Saving Dry Brown Sugar

Written by Stefani Anderson (last updated January 28, 2022)

Brown sugar can easily become hard as a rock, especially if you only pull it out of the cupboard for a few special recipes. Your brown sugar doesn't have to go to waste, though.

You can prevent brown sugar from drying out in the first place by buying small bags and only cutting a small opening. Use one of these tricks:

  • Put your brown sugar in an airtight container, and put the container in the freezer or in the fridge rather than in the cupboard.
  • Buy a terra cotta shape made specifically for keeping brown sugar soft (sold in the kitchen section of most large department stores—a less expensive alternative is a medium-sized piece of broken terra cotta pot). Get the terra cotta a little wet then put it into an airtight container with your brown sugar.

Don't do both at the same time—the wet terra cotta will break if it freezes and may get tiny pieces into your brown sugar.

Has your bag of brown sugar already turned into a seemingly unusable mound of rock candy? Don't throw it away thinking that it is not good! You can revive hard, dry brown sugar with a couple different methods.

  • Place a slice of apple or a wet paper towel the container with your brown sugar and seal it. In a few hours, your brown sugar should be soft again. If that isn't long enough, let it sit sealed overnight.
  • Put it in the microwave for a few minutes on low. Only microwave as much as you need, and use the sugar immediately. It will become hard again when it cools.

If none of these tips perk up your brown sugar and you don't have a fresh bag on hand, you can replace 1 cup of light brown sugar with 1 cup of granulated white sugar plus 2 tablespoons of molasses or replace 1 cup of dark brown sugar with 1 cup of granulated white sugar plus 3 tablespoons of molasses.

If you don't have any molasses, you can experiment with honey instead, although it will leave your recipe with a different flavor. But who knows? You may find that you actually like the lighter flavor of honey better than molasses in some recipes.

Don't try to replace brown sugar (which is processed sugar with molasses) with raw sugar, even though raw sugar is kind of brown. The two have very different flavors and textures, so your recipe won't turn out right with raw sugar in place of brown sugar.

Author Bio

Stefani Anderson

Stefani is an assessment developer for an online university. She earned a degree in language, editing, and anthropology from Brigham Young University. Her favorite thing is to travel the world, chronicle her adventures, and help others celebrate memories. ...

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