Rapadura: A Natural Sweetener

Rapadura–or sucanat–is an unrefined and natural sweetener that makes a great addition to your pantry! Here’s how rapadura is processed, and what to use it for.
Rapadura--or sucanat--is an unrefined and natural sweetener that makes a great addition to your pantry! Here's how rapadura is processed, and what to use it for.

Last week I explained why white sugar will always have a place in my kitchen. But I mentioned that I’ve adopted a few other, healthier sweeteners as well. Rapadura is the newest addition to my pantry, and I adore it.

Rapadura is the rough, country cousin of white sugar; the one that didn’t go to finishing school. Rapadura, also known as sucanat, is simply unrefined and unbleached whole cane sugar. The sugar cane is squeezed, then the juice is filtered, dried, and ground into tiny granules. All of the original molasses is still intact. Unlike brown sugar, in which minimal amounts of molasses are mixed back in after processing, the molasses in rapadura is never separated from the sugar stream.

Because of the molasses content, rapadura has a stronger flavour than white or brown sugar. For this reason, there are a few recipes that may always taste more true with white sugar. On the other hand, many recipes that call for white sugar can easily be made with rapadura, and will benefit from the slight caramel edge.

Almost any baked item will taste awesome with rapadura–I’ve had great success with muffins, brownies, and cake. Rapadura is also perfect for sweetening coffee. I’ve discovered that I don’t get sugar highs with rapadura in my coffee like I would with white sugar. Any recipe that calls for brown sugar will transition well to rapadura: chili, pancakes, barbeque sauce, cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, sloppy lentils, meat glazes, etc.

Unlike white sugar, rapadura retains some nutritional value due to the molasses. Blackstrap molasses is a respected super food because of its impressive mineral content. Blackstrap is very concentrated so the molasses you get in rapadura will not provide as much minerals, however, you still receive trace amounts which will be used by your body.

For a good source of rapadura, I recommend buying Rapunzel’s off of Amazon. Rapunzel sells 24 oz. pouches (about four cups). One pouch lasts us about two months.


  1. I am curious to know what the difference between rapadura and raw cane sugar is. I picked up some raw cane sugar because it seemed like a better option for things like coffee as opposed to white sugar.It does have brown color, similar to rapadura.

    1. Is the raw cane sugar turbinado? (Sugar in the Raw is turbinado.) Turbinado is more processed than rapadura, but still has some molasses. Where did you get it, and what brand? There are so many variations–it definitely takes a little research to know what you’re getting!

    1. Not quite, but you can definitely use it in place of rapadura! It’s less processed than most brown sugar, with more molasses in tact.

  2. Love the sound of these muffins! My mouth was watering as I was reading your recipe!!!
    I was wondering if, at a pinch, (and I didn’t have time to run to the store), I could use the “normal” white sugar that I have in my cupboard and add a tspn of molasses (which I also have in my cupboard)? Would that be a close substitute for the flavor I’m after?

    1. Yes, I would think so! It won’t be quite the same consistency, but the flavour should be there (and you can increase the molasses to taste) and it should still turn out great!

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