What is Sucanat&Trade;?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Sucanat™ is a minimally refined form of cane sugar. Some cooks use Sucanat™ in lieu of more refined forms of sugar because they believe it is healthier, or because they prefer the flavor. It is readily available at many markets and health food stores in packages which vary widely in size from large bags designed for industrial applications to smaller containers for home use.

Sucanat™ is a less processed form of cane sugar.
Sucanat™ is a less processed form of cane sugar.

The process for making Sucanat™ starts out like that used for other forms of cane sugar, with the harvesting of the sugar canes. The canes are cut, leaving the roots behind so that they will sprout new canes in the coming year, and then they are crushed in a mangler which extracts their naturally sweet juice. If the sugar was going to be refined, the juice would be run through an evaporation process which included measures for purification, and in this process, much of the natural molasses would be extracted.

Sucanat™ is made from sugar cane.
Sucanat™ is made from sugar cane.

In the case of Sucanat™, however, the sugar cane juice is simply heated and then allowed to cool, forming granular crystals of what is basically dried sugar cane juice. The Sucanat™ retains the molasses, creating a very distinctive and quite strong flavor, along with other impurities which may be present in the cane. Unlike more refined sugar, Sucanat™ is grainy, rather than blocky and crystalline. It also contains less sucrose, because it is has not been purified; white sugar contains the most sucrose, and is in fact almost entirely sucrose.

Sucanat™ is a contraction of “Sugar Cane Natural.” It can be difficult to bake with, because it behaves very differently from more processed forms of sugar. The lower sucrose content makes Sucanat™ less sweet, which can be confusing for bakers who want to replace regular sugar with Sucanat™ on a cup for cup basis. The granular texture can also manifest in finished baked goods, causing a disappointing texture, and the strong flavor can be unpleasant, especially when mixed with other intense flavors like citrus or chocolate.

Sucanat™ is a trademark held by Ragus Holdings, Inc. Other companies certainly manufacture similar products, but they generally do not label them as “Sucanat™” to avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit. The fact that Sucanat™ is trademarked can make it easier for consumers to identify the real thing; Rapadura™ is another product made using the same process.

Refined white sugar contains a large amount of sucrose.
Refined white sugar contains a large amount of sucrose.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


What is the difference between sucanat and succanet?


To anon41171 about canning peaches. I wondered if the syrup in canned peaches was for flavor or preservation. So, I started canning my peaches with boiling water-- no sugar at all. They keep beautifully and taste better to me than the ones in syrup. Peaches are acidic enough that they do not need the sugar for preservation. Just leave the sugar out.


No, it isn't really raw. They have to cook down the cane juice until it's crystallized in order to make it, which means it's cooked.

The (marginal) advantages of sucanat over white sugar are that it's not chemically bleached and that it still has most of the natural nutrients of the cane in it.


As a diabetic, I'm thinking this has the same effects on blood sugar as regular refined sugar. Yes?


Anyone looking to use something similar should look into Jaggery, which can be found in any Indian grocer (or on Amazon). it's a pure unrefined cane sugar as well, and it comes in small blocks that can be grated for that crystalline texture. i've found that Jaggery is a better substitute for brown sugar than sucanat, especially in baking.


i have had several people get digestive discomfort when using Sucanat in chocolate cake. why would that be. I tried it myself and was sick for two days with digestive cramps, bloating and gas. Help!


If substituting Sucanat for sugar, in a recipe, is it a 1:1 switch or must quantity be adjusted?


has anyone ever used this Sucanat for canning peaches. how much would I disolve for a light syrup?


I find that baking with sucanat actually made my products *more* sweet, and more tasty. They do however cause me to need to use a bit more baking powder to get muffins to rise properly.

When I started using sucanat instead of brown sugar it allowed me to reduce the amount of sweetener by 1/3. The color did make my muffins darker, but not any different texturally.

I adore this sugar substitute. Its supposed to be more healthy because the vitamins and minerals remain in the sugar instead of being stripped away through the refining process. My acupuncturist also told me that it is alkalizing in the body which is supposed to help keep your body disease free.


To what temperature is Sucanat heated? It is listed in many raw food recipes, but is it really raw?

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