DIY Brown Sugar (vegan)

Brown sugar is sometimes difficult to find without plastic. It dries out quickly, which makes it difficult to add to the bulk bin… usually when it’s half gone, the remainder is hard as a rock. Packaging it in paper seems to have the same result. Moreover, many types of brown sugar is made with bone char, so it’s not vegetarian or vegan friendly.

But so many delicious recipes call for brown sugar. I thought, hmm, maybe I can substitute that for coconut sugar – which is usually sustainably sourced, healthier, and I can find it in the bulk section at my local grocery store. But as delicious as it is, especially in drinks… it just does not have the same baking effect that brown sugar does. It leaves your baked goods tasting kind of dry and heavy.

But that’s okay! You can make your own brown sugar with two ingredients: regular sugar, and either molasses, maple syrup, or a combination of the two.

But I digress.

I’m sure you’re ready for the recipe.

The ratio is:

1 cup of sugar to 2 tablespoons of either molasses or maple syrup.

or half and half 🙂

I was surprised that I had molasses in my cabinet. It must’ve been from when I made gingerbread cookies last year. I was even more surprised to find that it only had a few more days until it expired, as if it was calling to me, telling me to use it before it was wasted. Thank you, friend.

But I only had one very slow-to-pour tablespoon left. So slow. Like molasses. So I mixed in a tablespoon of maple syrup instead, and it worked wonderfully! It smelled so good, I couldn’t put my finger on it… like when you’re mixing chocolate chip cookie dough. Then it hit me, duh, it smells like brown sugar. Maple brown sugar… even yummier!

Did you know there was a Great Molasses Flood in Boston, Massachusetts in 1919? No joke. For decades after you could still smell molasses in the area on hot days.

Use this in your favorite recipes, like blondie bars!


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses or maple syrup (or 1 tablespoon of each)


Mix together 🙂


Storage: store it in a sealed container and use as needed. Check to see when the molasses or maple syrup you used expires, that will probably indicate when this mixture will expire also.

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