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Pearl Sugar Substitute

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Pearl sugar is a beautiful sugar made up of unevenly shaped sugar lumps or shards. It comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from little crystals the size of pretzel salt to huge peas. Because it resembles hailstones, it is sometimes known as nib sugar or hail sugar. Pearl sugar is popular across Europe, notably in Scandinavia, Belgium, and the Netherlands, where it is used as a decorative sugar as well as a component in cakes and waffles.

Pearl sugar is made using one of two processes. The most typical approach is to boil white sugar in a water solution for many days, enabling the resultant syrup to form huge sugar crystals. The huge crystals are then fragmented and sorted by size using a succession of screens.

Another way for generating pearl sugar is to form a dough-like mixture using finely crushed sugar and a tiny quantity of water. It is then extruded to make individual pearl sugar pieces, which are dried and packed.

Swedish pearl sugar is smaller in size and is often used as a garnish or decorative topping for baked items, giving sweetness and crunch. Belgian pearl sugar is made up of bigger shards that are often added into doughs and batters to bring sweetness and crunch to the insides of baked items rather than merely on top. Belgian sugar waffles are made with pearl sugar pieces that melt and caramelize in the waffle iron before stiffening when served.

Top Substitutes for Pearl Sugar

Pearl Sugar Substitute

1. Sanding Sugar

Sanding sugar, like pearl sugar, is similar to refined white sugar but has bigger grains. Sanding sugar has the same decorative, crunch, and sweetness attributes as pearl sugar. Sanding sugar grains are brighter and more transparent than pearl sugar grains, which have a matte surface and opacity.

Sanding sugar comes in a range of hues. Most pastries and baked dishes that call for pearl sugar may be made using sanding sugar. Although the look may vary somewhat, the texture and taste will be same.

2. Sugar Cubes

Sugar cubes are compressed blocks of refined white sugar, as the name indicates. Sugar cubes, which are manufactured of the same substance as pearl sugar, may serve a similar function in various baked items. Sugar cubes may be used to top cinnamon buns and other things that are normally sprinkled with pearl sugar. Gently smash the sugar cubes to get the correct consistency.

Sugar cubes are not a viable alternative for pearl sugar in baked products when they are baked into doughs or batters because they may dissolve, resulting in a lack of crunch. Keep in mind that most sugar cubes are derived from cane sugar. Cane sugar is somewhat sweeter than beet sugar, which is used to manufacture pearl sugar, and it lacks beet sugar’s earthiness and little bitterness.

3. Demerara Sugar

If ordinary Demerara sugar is unavailable, Turbinado sugar is a decent alternative, and its big grain and caramel taste make it an ideal substitute for pearl sugar. Turbinado sugar is a light brown sugar with a modest amount of molasses and a little caramel taste. Light brown sugar, on the other hand, lacks Demerara’s unique crispy feel.

Break up huge lumps of sugar into little bits before making sugar pearls. The sugar clumps should then be placed in an airtight container. If you want them smaller, add half a teaspoon of water and boil them on low heat for a few minutes longer. After you’ve finished creating the sugar pearls, store them in an airtight container.

4. Swedish Sugar Pearls

To give a particular touch to your favorite baked items, make Swedish pearl sugar. Swedish pearl sugar is manufactured in tiny bits, similar to Belgian sugar, and is sprinkled over baked items before baking. They are smaller than Belgian pearl sugar, but the most noticeable difference is their look. In Swedish pastries, this form of sugar is used as a garnish and topping. Despite being smaller than Belgian pearl sugar, the granules provide sweetbreads and waffles a deep caramel taste.

Which is the Best Choice to Substitute Pearl Sugar?

Pearl Sugar Substitute

Make Your Own!

Pearl sugar is composed consisting of finely ground refined white sugar clumps. These clumps are easy to prepare using refined white sugar and a little water. You want the sugar granules to cling together, which they do when exposed to humid air over an extended period of time.

You may speed up the process by melting a cup of sugar with a tablespoon of water in a saucepan. Combine the sugar and water to produce tiny clumps. If most of the sugar is still loose, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it starts to hold together.

You should avoid adding too much so that it turns into a syrup, and you should keep an eye on the heat and the color of your sugar since you don’t want it to caramelize.

Once you see clumps that stick together relatively well, remove from the fire and put aside to cool. Sugar clumps, like pearl sugar, may be utilized in the same manner.

Pearl Sugar vs. Sugar Pearls

Pearl sugar and sugar pearls are commonly mistaken, however they are not the same thing. Sugar pearls are a beautiful sugar sprinkle that is used as a topping on cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other baked products. The distinction is that sugar pearls are completely round and smooth, while pearl sugar is unevenly shaped and rough.

What are Some Recipes you can Make with Pearl Sugar?

Lets have a look at them.


Chouquettes are little choux puffs with sugar crystals on top. They are often eaten simple, but you may stuff them with anything you like: cream, fruit, chocolate, or whatever you desire.

Grapefruit moelleux

Moelleux, or moist fondant cakes with a melting core, are popular among the French. Grapefruit taste permeates this mini-moelleux, which is enhanced by blending juice, zest, and candied peel.

Liège waffles

Lige waffles have a particular texture: thick with a crunch of sugar crystals. They also have a characteristic shape: they are spherical and tiny. Then there’s the wonderful light caramel crust, which has its own distinct taste.

St Tropez tart

This popular St Tropez treat is more like a cake than a tart. The sugar-sprinkled brioche layers are sandwiched between two layers of a luscious vanilla custard and whipped cream filling.

Brioche feuilletée (flaky brioche)

Brioche feuillete (or flaky brioche) is created by treating brioche dough like puff pastry and incorporating layers of butter via repetitive twisting and rolling. A delicious crunch is provided by fine sugar crystals. They are immensely wealthy and utterly enticing.

What are Some Uses of Pearl Sugar?

Pearl sugar is used in three ways by bakers:

Pearl sugar is a popular sweetener for baked products such as brioche buns and pastries since it is composed of granulated white sugar, and bakers usually use it in addition to granulated sugar or brown sugar.

Pearl sugar is employed as a textural agent largely because it does not melt or blend into sweets like other sugars, resulting in crunchy, sweet sugar clumps that caramelize when cooked. Belgian liege waffles are a yeasted waffle breakfast dish that adds Belgian pearl sugar throughout the waffle batter and browns in the waffle iron or waffle maker for crispy, caramelized pockets of sweetness.

In addition to incorporating it into batters and doughs, bakers may sprinkle pearl sugar grains on top of baked items (particularly Swedish pearl sugar, which is somewhat smaller and more attractive than Belgian pearl sugar).

3 Ways to Make Homemade Pearl Sugar

Pearl sugar crystals may be made at home in a number of ways:

To create stovetop pearl sugar, place sugar and water in a saucepot and boil over low heat until clumps form. This process yields little, spherical particles of compressed sugar that look like pearl sugar.

Overnight pearl sugar: Combine sugar and maple syrup on a plate and spread it out to dry overnight before breaking it up into tiny pieces to produce overnight pearl sugar. This technique yields sharper, flatter sugar shards.

The simplest way to make pearl sugar is to place store-bought sugar cubes in a sealable plastic bag and pound them with a kitchen mallet or other hard, heavy item, such as a cast-iron skillet, until the pieces shatter into minute clumps.

How to Make Stovetop Pearl Sugar?

With only a few ingredients, you can manufacture pearl sugar on the stovetop. To begin, gather a cup of white sugar (turbinado or superfine would also suffice), four tablespoons of water, and any flavorings, such as vanilla essence. Here’s a step-by-step guide on making pearl sugar:

Combine the following ingredients:Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepot, then add any seasoning you wish to incorporate.

Reduce the heat to low and stir the mixture often with a wooden spoon to promote clump development and to avoid any sugar from burning on the bottom of the pot. If clumps do not form, gradually add 14 tablespoons of water.

Allow the sugar clumps to stay in the saucepan for at least 15 minutes on low heat to dry up and help them adhere together, stirring regularly to avoid burning.

Spread the clumps out on a platter. Turn off the heat and move the clumps to a plate or baking sheet to cool and dry fully.

How to Use Pearl Sugar in Cooking?

Pearl sugar is typically put on top of cookies before baking. The heat from the oven will not melt or dissolve the particles because they are so big. We may also use pearl sugar to decorate iced cookies, frosted cakes, and cupcakes. When the crystals are put into cake, muffin, or waffle batter, they stay intact, adding a crisp texture and sweetness.

What do you Think it Tastes Like?

Because it is completely formed of sugar, pearl sugar has a sweet taste. Furthermore, since it is a decorative sugar, the crystals do not disintegrate on the surface of the sweet delicacy on which it is sprinkled, providing a lovely sugary crunch. When cooked against the strong heat of a waffle iron, pearl sugar melts and caramelizes, similar to the glassy topping of a creme brulee, imparting a crunchy texture and a caramel taste.

Where can I Buy Pearl Sugar?

Most North American supermarkets do not stock pearl sugar, however it may be accessible at specialist food and kitchen shops. If you live near an Ikea, it could be in the food area, and it’s also available online.

How do you Store Pearl Sugar?

Pearl sugar has an almost limitless shelf life since sugar does not deteriorate. Moisture, on the other hand, might cause the quality to degrade with time. As a consequence, keep it well closed and in a cold, dry area. If kept properly, it will survive for years.


Pearl sugar, which is manufactured from granulated white sugar, is widely used in baking. The tiny bits stay in the baked items, imparting a crunchy texture. However, since pearl sugar is not extremely sweet, many individuals do not have access to it. Swedish pearl sugar may be substituted in a variety of ways. You may either boil it yourself or dry it in a resealable plastic bag. Either way, you’ll get a sweet and wonderful baked treat! View more at Pearl Barley Substitute

So those are all the pearl sugar replacements. I hope you found this information informative and useful. You may either utilize one of these or create your own; the choice is yours!


Can I use granulated sugar instead of pearl sugar?

For producing sugar pearls, I recommend caster (also known as berry or super-fine) sugar, although granulated sugar also works.

Why is pearl sugar different?

This Swedish crunchy sugar is used in a variety of baked items. Swedish pearl sugar is produced by compressing sugar crystals into bigger, spherical particles that will not dissolve in baked foods.

Is pearl sugar the same as sanding sugar?

Sugar, coarse

Coarse sugar, also known as decorative sugar or pearl sugar, is a form of white sugar that is significantly bigger than granulated sugar, making it more heat resistant. It’s commonly confused with sanding sugar, although the two aren’t the same.

Why use pearl sugar?

Deliciously crunchy sweetness in bites.

They are great for baking since they are made of crushed sugar crystals and will not dissolve in your baked products. Danish pastries, croissants, Panettone, sweet breads, frosted cookies, cakes, and more are available.

How do you make white sugar pearls?

In a small sauce pan, combine water and sugar.
Set the burner to low heat.
With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until little clumps of sugar appear.
Allow the sugar to rest for 20-30 minutes on low heat, stirring regularly.
When the clumps are firm enough to carry without coming apart, remove from the heat.

Why does pearl sugar not melt?

Individual sugar granules are not densely packed together. Because pearl sugar is considerably more densely packed, it does not melt readily while baking. Mixing pearl sugar into baked items adds added sweetness and crunch.

Is pearl sugar sweet?

Pearl sugar feels sweet because it is completely comprised of sugar. It also gives a pleasant sugary crunch since the crystals of ornamental sugar do not dissolve on the surface of the sweet item it is sprinkled over. Pearl sugar, sometimes known as nib sugar, is a popular specialty sugar in Europe.

Is pearl sugar coarse sugar?

Pearl Sugar is a coarse sugar with huge spherical granules.

What is Belgian pearl sugar made from?

Pearl sugar is a crunchy piece of condensed beet sugar created in Belgium that seeks to deliver a delicious crunch in every other mouthful of your yeast-risen Belgian Liège-style waffles.

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