This date sugar recipe is the perfect one ingredient alternative sweetener that couldn't be made any easier with the use of your oven and by following this step by step guide.
**UPDATED PLEASE READ THE RECIPE CARD/NOTES
For those of you who are struggling with this recipe. Please visit my most recent and updated Air Fryer Date Sugar post.
It's been quite some time since I did a tutorial post. I don't like to overwhelm my readers too much with "how to" posts so I often submit them periodically.
Anyway, today I'm going to teach you how to make your own date sugar and I promise you will LOVE it.
If you haven't noticed before I'm quite found of using dates in my recipes and I like to use them in various forms.
Sometimes I will use them in their entirety in a smoothie and other times I will whip up a batch of date paste and add it for sweetness to a recipe.
Nowadays more people shy away from processed white sugar and seek healthier ways to get their sweet fix. I'm a huge fan of the many diabetic, slow releasing sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar, agave nectar and maple syrup.
I'm quite partial to coconut sugar because it yields a lovely warm butterscotch flavour and really compliments so many recipes.
The sweetener that I would like to introduce you to is date sugar, yes you read correctly, DATE SUGAR.....now before you recoil in horror, there many health benefits in dates, so please bear with me.
As a society we quickly get so transfixed on the word sugar that we fail notice that some of these fruits actually contain other health properties that actually nourish the body.
The health benefits of date sugar
Dates are great for promoting bowel movement due to their incredibly high fiber content. If you're afflicted with constipation I would highly suggest adding a teaspoon or two to your beverage.
We all know antioxidants contain cancer fighting agents, well dates are packed with them.
Also potassium which is a crucial mineral and eletrocyte that not only induces muscle contraction but also has the ability to reduce sodium levels and boost the body's metabolism.
Another mineral to note is magnesium, great for keeping teeth and bones strong which lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
How to make date sugar in steps (with pictures)
This is how to dates should look which is quite dark in colour and slightly hard after roasting and will become hard as they cool down.
Use a coffee/spice grinder to pulverise the dates into sugar date
Ingredients you will need
- A baking tray
- A bag of fresh medjool dates (the dates should be pitted (without stones)
- Parchment paper
- Coffee grinder or food processor
How long should I roast the dates in the oven for?
This going to differ for each person, it may take a few hours. You are aiming for the dates to darken and become more solid. They shouldn't be mushy to the touch but not rock hard, somewhere in the middle.
Allow them to cool completely and you will notice as pictured
Grinding them in a coffee/spice grinder. I will go into much more detail further down, but you get the gist of what needs to be done.
How should I store the date sugar?
Once you have pulse the dates you can store the "sugar" in an air tight container for up to several months.
- Use as a sweetener
- Baked goods
- Porridge or puddings
Troubleshooting *POST UPDATE*
** LET'S TALK**
A few people are running into problems with this recipe so I want to update the post to ensure that everyone gets this right the first time. I don't want to see anyone waste their time and most importantly money.
I take pride my posting the BEST recipes and do my up most to post step by step pictures to assist you all
Oven temperature differs - PLEASE note that oven temperatures differ, my oven runs very cool at 300F the temperature which I initially recommended. Depending on where you live and the altitude levels is will impact you temperature/roasting time
Moving forward now I'm going to recommend that you all set your oven temperature to 200F/100c. Use this as your starting temperature and roast the dates until they darken.
Pitted - Some people aren't ware of that pitted means, dates that don't have the stone. You want dates that are labelled pitted
Chop the dates in half - This something I am now recommending, chop all your dates before placing them on parchment paper (the step by step picture doesn't reflect this so I am stating it here)
Roasting time - This is going to differ, roast the dates until they are SEMI HARD, NOT BURNT! This will vary a few hours
Please keep an eye on your dates while they roast, as soon as they begin to harden, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool down.
DON'T NOT LET THEM BURN I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!!
Other DIY Recipes to try
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How to make date sugar (paleo/gluten free)
- 1 large baking tray
- A bag of fresh dates pitted ,
- Parchment paper
- Coffee grinder or food processor
- Preheat the oven to 200f/100c
- Chop the dates in half and place the dates evenly on the entire baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place the baking tray in the oven and allow the dates to roast in the oven until they are SEMI HARD (not mushy) so keep a watchful on them during the entire process. How long the dates take to roast will be a few hours
- Keep a watchful eye on your dates as they SHOULD NOT burn, decrease the oven temperature if you need to, if they burn the recipe is ruined.
- Once done remove from the oven, set aside and let the dates cool completely they will harden as they cool down (you can leave them in the oven, switched off if you want to).
- Once cooled and hardened, pulse the dates in VERY SMALL segments (THIS IS CRUCIAL SO YOU DON'T DAMAGE YOUR PROCESSOR) using either a food processor/coffee grinder into a powdery form. The sugar may lump after pulverising, don't worry this is normal and still be used.
- Store in an airtight container (can last for several weeks)
This is such a fabulous post. So informative and detailed .Very helpful! Cheers!
Just tried this. Dates were halved and semi hard when removed from the 250 degree oven after about 40 minutes. What processed did seem to work, but there were some softer spots that created a jam in the processor. At the moment, my blade is stuck on the spindle. A warm water soak hasn't loosened it and I'm afraid that I might have to throw the whole thing away.
I did my best to follow everything right. Just a mess.
Hi there, I'm so sorry to hear this. Let's see if I can troubleshoot, it sounds as if the dates needed longer to roast in the oven. As they should have definitely harden as they cooled. There is a fine balance to making date sugar that granulates and the key is to get that transition from semi hard dates to hard dates as they cool without burning them. I believe this is where a lot of people experience problems. Keep your processor soaked overnight if you haven't already in hot water as this should ease the spindle. Another hack is to try some pliers, to carefully pull it away (slowly) from the spindle.
I am working on dehydrator version of this recipe, still doing some trial and error with the dehydrator temp and duration of time as I value my readers and certainly don't like when a recipe doesn't work out for them, it's costly and I certainly I don't want equipment broken during the process! I hope that helps 🙂
Can you use a dehydrator instead of the oven?
Hi Lew, I am currently doing some trial and error with my dehydrator and unfortunately, so far the dates just don't seem to dry out enough to make date sugar.
Mine did not not work at all. I don't understand it? I tried drying it in the oven on 300 degrees for an hour. When I took them out and let it cool it was hard but soft inside. So tried it again but on 170 degrees the lowest temperature my oven can be set on. I put them in my food processor and it spun and then it stopped. It didn't turn powdery at all. Even I used the corn starch in it. I was really disappointed. So I used my semi hard and chewy dates on my ice cream sundae, which is really good. Any suggestions? Does it have to be a certain type of dates?
Hi Wanda, I'm so sorry to hear that this didn't work out for you. For some reason this is my only recipe that has been a hit for some and a fail with others. As a result in mixed feedback I have just updated my website with an air fryer version of the recipe which I will drop the link to here for you to check out. https://thatgirlcookshealthy.com/air-fryer-date-sugar/. If you have an air fryer please do check this recipe as you will find this one a lot easier, it really doesn't matter what dates you use as long as they are pitted and sliced thinly (this is something that I have started to do). I will say that it is very important to use a coffee/spice grinder, something that is more small and compact to grind the dates. I had the same problem with the food processor and I believe it is due to the excess space. I hope this helps. I Purposely held off responding any sooner so I could redirect you to the new air fryer version instead.
This looks great. I don’t find date sugar in the store and prefer to avoid coconut. Do you know if you can freeze date sugar?
Thank you! Unfortunately, I haven't tried freezing it so I'm not sure how it will hold up.
date sugar freezes fine - no worries.
Thanks for letting me know
I will definitely try this. Our Aldi store sells large bags of dates at a decent price. Not sure if they are pitted or not. If not, they are pretty to pit manually, especially since they should be halved anyway. I will use my food dehydrator. It has a temperature gauge for different types of food. It's easier to keep an eye on them.
I have grape vines and make my own raisins. Sometimes the raisins get over-dried and are hard. I'm sure I could make raisin sugar by grinding them. Just never thought about that before. I also have a Jujube tree. Will try dehydrating them and then pulverizing.
Sounds like a plan! I haven't tested making date sugar in the dehydrator yet, but once I do I will update this post with instructions just to give an alternative.
Nicole Evans Bentham
I'm so excited to try this recipe - thank you for posting! <3
No problem, let me know if you need any assistance, I've had to troubleshoot since a few people had problems with roasting (oven temperature) the dates.
If a recipe calls for 8 medjool dates, how much date sugar would I use in place of this? I can't find any info anywhere about how to sub this properly.
It's not easy to find this information, but from my own knowledge, you need to overcompensate when using dates in recipes, so I would say 1/3 cup in date sugar should be the equivalent.
Nope!! Not it. I’m sorry but after an hour my dates were burned and charred. When they cooled off they were so rock hard I couldn’t get the pit out. Heck I couldn’t even crack them open. Money wasted! 300F was way too high of a temperature to dry these out. I should’ve followed my gut and put the oven on 200F on the TOP rack for a few hours. I’m upset. Those dates cost so much money! But I thought I could trust this recipe to guide me since the sugar in the picture looks so good.
Hi Jasmine. I'm so sorry this recipe didn't work out for you. I have made this recipe many times at 300F with no problems but I am going to revise the recipe to advise users to set their oven to a lower temperature because this seems to be a core issue for so many people
No oven is build the same so while my oven doesn't run hot at 300F this may differ with others, will definitely note that as I certainly don't want my readers to waste their time and money.
Also, pitted dates are dates without the stone which is listed in the recipe card. The recipe card and post has now been updated so everyone gets it right the first time.
Hello Charla, I recently made jujube date sugar by drying them and grinding in my Ninja blender. Were lumpy at first so I let the material set in my cupboard for a few weeks and the chopped in the Ninja again. Turned out good when dry enough but when storing it gets a bit compacted again. Just need to break up again. So, my question is have you had experience with this date? It's called a Chinese date. (Jujube) I'm looking for how many carbs it has per tablespoon. Was trying to use your data as a close estimate but you do not give the quantity on your nutritional data. How many ounces or cups or grams?? We aquired property with these aready growing and I'm so excited I'm now able to make my own healthy sugar!
Hi Laura, I used 2lb (1kg) of dates for this recipe. My nutritional calculator doesn't calculate by the tablespoon but hopefully you can figure this out based on the amount I used. I hope that helps you somewhat.
She did say to remove the pits and also keep an eye on them. Sounds like you neglected to do both. I’d try it again according to the instructions. Regardless of the temperature, if you watch them closely you can prevent them from burning and then you won’t waste your money again.
Any idea how much 1 cup of date sugar equals in number of dates (approx)?
Yes, I just double checked this for you. A total of 26 standard sized dates equal 1 cup and I hope that helps.
Before I was able to make my own I ordered some date paste and was sent date sugar can I use these two ingredients interchangeable or is there a conversion ratio?
Yes, they yield the same amount of sweetness so they should be used interchangeably with no problem.
So after 1 hr 45 mins they are totally charred/burnt but mushy on the inside. I’m confused. How are they to get hard as a rock without getting burnt?
You need to leave them to cool down completely, they will harden as they cool down. Also, depending on "hot" your oven is (this varies from brand to brand) you may need to turn down your oven to the lowest temperature.
Okay. I had already turned off the oven and decided to let them sit in there as the oven cooled down. Now they are hardened! I would probably use a lower temp next time, and turn the oven off at 2 hours leaving them in the oven as I said above. Not sure if this batch is too charred or not, but at least I only used 9 dates to see if it worked first.😃
Okay, that is good to know! Definitely adjust accordingly.
This is the second time I’ve tried.
The first time I had them on low heat for the set time but not even half way, they burnt.
Then today I tried again with a smaller batch and had the oven on low heat for about 1 to 1.5 hours. I let it cool down as I felt it go slightly rock like. Blended it and it totally was burnt.
I use a gas oven with a grill at the top and the baking fire at the bottom. So, where do I win?
Hi Serena. Let's see if we can troubleshoot here. First of all are you using the lowest possible setting in your oven? If not reduce the oven to as low as it will go. Secondly. Reduce the roasting time to under an hour instead, around 50 minutes instead and keep your oven door slightly ajar too. This should be enough time for the dates to turn semi hard and harden as they are completely cool, you may need to leave them to dry out in the air alittle longer usual. Once the dates are hard and cooled blend your sugar.
My dates burned before the 2hr mark, the whole kitchen smells like char. Is 300F the right temp? Seems a little high for a “low and slow” roast.
Hi Kristen. I'm so sorry to hear that the recipe didn't work for you. I have tested the recipe several times prior to posting with no problems with 300F being the temperature. My only suggestion is to roast the dates on the lowest temperature that your oven will permit. Reduce the time to 1hr 30 minutes. Keep a watchful eye on the dates after the first hour, until they have hardened but not burnt/charred. Hopefully by reducing the temperature/time you will have the desired results.
I'm wondering if you could use a dehydrator to dry out the dates instead of the oven, that way I could make a bigger batch
Yes, most definitely. It will work the same way.
Just finished roasting them in the oven, it looks great. Cooling them now. Are they supposed to taste bitter after roasting?
Hi Pelumi. Are you referring to the dates once have finished roasting? If so, not it shouldn't have a bitter taste. They might be a very subtle burnt taste due to the length of time it takes to roast but definitely not bitter.
Tried the recipe delicious ! I enjoy all your recipe keep sharing please ? date sugar is amazing
Hi Sha. So glad to have another fan on board with date sugar.
Have you tried it with raisins? Do you think it could work? Thanks.
Hi Sylvie. No I haven't tried it with raisins. I think given how small raisins are you would need a VERY large quantity in order to successfully mill them into sugar. I'm not sure if you could successfully get them to become rock hard during roasting. I think a good alternative to dates would be prunes.
what is Parchment paper
and why you put it with the dates
thank you i got it so it will not got sticky
Yes, that's right!
It's non stick paper that stops the dates from sticking to the tray. It acts as a layer.
Does baking for so long remove the nutrients in the dates?
While any form of cooking will always remove some of the nutrients, because the dates are baked on such low heat, most of the nutrition can be retained.
I placed the Medjool dates in the oven at 170°, and, after one hour they were moist. After two 1/2 hours, they were still moist.
Sorry to hear that. Try increasing the temperature a bit more? Has some of the moisture been removed? It doesn't need to be super hard to achieve the date sugar just as long as most of the moisture is removed to make the sugar.
This is brilliant!
How many grams of dates did you use for this recipe?
Hi Mariam, about 300grams at a guess
Do you use less or more date sugar in things compared to white sugar? If so, what's the ratio? Do you use date sugar at all in baking?
I only use date sugar in some recipes as the taste is like caramel incomparison to white sugar. If using it in baking of would use 1/4 cup more as the sweetness is subtle compared to other sugar.
Thank you! Do you grind the pits as well?
Hi Monique. No I used I removed the pits. If you have a high speed blender like a vitamix or blend-tech then leaving them in would be fine. However, to be on the safe side I would suggest removing them first.
Have seen it in the store before but never realized it was so easy to make. Thank you! I may try it with deglets instead of medjool just because they are cheaper.
Awesome, yes any dates will do the trick 😉
Great instinct - that will give you a better sweeter yield since deglets are higher sugar and lower fiber. They work great for this and it's common that any smaller (deglet, honey, etc.) date is a little more liquidy and crystallizes even on its own easily. Works great.
Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs
I've used blended dates in recipes before instead of refined white sugar but never come across date sugar before. Great idea! Thanks for sharing
You are so welcome Emma, happy to have helped.
Wow, I would never have guessed it is so easy to make the date sugar. Love this
I've never had date sugar before. Looks perfect! Such a great alternative sweetener.
Yes it is, thank you!
Annemarie @ justalittlebitofbacon
Sweetening with dates seems to be very in right now! I do love coconut sugar, and of course maple syrup and honey, so I'm going to have to try this date sugar. Thanks for the great, easy recipe.
Yes, another contemporary sweetener to add to the never ending list.
I didn't know you could make date sugar. Will have to try this!
Definitely! I hope you like it.
Tina Dawson | Love is in my Tummy
OMG this is so amazing! I never knew that dates could be used so! I've been trying to incorporate more dates into my diet. this is just perfect!!! Thanks so much!
We learn something new everyday and you are most welcome Tina 😉