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How to Soften Brown Sugar

If you’ve ever pulled out brown sugar for a baking project and then found it hard, this post is for you. Don’t panic! There are multiple ways to soften brown sugar, plus I’ll share my favorite trick to keep it from clumping.

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

What is brown sugar?

Brown sugar is white granulated sugar with added molasses. There are two different processes by which this is done, but molasses is what gives brown sugar its color and flavour. This also means that brown sugar has a higher liquid content than white granulated sugar.

Why does brown sugar become hard?

There can be multiple reasons why brown sugar becomes hard, but the most likely culprit is air. Hardened brown sugar is usually dried, which means that the sugar and molasses have lost moisture due to exposure to air. This does not mean that the brown sugar has gone bad!

How to soften brown sugar in the microwave

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

If your brown sugar still seems hard, you may need to add more moisture. Repeat this process again using another damp paper towel.

How to Soften Brown Sugar – Baking

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

You can also do the same method but by cutting an apple in half instead of baking it.

The 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’re storing it in. Any size marshmallow can be used, but the larger the marshmallow, the easier it is to spot and remove before using it in the recipe. 😉

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


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