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Substitutes for Powdered Sugar

Fitday Editor

Powdered sugar, also known as confectioner's sugar or icing sugar, is a finely grained sugar that dissolves quickly in water. It is used mostly for icing on cakes and is called for in many recipes. However, there may be times when you need to substitute it because of lack of ingredients on hand, allergies or other health conditions. Here is a short guide on using a substitute for powdered sugar.

Granulated Sugar

Granulated sugar can be used as a substitute for powdered sugar, but not as is. To substitute powdered sugar with granulated sugar, you must understand the difference between the two. Powdered sugar is granulated sugar that has been ground up into a finer powder. To prevent it from clumping up, cornstarch has been added as an anti-caking agent.

To simulate this difference when substituting powdered sugar with granulated sugar, take 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tsp of cornstarch for every 1 cup of powdered sugar needed, and grind them in a blender. Make sure to use a blender, because a food processor won't work for this.

Alternatively, if you want to remove the cornstarch, due to allergies or lack of cornstarch on hand, you can grind up just the granulated sugar by itself. The cornstarch is only used to keep the powdered sugar substitute from clumping up during storage. This is an excellent solution if you plan on using the powdered sugar substitute right away.

Sugar Free Powdered Sugar Substitute

If you're diabetic or just trying to watch your calories, you may be wanting a sugar free substitute for powdered sugar. If that's the case, here is a simple way to whip up a batch of sugar-free powdered sugar substitute.

Prepare just as you would with the granulated sugar recipe above. Mix an artificial sweetener, such as Splenda or Nutrasweet, and cornstarch and grind it in a blender. Use this only in recipes where the powdered sugar is being used for sweetness, and use less than the recipe calls for. Artificial sweeteners require less for the same amount of sweetness.

Alternatively, if your recipe calls for powdered sugar to also act as bulk in the recipe, such as during baking, you can mix a sugar free powdered sugar substitute by taking 1 part artificial sweetener, 2 parts powdered milk and 2 parts cornstarch and grind in the blender. Use this on a 1 cup to 1 cup basis as a powdered sugar substitute.


If you want to use stevia as a powdered sugar substitute, here are three versions to choose from.

  • Take 2 packets of stevia with 1 cup of arrowroot or potato starch and process them in a food processor.
  • Alternatively, you can process 4 packets of stevia with 1 cup of arrowroot or potato starch and 1 cup of whey protein powder.
  • Finally, you can process 4 packets of stevia with 1 cup of arrowroot or potato starch and 1 cup of powdered milk.

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