SunGold vs SunSugar Tomatoes – Which Is Best?

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Last Updated: August 28, 2023

This year, I grew two popular cherry tomato varieties: Sungold and sunsugar. They sound similar in name, and indeed they appear to be almost identical in pictures.

Both are touted for having very sweet, flavorful tomatoes on easy-to-grow plants. They are both yellowish-orange when ripe, and have early fruit sets. But which is better?

In this article, I’ll share our thoughts on the sungold vs. sunsugar tomato debate. Through growing both side-by-side, tasting them throughout the season, and sharing with friends and family, I think we have a winner.

Sungold vs Sun sugar tomato
Sungold vs Sunsugar tomatoes.

Plant Traits & Growing

TraitSunGoldSunSugar
FlavorPurely sweet when fully ripeVery sweet with slight acidity
Avg. fruit size0.5-0.75″0.75-1″
ColorDark orangePale orange
Growth habitIndeterminateIndeterminate
Plant height4′4′
Days to maturity5762
Disease resistanceToMV, FusariumToMV, Fusarium

As a quick background, the sungold hybrid, bred by Tokita, has been around since 1994. Sunsugar is the new kid on the block, originally bred by Seminis. Both are hybrid cherry tomato types with a similar appearance.

For my at home testing, I grew one of each variety. Both of our plants were grown in medium-sized containers (around 5 gallons or so) with the same type of soil, watering, fertilizer, and lighting conditions. Now, let’s go through the main differences we observed.

Size

Let’s cover some basics about the tomato fruits from each plant. Without a doubt, sunsugar tomatoes are larger than sungolds. The largest fruits on our sungold plant were about the size of the smallest on the sunsugar plant.

Sungold (left) vs Sun sugar (right) tomatoes
Sungold (left) are smaller than sunsugar (right) tomatoes.

In other words, sungolds are fairly small, even for a cherry tomato. Don’t get me wrong, this can be a good thing if you just want to pop one or two as a snack.

While size isn’t everything, I found myself happier with the slightly bigger sunsugars. They were more satisfying when eaten whole, and could be sliced into coins for salads.

Splitting & fruit drop

One of the biggest drawbacks of any tomato is a tendency to split. Some tomatoes will crack when rainfall is heavy (which it was this year!), while others are more resistant to splitting.

In our situation, sungold tomatoes were much more susceptible to cracking. In fact, our sunsugar tomato rarely produced any cracked fruit (2 or 3 overall), while the sungold plant had dozens.

Sungold tomato splitting
Sungold tomato split down the middle.

This is an important trait, as it led to a much bigger useable harvest from the sunsugar plant. Yes, if I had been more diligent about harvesting at the perfect time, we could have saved more sungolds. But, in the real world, it’s better if the fruits don’t crack in the first place.

In addition to cracking, the sungolds were more prone to falling off of the plant. This would occur a few days after fully ripening, inviting chipmunks and ants to feast on the fallen fruits. Again, not a great trait!

The sunsugar tomatoes held onto the vine much longer, even after becoming over-ripe. This is a huge advantage, as it saves more tomatoes and keeps the garden tidy.

Yield

Aside from the dropped fruits and cracking tomatoes, how did each plant perform in terms of yield? Surprisingly, overall harvests were comparable.

Sungold tomato plant in grow bag
Sungold plant with multiple clusters of fruit.

Both plants produced heavy yields throughout the summer and into the early fall. They kept on producing new fruits as older ones were harvested, right up until the first frost.

Now, when you factor in the unusable tomatoes (cracked and diseased, fallen, etc.), then sunsugar becomes a clear winner for yield. Almost every fruit that sunsugar produced was eaten, while many of the sungolds went to waste.

Disease

Lastly, we should consider disease. Both plants stood up against disease very well, despite living through an incredibly wet summer (we had over 14″ of rain in July!).

Both plants have some resistance to Fusarium wilt and mosaic viruses. We did see some early blight on the sungold foliage, but it wasn’t serious enough to hold back the plant’s production. In general, both varieties showed good overall disease resistance.


Flavor

Now, onto perhaps the most important trait: Flavor. Which tastes better, sungold or sunsugar tomatoes?

While flavor is, of course, subjective, there seemed to be a general agreement among my family, friends, and myself: Sunsugar tastes better.

Now, to be fair, sungold tomatoes are delicious. But sunsugar has them beat in my opinion. Let’s talk about why.

Sungold flavor

Like many tomatoes, sungolds go through a distinct flavor transformation as they ripen. If you pick them when they are just beginning to change color, they have a great balance of sweetness and tartness.

Sungold tomatoes ripe on plant
Sungold tomatoes on plant.

When they are fully ripe (deep golden color), they are 100% sweet with virtually no acidity. Most tomato lovers found the pure sweetness to be almost bland without any zing to round it out.

With all that said, the taste of sungold is still superior to almost any store bought cherry tomato. And, if you harvest at the perfect time (a few days before full ripeness), the flavor is divine.

Sunsugar flavor

There are few cherry tomatoes that can hang with the sunsugar’s flavor. Sweet, acidic, rich and juicy. All this, no matter when you harvest! We ate some of the sunsugars just after beginning to turn, and others that were overripe, and they all tasted amazing.

Sun sugar tomatoes on plant
Sunsugar tomatoes on plant.

Yes, the flavor does change a bit as the tomatoes ripen – they do get sweeter. However, sunsugar tomatoes never lose that backend tartness that is so important. There are few tomatoes that I’ve tried that can pull this off.

We had friends and family try these two types blindly and asked which they liked better. The (almost) universal response was that sunsugar was tastier. To be fair, one family member preferred the sungold!

But overall, most liked sunsugar more, and I agree. If I could only grow one of these tomatoes again, I would choose the sunsugar every time.


Overall Thoughts

Given all the things we learned growing sungold and sunsugar tomatoes side-by-side, I have my personal preference. Sunsugar proved to be a better variety in multiple ways (it may have even dethroned my favorite cherry tomato!).

Sunsugar had larger fruits, less cracking, and better overall flavor (in my opinion). So, if you’re on the fence, I’d recommend the sunsugar. Of course, if you have the space, why not try both and decide for yourself!

Cherry tomato trusses from Super Sweet 100

Calvin

Hi, I’m Calvin, creator of Tomato Geek. I have over a decade of gardening experience and I love helping others grow healthy plants!

4 thoughts on “SunGold vs SunSugar Tomatoes – Which Is Best?”

  1. thanks for the info… I grow the sun gold this year, my thoughts they were really good but i did not grow the sunsugar ones, which i will grow next year, i also grow mine in a 5 gallon bucket. thanks again and God Bless

    Reply
  2. Sunsugars are far superior in my book. The last time I grew SunGolds was when SunSugars were on back order. Eventually I got my Sunsugar seeds and grew them alongside the SunGolds. A heavy rain split nearly every fruit on the SunGolds, and the Sunsugars remained in good condition. I found I only liked the flavor of SunGolds when they were barely ripe. But every year it gets harder to find SunSugar seeds. Why? SunGold seeds and plants are readily available. I grow 6 to 8 Sunsugar plants every year and can’t imagine a garden without them. In fact, I just put in an order for 2 packets today because I’m never sure of finding them.

    Reply
  3. If you think Sweet 100 tomatoes are good you should try Cherry bomb by Johnny’s seeds. They are hands down my favorite red cherry tomatoe.

    Reply

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