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How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar


Here's a tip to help you soften your rock-solid brown sugar.

How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar:

If your brown sugar has become hard as a brick, you can soften it by adding a cut apple to the container, closing it, and waiting a day or so. The moisture from the apple will soften the sugar.

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How to Soften Brown Sugar

Due to the molasses and sugar in brown sugar, it often becomes hard rather easily. As a result, it can be hard to break up when you need to use it. Most of us use brown sugar in baking recipes, thus it needs to be softened so it can fit into a measuring cup. You can't do that when you have a hard clump or brick of sugar! Here are a few ways that explain how to soften brown sugar. It isn't difficult to soften the sugar when you re-soften the sugar, you also won't have to replace a perfectly good ingredient.


Why does brown sugar harden?

The reason why brown sugar hardens often has a lot to do with science and how you store it. "Brown sugar is white granulated sugar that is coated with ​molasses," explains chef Albertho Appolon. "This is why brown sugar hardens together once it has been exposed to air, because the molasses coating evaporates over time, and the sugar granules stick back together." So, once the moisture from the molasses begins to evaporate, your brown sugar will begin to harden.


How To Soften Hard Brown Sugar (5 Easy Ways To Do It)

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Hard brown sugar can be a real pain, especially if you need some immediately for cooking or baking.

Brown sugar has a tendency to harden easily because each individual grain is coated with molasses.

This is a very, very thin layer that causes the crystals of sugar to glide against each other easily, so they feel nice and soft.

But being exposed to open air can result in the moisture within those molasses evaporating, removing all of the films between the sugar grains until they start to stick to each other.

If this has happened to your sugar supply, here’s how to soften hard brown sugar!

1. With bread

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Believe it or not, despite the sad state of a bunch of brown sugar that’s become a victim of evaporation, brown sugar is actually really good at absorbing moisture.

That’s why one of the best ways to soften brown sugar is to place the sugar and a slice of bread into a plastic bag or airtight container.

If you do this a day before you need the ingredient, you’ll find that the sugar absorbs all the moisture from the bread, leaving the bread stale and the crystals soft!

2. With a microwave

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This is by far the simplest way to soften hard brown sugar.

Just transfer the approximate amount you need into a microwavable bowl.

Then, grab a paper towel and gently dampen it with some water.

Place the moist paper towel onto the bowl so it covers the sugar, then turn the microwave on and allow to run for between 20 and 25 seconds, and you’re done.

Make sure not to let the brown sugar microwave for too long, as it may melt into a thick syrup you can’t use!

Still not soft? Grab a fork and use it to break apart the crystals, and microwave some more in further bursts of 20 seconds.

3. With apples

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This actually follows the exact same concept as the bread method, but make sure you really have a day or two to let it sit.

Put some apples into a container of brown sugar that you can seal airtight and leave it be.

Eventually, the sugar crystals will draw out the moisture from the apples, and you’ll even get a fresh, pleasant taste from them! (Psst… you can also do this with marshmallows!)

4. With paper towels or cloth

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Place your brown sugar into a bowl, then dampen some clean cloth or even some paper towels and fold them over the top of the bowl, so the sugar is completely covered.

Allow this to sit overnight, and the next day you’ll have nice, softened brown crystals!

5. Store sugar the right way

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With correct storage, hard brown sugar will never be a problem for you again.

All brown sugar should be kept in a nice and impenetrable airtight container, sealed away from pesky evaporation.

Try to use really small containers so the brown sugar takes up nearly all the space inside, reducing the amount of air present.

If you don’t have a trustworthy airtight container, transfer the sugar into a plastic bag you can seal – like a sandwich zip bag – before you place it into the container.


  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 days
  • Total Time: 2 days 2 mins
  • Servings: 1
  • Easy
Kara Schiaparelli

Step 1

Put the hard brown sugar in a container with a lid.

Step 2

Place a piece of bread on top of the brown sugar.

Step 3

Put the lid on the container and leave for 24-48 hours. The bread will put moisture back in the sugar and will become stale itself.

In the future, however, you can make sure that your brown sugar never goes hard by storing it in an airtight container. The lack of air exposure guarantees that the sugar will stay nice and soft.

Now that you have these two methods for how to soften hard brown sugar, you are always ready to make some delicious treats. Brown sugar isn't just for baking, you know. You can make salmon, vegan ice cream, and candied bacon with it too!


How To Soften Brown Sugar In The Microwave

1. Place sugar in a microwave-safe bowl

Put your solid lump of dried brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.

2. Add damp paper towels

Lay two pieces of paper towel on top of each other. Fold them in half, and then in half again. You should end up with a square of 8 layers. Wet the paper towel square under a gently running tap until it is completely wet through, but not soaked (dripping wet is too wet). Lay the wet paper towel over the lump of brown sugar so it is fully covered. Microwave for 45 seconds on med-low heat. Remove from microwave, flip over and repeat. Remove from microwave and use a fork to scrape off the softened brown sugar that will be on the outer edges.

3. Repeat until brown sugar is entirely softened

Go through this whole process again until brown sugar is completely re-hydrated. Note: The size of your brown sugar determines how many times you’ll have to heat it. The minimum will be approximately five to six times. (In this test, we had to reheat it ten times.)


3 best ways to soften brown sugar

Softening brown sugar is easy and depending on how quickly you need it will depend on what method you might want to use. Brown sugar is simply white sugar-coated with molasses.

The reason that it clumps together is that over time the moisture evaporates which causes the sugar crystals to stick together.

Whether you store your brown sugar in an airtight container or not it will eventually harden over time.

This doesn’t mean that it has gone bad or that you need to throw it away. You just need to add moisture back into it.

1. Microwave

Using the microwave to soften brown sugar is the fastest method. There are two ways of softening brown sugar in the microwave.

Place your hardened brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and choose one of the following 2 next steps.

Use a fork to mix it up a little and break up the clumps. If you find that you need just a few more seconds, add another 15 sec at a time.

Make sure you don’t overdo it as we aren’t wanting to cook the brown sugar, only soften it.

2. Oven

If you aren’t in a time crunch but do need it relatively soon you can soften brown sugar in your oven. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, put your hardened brown sugar in foil and wrap tight, then place it on a baking sheet in case it drips.

Check on it every 5 minutes or so until it is soft. Make sure to wear an oven mitt because it is going to get HOT. Allow for the brown sugar to cool off before adding it to your recipe.

3. Overnight

Adding bread (or believe it or not apple slices) to an airtight container with your hardened brown sugar and letting it sit overnight will soften it. The moisture from the apples or bread will slowly be added back into your brown sugar.

You can also make your brown sugar soft again by leaving it out on the counter overnight in a bowl with a dampened dishtowel laid over it. Again, the key to softening brown sugar is adding moisture back into it.

These methods however, take time.


Help! Why is my brown sugar so hard?

When you buy brown sugar, it comes in an airtight container. But then you open it&mdashand the more air your brown sugar is exposed to, the harder and tougher it will be to break apart. That's because brown sugar has molasses in it, and that molasses evaporates with air exposure, leaving you with a big old dense and solid piece. So it's worth it to invest in some good airtight containers to keep things fluffy.


Varieties of Brown Sugar You can Buy

When we add a little amount of molasses into white sugar, varieties of brown sugar are produced. Its mean amount of molasses depends on what type of brown sugar you want.

Light brown sugar:

Light brown sugar is commonly used for baking purposes. Light brown sugar contains approximately 3.5% of molasses.

Dark brown sugar:

Dark brown sugar is additionally rich in flavor and color because dark brown sugar contains 6.5% of molasses.

Dark brown or light brown sugar exchangeable used in recipes. Its mean amount of molasses depends on what variety of sugar is (light or dark) but an extra amount of molasses means dark brown sugar and this sugar is a higher level of acidity and gives more taste rather than light sugar. The difference between these two sugars is minor and should not keep you from backing projects.

Liquid brown sugar:

Liquid brown sugar known as domino sugar. This sugar is firstly manufactured in the US. Even though light brown sugar is no longer available. But to make the replacement of liquid brown sugar, we combine three parts of light brown sugar with a little amount of water. This mixture heated for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar.


How to fix hard brown sugar | Soften Fast

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We’ve all been there: brown sugar turned to brick. But don&rsquot fret, you can&rsquot unboil an egg but you can re-soften brown sugar. Here are our sugar-saving tips.

Here’s how to soften brown sugar quickly. Put the brown sugar lump in a microwave-safe bowl. Wet a paper towel and wring it out so it’s lightly damp.

Cover the bowl and microwave in 10-second bursts until the sugar is crumbly again. Poke the sugar with a fork between bursts to help break up the lump. The good news is that unless your brown sugar has obviously gone bad, you should be able to get it soft again.

According to Kim Vickers, head baker at Dough, the fastest way to get your sugar back to its former scoop-able softness is to microwave it.She suggests putting it into a microwave-safe bowl, draping it with a napkin, and then heating it up at 20-second intervals until it’s soft. Can I soften brown sugar in the microwave? For those moments when half of your ingredients are already in the bowl and you need brown sugar pronto, turn to your microwave. Simply place your brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave for 20 seconds.

Made of terra cotta, it keeps brown sugar soft for three to six months. Just soak it in warm water for 20 minutes, then place it in the brown sugar in an airtight container. If you need to soften hard brown sugar, place it into a resealable plastic bag with a slice of soft bread or an apple slice.

Seal the bag well. Leave the bag closed for several hours, then open the bag and remove the bread or apple. The sugar should be soft.

If you need a quicker solution, place the sugar.

List of related literature:

You can soften hardened brown sugar by putting it in an airtight container and adding a slice of apple or bread or by brief heating in the microwave.

To revive hardened brown sugar, place it in a bowl with a slice of bread, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and microwave it on high power for 10 to 20 seconds.

Boil the brown sugar in 1/2 cup of water until it thickens.

If your brown sugar dries out, place the sugar in a zipper­lock bag, add a slice of bread, and set it aside overnight until the sugar is soft again.