When sugar gets hard, there are ways to make it useful. This guide is about softening granulated sugar.
If you ever have a package of rock hard brown sugar just take it out of the box and/or plastic and wrap it in aluminum foil and place it in a preheated 300 degree oven for 5 minutes. Voila, your brown sugar will be softened again! Just be sure to store whatever you aren't going to use of the remaining softened brown sugar in an airtight container with a slice of bread to keep it from hardening again :-)
By Deeli from Richland, WA
How do I soften a 10 lb. bag of hard sugar?
January 8, 2012
Brown sugar can be softened by reintroducing moisture in several ways:
The 1st 2 solutions I list are my fastest solutions. The last solution... #6 I use to SLOW the hardening process in the first place.
1-Heat brown sugar in a 250 degree oven in an oven safe pan. Watch carefully and as soon as it is soft measure the amount you need. It will harden as it cools.
2-Place brown sugar in a microwave-safe container and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat process until it is soft. Again, Watch carefully and as soon as it is soft measure the amount you need since It will harden as it cools.
3-Place brown sugar in a plastic container with a small piece of plastic wrap or foil over the sugar. Put a damp paper towel or napkin on top of the plastic/foil. Cover tightly. Remove damp paper towel in a couple of days. Keep container tightly sealed.
4-Place a few apple slices or a slice of bread in an air-tight container with the brown sugar. Remove after the sugar has softened in a day or two.
5-Grind hardened chunks in a food processor. Be careful not to ruin your food processor.
6-Soak a piece of clay in water for 30 minutes. Dry the piece so it isn't dripping wet. Place the clay in the container with the sugar and seal. In a few days you should have softened sugar again. Leave the clay in as long as you like. You can actually purchase cute clay bears created for just this purpose.
By Mike 1
How do I soften hard sugar?
By Mike from Kensington, CT
January 5, 2012
Put one or two slices of fresh bread in with the sugar and seal. Works every time!
I have two 5 pound bags of white granulated sugar that is very hard. How can I soften it for use?
By Aldona S.
March 6, 2015
Microwave it for 1 minute. That should work. If not, place a piece of bread in the packaging & it'll take a day or so, but it'll loosen it right up.
I bought bulk powdered sugar and stored it in plastic containers. Now it is hard and difficult to use. Can I use a piece of bread to soften it like I do with brown sugar? Any ideas are welcome.
Thanks in advance!
By Scrappinmom30 from Ohio
March 31, 2009
I don't know any tricks to soften it. Have you tried one of those clay disks that you can use with brown sugar? One idea might be to try using a hand grater to get it back down to a powdery texture.... You might try a blender or spice/coffee ginder etc., but I am not sure what that would do to it (at the higher speed than manual). You could always try with a small sample and see what happens!
It's been in a glass container on my counter for several months and I rarely use it. Now it's hardened in the glass container and I can't get it out. What can I do without destroying the container?
December 10, 2012
While you may not be able to use it as pourable sugar, you can still use it. Pour water into the container over the sugar and shake it every now and then. The water will melt the sugar and make a syrup that can be used in drinks (tea, lemonade, kool-aid, etc), to sweeten cooked foods, to use in fruit syrups for pancakes or desserts. You'll have to experiment using it since you won't have any actual sugar:water ratio. If you use all the water and still have sugar in the jar, just add more water, shake, and wait until some more is melted.
I am sure this has been answered before, but cant find the answer. My regular sugar has hardened due to the humidity, and I need to know how to "soften" it again. Thank you for any and all suggestions.
jmz2005 from Illinois
I use a piece of bread. Just rip off a chunk and put it in a sealed container with the sugar. It will be moist again in no time. (07/22/2006)
I have a 4 lb. bag of sugar I took camping with us. I only used a small amount from it and it became hard from being out in the moisture. Does anyone know what to do to bring it back to its natural granulated state?
Gina from Kingston, TN
If you can't get it softened again just use a grater and grate it up, if you aren't using it in a liquid recipe.
If you are using it in something liquid just take a part of the liquid and soak some chunks. You could probably guess pretty close how much is equal to a cup or the amount you need. (07/24/2006)
Run it through a sifter and then seal it in air tight containers. If it's hard it is like you said due to humidity, and then it dries clumpy. I never heard of putting something moist in regular sugar to reduce clumps, although this does work with brown sugar when it gets hard after drying out too much. But brown sugar is supposed to be moist so adding a slice of bread or apple makes sense, but with hard white sugar you need to break it up and send it through a sifter. (07/24/2006)
I use half an apple, (just seal it in the bag with the sugar) and then try to use the sugar before it gets hard again. (07/24/2006)
Put a slice of bread in the container and leave it there for a few days. It will absorb the moisture and soften the sugar. (07/24/2006)
Break it into smaller pieces and run it through the blender or food processor, or use a hand grater and run the sugar over that so it falls into a bowl. (07/24/2006)
If nothing else works, I'd just put it in a pan, add some water, and slowly cook it into a syrup to use in drinks (like lemonade) and sweet tea or to make hummingbird nectar. At least it wouldn't be wasted. (07/25/2006)
I keep my brown sugar in the freezer. When it's needed, just take it out perhaps 15 minutes before, and by the time you need it, it's soft and pliable! (07/25/2006)
Cinchy, put your bag of sugar (white) in a gallon baggie, top or opened end first, then using your rolling pin, just hit the sugar, like you're crushing graham crackers. Worked in minutes! (12/19/2009)
How can I soften granulated sugar which has hardened in the bag in which it was sold?
By Betty from Shoreview, MN
I've had to do this trick several times myself to break up hardened sugar. Place the entire unopened bag of sugar in a plastic bag and close the top. Now take the bag and carefully drop the bag on the floor, first on one side then the other. This will definitely break up the sugar granules. (07/11/2010)
Not sure if this will work for granulated sugar, but it does the trick in brown sugar, put a piece of bread in the bag, just like 1/4 of a slice. It will keep it fresh and the bread gets hard, not the sugar. Replace bread piece about every 10 days. (07/11/2010)
Once you get it broken up, run it through a flour sifter. I've done that many times. (07/11/2010)
By Hate Litter
You can run it through your food processor if it's too hard to break up. (07/13/2010)
How do I soften granulated sugar once it's become hard?
By Jackie from Totowa, NJ
I've heard of this working for brown sugar. Place the brown sugar in an airtight container with a slice of fresh bread placed on top. Seal and leave overnight. It should be soft and fresh again in the morning, if not just let it sit another day or two. (12/07/2010)
Microwave it, just like new again. (12/07/2010)
I just came across a 5 lb bag I bought before Christmas (it's Feb. now) and it hardened like a complete rock. I dumped it into a large bowl and using a hand grater grated the large pieces. Then I sifted into it's container. The large chunks that didn't sift, I placed back in the bowl and continued grating and sifting again. When a few small pieces (too small to grate) were left, I softly hit them with a meat mallet until they broke up, then throwing them into the sifter. Total loss from a 5 lb. bag was probably a tablespoon. Total time spent was about 15 min. Overall, it worked fine. I would do it again. Very easy. (02/10/2011)
By Jeff R.