What is Refined Sugar?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
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Refined sugar is any type of sugar product that has gone through a process to enhance or refine the raw sugars obtained from sugarcane and other foods. While many people consider it to be nothing more than simple granulated table sugar, the fact is that this term includes several different types of sugar.

Granulated sugar is the most commonly used type of refined sugar and the type that most people are likely to consume on a daily basis. Ideal for use around the home, this type of white sugar dissolves quickly in hot beverages, making it ideal for use in hot coffee and tea. Many recipes call for the use of granulated white sugar, including those for baked goods such a cakes, pies, and breads. Granulated sugar also is often used to make glazes for many baked sweets.

Sanding sugar is another example of refined sugar designed for specific applications. With a coarser grain than granulated sugar, sanding sugar is often ideal for use in decorating cookies with frosting that will dry to a solid texture and remain in place on the cookie without running or smudging. This type of sugar also works well with cold desserts as it helps to sweeten the dessert while retaining an additional texture to the presentation.


Caster and super-refined sugars are two examples of products that are employed in the production of commercial food products. Super-refined sugar is often used in the creation of soft drink products, such as dry drink mixes and sodas. This same type of sweetener will also work better in creating meringues for pies than the standard table sugar.

Powdered sugar, also known as confectioner’s sugar, is used when a smooth texture is important to the final product. This type of sugar is ideal for creating cake icing and similar toppings, as it mixes well with other ingredients to make a smooth product that can easily be spread over the surface of the cake layers.

Unlike unrefined sugar, any refined product has been dried and processed to prevent too much clumping. This helps the sugar to maintain the proper consistency, something that may or may not be true with various types of organic sugar, such as pure cane sugar.


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Post 6

@Oceana – Powdered sugar is great for making glazes. I make a good cinnamon roll glaze with just milk and powdered sugar. While it is super sweet, it really needs to be in this situation.

I mash the sugar around in a bowl with milk until the consistency is runny but not too soupy. I wait for the cinnamon rolls to cool slightly, but I add the glaze while they are still warm so that it will melt and seep into the cracks.

Also, powdered sugar is good for sweetening juicy fruit. I like to buy unsweetened canned pineapple and add just the right amount of powdered sugar for me, because often, the sweetened kind is too sweet. I also like to throw in some banana slices and sprinkle the sugar across them, as well.

Post 5

Powdered sugar is the main ingredient in the cake frosting that I like to make. I mix it with butter, vanilla, and just a splash of milk until it is the right consistency for spreading across a cake. I beat it with an electric mixer until it is fluffy enough for me.

I always keep a couple of boxes of it in my cupboard, but cake icing is all I have ever used it for. I would like to know some other uses for it, but I have been scared to try anything new because too much of it can get too sweet quickly. Does anyone have any suggestions for what else I can do with my powdered sugar?

Post 4

I like using sanding sugar on scones and cookies, but I did not know until reading this article that it was called sanding sugar. It has a great texture and just the right amount of sweetness.

Before baking scones, I like to pour melted butter over the dough and sprinkle sanding sugar on top. The butter adds a savory, salty flavor, and the sugar balances things out.

I make some pecan shortbread cookies that are not all that sweet, and the sanding sugar is perfect as a topping for them. It adds just a touch of sweetness, and it lets the flavor of the cookie shine through.

Post 3

For many years, I had been using granulated sugar in my coffee. When I first started drinking coffee, I needed the caffeine but hated the bitter taste. So, I would use a good bit of fast-dissolving sugar and milk to sweeten and dilute it.

As time went on and I began to get used to the taste, I used less milk and less sugar. Then, I discovered raw sugar. It tastes better in coffee, and it doesn't seem quite as sweet as granulated sugar.

The one disadvantage is that it does clump up quite a bit in the jar. Any bit of moisture that gets in there makes the sugar hard, so I have to be careful to keep it dry.

I still think that granulated sugar tastes better in certain things, though. I love it in my hot oatmeal with blueberries.

Post 2

What is brown sugar?

Post 1

tell me the difference between jaggery and brown sugar.

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