How to Soften Brown Sugar

How to Soften Brown Sugar

Learn how to soften brown sugar that’s hard in the microwave or oven and even using bread or marshmallows. Also, learn how to store brown sugar properly.

Today, I am sharing all my tips and tricks on how to SOFTEN brown sugar and keep it soft and also how to STORE brown sugar.

My sister and I always JOKE that any time we decide to bake cookies, we are either out of brown sugar OR we have a big jar of rock solid brown sugar…lol.

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Well, I have SOLUTIONS for both problems now!

If you don’t have brown sugar, just make your own homemade brown sugar with TWO ingredients : Granulated sugar and Molasses!

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Now, let’s tackle the issue of what to do with rock hard brown sugar…

Why does brown sugar harden?

In general, brown sugar has a lot of MOISTURE. When that moisture evaporates, the sugar starts to dry out and becomes hard and forms clumps. The easiest way to keep brown sugar soft is simply to store it in an AIRTIGHT container to minimize evaporation.

How do you soften brown sugar that has become hard? Is there any way to soften brown sugar? How to soften brown sugar for baking? How to soften brown sugar clumps in a container?

There are 4 different ways:

  1. Bread: Place your hardened brown sugar in an air-tight sealed bag or container along with a slice of bread overnight. The next day, you will notice that the bread has become stale and all its moisture has been transferred to the sugar, making it soft again. In my opinion, this is the best way to soften brown sugar that has hardened.
  2. Microwave: Place hardened sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a moist paper towel. Heat for 20-30 seconds, making sure to check every few seconds to make sure the sugar does not melt completely. Eventually, the moisture from the paper towel will transfer to the sugar, making it soft again.
  3. Marshmallows: Place your hardened brown sugar in an air-tight sealed bag or container along with 7 or 8 big marshmallows overnight. The next day, you will notice that the marshmallows have become stale and hard and their moisture has been transferred to the sugar, making it soft once again.
    Note: I feel this method is tricky because the results can vary, based on the brand of marshmallows you use. Some marshmallows are definitely softer and have more moisture than others. I feel like Jet Puffed marshmallows work the best.
  4. Terra cotta brown sugar saver: These are special little ceramic discs that you have to buy at stores or online. Basically, you soak the ceramic piece  piece in water for 15 minutes, pat it dry and place it on top of the hardened brown sugar. When this is kept in a sealed container, it will keep brown sugar soft for up to 3 months. When sugar begins to harden, you can re-soak and use again.

What do you put in brown sugar to keep it soft?

You can put a slice of bread, marshmallows or even terra cotta brown sugar saver.

How do you soften hard brown sugar without a microwave?

You can do this by placing a few marshmallows or a slice of bread in the container of hardened sugar overnight, which will allow the moisture to transfer from the marshmallows/bread to the rock hard sugar.

How to soften white sugar?

You can apply the same brown sugar softening methods for white granulated sugar too.

  1. Bread: Place your hardened brown sugar in an air-tight sealed bag or container along with a slice of bread overnight.
  2. Microwave: Place hardened sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a moist paper towel. Heat for 20-30 seconds, making sure to check every few seconds to make sure the sugar does not melt completely.
  3. Marshmallows: Place your hardened brown sugar in an air-tight sealed bag or container along with 7 or 8 big marshmallows overnight.

How to store brown sugar?

There are 2 methods:

  1. When you buy a new bag of brown sugar, transfer all the sugar in an airtight sealed container immediately, which prevents any moisture from evaporating. If your container is not airtight, make sure to keep a terra cotta brown sugar piece in your container to prevent sugar from becoming hard.
  2. After buying a bag of brown sugar from the market, store it in the freezer in small tightly sealed ziploc bags. When you need it for a recipe, remove a small bag from the freezer and let it come to room temperature. This way, you will have soft brown sugar every single time. This is my FAVORITE method!

How to soften brown sugar quickly? How to soften brown sugar in microwave?

That would be the microwave method: Place hardened sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a moist paper towel. Heat for 20-30 seconds, making sure to check every few seconds to make sure the sugar does not melt completely. Eventually, the moisture from the paper towel will transfer to the sugar, making it soft again.

How to soften brown sugar in the oven?

Place the hard brown sugar on a cookie tray and heat it for a few minutes at 250 degrees. Watch VERY CLOSELY because it will soften very quickly. I am NOT too fond of this method because the oven gets very hot very fast and the brown sugar can quickly melt into a gooey mess.

Well, that’s all for today.

If you liked this post, you may like some of these other baking tips too:

Homemade cake flour

How to frost a cake smoothly

How to decorate cupcakes

Until next time, tata my lovelies!

10 comments on “How to Soften Brown Sugar”

  1. Love the marshmallow tip! I use the little bear now, but I’ll definitely try this!!

  2. Thanks for the tip! I honestly do this the wrong way…and bang around my brown sugar or chip at it with a utensil…LOL!

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