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How to Soften Brown Sugar

September 22, 2005

A bowl of soft brown sugar.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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By Linda

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 170 Feedbacks
February 5, 2018

We've all heard the maxim; to keep brown sugar soft, put (something or other) in the jar. And yes, it works. But what a mess. The sugar inevitably sticks to bread, or apple slices, and pretty much everything else one can think of to use.

Orange peels inside a jar of brown sugar.

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January 22, 2013

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

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 424 Answers
August 29, 2017

If your brown sugar has hardened, place a small piece of apple in with the sugar to soften it.

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April 10, 2021

How to soften brown sugar that is hard?


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April 10, 20210 found this helpful
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There are many options online. One I found is that you could put it in an oven safe bowl. Heat at 250.

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Check and unclump the sugar with a fork every few minutes. Take it out when it's soft.

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
April 10, 20210 found this helpful
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You will receive so many suggestions here and online to use a slice of bread. I would only recommend this if you have nothing else to use. Bread will sometimes mold if the container is not completely sealed and it can be mushy - but, it usually works.
If you need it softened right now, then I believe the only way would be do use Judy's method with the microwave.

For future storage you will need a sealable container - make sure the lid fastens tightly or the sugar will get hard again.

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Several people have suggested using a clean piece of a clay pot but I just bought one of the smallest clay 'saucers' at Walmart, washed and placed in warm water for 15 minutes before placing it in the bottom of my container; poured brown sugar on top, marked date and closed it tightly. Clay needs to be rewet after about 3 months or when you use your sugar.

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 440 Answers
April 10, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you want to do it very quickly:
- place your lump of hardened brown sugar in a small microwave-safe bowl,
- cover it with a moist paper towel,

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- heat for 20-30 seconds at half-power and check for softness, breaking up any large clumps with a fork.
If necessary, continue heating in 15 second intervals until the brown sugar is adequately soft.
Be careful not to let the sugar start to melt or it will harden into a caramelized mess when it cools.

If you have a little more time:
- wrap your hardened brown sugar in aluminum foil,
- place the wrapped brown sugar on a baking sheet,
- place it in a 250°F oven,
- carefully check the brown sugar for softness every 5 minutes (it is hot) until adequately softened.

If you have 1-3 days:
- transfer your lump of hardened brown sugar into an airtight container or in a sealable plastic bag,
- add a slice of bread or a couple of damp tea bags,
- close the container and leave and leave overnight,
- check the brown sugar for softness the next morning. If necessary, seal the container again and check again later.

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Answer this Question

October 19, 2018

Brown sugar frequently turns into a hard lump in the container. Here are some great tips for keeping it soft. This is a page about keeping brown sugar soft.

Soft brown dark sugar and unrefined sugar cane .

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June 25, 2010

How do you soften brown sugar?

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February 10, 2011

How do you soften brown sugar that has hardened?

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March 4, 2009

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.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
February 10, 2011

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.

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