Pearl sugar is a delectable specialty sugar used in a variety of baked goods. You can make it yourself with this quick and easy shortcut, and the results are simply spectacular!

Learn how to take your recipes up a notch with this DIY Belgian Pearl Sugar… the sweetest way to their hearts!

Belgian pearl sugar nibs scattered on a white surface.
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This DIY pearl sugar is so easy to make, I can hardly call it a recipe at all! It’s such a handy little shortcut and it will change the texture and taste of many of your favorite baked goodies for the better.

Learn the secret to making your own – you’ll not only save a little money, but you won’t have to run out looking for a specialty ingredient every time you want to create something delicious!

Pearl sugar is often used to make Belgian Waffles, also referred to as pearl sugar waffles, or pearl sugar Belgian waffles. If you’ve never had an authentic Belgian waffle, today might be the day. Incredible isn’t even a strong enough word!

While the girls have always loved waffles of all kinds, once they discovered the joy of a yeasty, homemade Belgian waffle with those crunchy bites of sugar, they were hooked. Now I know that I never needed to order that expensive specialty sugar at all!

Swedish pearl sugar nibs scattered on a white surface.

What is Pearl Sugar?

Pearl sugar is also referred to as nib sugar, or hail sugar. It’s compressed white sugar crystals that form little nibs, or small clumps, of sugar so they don’t dissolve as easily in baked goods.

This leaves you with individual bites of glorious, slightly caramelized little touches of crunchy sugar inside whatever sweets they are added to.

There are different types referring to their place of origin, such as Belgian Pearl Sugar or Swedish Pearl Sugar (they are mostly the same though Belgian is a touch larger.)

Belgian pearl sugar nibs scattered on a white surface.
Swedish pearl sugar nibs scattered on a white surface.

Belgian Pearl Sugar

Belgian Pearl sugar is almost exclusively used in Belgian waffles, but can make almost any baked good better!

Because the small nibs are slightly larger than Swedish, they can tolerate a higher heat before they melt or burn. This creates the delightful, craveable crunch in bites of Belgian waffles!

Swedish pearl sugar nibs scattered on a white surface.

Swedish Pearl Sugar

Swedish pearl sugar is a touch smaller in size than Belgian sugar, but the concept, ingredients and steps are the same.

Swedish pearl sugar is frequently used more as a topping for baked goods, garnishing a variety of sweets. Because it’s in smaller pieces, it’s not as easily incorporated into waffles and the like for fear of burning.

Great news! You can “make” your own if you’re in a pinch using sugar cubes!

Why You’ll Love This Shortcut

  • Accessible
  • Make it on a whim
  • Caramelizes adding so much flavor
A box of cane sugar cubes on a white surface.

How to Make Homemade Pearl Sugar

  1. Add your desired amount of sugar cubes in a ziplock bag.
  2. Using a meat mallet, crush your sugar cubes into small pieces.

Serving Suggestions

There are so many ways you can enjoy these delectable little sugar nibs!

Belgian pearl sugar nibs scattered on a white surface.

Tips

  • You don’t need a ziplock bag but it definitely contains the mess!
  • Use a rolling pin if you don’t have a meat mallet on hand.
How do you substitute pearl sugar?

Substitute 1 to 1 for smashed sugar cubes.

Where to Buy

It’s not always easy to find at American grocery stores since it’s more of a European specialty.

A blue box of Belgian pearl sugar on a white surface.

More Kitchen Guides

pearl sugar nibs scattered on a white surface.
5 from 4 votes

Shortcut Pearl Sugar

Pearl sugar is a delectable specialty sugar used in a variety of baked goods. You can make it yourself with this quick and easy shortcut, and the results are simply spectacular!
Prep: 3 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 3 minutes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients  

  • 1 cup sugar cubes

Instructions 

  • Add your desired amount of sugar cubes in a ziplock bag.
  • Using a meat mallet, crush your sugar cubes into small pieces. If you want Belgian pearl sugar, you can leave the pieces a little larger. Swedish pearls are generally about the size of peas, whereas the Belgian style of pearl sugar is around 1/4 of an inch.

Tips

  • You don’t need a ziplock bag but it definitely contains the mess!
  • Use a rolling pin if you don’t have a meat mallet on hand.
Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 20g

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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3 Comments

    1. Anything where you want some crunch. One idea is to use them in a layer cake to add some crunch that will not get soggy