Why Does Brown Sugar Get Hard? Reasons & Methods For Making It Soft!!!

Why Does Brown Sugar Get Hard? Reasons & Methods For Making It Soft!!!

Getting confused why does brown sugar get hard every time!! Don’t worry as we got you the reasons behind this as well as methods to soften the brown sugar.

Sugar is an important ingredient for anything. It is basically a sweet-tasting carbohydrate. It is sucrose. We cannot just skip sugar in our diet.

It is added in everything such as coffee, tea, baking, cooking etc. Moreover, your brain needs little sugar. When some people get cramps, it is because you are lacking sugar in your blood. It is also divided into two types of brown sugar and white sugar.

Brown sugar is most popular among households than white sugar reason being that it is rich in calcium and other minerals. Also, it contains lesser calories than white sugar.

Now imagine getting up in the morning to have coffee and opening the jar, find hard brown sugar. Ouch, that hurts I know. It is typically used in baking, marinades, bacon etc.

But the hard-brown sugar is a red flag if you are baking. It forms clumps in your batter. The final product is not even that good. This causes your cookies or cakes to not have a uniform surface.

And it is annoying as well because it takes twice amount of time mixing hard brown sugar with other baking ingredients.

So, with one too many fails in the baking, I started to search for the reason. This is what came up:

Reasons Behind Brown Sugar Getting Hard:-

Most of the time we put our brown sugar in any container. That where we do it wrong. Simple containers allow the air to enter or leave. When brown sugar is exposed to the air it hardens. Now you will be wondering ‘why white sugar does not harden when exposed to air?’. The reason is molasses.

White sugar does not have molasses. Brown sugar is coated with molasses to make it soft and malleable. Molasses is a thick, bitter substance obtained by the refining of sugar. So, the brown sugar has molasses. It makes them easily slip over one another and stick.

Molasses is basically the moisture which will evaporate when the air touches the brown sugar. This takes all the moisture away for the brown sugar and it dehydrates. The sugar sticks together and hardens.

As you have witnessed the sugar particles join together as if glued and forms a solid and hard mass.

Methods for removing hardness:

If you are also annoyed and tired of finding a cinderblock of sugar while baking or cooking then there are various methods to soften it. The best way is to rehydrate the brown sugar to make it soft. The methods for softening are following:

  • Microwave:

This technique takes the minimum time. Put your hard brown sugar in the plastic bag. Take a moist paper towel and place it in the plastic bag and close it. Microwave it for 20 seconds. You brick brown sugar will be soft.

But if you are paranoid about putting plastic in the microwave then just use a ceramic or glass bowl. Take the moist paper towel and place it on the bowl. Add sugar on top of it. Cover it with a lid. And microwave it for 20 seconds.

Terra cotta brown sugar saver is the type of disk made of clay. It is the easiest way of saving your sugar from getting hard. You put this disk in water for 20 minutes. After that, you place it in the airtight container of brown sugar. The disk absorbs the moisture from molasses. Thus, preventing your brown sugar from clumping.

  • Oven:

If you need to make pancakes because you kids are getting late or you are a chef that needs to start cooking ASAP then do not worry. Just take your container of brown sugar and put it in the oven at 250 Fahrenheit. Bake your sugar until it softens. Take out your container from the over and take as much sugar you required. But beware any sugar that you do not use and is left in the container hardens after it cools down. To prevent this, take the remaining sugar and pour it in the airtight container.

  • Bread:

Bread is a moist food. It imparts it moisture to other things but bread itself becomes dry. So, either take an airtight jar or a plastic bag. Put the hard brown sugar in it. After that put the single piece of bread in the jar or plastic bag. Close the bag or jar and leave it for 8 to 24 hours. Bread will impart it moisture to the sugar. It will be enough to rehydrate it. After that take the dry bread out. If you did it in plastic bag then take the brown sugar from plastic bag and put it in an airtight container.

  • Apple:

Take a plastic bag or air tight container. Put your hard sugar in it. Add few slices of apple in the bag. Close the bag or the container. This process takes some time. So, if you have time on your hand do this. Leave the sugar for a day or two. After that open the bag and see if your sugar is soft or not. If the sugar is soft then put it in the container and through the slices of apples away.

  • Instant method:

You need soft sugar now. Do not worry. I have a trick for it too. Take a bowl of water and a container of hard rock sugar. Put both of them in the microwave. Place them side by side. Heat them in the microwave for about 1 minute. If it is not soft then heat for 30 seconds more. Make sure your sugar becomes soft and does not melt. Overheating may melt your sugar.

Another instant method is to take a hard chunk of brown sugar and grind it in the grinder. It will become like a fine powder and will be easy to use.

  • Marshmallow:

This is same as apple slices method. Take two or three marshmallow and put it in the plastic bag or container containing sugar. Leave it for two days. The marshmallow will impart its moisture to sugar and becomes dry. Throw marshmallow and put the sugar in air tight container.

  • Airtight container:

This is the simplest and easiest method. Invest in a good airtight container. The container will not let any air get into sugar. Even if you follow the above steps, you need to add the sugar back into the airtight container.

If you do not put back the soft sugar into the airtight container then the brown sugar will become hard like brick again. So, the trick is to invest in a good airtight container.

  • Water:

Take the hard brown sugar in the plastic bag. Sprinkle water on top of it. Close the plastic bag and let it sit for one to two days. When sugar become soft, take it out and put it back in the airtight container. So, that it does not harden again.

  • Moist paper towel:

Open the lid of airtight container. Take a moist or damp paper towel. Cover the top of container with it. Let it be like that overnight. The sugar will rehydrate from the moisture of paper towel. Once the sugar is soft than remove paper towel and close the container.


Next time when you wakeup to brick-like brown sugar, I hope you know all the trick and techniques to make it soft. But the thing is there should be no next time about it. Always store your brown sugar in an airtight container.

So, it never becomes hard. Even after above-mentioned techniques, it is a must to store it back in the container. If you are softening it in microwave or oven then be careful and do not overheat it. Overheating melts the sugar instead of softening. And when it cools down it becomes hard again.


There are many questions asked by you guys on this topic. So, the answers to frequently asked question are as follow:

Is having sugar is bad?

Excessive of anything is poison. So, if you are having too much sugar daily it increases the risk of blood pressure, increases cholesterol, diabetes, insulin damage etc. But sugar is necessary because it is the fastest source of energy. And we eat for energy.

Why brown sugar is better than white sugar?

Brown sugar is better than white sugar because of molasses. It contains calcium, magnesium, iron etc. which is not present in white sugar. Moreover, it has fewer calories than white sugar. But on nutritional level, there is no different between them.

Why brown sugar hardens?

Brown sugar hardens due to loss of moisture. Molasses provide moisture and when air passes the molasses dries out. This causes the hardening.

Is hard sugar gone bad?

No, harden brown sugar does not mean it is spoiled. You can still use it. Just put a wedge of apple in the sugar container for softening it and you are good to go.

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