5 Substitutes for Powdered Sugar

Written by ibxis

Powdered sugar, also known as confectioner’s sugar, is a super finely milled sugar mixed with an anti-caking agent, usually cornstarch. Because it dissolves more easily than granulated or other sugars, it’s used often in icings. It’s also used to dust the tops of pastries for decorative purposes and to add a little sweetness.

Powdered sugar is easy to find and alternatively inexpensive, but there may be times that you find yourself in need of a substitute. Perhaps you’ve run out, or you’re just looking for something that aligns better with your diet.

Here are 5 substitutes for powdered sugar you can make in your own kitchen.

1. DIY Powdered Sugar

DIY Powdered Sugar

If you have a blender or a food processor, granulated sugar and cornstarch, I have good news. You can make a very similar powdered sugar on your own.

Simply combine 1 tbsp of cornstarch (you can also use arrowroot powder) per cup of sugar and pulverize until very fine. Sift it together a few times to remove clumps and there you have it. You should expect your sugar to double in volume, so each cup of granulated sugar will become 2 cups of powdered sugar.

2. Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar

If you’re looking for something that’s less processed, try coconut sugar. It’s less sweet than regular sugar, and has a slight caramel flavor, so it will change the taste of your final product.

You can pulse it in the blender the same way you would with granulated sugar, adding cornstarch or arrowroot if it gets too cakey.

3. Dry Milk Powder

Dry Milk Powder

Dry milk powder has a very similar texture to powdered sugar, making it a great substitute in some situations. It has much less sugar though, so you may want to add a sweetener if you’re dusting with it or using it for flavor.

Dry milk powder also absorbs more liquids than powdered sugar, so if you’re baking with it you may need to adjust your recipe

4. Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix

This is a great substitute for powdered sugar in chocolate recipes. Most likely the mix already has some powdered sugar in it, so it has a head start. Blend it until light and fluffy and use it at a 1:1 ratio.

You may want to adjust any other chocolate you are putting in the recipe to account for the cocoa powder in the mix.

5. Xylitol


You could use many artificial sweeteners to substitute for powdered sugar if you were looking to make your recipe sugar free, but xylitol is one of the easiest recipe because it is equally as sweet as regular sugar, meaning you can swap it cup for cup in a .

Xylitol does not caramelizehowever, so any baked goods you make with it will dry out faster than with regular sugar.

Hopefully if you’re in need of a powdered sugar substitute, there is something on this list for your situation. But remember, you can always experiment!

Jennifer Hallberg

Jennifer Hallberg is a Chef instructor and Pastry Chef in Indianapolis, Indiana who has worked in the culinary industry for 15 years. In her spare time she loves visiting new restaurants and playing woodwinds in the local theater.

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