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Easy Homemade Brown Sugar

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?

DIY Brown Sugar Ingredients: Sugar plus molasses and finished brown sugar

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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.

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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 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. The brown sugar you’re purchasing in the store 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. Add a little more sugar if it’s too dark for your taste. If the flavor isn’t deep enough, add a little more molasses.

Ingredients

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.

Directions

You don’t 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

Pouring molasses into a Kitchen Aid mixer full of sugar to make homemade brown sugar

2. Mix well

Kitchen Aid mixer blending homemade brown 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

Mixing homemade brown sugar in a Kitchen Aid mixer with a red spatula

4. Adjust the mix according to your taste

Kitchen Aid mixer with brown sugar and sugar for homemade brown sugar

Add more sugar if the ratio is too dark for you. If it’s not dark enough, add more molasses.

5. Store in Airtight Container

Kitchen Aid mixer with a glass jar of homemade brown sugar

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.

Can I 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,

Watch the full video here where I walk you through making your own brown sugar

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 do you use homemade brown sugar?

Remember…brown sugar measurements are always packed measurements, unlike regular sugar, which 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.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS:   If you store brown sugar long-term, how do you do it?

Other Pantry Posts you might enjoy:

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!

Brown sugar, light medium and dark, in white bowls.

Homemade Brown Sugar Recipe

The easiest diy brown sugar recipe ever! Tastes so much better than storebought, and is less expensive, too!
5 from 5 votes
Print PIN THIS! Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Calories: 965kcal

Equipment

  • Spoon (though a handmixer or stand mixer is helpful when doing large quantities)

Ingredients

Light

Medium

Dark

Instructions

  • Mix molasses into sugar with a mixer
  • Store in an airtight container

Video

Darcy’s Tips

Notes: 
You can adjust the lightness or darkness of this recipe by adding more molasses for a deeper, darker flavor. 
If yours is a little too dark, add a bit more sugar to lighten it.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5Cup | Calories: 965kcal | Carbohydrates: 261g | Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 504mg | Sugar: 262g | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 13mg

Nutritional information is an estimation only. Nutrient information for dehydrated foods is based on fresh. Use 1/4 of the servicing size for the same nutrient information. Thus 1 Cup of fresh fruit has the same sugars as 1/4 dried.

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20 Comments

  1. Avatar for Lorine Nickerson Lorine Nickerson says:

    I make brown sugar all the time, for years now, but I have a question: since the molasses says to refrigerate after opening, shouldn’t the brown sugar I make be refrigerated? I do keep my homemade brown sugar in a canister in the fridge just cos I am a chicken.

  2. I guess I could use Splenda? Thanks for this info I just ran out and this will help me save money!!

    1. I don’t use it nor do I know anything about it. If it replaces sugar 1:1 – sure – give it a try.

  3. Avatar for Rebecca Hurt Rebecca Hurt says:

    5 stars
    I was never able to get the molasses to mix well. I used a hand mixer but a very good one. Any suggestions?

  4. I just ran out of brown sugar and have extra white sugar and molasses on hand. So I’ll be making this today! Thank you!

  5. Have you ever substituted maple syrup for the molasses?!

    1. You can for single use, but I would not make it for any shelf storage as open maple syrup can mold over time.

  6. Avatar for Carol Bartholomew Carol Bartholomew says:

    5 stars
    Wow after 40 plus years of just putting the sugar in my recipe and adding the molasses never thought about mixing and having on hand. Great now I’ll have brown sugar for toppings thanks

  7. Thanks Darcy, I mostly use brown sugar for baking, so you have just saved me $$$. Brown sugar being 3 times the price of white sugar.

  8. You are amazing! Your ideas are so helpful!
    I love, your so dedicated for providing helpful tips and ideas to help us all! Your very clear and easy to understand.. Dehydrating tips and how too are excellent! Your a lovely person, your voice is a pleasure to listen to! Videos awesome. I’ve learned a lot from you. No dreadful back ground music, ugh.
    I’m a fan of yours, nice to help us all out. Love love love your site! A true blessing.

    1. I’m glad you’re finding all the info helpful!!!

  9. 5 stars
    Awesome that it is so easy to do! And totally agree that having both sugar and molasses is a must for the pantry!

  10. Avatar for Anne-Marie Main Anne-Marie Main says:

    5 stars
    Thanks, I am going to try this!!

  11. 5 stars
    Wow! I had no idea! All the times I ran out of brown sugar and I could have just made some?! You just changed my baking life!!
    Stacia

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