Kitchen Basics 101: How to Store Brown Sugar

Kitchen Basics 101: How to Store Brown Sugar

Last week for Kitchen Basics 101 we discussed how to make your own brown sugar.  You can read that post HERE.  It’s always a good idea to have that recipe on hand in case you run out of brown sugar, or you discover your brown sugar is hard as a rock when you’re ready to bake.

Before we talk about today’s tip of to how to store brown sugar properly, let’s learn WHY brown sugar gets hard in the first place.  We know from last week’s post that molasses is used to make brown sugar.  When the sugar is fresh, the molasses helps keep everything soft and manageable.  However, if the sugar is exposed to air, the moisture will evaporate the molasses and make the sugar become like glue and stick together until everything dries out and hardens into a solid rock.  We’ve all been there, right?  

Over the years I’ve read and even tried a few different ideas, but none have really worked.  One idea is to remove the brown sugar from the original package and place it in a container along with a slice of bread or a marshmallow in the container as well. Some people have said an apple slice works well also.

But for me, the way I have discovered to keep my brown sugar soft and fresh is to place the brown sugar in a ziplock plastic bag and then place the plastic bag inside an air-tight container and store on a dark shelf in your pantry…making sure you really “squeeze” the bag first to remove all the air out of the ziplock baggie.

If you do find your brown sugar is hard as a rock, here are a few tips to try to soften:
  • Sprinkle a few drops of water over the brown sugar.  Seal it in a plastic bag and let sit for a couple of days.  
  • Place the brown sugar in a container and microwave for about one minute.  Keep microwaving the sugar in increments of 30 seconds until it’s nice and soft; being careful not to melt the sugar.  Make sure you place a small bowl of water alongside the container of brown sugar in the microwave. This will create steam to help soften the sugar.  
  • Places chunks of the hardened brown sugar in a food processor and pulse until it is the consistency you need.  


How do YOU store your brown sugar?  
What has worked for YOU?  


  1. says

    Found your site through the Tasty Tuesday link up. Great tips! We keep our brown sugar in a canister with a tight seal. I keep a marshmallow or two in ours to prevent it from hardening. It also works to soften it. I hadn’t heard of sprinkling it with water and putting it in a plastic bag. I’ll have to remember that if the brown sugar hardens and I don’t have any marshmallows on hand. Thanks!

  2. says

    I have a pottery piece that’s got a cute little bear on it that was made to tuck into brown sugar containers to keep in moist. Not sure how it works, but it does. It’s essentially the same material as the common rust-colored pottery planters.

  3. says

    Hi Robyn! Such great and helpful tips that we can all use! Thank you so much for joining us and sharing at Best of the Weekend – pinned! Hope you have a happy Tuesday and a great week!

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