Have you ever gone to bake something, like your favorite chocolate chip cookies, which call for brown sugar only to grab your brown sugar and it is dried out and hard as a rock? I have good news for you!
You can still use it! I am going to go over a few ways how you can soften brown sugar so that you can still bake those delicious cookies.
Whether it’s in one big rock or it has started clumping, you can reverse this by adding moisture back into it.
3 best ways to soften brown sugar
Softening brown sugar is easy and depending on how quickly you need it will depend on what method you might want to use. Brown sugar is simply white sugar-coated with molasses.
The reason that it clumps together is that over time the moisture evaporates which causes the sugar crystals to stick together.
Whether you store your brown sugar in an airtight container or not it will eventually harden over time.
This doesn’t mean that it has gone bad or that you need to throw it away. You just need to add moisture back into it.
Using the microwave to soften brown sugar is the fastest method. There are two ways of softening brown sugar in the microwave.
Place your hardened brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and choose one of the following 2 next steps.
Use a fork to mix it up a little and break up the clumps. If you find that you need just a few more seconds, add another 15 sec at a time.
Make sure you don’t overdo it as we aren’t wanting to cook the brown sugar, only soften it.
If you aren’t in a time crunch but do need it relatively soon you can soften brown sugar in your oven. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, put your hardened brown sugar in foil and wrap tight, then place it on a baking sheet in case it drips.
Check on it every 5 minutes or so until it is soft. Make sure to wear an oven mitt because it is going to get HOT. Allow for the brown sugar to cool off before adding it to your recipe.
Adding bread (or believe it or not apple slices) to an airtight container with your hardened brown sugar and letting it sit overnight will soften it. The moisture from the apples or bread will slowly be added back into your brown sugar.
You can also make your brown sugar soft again by leaving it out on the counter overnight in a bowl with a dampened dishtowel laid over it. Again, the key to softening brown sugar is adding moisture back into it.
These methods however, take time.
How to keep brown sugar soft
The best way to keep your brown sugar soft is to make sure that it has moisture. Keeping it in an airtight container is important. The less air the better to prevent it from drying out.
If you keep it in a food storage bag you want to make sure to get out as much air as you can before zipping it closed.
Its been proven that terra cotta will keep brown sugar from hardening. They sell discs specifically for this but you can also use a broken part of a terra cotta pot as well.
Soak the terra cotta in water for about 30 minutes. Completely dry off the disc or piece and place it in with your brown sugar. It retains water and will keep moisture in the container and prevent clumping.
You will have to soak the terra cotta every few months to keep moisture in because that will eventually dry out.
How to Soften Brown Sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
Soften in the microwave
- Place a damp cloth over your bowl of brown sugar and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then break it up with a fork.You can also place the bowl of brown sugar with another bowl 1/3 full of water in the microwave and the water from the second bowl will add moisture back into your brown sugar and softening it. And break up using a fork.
Soften in the oven
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Wrap your clump of brown sugar in foil and then place it on a baking sheet. Check the ball of brown sugar every 5 minutes or so until it is softened. Keep an eye on it you dont want to melt it!It will be very hot so be careful and allow it to cool off before adding it to your recipe.
- This method takes the longest but if you arent in rush it works just as well. Drape a dampened dish towel over the bowl with your clump of brown sugar. Just leave it overnight on the counter and the moisture from the dish towel will get into the brown sugar and soften it.