Difference between Light and Dark Brown Sugar

Difference between Light and Dark Brown Sugar

Light Sugar vs. Dark Brown Sugar: Light Sugar and Brown Sugar are the most common types of sugar used in most households these days. Light sugar is usually white in color and has smaller crystals in comparison to brown sugar. There are usually no added additives in the sugar crystals. Brown sugar on the other hand, contains additional additives that affect the color in addition to the ingredients used to process the sugar. Below are some of the differences between white sugar and brown sugar:

What is the difference between Light and Dark Brown Sugar?


  1. Molasses: Dark brown sugar has a much higher level of molasses compared to light brown sugar: This explains its dark color which is contributed mainly by the concentration of molasses. Usually, light brown sugar contains 3.5 percent of molasses, while dark brown sugar contains almost double the amount of molasses. This is the significant difference between the two sugars. The level of molasses can be easily identified using the colors of the two different brown sugars.
  2. Texture: Dark brown sugar has a softer texture compared to light sugar due to the level of molasses: The textures of the 2 different sugar types are another glaring differences between them. Light sugar has a softer texture in comparison to brown sugar. This can easily be felt by either touching or just by looking at it.
  3. Taste: White brown sugar is sweeter than dark brown sugar since it is more concentrated with sugar crystals and less molasses:White sugar is generally considered sweeter than brown sugar. Most recipes would ideally recommend usage of brown sugar because of the little concentration of sweetness. Brown sugar on the other hand, is less sweet and does not contain a high concentration of sweetness.
  4. Production: Both the light and dark brown sugar is extracted from sugarcane but processed differently: The extract is concentrated into a syrup which is crystallized to form what is known as raw sugar crystals. The first stage of production produces dark brown sugar while light brown sugar is produced by reducing the level of molasses, which is the second stage. This gives the dark brown sugar more moisture content and a higher number of molasses since it is produced in the primary stage. Light brown sugar is more refined, which makes the percentage of sugar crystals higher. This is facilitated by the final production process.
  5. Weight: Comparing using the same volumetric measurement, dark brown sugar has more weight than light brown sugar: This weight difference is caused by the level of moisture and molasses in each of the brown sugars. Dark brown sugar has double the amount of molasses as the light brown sugar, which significantly contributes to the difference in the weights. The moisture content, which is also a major contributing factor to the weight, comes in during the production stages. Dark brown sugar is the primary product, which means it is not quite processed as the light brown sugar making its moisture content and molasses  high.
  6. Moisture: Dark brown sugar has a higher content of moist water in crystals compared to light brown sugar: This difference in moisture content is brought about by the different stages of production. Light brown sugar is more refined, and so most of its moisture evaporates, making it relatively dry..
  7. Cost: The cost difference is brought about by the different methods of manufacturing and the level of processing: It is relatively cheaper to process light brown sugar as compared to the dark brown sugar. This is because for the white sugars, the crystals have to go through more elaborate processing stages which lengthens the process making it costlier.
  8. Processing: The processing level between the two brown sugars is quite different: The light brown sugar is processed during the final level of production. This gives it a higher quality compared to dark brown sugar. The processing level determines the difference in the moisture content and the amount of molasses available, which brings about the main difference between the two brown sugars.
  9. Color: Dark brown sugar is darker and looks more like molasses: Color is one of the main differentiator when it comes to these two sugars. Dark brown sugar is relatively darker due to the high amounts of molasses. White brown sugar on the other hand is lighter in color, hence their names.
  10. Level: The level of production determines the final product, whether it is dark brown sugar or light brown sugar: During the first level of production, dark brown sugar is produced. It is the raw and primary product of brown sugar and contains a large percentage of molasses and moisture content. The second level of production leads to the production of light brown sugar. In this level of production, most of its water content and the molasses are significantly reduced compared to the light brown sugar.

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