How to Soften Brown Sugar

It’s baking day and as you gleefully reach in for the brown sugar to add to the mixing bowl, you can already taste what the delightfully sweet cake you’re making is going to taste like. Then you see it. The lump of sugar melded into a rock like hardness, impossible to break up, fluff out, weigh or pack in the way required by the recipe. Don’t despair and don’t throw it away just yet. All is not lost!

Microwave it

Put the bag of brown sugar into a microwave and place a small bowl filled with water next to it. Microwave on high for two or three minutes in 30 second time frames. Check the bag. Rotate it around and shake it up a little to ensure the sugar doesn’t melt. The water from the bowl will help rehydrate the hardened sugar, restoring it to its original fluffiness.

Use the oven

Place the sugar into a baking dish and leave it in a 250 degree oven until it becomes soft. Use immediately. Softening the brown sugar with heat works for immediate usage only as the sugar will reharden when it cools down again.

Leave it overnight

If you have some time on your hands, you can soften brown sugar overnight. Place the brown sugar in a bowl and cover with damp paper towels. Then wrap the bowl with aluminium foil or cling wrap. Leave this out overnight at room temperature. The water from the damp paper towels will then absorb into the sugar. Fluff up the sugar with a fork the next morning.

Add moisture

The fundamental issue with hardened brown sugar is the lack of moisture. To soften it, just add a few drops of water with the sugar in a sealed zip lock bag. Or keep the sugar with a piece of soft bread or a few slices of apple – the moisture in these items will transfer over to the brown sugar to make it soft.

Storage matters

Half the battle is won if you store brown sugar correctly and carefully. Keep brown sugar in an airtight container and in a dark place. Placing sugar into the refridgerator actually makes the hardening process quicker as fridges dry food items out. If you include a slice of fruit such as orange or apple in the container and replace this continually, the sugar will not harden. Alternatively you can store your brown sugar with a saturated Brown Sugar Bear to keep it from hardening.


  1. 4 Ways to Soften Brown Sugar (and Keep It That Way) — Tips from …
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