Refined Sugar vs. Raw Sugar

When it comes to sugar processing, the term “refined” means “to purify” or “make pure”. The sugar refining process separates sucrose from its original plant source material without bleaching or chemical manipulation. 

The sugar refining process happens in several stages. All Pure Cane Sugar starts at the same point:

  • The Sugar Cane is crushed between rollers to extract the juice.
  • The extracted juice is filtered and evaporated, then further purified by filtering and boiling to remove molasses and color.
  • The crystals are spun in a centrifuge and evaporated.


At this point the unrefined sugar (also referred to as turbinado or unprocessed sugar) is finished production. It is packaged and sent to the store for you to purchase. Granulated white sugar continues to a refinery where it is washed, filtered and any non-sugar ingredients are removed. The refined sugar is then further processed into granulated form, dried and packaged.

Want to see the sugar refining process in a visual form? Check out this How Sugar is Processed infographic

Since 1843 we’ve been producing the raw and refined sugars you depend on for your baking, your entertaining and for your everyday life. We pledge to maintain the high-quality goodness of each and every product from the fields to your table. Imperial Sugar does not use genetically modified plants in any of our products - only pure, unmodified sugar cane. So you can continue to put only the freshest, delicious foods on your table – the way it’s been for more than 172 years.

Shout Out To Our Baking Friends
    ::    Kathy Dziekan    ::    davlyn r    ::    Robin V    ::    Barbara    ::    Yolanda M    ::    Debra D    ::    Rebecca    ::    singersarah18    ::    Charity    ::    ChefMissliando    ::    patricia a    ::    Schoko    ::    CAROLYN B    ::    Liz S    ::    traann    ::    KimRut    ::    Melissa H    ::    Maricela P    ::    Dana Ford    ::    AbbyHami
Trusted by home bakers since 1843
Imperial Sugar sugar bag

Sign up today for our free newsletter. Get exclusive recipes and coupons!

© 2012-2015 Imperial Sugar. All rights reserved. All Imperial Sugar branded products are the registered marks of the Imperial Sugar Company.