What Is Caster Sugar?

Caster sugar is granulated sugar with a very fine consistency. Also called castor sugar or superfine sugar, caster sugar contains grains that are finer than table sugar, but not as fine as confectioners sugar. The texture of caster sugar makes it the best type of sugar for making certain desserts, baked goods, and cocktails. Whether you're starting a new bakery or are a seasoned baker, we'll help you learn answers to questions like "is caster sugar the same as powdered sugar?" and teach you how to make castor sugar out of ingredients you already have in your pantry.

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What Is Caster Sugar in the US?

Caster sugar in America is often called superfine sugar, baker’s sugar, castor sugar, or bar sugar. It is a term used in the UK as well as the US, and in both cases, it refers to sugar that is ground to a consistency between granulated and powdered sugar in coarseness. Caster sugar is more commonly used in British baking.

Caster sugar added to flour and butter

Caster Sugar Uses

Caster sugar is often called for in recipes for delicate baked goods like meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes. Because of its ability to dissolve easily, caster sugar is also frequently used as a bar ingredient for sweetening drinks. Many bartenders use caster sugar in place of simple syrup when making cocktails.

Here are some more uses for caster sugar:

  • Whipped Cream
  • Cookies
  • Mousse
  • Shortbread
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Orange Daiquiri
  • Raspberry-Infused Gin

Caster Sugar vs Granulated Sugar

The only difference between caster sugar and granulated sugar is their texture. Caster sugar has more finely ground crystals than granulated sugar, which means it dissolves faster than granulated sugar in creamed mixtures and whips. Granulated sugar can be used to make caster sugar.

Caster Sugar vs Powdered Sugar

The difference between caster sugar and powdered sugar is that powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar) is more finely ground than caster sugar. In the United States, powdered sugar also typically contains an anti-caking agent, like cornstarch, that makes up 3-5% of the sugar. Because it does not have the same powdery texture, caster sugar does not contain any agents to prevent clumping.

What Is Golden Caster Sugar?

Golden caster sugar, also known as raw caster sugar, is an unrefined caster sugar that's also made from sugar cane or beets. Golden caster sugar does not go through the same refining process as white caster sugar, therefore retaining a golden brown color from the molasses that naturally occurs in the sugar cane. Golden caster sugar can be used in place of regular caster sugar and vice versa.

Golden Caster Sugar vs Brown Sugar

The difference between golden caster sugar and brown sugar is that golden caster sugar does not include any additional molasses during its processing as US brown sugar does. The molasses in golden sugar occurs naturally and is not added. Although both have molasses in them, brown sugar and golden caster sugar are not interchangeable.

Caster Sugar Substitute

Caster sugar being drizzled into a red cocktail

You might be asking yourself, "what is a substitute for caster sugar?" The best caster sugar substitute is to make caster sugar yourself from granulated sugar. If you use just granulate sugar, you won't achieve the smooth texture that caster sugar provides. We've added a castor sugar recipe below so you can make your own in minutes.

Can I Use Granulated Sugar Instead of Caster Sugar?

Substituting granulated sugar for caster sugar could give your recipe a grainy texture. Instead, throw your granulated sugar into a food processor to create the desired coarseness of castor sugar.

Can I Use Powdered Sugar Instead of Caster Sugar?

When comparing icing sugar vs caster sugar, you'll find that powdered sugar is not a perfect substitution for caster sugar. If your recipe calls for caster sugar and you don’t have any on hand, it may be tempting to substitute powdered sugar for caster sugar. However, using powdered sugar instead of caster sugar could give your baked goods a thin texture that may even ruin your recipe.

How to Make Caster Sugar Video

Follow our step-by-step video below on how to make caster sugar.

How to Make Caster Sugar

Follow the steps below to make caster sugar from granulated sugar in minutes.

  1. For every 1 cup of caster sugar that your recipe calls for, add 1 cup plus two teaspoons of granulated sugar to a clean coffee or spice grinder, food processor, or blender.
  2. Grind the granulated sugar for only a few seconds, until the sugar is finer in texture, but it is not fine enough to form a powder that starts to clump together.
  3. For added precision, run your homemade caster sugar through a fine strainer before adding it to your recipe.

Where to Buy Caster Sugar

One can buy caster sugar from online retailers, international goods retailers, and most grocery stores.

Caster sugar is useful for making smooth and consistent sweetened baked goods. It is a great addition to any successful bar for effortlessly adding sweetness to beverages on the drink menu. Next time your recipe calls for caster sugar and you don't have any, don't reach for the powdered sugar. Instead, try making your own caster sugar in a blender, food processor, or spice grinder.

Posted in: Bakeries|Bars & Breweries|By Christine Potts
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