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Substitute for Rock Sugar

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Sugar is the primary component responsible for the popular sweet flavor seen in many meals. It may be raw or natural, and can be found in most fruits and dairy products. It is also available in refined granulated and hard irregular forms known as rock sugars.

These rock sugars, like other types of sugar, are used to provide sweet tastes to dishes; it is often used as a sweetener in teas and liqueurs. Sugar is a staple in Asia, but it may be difficult to get in other regions of the globe. This necessitates the use of a replacement, and when it comes to sugar, there are several different components with comparable qualities that may be replaced for rock sugar.

What is Rock Sugar?

Rock candy is a sugar confection created from granulated sugars. It is a combination of granulated sugar and boiling water that cools and crystalizes into big hard shapes. It takes 6 to 7 days to fully develop and is widely manufactured and eaten in China’s Kwangtung Province.

It comes in two varieties: translucent white rock sugar derived from refined white sugar and golden-colored rock sugar created from concentrated sugarcane extract or brown sugar. When candy is sold, food coloring is added to the saturated combination of sugar and hot water.

The history of rock sugars may be traced back to the seventh century A.D., when a monk in Sichuan Province accidently discovered that boiling sugar cane juice generates a thick to strong rock when allowed to cool.

Rock sugars have a pleasantly sweet taste that complements both sweet and savory dishes; it dissolves nicely in sauces and braises, giving it a distinct texture. It may also be found in liqueurs, tea, soups, and northern Chinese poultry dishes. In recipes that call for granulated sugar, rock sugars may be crushed into fine powders.

Rock Sugar is used in recipes

Because granulated sugar is not commonly accessible in most Asian nations, rock sugar is used instead. Because it is made of granulated sugar, it may be used in recipes that call for granulated sugar. It is used in the well-known Chinese braise known as the (red braise). Rock sugar also offers a moderate flavor and a sparkly texture to dishes. It is used in recipes, particularly in China, but also in other regions of the globe, and some of them are as follows:

  • Chinese New Year Sweet Rice Cakes (Nian Gao)
  • Chinese Almond Tea (Traditional Style)
  • Shanghai Smoked Fish (Xun Yu)
  • Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou)
  • Chinese Sweet Soup Dessert
  • Shanghai Sweet And Sour Ribs (Tang Cu Pai Gu)
  • LionsLions Head Meatballs
  • Sour Plum Drink (Suan Mei Tang)
  • Chinese Sesame Peanut Brittle
  • Taiwanese Sesame Oil Chicken Soup
  • Saffron Nabat
  • Chinese Braised Oxtails
  • Fryske Skerble
  • Roasted Braised Duck
  • Hainanese Chicken Rice

Rock Sugar Substitutes

Rock sugars are a common ingredient in many Chinese dishes. It is mostly manufactured and eaten in China, making it widely accessible there. This component may be difficult to get in other regions of the globe; it is often offered in most Asian markets, but it is still not generally accessible to the majority of people. When rock sugar is unavailable, the following substitutes may be used:

1. Granulated White Sugar

Granulated white sugar is produced and refined from sugar cane or sugar beets; it is mostly used in baked products and pastries, but it is also used in savory dishes.

Granulated sugar is the foundation component for white rock sugar, and it is a simple alternative for rock sugar. It is available in cube, powdered, granulated, and superfine forms.

Granulated sugar is widely available at grocery stores, and one tablespoon of granulated sugar may be used in recipes for one crystal of rock sugar.

2. Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is derived from sugar cane and sugar beets as well. It can be substituted well for rock sugar, especially the golden-colored ones because they share the same molasses flavor. It is often used in Asian recipes like as orange chicken.

Brown sugar is preferred over white sugar since it is thought to be healthier. It retains its dark color after granulation and is free of pesticides and chemicals. Instead, it includes magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which provide your body with long-lasting energy. A tablespoon of brown sugar may be exchanged with a crystal of rock sugar or granulated rock sugar.

3. Sugar Canes

Sugar canes are a healthier alternative to rock sugar since they have less calories. It is commonly confused with beet sugar, however there are minor taste distinctions. It is high in carbs and provides enough energy to prevent hunger.

Brown sugar is also used to make yellow rock sugar, and a tablespoon of brown sugar may be substituted in recipes for a crystal of rock sugar.

4. Palm Sugar

Palm sugar is another healthy substitute for rock sugar; it has a pleasantly sweet taste and a low glycemic index when compared to natural sugars such as honey.

Palm sugar is made by boiling sap collected from the clipped buds of sago or coconut palm trees, which is why it is also known as coconut sugar. It is often manufactured in Vietnam and is known as ng tht nt.

It is available in a variety of hues, including mahogany, caramel brown, yellow, cream, white, and clear. It is also available in crystals and hard textures, which are generally scraped or probed with a knife. A tablespoon of palm sugar may be used in place of one crystal of rock sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you preserve rock sugars?

Rock sugars may be stored in an airtight container for an extended amount of time because to the low moisture content.

Are rock sugars natural?

Rock sugars are produced without the use of any additional additions and are considered natural components.

Can you make your rock sugars?

With hot water, granulated white or brown sugars may be converted to rock sugars. The mixture is allowed to cool before being broken into the proper form.


Rock sugars are popular in Asia and used in a variety of Asian cuisines; they are also used in other regions of the globe but may be difficult to find in grocery stores. These alternatives in this article are widely available and may be used in lieu of rock sugars.


What is the difference between rock sugar and regular sugar?

Rock sugar is often sweeter than an equal quantity of pure table sugar. It is more diluted than refined sugar since it is formed from a water and sugar mix.

What is the equivalent of 1 rock sugar?

Substitute 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar for each sugar crystal asked for.

What is the difference between rock sugar and regular sugar in pho?

“Yellow rock sugar imparts a soft mouth feel without being cloying,” she explains. “It smoothes out all the rough edges and brings the flavors of many Vietnamese noodle soup broths together.” Many Vietnamese chefs used granulated sugar in the past, and the taste is merely sweet and bland.”

Can you substitute rock sugar with palm sugar?

Palm sugar has a crystalline structure but is significantly softer than rock sugar. As a result, it dissolves quickly in heated liquids without the need for crushing, making it a suitable alternative for a uniform consistency when used in recipes.

Can I replace brown sugar with rock sugar?

Alternatives to rock sugar

Rock sugar may be manufactured at home or purchased at speciality stores (Asian grocery stores). Because rock sugar is normally dissolved before being used in recipes, you may use white sugar or brown sugar as a replacement.

What ingredient is rock sugar?

Rock sugar, or Koori Zato (), often known as sugar candy, is manufactured by crystallizing a sugar and water solution. It’s created from various sugars, including white granulated sugar, brown sugar, and sugar cane. It occurs in the form of jagged rocks or rectangular cubes.

Why do Chinese use rock sugar?

Crystallized sugar is known as rock sugar (, bing tang) or rock candy. It has a clear appearance and a milder flavor than granulated sugar. It is often used as a sweetener in Chinese cookery and produces better cooking outcomes than granulated sugar.

What is rock sugar for cooking?

Rock sugar is a refined, crystallized sugar that is used in Chinese cooking to give shine to braised meals and to sweeten desserts. Rock sugar (or rock candy) is refined, crystallized sugar in the form of tiny cubes or uneven lumps. It is translucent and might be white or pale yellow.

Is rock sugar granulated sugar?

Refined granulated white sugar is used to make crystal rock sugar. This white sugar gives it a transparent appearance. White sugar has a more pure sugar taste and less sweetness than granulated sugar.

Is Pearl Sugar the same as rock sugar?

Pearl sugar (also known as nib sugar or hail sugar) is a form of sugar having a coarse, hard texture. Pearl sugar, unlike rock sugar, does not dissolve when exposed to high temperatures. And it’s not supposed to be melted.

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