If you’ve ever wondered how to soften brown sugar, we have four simple methods that do the trick. To quickly soften brown sugar: place the sugar in a microwave safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel for about 20 second, or use a food processor to loosen the brown sugar. If you aren’t pressed for time, use a slice of bread or an apple in an airtight container with the brown sugar for 24 hours.
One of the most frustrating things about baking is getting halfway through your recipe, preheating the oven, and almost tasting that delicious dessert in your mouth, only to realize that your brown sugar has gone rock hard. While lumpy brown sugar may be upsetting, it doesn’t have to be the end of a great recipe. The four methods to soften brown sugar can actually save that brown sugar in time for those cookies to still bake perfectly. With a little help from baking experts worldwide, we’ve explained some of the top, most effective ways to soften up brown sugar and get your baked goods back on track!
The 24 Hour Method: Using a Slice of Bread
While this method takes a full 24 hours to work properly, it is one of the best ways to revive your brown sugar. All you need is a slice of bread and your lumpy brown sugar.
To restore your brown sugar, start by placing it in an airtight container. After transferring it to the container, slice a piece of bread and lay it sliced side up on top of the sugar. Once the bread is in with the sugar, close the lid tightly and let it sit for at least 24 hours. The moisture in the bread will work to soften the sugar, and by the next day, you’ll have a perfect and moist brown sugar ready for all your baking desires.
It’s important to note that while adding moisture, the sliced bread also absorbs some of the molasses in the process. This absorption may cause the top layer of the sugar to look lighter than the rest. Not to worry, just discard that top layer of sugar and the rest of the batch will be just as flavorful as before!
An Apple a Day Keeps the Brown Sugar Ready
Much like the sliced bread method, an apple can be used to bring hardened brown sugar back to life. Just add a few apple slices to an airtight container and let it sit for 24 hours to loosen the brown sugar.
The advantage of using apples over bread is that when the apples provide the brown sugar with moisture they also transfer a little of their flavor, giving the sugar a fruity taste. This method works great when you're baking fall treats that could really use that extra bit of flavor!
Don’t have 24 hours to wait around for your brown sugar to be ready? Don’t worry, while the methods above may be the best ways to soften up hardened brown sugar, there are faster methods that will help you save that cookie batter waiting on your counter.
The Microwave Method for Softening Brown Sugar
While this method piggybacks on the previous methods, it moistens the sugar in a much shorter amount of time. Put the hard brown sugar in a microwave safe bowl or container and place a dampened paper towel on top of it. Then, microwave for about 20 seconds and break it up with a fork as you go. The moisture from the paper towel should help get the brown sugar soft. If needed, heat for another 20 seconds, but be careful not to melt it.
Loosen the Brown Sugar by Putting It in a Food Processor
Sometimes a round in the food processor simply does the trick. Place your lumpy sugar in a food processor or blender and begin blending. Always begin at low second intervals and make sure the brown sugar isn’t so hard that it damages your blender. When done properly, this is the quickest way to soften brown sugar!
Have any other tips for how to soften hard brown sugar? Share your favorites in the comments below.