When homemade brown sugar is so easy to make, tastes so much better than the store-bought version, why haven't you tried making your own brown sugar, yet?
While I do stock a lot of white sugar, I don't store brown sugar, even when it's on sale. It's just too easy to whip up a quick batch, and it tastes SO much better than the stuff at the store. It's part of my Basic Pantry Staples List (here's a free printable checklist to get you started) that I recommend for everyone.
But did you know, that in the process of making sugar from sugar cane, the pressed liquid that you get from crushing sugar cane is, in fact, molasses! Then that liquid is concentrated into a syrup which is basically sugar crystals covered in molasses! It's natural brown sugar!
Of course, that syrup is separated into sugar crystals (which are then refined a bunch to get to white sugar) and the molasses. In the store, the brown sugar you're purchasing is white sugar + molasses. But I can tell you ...it's a blander version of what you can make at home!
How to Make Homemade Brown Sugar
Before we start, let me say that brown sugar is easy to make and VERY forgiving. If it's too dark for your tastes, add a little more sugar. If the flavor isn't deep enough, add a little more molasses.
The ratio you use is really to taste. You'll find lots of different ratios depending on which website you visit. My ratio is heavy on the molasses
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of Molasses (any kind will do)
That's it. Just two simple ingredients.
Now you have the first of many of your own homemade pantry staples to add to your storage!
TIP: If you are using this for just one recipe, instead of putting some in your pantry - just do the 2 ingredients separately in the mixer as you go through the process - no need to make extra.
You don't even need a stand mixer if you want to do this by hand, with a hand mixer, an immersion blender with a whisk, or even in your food processor. Or let the kids have fun with grandma's old fashioned egg beater.
1. Pour molasses into the bowl of sugar
I love this after-market scraper/paddle for my Kitchenaid. I only wish I'd purchased the 2-sided version paddle!
3. Scrape down the sides
4. Adjust the mix according to your taste
If you find the ratio is too dark for you, add more sugar. If it's not dark enough, add more molasses.
5. Store in Airtight Container
Items I used in this process:
You can also find more recommendations on tools I use to stock my pantry on The Purposeful Pantry Recommends page.
How to Store
Store brown sugar in an airtight container that is about the same volume as your sugar. Extra space help the sugar harden faster.
It lasts for quite a long time. (Molasses is a food you can store unopened for up to ten years, and opened up to five. But keep an eye on changes in texture or quality then replace).
How to Keep Brown Sugar Soft
- Slice of bread - I save the heal of a bread loaf for this.
- Brown Sugar Bear - really just a piece of terra cotta, which you can get from the garden center. But there are specialty ones marketed just for this reason.
- Marshmallows - seriously. Throw in a couple of large ones, and they'll work as the bread. (This tip came from Leisa at SuttonsDaze).
- Store in freezer.
How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar
If you do find that your brown sugar has hardened (this is simply moisture wicking away over time and binding the sugars), here are some easy ways to soften it again for quick use.
- Place a slice of bread in the airtight container. It will be soft overnight.
- Put brown sugar in a bowl, and cover it with a moistened paper towel. Add a lid over it to allow moisture to penetrate.
- Put brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a moistened paper towel, then microwave for twenty seconds. Repeat in ten-second intervals if necessary.
- Toss hardened brown sugar into your stand mixer to mix up again!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How to use Homemade Brown Sugar
Remember...brown sugar measurements are always a packed measurement, unlike regular sugar that is a scoop. The moisture allows the sugar to be fluffier by nature, so be sure to pack it in to get equivalent sugar measurements.
Does it matter if I use light or dark brown sugar in a recipe?
The only reason it matters is your taste preference.
While dark sugar has more molasses, thus is a little more acidic and a little more hygroscopic (meaning it holds more moisture), you'll have slightly fluffier, slightly moister cookies, especially if you have baking soda in the recipe.
But the only real change is in the depth of the toffee caramel tones in the final product. I prefer dark brown sugar in just about everything I make, so I make my brown sugar a little heavy on the molasses.
Can I just mix molasses and sugar in the recipe?
Yes, with many recipes, you can just add the molasses and sugar to the creaming step instead of making enough to store,
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: If you store brown sugar long-term, how do you do it?
Watch how I make light, medium, and dark brown sugar on my Youtube Channel. To watch the video, simply click the red arrow below.
Other Pantry Posts you might enjoy:
- 10 Pantry Organization Tips
- How to Use and Create a Price Book
- DIY Bread Crumbs and Croutons with a Dehydrator
Be sure to pin this DIY to your Pinterest Boards for safekeeping! Make sure to follow me on Pinterest for more great DIY ideas for stocking your pantry!
Homemade Brown Sugar Recipe
- Spoon (though a handmixer or stand mixer is helpful when doing large quantities)
- 1 Cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- Mix molasses into sugar with a mixer
- Store in an airtight container