How To Prevent Brown Sugar From Getting Hard (Ultimate Guide)

How To Prevent Brown Sugar From Getting Hard

So you are here just because you searched on how to prevent brown sugar from getting hard.

We have all hit by this disaster one or the other time. Like here we are planning to make a yummy dessert and just before putting all the ingredients together, we find out that the sugar we were planning to put in our dessert is hard as a rock.

It is absolutely impossible to break it or measure this large mass of rock. There is nothing that can be done. Like what will you put as a substitute for sugar? Yeah, I know there is nothing else to put. Sugar is the part and parcel of any dessert.

Anything that is not a friend of our dessert, is definitely no friend of ours too. So, I began to ponder my thoughts to find out the way to soft this hardened sugar and also prevent it from getting hard again. With a lot of thinking I found out more than one way to use it as a sweetener again.

Why this hard mass is formed?

It is common knowledge to find the long-term solution of any problem, we must know the origin of the problem. You all must be wondering why white sugar does not become hard but on the other hand, brown sugar is hardened with just a sniff of air. The only thing that is different between white sugar and brown sugar is molasses. The hardness is the courtesy of molasses.

It is bitter and thick liquid residue found at the end of crystallization of white sugar. This is coated on the brown sugar to make it extra soft. That’s why brown sugar has more moisture than white sugar. Molasses is hygroscopic in nature if you don’t know what it means then do not worry, I didn’t know at first either.

It means molasses absorbs moisture from the surrounding making the brown sugar soft and pliable. The reason why we use it instead of white sugar. But once it becomes in the contact with air, molasses coated on each crystal of sugar evaporate and make it sticky and gluey. Each crystal starts to attach with the neighbouring crystal. It will stay like this unless the moisture is reintroduced to it.

How To Prevent Brown Sugar From Getting Hard

As I have already mentioned, molasses is the reason that brown sugar is soft. It is hygroscopic and absorbs moisture to make it soft. It means moisture is all we need to soften it. This can be done in various ways. First, we will see the fastest ways to do it.

  • Grinder: If you are baking and you just hit a wall, find out about the rock-like brown sugar. This means you need it right away. For instant use, take a little piece of brown sugar and grind it in the grinder. It will make a fine powder of it. Then weigh the ground sugar and see if you require more. If you do then take more lump of the sugar and grind it again. Just do it little by little.
  • Oven:  Another trick to provide instant soft brown sugar is by putting it in the oven. Take a piece of hard brown sugar and put it in the baking tray. Set the oven at 100 degrees and put it in the oven. It takes only 30 seconds to a minute to become soft. Do not overheat it or it will melt instead of becoming soft.
  • Apple Slice: Apple is at everybody’s home. You are in serious health risk if you don’t eat an apple. But this conversation is for another time. This softening process might take overnight to 24 hours to make sugar soft. Take a plastic bag or an airtight container. Put the sugar in it and add two to three slices of sugar in it. Close the seal or the lid. Leave it for 24 to 48 hours. It will become soft. Then store it in a container.
  • Paper towel: There are two methods of softening sugar with a paper towel. One method is instant and will provide soft brown sugar immediately and another method will take time. Both are explained as follow:
  • Take a plastic bag and put your soaked paper towel in it. Add sugar on top of it. Close the seal and wait for twenty-four to forty-eight hour. Hard brown sugar crystals will absorb the moisture from the paper towel. And become soft again. Throw your paper towel and store your sugar in the container.
  • Another method is instant. This is for all the people that need brown sugar ASAP. Put brown sugar in the plastic bag with a moist paper towel on top of it. Microwave it for 30 seconds. The brown sugar will be soft instantly. If you are little sceptical about putting plastic in the microwave then take a glass or ceramic bowl and place a moist paper towel on top of it. Place hard lumps of sugar on it and cover the bowl with a lid. And microwave it for 30 seconds. Check if it is soft or not. If it is not soft then microwave it for another 15 seconds. 
  • Microwave with a bowl of water: As we need moisture to soften our brown sugar, what will have more moisture than water. So, take a bowl of water and a bowl of sugar. Put both of the bowls in microwave side by side. Microwave them for at least 30 to 1 minute. The water will evaporate and form moisture, which will be absorbed by the crystals of sugar. The brown sugar will become soft. Store it in an airtight container for future use.
  • Our bread: It is the technique that you must have heard about a million time. Softening can easily be done by placing a piece of bread on top of the container of sugar. Cover it with a plate and leave it alone at room temperature for about 24 hours. The dried-out molasses will absorb the moisture of bread and brown sugar will become soft. The only drawback of this trick is that the sugar will not be as rich with flavour as it was before. The reason is that the bread will absorb the colour of the brown sugar. It will be ready to use but not as flavorful as before.
  • Marshmallows and carrots: Yeah, I know it is a little out of the box but marshmallows and carrots also help in restoring the moisture of brown sugar. There extremely hydrated. So, throw a few jumbo-sized marshmallows in the airtight container. Leave it for a day or two. The sugar will become soft again. It can be soft again by just throwing some carrot peels on top of it. The close proximity will help in retaining the moisture of your hard sugar and make it soft. It is the same technique as using bread. But the only difference is that it does not absorb the flavour and colour of brown sugar. It takes about a day or two to make it soft.
  • Terra cotta disk: So, the above-mentioned methods are effective but while providing the moisture to the brown sugar they also absorb the flavour of it as well. If you are not a fan of using food product to provide moisture to your brown sugar use a terra cotta disk. It is a disk made of clay. Throw it in water. And then put it in the container of brown sugar. Cover it with the lid and leave it for at least 1 day. The sugar will be as soft as ever. And the flavour will be restored. These disks are available at grocery and departmental stores. And you can also order them online if you like from Amazon.
  • Storing in an airtight container: It is never too late to start storing your sugar in an airtight container. It gets hard because air evaporates the molasses. So, why don’t we prevent air from getting inside the container in the first place. Invest in a good airtight container that will prevent air from getting in the brown sugar. Brown sugar is still needed to be stored in an airtight container after the above-mentioned methods. This will help it retain the moisture.

How to Prevent Brown Sugar Using Terra Cotta Disk


The above-mentioned steps ate only effective if you will store the sugar in the container afterwards. Otherwise, the sugar will become hard again. The permanent solution to this hard mass is an airtight container.

I have mentioned all the tips and techniques that will come in handy at the dire need of yours. Brown sugar is important for any baking project. So, do not delay your baking needs because of it. I got you covered.

The brown sugar can retain its fluffy texture with any of the steps mentioned above, do as you please. For all the people being concerned that the brown sugar is foul or expired then no. It has just become hard. It still has the taste and flavour to it. So, don’t worry we have covered here everything you want to know about how to prevent brown sugar from getting hard so I think now you are good to go. So, see you next time.

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