How to Substitute White Sugar for Brown in Caramel Sauce

The texture and taste characteristic of caramel sauce comes from heating white or brown sugar with a variety of additional ingredients 1. The sugar in a recipe often determines how difficult the sauce is to make. For example, caramel sauce recipes that use white sugar often take longer to make and include detailed instructions, while recipes that use brown sugar are usually much simpler 1. If simple sounds better but you have no brown sugar, you can easily substitute white for borwn with the addition of molasses.

Substitute equal amounts of white for the brown sugar in your recipe.

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Mix 1 tbsp. of light molasses per cup of sugar if your recipe calls for light brown sugar and 2 tbsp. if your recipe calls for dark brown sugar. This combination more closely resembles brown sugar and improves the color and taste of the caramel sauce 1.

Reduce the amount of liquid the caramel sauce recipe calls for by 3/4 tbsp 1. for each 1 tbsp. of molasses. For example, if you add 2 tbsp. of molasses and your recipe calls for 1/2 cup of liquid, remove 1 1/2 tbsp. of liquid from the measuring cup before adding it to your sauce. This keeps the sauce from becoming too thin.


Although 1 cup of white sugar weighs 8 oz. while a cup of brown sugar weighs only 6 oz., the difference in weight does not require adjusting the amounts of additional ingredients. However, substituting on a one-to-one basis affects the color and taste of the caramel sauce.