Last Updated: Oct 19, 2021 @ 1:55 pm.

What's the best brown sugar? We tried 9 brands of brown sugar and started baking cookies! Which tasted the best? Was organic? Here are the brands that impressed us most.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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Best Budget-Friendly

Subtle, smooth flavor
This light brown sugar won our blind taste tests, making cookies that were simply divine. Also nice: no GMO's, Kosher, vegan, and USDA Organic.

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Best Budget-Friendly: 365 Everyday Value, Organic Light Brown Sugar

How do you find the best brown sugar?

Well, first you have to bake some cookies. We took eight major brands of brown sugar and made batches of these cookies:

Best Brown Sugar Taste Test

Then we did a blind taste test. Yes, it is a hard job . . . but someone had to do it.

For those baking newbies, we should note there are two types of brown sugar: light and dark. We tested both types

 What’s the difference? The amount of molasses—light brown sugar has less molasses (3.5%), dark brown sugar has more (6.5%).

Yes, dark brown and light brown sugar are interchangeable for most recipes. However, most folks think dark brown sugar has a richer, more caramel-like flavor. Depending on what you are baking, that might be a good thing . . . or not.

Light brown sugar is the utility infielder of baker’s pantry—it is more common. And more likely to be the go-to for most recipes (like traditional chocolate chip cookies), thanks to the more subtle flavor.

For the best light brown sugar, the winner in our blind taste test was 365 Everyday Value’s Organic Light Brown Sugar. Our taste testers thought it produced the best results. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• GMO-free.

• Kosher.

• Vegan.

• Made in the USA.

• USDA Organic.

• Good value.

What Needs Work

• The bag could be easier to reseal. 

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Best Dark Brown Sugar

Delicious, caramel flavor
Our go-to favorite sugar for cookies, this brand of dark brown sugar won our blind taste test with it complex, bold flavors. Also great in coffee and other beverages.
$6.94 ($0.43 / Ounce)

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Best Dark Brown Sugar: Domino Dark Brown Sugar

Yes, we did a blind taste test . . . so folks didn’t know whether the cookie they were tasting were a major brand or not. As it turns out, the big brand Domino won our dark brown sugar test. Delicious!

Domino Sugar is made by Domino Foods, which traces its roots back to 1799. And yes it is the largest sugar company in the U.S. You’ll probably recognize Domino’s other sugar brands if you’ve done much baking: C&H, Florida Crystals, Redpath and more.

What We Liked

• Rich caramel flavor.

• Pure cane sugar.

• Refined.

What Needs Work

• Not organic.

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Best Brown Sugar Substitute

Zero calories, non-glycemic
This is the best brown sugar replacement we could find—in a blind taste test, many of our testers couldn't tell the difference. Texture is similar to brown sugar. Yes, it is a one-for-one replacement.
$14.99 ($0.62 / Ounce)

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Best Brown Sugar Substitute: Swerve Sweetener, Brown Bundle

We tried out a handful of brown sugar substitutes in our cookie bake-off. To be honest, several did not impress—they either failed to replicate the sweetness of brown sugar or had a metallic aftertaste. 

The best of the bunch: Swerve, which tasted best with the least aftertaste. (A few dissenters said they still thought it had an aftertaste, although that was a minority opinion).

Swerve is non-glycemic and has no calories. It is a combination of erythritol (a natural calorie-free sugar substitute)  and oligosaccharides, which is a carbohydrate sourced from fruits and vegetables.

Bottom line: it came the closest to the brown sugar and won our blind taste tests. 

What We Liked

• No GMO’s.

• One for one replacement for brown sugar.

• Texture is similar to brown sugar.

• Not gritty.

• No artificial flavors, ingredients, preservatives.

• Zero calorie.

• Most folks couldn’t tell the difference between this brand and actual brown sugar.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Aftertaste? Yes, some folks still think this has a bitter aftertaste . . . but we didn’t find that in our tests. However, we didn’t try it raw in other dishes like oatmeal, where it could be more pronounced.

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Best Organic Dark Brown Sugar

Non refined = more crystalized
We liked this organic dark brown sugar—rich and complex caramel taste. Great as an oatmeal topping. Yes, it is pricey . . . but it won our taste tests in this category (organic dark brown sugar).
$14.33 ($0.60 / Ounce)

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Best Organic Dark Brown Sugar: Wholesome Dark Brown Sugar

Yes, the 365 Brand won our best light brown sugar taste test—and is organic. But what if you want an organic dark brown sugar?

For that, we’d recommend Wholesome’s Dark Brown Sugar. This brand was at the top of our cookie bake-off of dark sugar brands—and eased out other organic brown sugars for overall taste.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• USDA Organic.

• No GMO’s.

• Fair Trade.

• Imported from Paraguay.

• Good overall taste, with rich caramel flavor.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• A bit gritty. This sugar isn’t refined, so its granularity is different from refined brown sugar. We didn’t have a problem with this, but it may be an issue in some recipes.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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