Once opened keeping your brown sugar from getting packed and hard can be a challenge. This page contains brown sugar tips and tricks.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
Here is my tip for keeping brown sugar moist. Use marshmallows! You can use bread, but bread gets moldy and then you have to replace it. Not so with marshmallows!
By Elaine S. from near Cedar Rapids, IA
Brown sugar will get hard in a heart beat if you don't do something to keep the moisture in the container or bag. Here is a tip I use that really works and is pretty much free.
Take an old broken clay pot that you don't need anymore and break off a piece suitable for the size container that you keep your brown sugar. Make sure it is very clean and then soak it in water for about a half hour. Dry off with a towel and place in the container. This will keep your brown sugar nice and moist. Just repeat the soaking when it dries out, which should not be very often.
By littlegamma from southern, AL
Add an apple to your brown sugar in a glass jar. Works every time.
By Gerry B. from Tuscon, AZ
I use a small glass to press down brown sugar in my measuring cup. You could use a jelly glass also. I got these 5 oz measuring glasses at Walmart for about $1 each (made in the U.S.A. too) and they are just the right size for my hands.
By Great Granny Vi from Moorpark, CA
For hard brown sugar, wet a paper towel, wrap it around the sugar and in a few hours or less, it will be soft.
An easy way to soften brown sugar is to simply place it in the microwave for a few seconds! (Not long enough to melt it of course, just to soften it)
Place a piece of bread in with the brown sugar and it will soften, in a few hours.
When finding my brown sugar had gotten hard and not wanting to toss it I put some in the freezer. When I need some to make cookies I decided to microwave it. It turned out fine. It seemed to work better after being frozen. I now freeze my brown sugar once it starts getting hard.
By RoseMary B. from Texas Creek, CO
I chop it up in the food processor if it has gotten hard.
To keep brown sugar soft, keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator. You can also put a small piece of bread in the container, and this will keep the brown sugar soft. Don't ask me why this works, but it does.
By laramay from Portland, OR
Keep brown sugar fresh. After closing wax paper packaging on inside of box, place a wadded up plastic grocery bag on top and close top of box. This will keep your brown sugar moist, and clump free for many months.
Source: My own invention!
By Denise from Crescent City, CA
Soften a rock-hard box of brown sugar quickly by just putting it in the microwave for 15 second or so, then check it. If it isn't soft enough, increase by 10 second intervals. Don't overdo it or you will have syrup!
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Here are questions related to Brown Sugar Tips and Tricks.
How many cups are in a 1lb bag of brown sugar?
Abear from LA
By Tim (Guest Post)10/04/2008
A 2lb bag lists 226 teaspoon servings per bag. Just convert that into cups and you find that 1 lb of brown sugar is 2.3541667 cups. Just round that to 2 and 1/3 cups and you got it!
How do you keep brown sugar soft and fresh, not hard?
By Van from Pemberton, NJ
By christine lauderback 02/19/2011
I keep mine in the original bag in a tupperware bowl sealed tightly. It will last forever. I have done this for years. No messing with MW or bread. Let me know if this works for you.
When a recipe calls for 'packed brown sugar' what is this? We have ordinary brown sugar and treacle sugar here in South Africa. I'm not sure what the 'packed' is.
Carolyn from South Africa
By OnSheRoars (Guest Post)04/10/2008
What ever unit of measure you are using,(cup, spoon, etc.) it should be "packed" in firmly. It should keep the shape of the utensil when you tap it out to use.
Can you use brown sugar instead of white?
I sub brown sugar for white sugar as much as possible! It makes your baked goods have such a deeper, richer taste due to the molasses but it will make the color darker. So if the color matters I would not substitute it, or only substitute 1/2 the amount of the white sugar.
What do I do with brown sugar when I make it?
By Gregory from Park Place
By Grandma J 06/30/2010
Anything to keep the air out of it and dry, yet moist.
What do I use to spread brown sugar evenly?
By Bud from Quincy, IL
By Dinah Ackerson 01/22/2015
Difficult to answer your question as we are not sure exactly why you are spreading brown sugar, on what surface (cake, cookies, candy etc.), using the brown sugar dry or wet, what tool you have tried so far, etc.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
If your box of brown sugar has hardened over time, don't throw it out. Instead place the box in the microwave on high power for about 20 seconds and your brown sugar will be softened.
By Katie A.
How do you soften brown sugar?
Keep brown sugar soft. Store brown sugar you plan to save for later baking in an airtight container with a fresh slice of bread. The moisture in the bread will keep your sugar soft, moist, and ready-to-use. When the bread dries and hardens, simply replace it with a fresh slice. You can feed the old, dry one to the birds and squirrels.
By Marie from West Dundee, IL
By Cindy H
How do you soften brown sugar that has hardened?
By Louise from Janesville, WI
By kris comer
That's what I love about this site, even a cranky old coot like me learns something new every day. :) (07/02/2010)