How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar

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How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Has your brown sugar turned into a hard and useless mass? Soften it back up with one of these simple tricks.

If You Have a Day or Two ...

  • place a few apple slices or a slice of bread in an air-tight container with the brown sugar. Then, remove the slices once the sugar has softened
  • place the brown sugar in a bowl, and cover it with a damp cloth. Let it sit over night

If You Need It Now ...

  • place the brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl, and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave in 20-second increments, until the sugar is soft. Use your fingers or a fork to soften any clumps that remain. The sugar will be hot, so be sure to handle it with care

    Why These Tricks Work:

    Over time the moisture in brown sugar evaporates and the sugar hardens. To remedy this problem, you have to find a way to put the moisture back, and that's just what these tricks do.

    How to Keep Your Brown Sugar from Going Hard Again

    Spend a few dollars on a brown sugar saver. It's a small piece of terra cotta that you wet and stick in your brown sugar canister. Since terra cotta is pourous, it holds moisture for a really long time, when placed in an air-tight container. In fact, it only needs to be re-wet once every few months to keep your brown sugar soft.

    Buy a Brown Sugar Saver on Amazon

    I use the brown sugar keeper sold by Progressive to keep my brown sugar soft. It's a BPA-free container with a tight-sealing gasket and a spot on the underside of the lid for a terra cotta disk (included). It holds two pounds of brown sugar, so it's the perfect size for the job. I really like that the terra cotta disk doesn't sit directly in the brown sugar.

    It saves me from having to move it every time I need to scoop out brown sugar, and prevents the brown sugar from sticking to the disk.

    Buy a Progressive Brown Sugar Keeper on Amazon

    What to Do When You Actually Run Out of Brown Sugar

    Now that you know how to soften hard brown sugar, you just need to learn how to make your own brown sugar and brown sugar substitute for those times when you really run out.

    A little kitchen know-how can eliminate quite a few trips to the grocery store.

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