What is the difference between turbinado and demerara sugar?

Answered by Matthew Yawn

Turbinado sugar and demerara sugar are both types of cane sugar that offer distinct characteristics in terms of flavor, texture, and usage. Understanding the differences between these two sugars can enhance your culinary endeavors and help you choose the best option for various recipes.

1. Flavor: Turbinado sugar, also known as raw sugar, has a delicate molasses flavor with subtle hints of caramel. It adds a mild sweetness to beverages like or without overpowering other flavors. On the other hand, demerara sugar has a richer, more robust flavor with stronger notes of toffee and molasses. Its deep flavor profile makes it ideal for recipes that require a pronounced sweetness, such as rich desserts or baked goods.

2. Texture: One of the key differences between turbinado and demerara sugar lies in their crystal size. Turbinado sugar has smaller crystals than demerara sugar, which allows it to dissolve more quickly. The smaller crystals make turbinado sugar an excellent choice for beverages or recipes where a swift incorporation of sweetness is desired. For example, when making iced tea, turbinado sugar dissolves rapidly, providing a seamless infusion of sweetness. In contrast, demerara sugar's larger crystals take longer to dissolve, providing a gradual release of sweetness. This slower dissolution adds a pleasing texture to recipes, giving them a slight crunch or graininess.

3. Usage: Due to their distinct characteristics, turbinado and demerara sugar are suitable for different culinary applications. Turbinado sugar is commonly used as a sweetener for beverages, such as coffee, tea, or . Its quick-dissolving nature allows it to blend effortlessly into liquids. Additionally, turbinado sugar is often sprinkled over fruits or baked goods to add a subtle sweetness and a touch of texture.

Demerara sugar, with its larger crystals and rich flavor, is well-suited for recipes that benefit from a more pronounced sweetness and a satisfying texture. It works wonderfully in baked goods like cookies, muffins, or fruit crisps, where its slow dissolution adds a delightful crunch and a depth of flavor. Demerara sugar can also be used as a topping for desserts, such as crème brûlée or fruit tarts, where it caramelizes beautifully under heat, adding a delightful caramelized crust.

While both turbinado and demerara sugar are derived from cane, they differ in terms of flavor, texture, and usage. Turbinado sugar's smaller crystals dissolve quickly, making it suitable for beverages and recipes requiring a swift incorporation of sweetness. Demerara sugar's larger crystals dissolve more slowly, providing a gradual release of sweetness and a satisfying texture in recipes. By understanding these differences, you can make informed choices when selecting the appropriate sugar for your culinary creations.