How to Soften Brown Sugar

If you have ever pulled out your brown sugar for a baking project only to find it hardened, this post is for you. Don’t panic! There are multiple ways to soften brown sugar, PLUS I’ll share my favorite trick for keeping it from clumping up.

Related: Learn how to freeze cookie dough balls so you’ll always have fresh cookies just minutes away!

What is brown sugar?

Brown sugar is granulated white sugar with molasses added. There are a couple of different processes by which this is done, but the molasses is what gives brown sugar its color as well as flavor. This also means brown sugar has a higher liquid content than granulated white sugar.

Why does brown sugar get hard?

There can be multiple reasons your brown sugar has hardened, but the most likely culprit is air. Hardened brown sugar is usually dried out, meaning the sugar as well as molasses may have lost moisture due to being exposed to air. This does not mean your brown sugar is ruined!

How to soften brown sugar – Microwave

One way to quickly soften brown sugar is to add it to a microwave safe bowl. Then cover the sugar with a moist paper towel. Microwave for 20 seconds. Then use a fork or food processor to break up the pieces.

If the brown sugar still appears hard, you may need to add more moisture. Repeat this process again with another moist paper towel.

How to soften brown sugar – Bread

Another option to soften brown sugar is to place the sugar in an airtight container (Tupperware, gallon zip lock bag, etc.) and add a piece of bread. Over the course of 12-24 hours, the brown sugar will absorb the moisture from the bread and will soften.

You can also do this same method but with an apple cut in half instead of bread.

Best way to store brown sugar

The best way to store brown sugar so it doesn’t harden is to add a few marshmallows to the container you store it in. Any size marshmallow will work, but the bigger they are the easier they are to spot and remove before using them in a recipe. 😉

You still need to store brown sugar in an airtight container. But the marshmallows always do the trick for me. Happy baking!

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