Can You Put Powdered Sugar in Coffee?

As a coffee lover, you likely have a preferred way of preparing your daily cup of joe. Some like it black, while others enjoy adding different sweeteners and creamers. If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, you may have wondered if you can use powdered sugar instead of regular granulated sugar to sweeten your brew.

Can You Put Powdered Sugar in Coffee

The short answer is yes, you can use powdered sugar in coffee. However, there are some key differences between powdered sugar and granulated sugar that impact taste, texture, and more.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about using powdered sugar in coffee, including:

  • How powdered sugar differs from granulated sugar
  • The pros and cons of using powdered sugar in coffee
  • How to properly add powdered sugar to coffee
  • Other ways to sweeten coffee

Let's dive in and find out if powdered sugar can give your daily cup an extra boost of sweetness!

Granulated Sugar vs. Powdered Sugar

To understand how powdered sugar affects coffee, it helps to first look at how it differs from regular granulated white sugar.

Granulated sugar is the typical white table sugar you likely have in your pantry. It's made from sugarcane or sugar beets and consists of large, crystallized sugar grains.

Powdered sugar, also called confectioners' sugar or icing sugar, starts out as granulated sugar. It's then ground into a super-fine powder and mixed with a bit of cornstarch to prevent clumping.

Here's a quick rundown of the key differences:

Granulated SugarPowdered Sugar
Coarse grainsUltra-fine powder
Dissolves slowlyDissolves instantly
100% sugar95-99% sugar plus cornstarch
Measured by volume (cups, spoons)Often weighed for accuracy
Common in cooking/bakingUsed for icings and decorating

Key Takeaway: Powdered sugar dissolves faster than granulated sugar due to its fine texture, making it ideal for blending into coffee. However, it also contains cornstarch so it impacts flavor and texture slightly differently.

The fine nature of powdered sugar means that it will dissolve almost instantly when added to hot coffee. This can lead to a slightly different taste and mouthfeel compared to the gradual dissolution of granular sugar grains.

Some people notice that cornstarch gives powdered sugar a smoother, slightly less sweet flavor. The cornstarch isn't soluble, so it won't fully dissolve into the coffee.

Others find powdered sugar makes coffee too sweet too fast before the flavor can develop. Personal taste preferences play a big role here!

Pros and Cons of Using Powdered Sugar in Coffee

Adding powdered sugar to your morning joe offers some advantages but also has a few potential downsides to consider:


  • Dissolves quickly for fast sweetness without stirring
  • Ultra-fine texture creates a smoother, silkier mouthfeel
  • Pure white color gives an appetizing, clean appearance
  • Intense sweetness allows you to use less volume compared to granulated sugar
  • Convenient if you have it on hand for baking


  • Very sweet so can overpower the coffee flavor if you add too much
  • Cornstarch gives a slightly different flavor
  • A clumping tendency means it must be sifted before using
  • Measuring inaccuracies since volume and weight ratios differ from granulated sugar
  • Not ideal for hot drinks due to rapid dissolving; better for iced coffee

As you can see, whether powdered sugar is "better" for coffee comes down to your own taste and texture preferences. Keep these pros and cons in mind as you experiment with using it to sweeten your brew.

How to Add Powdered Sugar to Coffee

If you want to give powdered sugar a try in your coffee, here are some tips for incorporating it smoothly:

  • Use less powdered sugar than you would granulated sugar since it's sweeter. Start with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per 6-8 oz cup of coffee and adjust to taste.
  • Sift it first to break up any clumps for even blending. Use a fine mesh strainer or sifter.
  • Add it slowly while stirring to help it dissolve and integrate the sweetness.
  • Mix it with a bit of hot water first to form a simple syrup if you prefer. This helps distribute the sweetness consistently.
  • Consider it for iced coffee instead of hot to allow proper dissolution in the cold liquid.
  • Dust it on top of foamy drinks like cappuccinos for visual appeal and a touch of sweetness with each sip.

The bottom line is to start with very small amounts of powdered sugar and tweak it to your preferences. Be extra careful about measurements since powdered sugar is lighter than granulated sugar.

Other Ways to Sweeten Coffee

While powdered sugar is one option, there are many other sweeteners you can use to add sweetness to coffee:

  • Honey - Imparts floral, fruity notes while smoothing out bitterness
  • Maple syrup - Offers a rich, earthy sweetness
  • Molasses - Provides a robust, bittersweet flavor
  • Brown sugar - Contains molasses for a hint of caramel flavor
  • Raw sugar - Less processed than white sugar with a subtle molasses taste
  • Agave nectar - Sweeter than sugar so you can use less
  • Monk fruit - Natural, zero-calorie sweetener
  • Stevia - Plant-based sugar substitute that doesn't impact blood sugar

Some people also enjoy adding vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, or pumpkin spice flavorings to naturally enhance coffee's sweetness.

Think about your taste preferences, dietary needs, and what flavors complement your particular coffee variety. Experiment with different natural sweeteners and flavorings beyond just powdered sugar or granulated sugar to create your perfect cup.


Is powdered sugar safe to consume?

Yes, powdered sugar is perfectly safe to eat and drink. It contains the same sucrose sugar molecules as regular granulated white sugar. The added cornstarch is also a harmless, tasteless thickening agent. Those with diabetes or on carbohydrate-controlled diets may want to account for the small amount of cornstarch when tracking intake.

Does powdered sugar change the taste of coffee?

Powdered sugar can change the flavor of coffee slightly. Some notice the cornstarch dulls sweetness perception a bit. Others find the rapid-dissolving powdered sugar makes coffee too sweet too fast. Using very small amounts and adding it slowly while stirring can help integrate the sweetness more gradually. But in general, the taste difference is subtle.

Is powdered sugar better for iced coffee?

Yes, many people find powdered sugar works especially well in iced coffee. Since iced coffee is already cold, powdered sugar can dissolve fully and evenly to deliver a smooth sweetness. Be extra careful of measurements, since the fine grains lead to deceptive volume ratios. For hot coffee, powdered sugar tends to dissolve too fast before you can fully taste the sweetness develops.

Does powdered sugar have fewer calories than granulated sugar?

Surprisingly, powdered sugar has fewer calories! Since powdered sugar contains more air due to its fine grinding process, the weight and density are lower per cup compared to the same volume of granulated sugar. For example, one cup of powdered sugar has about 120 calories, while a cup of granulated sugar has nearly 200 calories. However, you may need more volume of powdered sugar to achieve the desired sweetness.

Should you use powdered or granulated sugar in coffee?

The choice between powdered sugar and granulated sugar comes down to personal preference. Granulated sugar offers a more gradual sweetness, while powdered sugar immediately dissolves for an instant sweet hit. Consider your taste buds, whether you'll use it in hot or iced coffee, and how much sweetness you like. There's no right or wrong answer; simply experiment to see which suits your style.


While less common than regular white granulated sugar, powdered sugar can be used to sweeten your daily cup of coffee. Keep in mind that its ultra-fine texture causes it to dissolve almost instantly, which may overpower the coffee's flavor. The small amount of added cornstarch also impacts the taste slightly.

Consider using less powdered sugar than normal and add it slowly while stirring to allow the sweetness to integrate evenly. Powdered sugar works particularly well in iced coffee. For hot coffee, you may prefer the more gradual dissolution of traditional white sugar.

But don’t be afraid to get creative and try powdered sugar for a smooth, sweet twist! And explore healthier sugar alternatives like honey and molasses to add flavor while cutting back on sugar.

Whichever way you sweeten your cup of joe, enjoy your morning brew!

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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