Successfully Soften Hard Brown Sugar With These 3 Tips

Putting Moisture Back Is Trick

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••• Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Brown sugar is a delightful addition to many baked goods and also enhances simple food like oatmeal. But once you've opened it, it can turn into a hard and useless mass in no time. Soften it back up with one of these simple tricks.

If You Don't Need It Immediately

If you are going to use brown sugar in a recipe and your brown sugar in the pantry is already open, it's a good idea to check its condition a few days before you plan to use it.

If it's hard, place a few apple slices or a slice of bread in an air-tight container with the brown sugar. Then remove the apple slices or bread once the sugar has softened. You can also place the sugar in a bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it sit overnight. By the time you need to cook with the brown sugar, it should be a perfect consistency.

If You Need It Right Now

If you've decided that you just have to make some cookies that call for brown sugar right this minute or you want brown sugar to sweeten your oatmeal, place the brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave the sugar in 20-second increments until it 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 carefully.

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 Getting Hard 

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

Buy a Brown Sugar Saver on Amazon

A brown sugar keeper made by Progressive is a BPA-free container with a tight-sealing gasket and has a spot on the underside of the lid for a terra cotta disc, which is included. It holds two pounds of brown sugar so it's the perfect size for the job. Having a special place for the terra cotta disc so that it doesn't sit directly in the brown sugar makes it easier to scoop out the sugar and also avoids the problem of the brown sugar sticking to the disc, which can occur when the disc is resting in the sugar.

Buy a Progressive Brown Sugar Keeper on Amazon

If You 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.