What Is Turbinado Sugar? Nutrition, Uses, and Substitutes

Medically Reviewed on 8/2/2022
What Is Turbinado Sugar? Nutrition, Uses, and Substitutes
Learn about the nutritional profile of turbinado sugar and how to use it

Turbinado sugar is a minimally processed sugar made from sugarcane and consists of large crystals. Because of its light brown hue, it is sometimes confused with regular brown sugar. However, the sugars are processed differently.

Although many people believe turbinado sugar is healthier than white or brown sugar because it is less refined, turbinado sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.

Learn about the nutritional profile of turbinado sugar and how to use it.

How is turbinado sugar produced?

Turbinado sugar is made from sugarcane. After the canes are squeezed for the juice, the juice is then boiled once, unlike white sugar, which is boiled many times to remove all of the molasses and brown color.

When sugarcane juice is boiled, the sugars in the juice crystallize. After crystallization, the crystals are spun in a centrifuge to eliminate excess moisture. The word turbinado is derived from the Spanish word turbina, which refers to the centrifuge used to spin the crystals.

What is the nutritional profile of turbinado sugar?

Table. Nutritional facts of 100 grams of turbinado sugar
Nutrient Amount
Calories 399
Carbohydrates 99.8 g (grams)
Iron 0.37 mg (milligrams)
Calcium 12mg
Potassium 29 mg
Sodium 3 mg
Zinc 0.03 mg
Copper 0.009 mg
Manganese 0.046 mg
Phosphorus 1 mg
Magnesium 2 mg

Irrespective of the type of sugar, the American Heart Association recommends that adults consume no more than the following amounts of added sugar a day:

  • Men: 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) 
  • Women: 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories)

How is turbinado sugar used?

Turbinado sugar has a rich flavor and contains more moisture than regular white or brown sugar. These characteristics make turbinado sugar great for baked goods such as moist cakes.

On the other hand, turbinado sugar does not work well in recipes for muffins and other products with a drier texture.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

What are other substitutes for sugar?

Turbinado sugar is similar to white sugar and can be used in a 1:1 ratio. Other substitutes that can be used in place of regular sugar include the following:

  • Demerara sugar: Demerara sugar is raw, unprocessed sugarcane sugar.  It is similar to turbinado sugar but has a bigger grain, does not melt, and is an excellent finishing sugar for muffins.
  • Swedish pearl sugar: Swedish pearl sugar is white finishing sugar that does not dissolve into baked goods.
  • Date sugar: Date sugar is a granular sugar made from dried dates. 
  • Coconut palm sugar: Coconut sugar is from the sap of coconut palm. Although more similar to regular brown sugar, it is a versatile, strongly flavored sugar with toffee undertones. It is less sweet than table sugar but provides the same molasses flavor that sugarcane provides.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar works well as a white sugar replacement, but it contains more molasses and moisture than turbinado sugar.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 8/2/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Sugar, turbinado: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170674/nutrients

Turbinado Sugar: What It Is, Is It Healthy, and More: https://www.wellnesswarrior.org/turbinado-sugar/

What Is Turbinado Sugar? https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-is-turbinado-sugar