Powdered Sugar Substitute | How to Make Powdered Sugar

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Today I’m sharing with you something that has really helped us as we have moved to a healthier lifestyle (especially around the holidays) — how to make powdered sugar (including a low-carb option).

substitute for powdered sugar in a sifter and green bowl

I love making homemade versions of pantry staples and processed foods to save money on whole foods and to have healthier (and cheaper) versions of packaged foods.

Recipes like:

homemade salad dressing
easy homemade ketchup
homemade chocolate chips
taco seasoning
homemade JELLO®, and
easiest homemade coconut milk are staple in our home.

This powdered sugar substitute is yet another big help in this department. It costs less than store-bought powdered sugar, plus you can use healthier and even low-carb sweeteners to make this Substitute for Powdered Sugar, so it will easily meet your dietary needs.

You’ve been there, before, haven’t you?  You’re making something in the kitchen and you ….oops–run out of an ingredient that you need.

Of course, you could call your neighbor to see if they have what you need, but more often than not, sadly, we aren’t as connected with our neighbors as we used to–and many of them are not at home as often, so it’s hard to just run next door to borrow a few eggs, or whatever you’ve run out of. (Side note – it isn’t just recipe ingredients that you might need from a neighbor. Here’s a  story about how we almost flooded our basement and how a neighborhood connection and a water alarm saved us!

So this is another great reason to know how to make powdered sugar so you can avoid a last minute trip to the store–or a ruined recipe.

homemade powdered sugar in a sifter and green bowl
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Why I Learned How to Make Powdered Sugar

Years ago, I tried to find out how to make powdered sugar when we were on an incredibly strict budget. We were living off of only $14,000 a year. Yes, we were living with my inlaws, so our expenses were low, but it was still tight. Every penny counted. I mean, when you are wondering if you should “splurge” on powdered sugar, you know money is tight.

So I did some digging on the internet to see if it was possible, and yes–it was!

Recently, I was reminded of wanting to write this post on a substitute for powdered sugar when I posted this past week my recipe for Luscious Lemon Bars. I mentioned that you could top them with powdered sugar and promised that I’d post about how to make your own confectioners sugar in the near future. Well, here it is.

You are not going to believe how simple this is–you’ll wonder why you weren’t doing this for years.

First gather a blender (or food processor), your sweetener, and then one other ingredient and you’re done.

Sweetener Options

For the sweeteners, sucanat, turbinado or coconut sugar would be typically considered to be the healthiest of the granulated sweeteners. Now Foods offers great prices on healthier alternative sweeteners.

Low-Carb Options

Xylitol and erythritol are other options that will not affect your blood sugar and they are also helpful as they do not feed candida.

If all you have is regular white sugar or cane juice crystals, then that will work too, but those options are typically considered to be less healthy than the alternatives listed.

This Powdered Sugar Substitute will work great in anything you would typically use powdered sugar in…and even where you wouldn’t. Since it’s powdered, it will make any dish where you would like to have a smoother texture that much easier to make smooth.)

The Valuable Vitamix

Personally, I love making this substitute for powdered sugar, and so many other things, in the Vitamix. There are other great high-powered blenders out there, but the Vitamix is my fave. I’ll share more on why later.

You can make this Powdered Sugar Substitute in a regular blender too, but it’s super fast in a Vitamix.

If you need more convincing about how great a Vitamix is, see these posts:

Easiest Almond Milk Ever
Easiest Coconut Milk
Homemade Coconut Butter

Where to Use this Substitute for Powdered Sugar:

  • frostings
  • as a dusting on desserts
  • in desserts that might be “gritty” when using granulated sweeteners
  • in drinks like lemonade so it will dissolve more easily.
  • meringues

For example, I powder my sweetener often when making my Homemade Chocolate / Carob Chips since makes the resulting chips much smoother.

You can check out the chocolate chips recipe here:

Love chocolate? These Homemade Chocolate Chips (or carob chips) are dairy, soy, and sugar-free and great for baking, trail mixes, or eating right out of the bag! If you know someone on a special diet this will save them a TON of money. The store bought chocolate chips without dairy are a fortune!

How To Save Money with this Substitute for Powdered Sugar

homemade regular powdered sugar is typically less expensive than store-bought powdered sugar so you’ll save money that way

no running out to the store at the last minute and wasting time and gas money (not to mention wear and tear on your car)

cheaper low-carb sweeteners. The specialty powdered sweeteners are not only hard to find, but they are prohibitively expensive. For example, this powdered organic erythritol is more than $12 a pound! Make this substitute for powdered sugar instead and save tons of money!

And in case this whole topic has you craving more DIY pantry basics…..

More Frugal Homemade Pantry Basics

Aluminum and Corn-Free Baking Powder
Homemade Taco Seasoning
Sugar Substitute – like Truvia
Homemade Rice Milk
 – Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Recipe Notes and Substitutions

  • Arrowroot: You can substitute organic arrowroot or tapioca starch for cornstarch. If you are on a keto diet or the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, you can omit.
  • Starch Ingredient: The cornstarch / other starch portion of the recipe helps the powdered sugar not to cake. It’s not necessary but preferable.

Sweeteners Options for This Recipe

  • You can use organic erythritol instead of xylitol. I know that xylitol and erythritol are not typically considered “whole foods,” however I can’t eat sucanat or coconut sugar, or else I would — gladly 🙂 (use either of these for AIP). That’s why I use xylitol and erythritol quite a bit in my recipes. Hopefully the coconut sugar will be in my not-too-distant future since its glycemic index is much lower! (Thanks, Ricki at Ricki Heller for the reminder of this great healthy sugar alternative!) However, xylitol and erythritol are naturally occurring so many consider them to not be artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and saccharin.
  • Xylitol has the same sweetening power as sugar but erythritol is only about 70% as sweet as xylitol so adjust your recipes accordingly.
  • If you choose to powder sucanat, the resulting product will be light brown. But it will still work in your recipes and will taste great. See this Unrefined Powdered Sugar to see how it looks.
  • Cane juice crystals are almost as refined as white sugar so in my opinion they aren’t as good of an option as sucanat.
Powdered Sugar in a Bowl - How to Make Powdered Sugar

For another recipe in my collection that uses powdered sweetener, try this Dairy-Free Chocolate / Carob Silk Pie with Almond Crust. Yumm!

Powdered Sugar in a Bowl - How to Make Powdered Sugar

Powdered Sugar Substitute | How to Make Powdered Sugar

You can still make things like buttercream frosting without powdered cane sugar, just make this homemade unrefined powdered sugar!
4.80 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dressings, Seasonings, etc.
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, THM:S, Vegan
Keyword: how to make powdered sugar
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the sweetener and either cornstarch or arrowroot into your blender or food processor. (I highly recommend the Vitamix!).
  • Blend on high continuously until the mixture is of uniform powdered consistency. In a high-powered blender like the Vitamix this will take only about 30 seconds.
  • Keep the lid on the blender until the powder settles (or you might have powdered-sugar coated cabinets, depending on how much of a powdered-sugar cloud gets kicked up by your blender!)
  • Store in a cool, dry place.

Notes

  • Arrowroot: You can substitute organic arrowroot or tapioca starch for cornstarch. If you are on a keto diet or the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, you can omit.
  • Starch Ingredient Information: The cornstarch / other starch portion of the recipe helps the powdered sugar not to cake. It’s not necessary but preferable.

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

Simple, huh?

What would you use this powdered sugar substitute for?

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288 Comments

  1. You mention low carb in the post. Unfortunately, neither cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca starch are low carb and definitely not for diabetics, who, I think, would want this recipe.
    I’ll have to research to find out what low/no carb ingredient would be acceptable in this case…
    Thank you.
    Oh, and BTW, my comment about Bocha Sweet still stands however, I have since discovered it is Xylitol. I now usually will use a mix of BS and Allulose or just Allulose.

    1. Hi Carol! Yes, that’s correct. I had mentioned in the post that it’s not needed – I just put that information in the recipe card as well :).

      Yes, I found out about Bocha Sweet. Hard to find something that’s great all the way around for sure. Thanks!

  2. I blended 3 3/4 cups of Splenda and wound up with only 1 1/4 cup of powdered sweetener. My recipe for frosting calls for a box of powdered sugar, which according to Siri is about 3 3/4 cups. Will this be an adequate substitution?

    1. Hi there. How many ounces does the recipe call for? There can be a little variation. Siri isn’t always as thorough as “she” should be LOL.

      1. It’s an old family recipe when all we had was the standard box powdered sugar. Back then we did not have the larger bags of powdered sugar. I’ve done the conversion with 3 3/4 cups with regular powdered sugar and it worked fine. So if I were to convert granulated sugar to powdered would I use cup for cup?
        I just don’t want to make it too sweet. The suggestion for using Splenda rather than regular sugar is one to one. I’m just not sure if the same is true for Splenda as a substitute for powdered.

        1. If a box of powdered sugar is 3 3/4 cups and you have a recipe calling for that, then you need 3 3/4 cups of powdered sugar. Since Splenda original is 1:1 sugar you need to powder however much Splenda you need to blend in order to get 3 3/4 cups powdered Splenda. Does that help?

  3. How much powdered sugar does 1 recipe make? Does it come out puffier so greater than a cup or do the smaller particles compress and make less than a cup? Thank you.

    1. Hi Maggie! A cup of granulated should yield about 2 cups of powdered. I’m seeing others say differently, but that should be the case. Let me know if that isn’t the case for you and hope it works out well.

        1. You are so welcome! Enjoy and I look forward to hearing if that 2x amount worked for you! Grinding is funny in that it doesn’t behave the same for all ingredients, but this should be the case with the sugar. 🙂

  4. I recently found a product called “Bocha Sweet” “Made From Kabocha
    A Cultivated Crop
    The kabocha is a “superfood” that has been a staple of the Japanese diet for centuries.
    Pure Cell Energy. No Insulin Stimulation.”
    You use it 1:1 for real sugar.
    I have tried other sweeteners like stevia but just can’t like them.
    This, I LIKE!

    1. Hi Carol! I really appreciate your bringing this up to me b/c I had my eye on it for years. I reached out to the company and hope to get some kind of savings for my readers. I knew kabocha well from my time in Japan and before and after when I was pretty steeped in the culture. Of course taking the sugar out is just the sugar and doesn’t have the nutritional benefits of the squash, but I like the concept!