Sugar Basics

One of the most important ingredients in confectionery is SUGAR!
It’s very necessary to know the different types of sugar. I have tried and put together the types that I know about. If you feel that there is more to the list please post in the comment.
Suggestions and additions are always welcome!

White Sugar

Regular sugar

Regular or white sugar, is the sugar found in every home and most commonly used in home food preparation. White sugar is the sugar called for in most cookbook recipes. Regular sugar is stipulated to be“extra fine” or “fine” because small crystals are ideal for bulk handling and not susceptible to caking.


Fruit Sugar

Fruit sugar is slightly finer than regular sugar and is used in dry mixes such as gelatin, pudding desserts and powdered drinks. Fruit sugar has a more uniform small crystal size than regular sugar. The uniformity of crystal size prevents separation or settling of larger crystals to the bottom of the box, an important quality in dry mixes.

Bakers Special Sugar

The crystal size of Bakers Special Sugar is even finer than that of fruit sugar. As its name suggests, it is developed specially for the baking industry. Bakers Special is used for sugaring doughnuts and cookies, as well as in some commercial cake recipes to create a fine crumb texture.

Superfine or Caster Suga

This sugar’s crystal size is the finest of all the types of granulated white sugar. It is ideal for delicately textured cakes and meringues, as well as for sweetening fruits and iced-drinks since it dissolves easily. In England, a sugar very similar to superfine sugar is known as caster or castor, named after the type of shaker in which it is often packaged.


Confectioners or powdered sugar

This sugar is granulated sugar ground to a smooth powder and then sifted. It contains about 3% corn-starch to prevent caking. Powdered sugar is ground into three different degrees of fineness. The confectioners’ sugar available in supermarkets – 10X – is the finest of the three and is used in icings, confections and whipping cream. The other two types of powdered sugar are used by industrial bakers.

Coarse sugar

As its name implies, the crystal size of coarse sugar is larger than that of regular sugar. Coarse sugar is recovered when molasses-rich, sugar syrups high in sucrose are allowed to crystallize. The large crystal size of coarse sugar makes it highly resistant to color change or inversion (natural breakdown to fructose and glucose) at cooking and baking temperatures. These characteristics are important in making fondants, confections and liquors.

Sanding sugar

Another large crystal sugar, sanding sugar, is used mainly in the baking and confectionery industries as a sprinkle on top of baked goods. The large crystals reflect light and give the product a sparkling appearance.

Brown Sugar

Turbinado sugar

This sugar is raw sugar which has been partially processed, where only the surface molasses has been washed off. It has a blond color and mild brown sugar flavor, and is often used in tea and other beverages.

Evaporated Cane Juice

red, clarified juice is evaporated into syrup, crystallized and cured. This free flowing sweetener has a light golden color and retains a hint of molasses flavor because there is no further processing.Evaporated Cane Juice is the common name for the food-grade cane based sweetener produced directly from milled cane using a single-crystallization process. The filte

Brown sugar (light and dark)

Brown sugar retains some of the surface molasses syrup, which imparts a characteristic pleasurable flavor. Dark brown sugar has a deeper color and stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Lighter types are generally used in baking and making butterscotch, condiments and glazes. The rich, full flavor of dark brown sugar makes it good for gingerbread, mincemeat, baked beans, and other full flavored foods.
Brown sugar tends to clump because it contains more moisture tan white sugar.

Muscovado or Barbados sugar

Muscovado sugar, a British specialty brown sugar, is very dark brown and has a particularly strong molasses flavor. The crystals are slightly coarser and stickier in texture than regular brown sugar.

Free-flowing brown sugars

These sugars are specialty products produced by a co-crystallization process. The process yields fine, powder-like brown sugar that is less moist than “regular” brown sugar. Since it is less moist, it does not clump and is free-flowing like white sugar.

Demerara sugar

Popular in England, Demerara sugar is a light brown sugar with large golden crystals, which are slightly sticky from the adhering molasses. It is often used in tea, coffee, or on top of hot cereals.

Liquid Sugar

Liquid sugars

There are several types of liquid sugar. Liquid sugar (sucrose) is white granulated sugar that has been dissolved in water before it is used. Liquid sugar is ideal for products whose recipes first require sugar to be dissolved. Amber liquid sugar is darker in color and can be used in foods where brown color is desired.

Invert sugar

Sucrose can be split into its two component sugars (glucose and fructose). This process is called inversion, and the product is called invert sugar. Commercial invert sugar is a liquid product that contains equal amounts of glucose and fructose. Because fructose is sweeter than either glucose or sucrose, invert sugar is sweeter than white sugar. Commercial liquid invert sugars are prepared as different mixtures of sucrose and invert sugar.
Home cooks make invert sugar whenever a recipe calls for a sugar to be boiled gently in a mixture of water and lemon juice.
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