Softening Granulated Sugar

December 3, 2016

How do I soften a 5 pound bag of hard sugar?



Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
December 3, 20165 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try putting it in the microwave at 15 second intervals.

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12 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

March 6, 2015

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, 20152 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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March 12, 2011

How do I soften hard sugar?

By Mike from Kensington, CT


March 12, 20112 found this helpful

Sometimes you can soften it up if you put it in the microwave for a few seconds. I would try it in 10 second intervals to see if it works. I know it works on brown sugar.

March 13, 20111 found this helpful

Try putting a couple of wet paper towels on top of the sugar in an open bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, check by gently stabbing with a fork and see if it is looser, then do another 30 seconds or so if needed. Don't want to get it too hot because it will melt.

March 15, 20110 found this helpful

Put a couple of saltine crackers in the container with the sugar. Also move it into a airtight plastic container.

January 5, 20121 found this helpful

Put one or two slices of fresh bread in with the sugar and seal. Works every time!

December 21, 20150 found this helpful

Put the hard white sugar in the top of a double boiler. I guess the solutions are the same: Heat it, either microwave or in double boiler.

September 11, 20170 found this helpful

Did not work for me. I had it in tight container for more than three weeks.

January 3, 20180 found this helpful

does it have to be white bread, can i use wheat bread

April 26, 20180 found this helpful

Didnt work for me. Slice of fresh bread in Tupperware, sugar is hard as a rock.

September 5, 20180 found this helpful

Or put a bit of water in it and stick it in the microwave

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January 5, 2012

How do I soften a 10 lb. bag of hard sugar?



Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 109 Feedbacks
January 5, 20121 found this helpful

Personally, I would put it in a plastic bag and beat it back to granules with a hammer. Other than that the only easy thing I know to do with it is melt it in water but you need something to do with a whole lot of sugar water.


If you did it in the right proportions you could freeze it until spring and use it thawed to feed hummingbirds.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 418 Posts
January 6, 20120 found this helpful

If you can break it up, maybe you can run it through a flour sifter. I have done that to lumpy sugar.

January 6, 20120 found this helpful

If it's brown sugar, put it in a container with a tight lid, and stick a piece of bread on top of it. The next day the sugar will be nice and soft and the bread will be hard as a rock.


I never had a problem with white sugar that way. But if it is so solid, put it in a zip lock bag and use a wooden meat tenderizer or a large handled spoon and just beat it...just my 2 cents.

January 6, 20120 found this helpful

I would run it through a food processor or try the blender. Good luck.

January 8, 20120 found this helpful

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.

November 7, 20151 found this helpful

You can whack it, right in the bag, with the flat side of a meat mallet and transfer it to an airtight container to keep it from hardening again.

March 1, 20160 found this helpful

Cut up a piece of Apple and let it sit in the bag or container

August 16, 20160 found this helpful

Run your hand mixer though it gradually though the opened top.

January 17, 20180 found this helpful

NOT talking about BROWN sugar, talking about granulated!!!

February 11, 20190 found this helpful

Microwave it for a minute at a time. It works !

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May 10, 2017

How can I make a rock hard 5lb bag of white sugar usable again?


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
May 10, 20170 found this helpful

Break into smaller pieces, place inside a plastic bag and use a rolling pin , or meat mallet.

Or you can put some pieces in the microwave for a minute.





Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
May 10, 20171 found this helpful

Since its a big bag, slice up a few sections of an apple and put it on the top of the bag, seal, and let sit over night. The moisture from the apple will help loosen up the crystals. Use a fork or mallet to loosen the rest gently.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
May 11, 20171 found this helpful

There are clay disks that you can buy, soak with water, and put in. Once you buy them, you have them forever.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 138 Answers
May 11, 20170 found this helpful

once you have gotten it soft put it in a sealed, airtight container in a cool dry place

May 14, 20170 found this helpful

I put the bag in an extra bag & drop it in the floor!


Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 409 Answers
June 3, 20170 found this helpful

Have you tried putting it in the microwave for a few seconds? I know this works with brown sugar.

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February 10, 2019

How do I soften a bag of hardened white sugar?


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
February 11, 20190 found this helpful

You can use a hammer to pound it.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
February 12, 20190 found this helpful

It is difficult to soften a complete bag of white sugar because the easiest methods require it to be in a sealable container.

You might try placing a towel or large cloth (to keep any loose sugar contained) on a counter and gently pound it with something to try and break it into smaller pieces. You could use a hammer (as Judy suggested) but a heavy cup (tilted on side) would probably work.

Or - you might try removing the sugar from the bag and place it in a large microwavable bowl and place in microwave for 1-2 minutes at a time until is softened.

Another thing to try if you have a large casserole dish:
Place the hardened sugar in your casserole dish in your oven preheated to 150-200 degrees. Leave it for 15 minutes. Then tap it with a spoon, just to loosen the lumps. Leave a little longer if necessary.

I have used an apple (if I had one on hand) or a slice or two of white bread.
Using an apple is easy; just remove the core and cut it into quarters. Place the sugar and apple quarters in sealable container, place in a dry spot and leave overnight (at least 12 hours). Remove apple slices and use a spoon or a fork to loosen sugar granules.

Do the same thing with one or two bread slices.
This works but if your sugar is really rock solid it may take a little more time or even more than one method.

None of these suggestions will work very quickly so if sugar is needed "right now" you may have to go with using a hammer type item to loosen what you need and maybe place some in a bag and use a rolling pin method (with a heavy "soda type" bottle if necessary).


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
February 13, 20190 found this helpful

I guess to me the question is why did it harden? If it got wet, check for mold and toss it if you see mold or it has a weird smell.

If it is age or just day to day deterioration, this is a direct quote from the Domino brand website:

Here is an easy way to make hardened granulated sugar soft again -- Preheat oven to lowest temperature, 150-200 degrees. Remove sugar from the package and put in an ovenproof container that will hold the sugar. Place in the warm oven for approximately 15 minutes. Tap sugar with a spoon. If it starts to fall apart, turn oven off and leave sugar in the oven for an hour or two to completely dry out. Always store granulated sugar in an airtight container.

I keep mine in the freezer and it keeps fine, never clumps or gets hard. I have been doing this for years...started when my one apartment kitchen was so small there was no other place to store things.

Happy baking and sweetening!!

February 13, 20190 found this helpful

put potato peal in the bag
pound on the bag
microwave it for 1 min
stir it

February 17, 20191 found this helpful

In future to prevent sugar, brown sugar or anything else from turning into a solid hard lump that is difficult to break up, place a couple of pieces of apple inside the container. I usually place mine about half an inch in the top. Your hard brown sugar will never be hard again, and it is a super-cheap solution to an annoying problem.

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December 15, 2018

How can I get hard lumps out of my granulated sugar? What is the easiest way?


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
December 16, 20180 found this helpful

Manual pounding or putting lumps of sugar in a blender are two of the easiest ways to get lumps out of sugar. Other suggestions can be found at

December 16, 20180 found this helpful

I usually use the base of a glass to press into the clumps. Use a heavy, thick-based glass or mug so its less likely to break. Press lightly while rocking the glass back and forth. About 10 seconds in the microwave might also help. I use this method for brown sugar.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
December 16, 20180 found this helpful

I have used an immersion blender in a glass container with high sides. You just want to do a quick whir...not turn it into powdered sugar.

Hope this helps you!


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
December 16, 20180 found this helpful

I use a fork and the back of a spoon to pound out the lumps right in the canister I store it in.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
December 17, 20180 found this helpful

There are other ways (just in case you do not have any of these little gadgets to work with.

Use an oven or even a small oven or a rolling pin/heavy glass/cup.

Here is a suggestion from the "horse's mouth" (Domino Sugar).

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March 29, 2009

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 Lori Morelli from Ohio


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 147 Feedbacks
March 29, 20090 found this helpful

How should I store my C&H Granulated Sugar and C&H Powdered Sugar? Moisture makes granulated sugar hard and lumpy. Once this happens, there is no way to adequately restore it. Always store granulated sugar in a covered container in a cool, dry area. Good luck.

March 31, 20090 found this helpful

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!

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December 4, 2012

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?

By Billie


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 472 Feedbacks
December 10, 20121 found this helpful

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.

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

March 12, 2011

How do I soften granulated sugar once it's become hard?


December 6, 2010

How can I soften granulated sugar which has hardened in the bag in which it was sold?


July 10, 2010

Softening Hard Sugar. 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.


July 23, 2006
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