    The legendary chef David Thompson also suggests light brown sugar or light jaggery as a substitute
    – canardgras
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:25

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