Demerara Sugar: The Golden Sweetener from Exotic Shores

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What Is Demerar Sugar?

Coffee and demerara sugar mixed

Sweet! That’s probably one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of sugar. But we’re not here to talk about just any sugar. No, today we’re delving into the world of Demerara sugar – a unique, golden sweetener that has journeyed from the exotic shores of Guyana to the bustling streets of the UK. This golden delight has found its way into our hearts and pantries, and it’s not leaving anytime soon.

The history of Demerara sugar is as rich and fascinating as the sugar itself. The sugar is named after the Demerara colony in Guyana, where it was originally produced. Today, however, it’s made all over the world, including in Mauritius, Fiji, and other countries with sugar cane production.

What Sets Demerara Sugar Apart?

Different kinds of Demerara sugar

Unlike your run-of-the-mill white sugar, Demerara sugar boasts a distinctively granulated texture. Its golden hue, reminiscent of the sun-drenched sugarcane fields it comes from, sets it apart from its counterparts. But what truly distinguishes Demerara sugar is its rich, toffee-like flavour, thanks to its natural molasses content. It’s the Rolls Royce of sugars – distinct, top-notch, and unquestionably desirable.

The unique taste of Demerara sugar doesn’t just add sweetness to your recipes; it adds a depth of flavour that enhances the overall taste of your baked goods, beverages, and even savoury dishes. It’s not just sugar – it’s a flavourful experience that tantalises your taste buds with every bite or sip.

The Production Process: A Labour of Love

From the lush, fertile sugarcane fields of Guyana and other tropical regions, the journey of Demerara sugar to your kitchen is a fascinating one. It begins with fresh, juicy sugarcane, which is pressed to extract the sweet juice. This juice is then heated to form a thick syrup, which, when crystallised and spun in a centrifuge, results in the distinctive, large golden crystals that we know and love.

The production process for Demerara sugar is a delicate dance of timing, temperature, and craftsmanship. The secret to its distinct flavour and texture lies in its minimal processing, which helps retain the natural molasses in the sugar. This results in a sweetener that’s as close to nature as it gets.

Culinary Magic: Uses in British Cuisine

One of the many reasons why Demerara sugar is so adored in the UK is its versatility in the kitchen. From sprinkling it over your morning porridge to stirring it into your afternoon tea, it adds a hint of exotic flavour to everyday dishes.

But its magic doesn’t stop there. Demerara sugar is a baker’s best friend. Its coarse texture and rich flavour make it ideal for crumbles, pies, and pastries. It gives a delightful crunch to the topping of a traditional British apple crumble and adds a hint of caramel to sweet pies.

That’s not all. Demerara sugar is also the star ingredient in many classic British biscuits. From hobnobs to flapjacks, its golden sweetness takes these treats to a whole new level. And let’s not forget its role in mixology. The depth of flavour it adds to cocktails and punches is truly unmatched.

Demerara sugar

Health and Nutrition: Not Just a Pretty Face!

While Demerara sugar certainly wins points for its delicious taste and versatile uses, it also offers some nutritional benefits. Compared to regular white sugar, Demerara sugar retains more of the natural cane’s nutrients because of its minimal processing.

While it should still be consumed in moderation – it is sugar, after all – Demerara sugar does contain small amounts of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Additionally, its rich, robust flavour may also mean you end up using less of it than you would white sugar, potentially reducing your overall sugar intake.

Demerara Sugar FAQs

Is Demerara sugar healthier than white sugar?

Yes and no. While it does contain slightly more nutrients, it’s still sugar and should be consumed in moderation.

Can I substitute Demerara sugar for brown sugar in recipes?

Yes, you can. Just be aware that it may slightly alter the texture and taste of your dish, often for the better!
Demerara sugar and coffee

What’s the difference between Demerara and turbinado sugar?

While they’re similar, turbinado sugar has a lighter colour and flavour because it undergoes a bit more processing.

In the World of Sugars: Comparison with its Peers

Like people, sugars come in all shapes and sizes. White sugar, muscovado sugar, and turbinado sugar each have their unique characteristics and uses. But once you’ve tasted the rich, molasses-like flavour of Demerara sugar, you might just find it hard to go back to your old sugar!


From its humble origins in Guyana to its star status in UK kitchens, Demerara sugar is truly a golden delight. Its rich flavour, versatility, and minimal processing make it a favourite among chefs and home bakers alike. So the next time you reach for the sugar, make it Demerara!
Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!