Test Kitchen Tips
8 Ways to Soften Brown Sugar
Learn how to keep brown sugar soft and soften it quickly after it has hardened.
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Why Does Brown Sugar Get Hard?
If you’re a baker, then you know brown sugar can form into rock-hard chunks that are difficult to break up. Unlike other sugars, brown sugar hardens when exposed to air. This is because the molasses loses moisture, making the sugar crystals stick to themselves. So, if it’s kept in un unsealed bag or a non-airtight container, it’ll surely become hard as a rock. Luckily, there are a few tricks to soften it in a hurry so you can continue baking those heirloom brown sugar desserts.
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How do you soften brown sugar that has become hard? Well, remember how we said molasses loses moisture when exposed to air? Throwing in a slice of white bread allows the sugar to draw moisture from it. The bread hardens while the brown sugar softens—making it usable once again!
Shutterstock / Arina P Habich
If you don’t have any bread or marshmallows laying around, apples work, too. Throw in a few slices and after a day or two, the sugar will be good as new!
Brown Sugar Bear / Amazon
Brown Sugar Bear
This may be the cutest way to save your brown sugar. Soak the terra cotta Brown Sugar Bear in water and place in the bag or container of brown sugar. It’ll keep your sugar soft for 3-6 months.
Shutterstock / VanoVasaio
So far, we’ve answered the question, “How do you make brown sugar soft again?” But what is the best way to keep brown sugar in the first place? Storage is key. When you store the sugar in a sealable, airtight container, there’s no air to absorb the moisture that causes the sugar to harden to begin with.
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Another helpful hack when you’re in a pinch is to use a food processor. It’ll break up the hard chunks, making the sugar usable once again. Find out our Test Kitchen’s most trusted brand.
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Moisture is a big deal when it comes to brown sugar. If you can spare a few days, sprinkle a few drops of water in the bag of brown sugar and wait until it softens up.
Shutterstock / Zynatis
If you’re in a hurry to soften brown sugar—as in, you’re baking cookies NOW—you’re in luck. Simply place a wet paper towel in with the sugar and microwave for 20 seconds. That should do the trick. Here are 10 more smart ways to use your microwave.
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