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Brown Sugar vs. White Sugar: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on February 8, 2024
Brown sugar is sugar with molasses, giving it a moist texture and rich flavor, while white sugar is refined sugar with a neutral taste and granular texture.

Key Differences

Brown sugar, characterized by its brown color, contains molasses, which imparts a distinct flavor and moisture. White sugar, in contrast, is fully refined, resulting in a pure, sweet taste with no additional flavors.
The texture of brown sugar is generally soft and moist due to the presence of molasses. White sugar, on the other hand, has a dry, granular texture and is free-flowing.
Brown sugar offers a deeper flavor, often described as caramel-like, suitable for specific recipes. White sugar has a neutral sweetness, making it versatile for various culinary applications.
In baking, brown sugar can add moisture and a rich flavor to goods like cookies and cakes. White sugar, being more refined, contributes to a lighter texture in baked products.
Nutritionally, brown sugar contains trace minerals from molasses, but the differences are minimal. White sugar is pure sucrose and offers no additional nutrients.

Comparison Chart


Sugar with molasses
Refined, pure sugar


Moist, soft
Dry, granular


Rich, caramel-like
Neutral, sweet

Use in Baking

Adds moisture and rich flavor
Contributes to lighter texture

Nutritional Content

Trace minerals from molasses
Pure sucrose, no additional nutrients

Brown Sugar and White Sugar Definitions

Brown Sugar

A type of sugar with a soft, moist texture.
Brown sugar clumps together due to its moisture content.

White Sugar

Refined sugar with a neutral, sweet taste.
White sugar is commonly used in coffee and tea.

Brown Sugar

Sugar that imparts a rich, caramel-like flavor.
Brown sugar enhances the flavor of barbecue sauces.

White Sugar

Pure sucrose, offering a consistent sweetness.
White sugar provides consistent sweetness in recipes.

Brown Sugar

Contains trace minerals from the molasses.
Brown sugar has slight nutritional differences from white sugar.

White Sugar

Granular, dry, and free-flowing in texture.
White sugar is easily measurable due to its texture.

Brown Sugar

Used in cooking and baking for its distinct taste.
Brown sugar is a key ingredient in gingerbread cookies.

White Sugar

Versatile for a wide range of culinary uses.
White sugar is a staple in baking and cooking.

Brown Sugar

Sugar enriched with molasses, giving it a brown color.
Brown sugar adds a moist texture to baked goods.

White Sugar

Lacks additional flavors or minerals.
White sugar is preferred for its pure sweetness.


Is white sugar more refined than brown sugar?

Yes, white sugar is more refined.

How is brown sugar made?

By adding molasses to white sugar.

What is brown sugar?

Sugar with molasses, giving it a brown color and moist texture.

What is white sugar?

Refined, pure sucrose with a neutral taste and granular texture.

Can brown and white sugar be used interchangeably in recipes?

They can be, but it may alter the flavor and texture.

Which sugar is better for baking?

Depends on the recipe; brown sugar adds moisture and flavor, white sugar gives a lighter texture.

Does brown sugar have more nutrients than white sugar?

Brown sugar contains trace minerals, but the difference is minimal.

Is white sugar vegan?

Some white sugar is processed with bone char, so not all is vegan.

Can brown sugar be used to sweeten beverages?

Yes, but it will impart a richer flavor.

Is brown sugar healthier than white sugar?

Both have similar health impacts, as the nutritional difference is slight.

How should brown sugar be stored?

In an airtight container to retain moisture.

Can I make brown sugar at home?

Yes, by mixing molasses with white sugar.

Why does brown sugar clump together?

Due to the moisture content from molasses.

Does white sugar contribute to tooth decay?

Yes, like any sugar, it can contribute to tooth decay.

Does brown sugar go bad?

It can harden over time, but it doesn't spoil easily.

Can diabetics consume brown sugar?

It should be consumed cautiously, like white sugar.

Is there a difference in calorie content?

Both have similar calorie counts per teaspoon.

Can white sugar be used in marinades?

Yes, it's commonly used for its sweetening effect.

Does white sugar have any flavor?

It has a neutral, purely sweet flavor.

Is brown sugar good for skin care?

It's often used in homemade scrubs due to its texture.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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