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Brown Sugar Tips and Tricks

Category Storage
Wooden Scoop of Brown Sugar
Once opened keeping your brown sugar from getting packed and hard can be a challenge. This page contains brown sugar tips and tricks.
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Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

By 11 found this helpful
July 13, 2011

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!

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By Elaine S. from near Cedar Rapids, IA

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By 2 found this helpful
October 5, 2012

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

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January 5, 20071 found this helpful

Soften Hard Brown Sugar

For hard brown sugar, wet a paper towel, wrap it around the sugar and in a few hours or less, it will be soft.

By Ginny

Microwave

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)

By Aneita

Add A Slice Of Bread

Place a piece of bread in with the brown sugar and it will soften, in a few hours.

By Chelsey

Freeze Then Microwave

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.

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By RoseMary B. from Texas Creek, CO

Use A Food Processor

I chop it up in the food processor if it has gotten hard.

By Ed

Comment Was this helpful? 1

September 22, 20050 found this helpful

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!

By Linda

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By 1 found this helpful
January 22, 2013

Add an apple to your brown sugar in a glass jar. Works every time.

By Gerry B. from Tuscon, AZ

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March 1, 2012

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.

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By Great Granny Vi from Moorpark, CA

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April 14, 2008

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.

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Read More...

November 2, 20130 found this helpful

This page tells how to make your own brown sugar at home. You can easily make your own brown sugar by adding 2 tablespoons of molasses to 1 cup of granulated sugar.

Brown Sugar

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By 0 found this helpful
August 2, 2010

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.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
November 13, 2007

How many cups are in a 1lb bag of brown sugar?

Abear from LA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 13, 20070 found this helpful

It's simple math, 1 cup = 8 oz., 2 cups = 16 oz. I'm referring to brown sugar that isn't packed.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 14, 20070 found this helpful

You can't compare 8 ounces liquid measure to 8 ounces of weight. Everything you put in an 8 oz liquid measuring cup will weigh something different. Cooks Illustrated says that one packed cup of brown sugar weighs 7 ounces. So one pound will yeild just over 2 1/4 cups.

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November 15, 20070 found this helpful

Brown sugar is sold by weight, not volume (like honey), so one cup will not be 8 ounces like most things.

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November 15, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Abear

I believe it is sold by weight. I'm not very sure on cup measurements.

Oh by the way...I sure wish you would come back to visit us at family corner. We miss you lots. Don't know if you remember me or not. You are from my hometown.

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November 16, 20070 found this helpful

2 1/2 Cups of brown sugar packed = 1 pound

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 13, 20070 found this helpful

2.3 cups of sugar per pound

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 4, 20080 found this helpful

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!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
February 16, 2011

How do you keep brown sugar soft and fresh, not hard?

By Van from Pemberton, NJ

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 16, 20110 found this helpful

We always kept a slice of bread in with the brown sugar in an airtight container when I was a child, and that always seemed to do the trick!

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February 16, 20110 found this helpful

I buy my brown sugar in a bag, once I open it I try to press out as much air as possible, reseal the bag and then place that bag in another zip lock bag and repeat the process. it also helps to add a small slice of apple in the bag with the sugar.

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February 17, 20110 found this helpful

Keliz, I do the same thing. I keep it in an airtight container and throw the heel of the bread on top. When that gets dry, I replace it with a new piece. It even works if the sugar is already hard. Just take it out of the bag, break it into pieces and put it in a container, throw a slice or two on top, and check back in a couple of days.

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February 18, 20110 found this helpful

I just keep the brown sugar in the bag it came in. When i finish with it i seal the air out, then put an elastic band around it and place it in a zip lock. I also squeeze the air out of it. Rarely does it dry out. If it does an apple slice, or bread will soften it. I throw the dry bread and apple out to the birds when done with it.

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February 18, 20110 found this helpful

I keep my Brown Sugar soft with a small ceramic bear figure that you can get at almost any dollar store or at Meijers or Kroger's in the baking aisle. I also keep it fresh in a small plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid. Works for me!

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February 19, 20110 found this helpful

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

February 29, 2008

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 29, 20080 found this helpful

"Smoosh" the brown sugar down in the measuring cup with the bottom of a large spoon.

It means packed vs. loose. For it to be the correct amount you don't want to be able to shake the sugar in the measuring cup.

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February 29, 20080 found this helpful

Is your brown sugar the dry (natural) kind or the moist kind? When they are referring to packed brown sugar, they mean the moist kind that is pressed tightly into a measuring cup so that there are no air pockets when measuring.

If you are using dry brown (or white) sugar, to make the equivilent of 1 cup of the moist, brown sugar take 1 cup of dry sugar and add 4T. of molasses to it (or the recipe) to get the right flavor and the extra moisture that the recipe needs.

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March 3, 20080 found this helpful

Packed brown sugar is regular brown sugar that you must push all the way down and keep adding and pushing till you get the measurement needed. HTH

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March 3, 20080 found this helpful

It just means you need to measure accurately without gaps and air pockets.

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 10, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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November 30, 20140 found this helpful

Can you use brown sugar instead of white?

By PW

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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January 22, 20150 found this helpful

What do I use to spread brown sugar evenly?

By Bud from Quincy, IL

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By 0 found this helpful
June 28, 2010

What do I do with brown sugar when I make it?

By Gregory from Park Place

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June 28, 20100 found this helpful

I also make my own brown sugar, and then store it in a plastic bag, and use a twist tie to keep the air out. Then I keep it in one of my Tupperware canisters.

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June 30, 20100 found this helpful

Anything to keep the air out of it and dry, yet moist.

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 10, 20110 found this helpful

How do you soften brown sugar that has hardened?

By Louise from Janesville, WI

Answers:

Softening Brown Sugar

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

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By arizonamafia

Softening Brown Sugar

The other thing that works is a slice of apple. (06/29/2010)

By Laniegirl

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By morbetomommy

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By yoder178

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By ladyinred

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By PupperMom

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

August 2, 20100 found this helpful

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

Answers:

Store Brown Sugar With a Slice of Bread

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!
Cindy
(07/02/2008)

By Cindy H

Store Brown Sugar With a Slice of Bread

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)

By wolfbytez

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

June 25, 20100 found this helpful

How do you soften brown sugar?

Rosaland

Answers:

Softening 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)

By thriftmeg

RE: Softening Brown Sugar

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

March 4, 20090 found this helpful

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 Sharon

Answers:

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By Julie

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By Liz

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By Linne

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By Deanna

Softening Brown Sugar

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.

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By Robin

Softening Brown Sugar

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)

By ThriftyFun

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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