Once opened keeping your brown sugar from getting packed and hard can be a challenge. This page contains brown sugar tips and tricks.
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
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.
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
How do you keep brown sugar soft and fresh, not hard?
By Van from Pemberton, NJ
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.
What do I use to spread brown sugar evenly?
By Bud from Quincy, IL
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.
How many cups are in a 1lb bag of brown sugar?
Abear from LA
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!
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
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.
What do I do with brown sugar when I make it?
By Gregory from Park Place
Anything to keep the air out of it and dry, yet moist.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
How do you soften brown sugar that has hardened?
By Louise from Janesville, WI
I have an air tight container that I add 1 piece of bread to the package of opened brown sugar and in a day the sugar is softened. (06/28/2010)
By kris comer
Put brown sugar in plastic container (tupperware type)with tight fitting lid, add 1 or 2 pieces of bread (white or whole wheat) close lid, will soften in less than a day and will keep forever. Even if the bread dries out, your sugar will remain soft. (06/28/2010)
The other thing that works is a slice of apple. (06/29/2010)
Place a piece of bread in your bag or container of brown sugar and your sugar will get soft. I also found that keeping your brown sugar in the freezer keeps it from getting hard. (06/29/2010)
A quick way to soften brown sugar is to place in the microwave with a cup of water to the side; heat up for a few minutes on high and voila! Soft sugar:) (06/29/2010)
If you would go to tipnut.com, there are all ways to soften brown sugar. I usually use the old method of putting a slice of bread in an airtight container with brown sugar for a day or overnight. (06/29/2010)
Really have to thank everybody who mentioned using a slice of bread to soften brown sugar, couldn't believe it but it worked in about twelve hours!
That's what I love about this site, even a cranky old coot like me learns something new every day. :) (07/02/2010)
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
I especially like the idea of feeding the bread to the birds and squirrels! But, having said that, I still think it's easier and healthier to use a Brown Sugar Saver (made of a disk of clay) which lasts a lot longer and is probably a lot healthier. It can be used over and over every 3 months, approx., and there are nice designs, too!
By Cindy H
I have kept brown sugar in a canning jar with the 2 piece lid for over a year and it is as soft as the day I bought it! (10/31/2009)
How do you soften brown sugar?
A piece of non-stale bread or a dried apple slice in the bag works wonders. Remember to replace it occasionally when dries out. If it has already gotten rock hard and all else fails, I have taken it to my kitchen grater and grated off enough to use for whatever I am making. (03/05/2009)
You can also re-soften or keep brown sugar soft by placing it in an air tight container and place one or two pieces of white bread in with it. It will soften overnight or you can just change the bread every other week. You must use white bread do not use wheat. Some people also use half an apple instead of white bread, but I don't like the after taste of the apple and you must change it more often. I put a reminder on my pda or calendar and change the bread as I complete other tasks that I only do once or twice a month. (08/04/2004)
I always keep brown sugar in freezer, then place in microwave on defrost for a few seconds, take what you need and place the rest back in freezer. No waste at all also keeps bugs out. (08/05/2004)
Keep a clean piece of a broken clay pot in an airtight container with it. I've seen expensive versions in catalogs and stores. All it is is a piece of terracotta, so who needs a fancy design that costs a lot? (08/06/2004)
All this fuss about brown sugar. Just transfer it to a freezer bag as soon as you get home from the market. It has never hardened on me this way. Just be sure to re-close the bag! (08/09/2004)
All I do is wet a small wad of paper towel or paper napkin and put it in with the brown sugar. That moistens it and softens it for practically no cost at all. (08/10/2004)
By Katie A.
Place an opened box of hardened brown sugar into the microwave with one cup of water. Microwave at high for 1 1/2-2 minutes for 1/2 pound or 2 - 3 minutes for 1 pound. (11/13/2004)
I've tried many different tips for softening brown sugar, but this one works better than all the rest. It even works on an entire bag that is completely solid. All you do is put the brown sugar in an airtight container with a lid (you may have to break the sugar into pieces so it will fit). Cover the top with a layer of plastic wrap, then lay a wet paper towel over the top. Put on the lid. In a day or two, depending on the amount of brown sugar to be softened, the sugar will be as soft as sugar just purchased!
By klawrence34 (11/26/2004)