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How to keep brown sugar soft

sugar discsBrown sugar can be a bit problematic because, when left unattended, the moist sugar can quickly transform into a rock-like state. This happens because the sugar dries out and the molasses used to keep it brown (most brown sugars are white sugars, with molasses added back) hardens and sticks it together like glue. There are several ways to avoid this problem. The easiest is by storing the soft sugar in an airtight container or ziplock bag. If it is already looking a little dry, use a terra cotta sugar disk, which will gradually release moisture into the sugar.

If your sugar has already hardened, you can either zap it in the microwave (short term solution) or add some moisture back to it by transferring it to an airtight container or bag with something slightly moist, like a damp paper towel or a sugar disc, and occasionally working with it to break it up.

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  • angorian
    June 26, 2007

    A wedge of apple will nicely soften brown sugar if left in overnight. The ceramic discs have the advantage that if you forget about them they don’t go mouldy though.

  • Shannon
    June 26, 2007

    I’ve always just used a slice of bread in mine. It works like a charm every time. By the next morning the bread is hard and the sugar is soft. I only had a problem once where the bread went bad and then the sugar went bad. I guess I usually go through my brown sugar quickly enough so it’s not a problem. It’s a great way to use up the end of the bread if you don’t like it or only have one piece left!

  • lisa
    June 26, 2007

    I use a piece of orange peel in my brown sugar. The sugar’s beautifully moist again after a few hours.

  • jocelyn
    June 26, 2007

    those terra cotta discs never worked for me. i’ve left a slice of bread in my brown sugar for inexplicably indefinite amounts of time and it never goes bad and the sugar stays perfect!

  • cybele
    June 26, 2007

    When my brown sugar gets hard, I whack it until it’s in bite sized chunks and eat it like it’s maple sugar candy. Not that mine ever sticks around long enough to get hard.

  • Robert M Kraus
    September 19, 2008

    Is there a way to dry out brown sugar and at the same time keep it granular? It then sprinkles very readily on oatmeal. Please advise me.


    Robert M Kraus
    Akron Ohio

  • rzzldzzl
    February 9, 2009

    Did you say that when your brown sugar gets hard you whack him and eat him like maple syrup? Hmmm. Can we date?

  • brownsugar
    November 19, 2010

    ..someone said brown sugar discs won’t go mouldy… I keep my brown sugar in a ziplock bag, inside an airtight container then place the brown sugar disc on top of the bag.. so the dic dosn’t get sticky.. i’be been doing this for years.. but this time when i opened the container my disc was covered in black spots of mould! gross fuzzy black spots. 🙁 what in the would would have caused this?

  • Katrinka
    June 20, 2011

    Marshmallows! I’ve always used 2 jumbo marshmallows and it works like a charm. 🙂 Marshmallows last a long time – which works for the long-term.

  • Baker
    February 10, 2013

    I also have thrown away 2brown sugar discs as they have gone mouldy.. And I also keep my sugar in a ziplock , the ziplock inside an airtight container.. This way the disc won’t get sticky and messy.. But they do go mouldy.. Wondering if its something to do with the water?

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