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How to Soften Brown Sugar {cooking tips}

brown sugarDo you have brown sugar issues?  Lately, I’ve been baking chocolate chip cookies for my boys and I’ve been wondering how to soften brown sugar to get the clumps out of it!  Therefore, after a little searching, I figured out how.

4 Ways to Soften Brown Sugar

Depending on how fast you need your brown sugar soft, according to Choc Chip Cookie Recipe Blog, there are 4 ways to soften hard brown sugar:

1.  Microwave – The the fastest way to soften brown sugar is in your microwave. Place the bowl of brown sugar in the middle of your microwave next to a cup of water. Microwave brown sugar on high for 45 seconds to 2 minutes, checking the softening brown sugar every 30 seconds. Occasionally stir and loosen with a spoon. Repeat until you have reached the desired consistency.

2.  Oven – Without a microwave, you can soften it with your oven but it will take a little longer.  Heat your oven to 250 degrees fahrenheit and cook it in an oven-proof baking dish. Stir occasionally, but bake no more than 5-10 minutes to sufficiently soften brown sugar.  The down side is that the brown sugar will not keep soft for future use.

3.  Overnight – Place 2 moistened paper towels inside a bowl with the brown sugar. The towels should be damp, but not sopping wet. Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then tin foil. Leave on your counter over night to use the brown sugar the next day.

4.  Bread Method – Once you have softened your sugar you want to keep it soft. Put the brown sugar in an air tight container and add a piece of bread. Leave for 1-2 days and voila! Your brown sugar will be velvety moist again and the bread will be completely dried out. Be sure to throw away the piece of bread.

How to Properly Store Brown Sugar

The best way to prevent hardened brown sugar is to keep it air tight while in storage. A plastic container with lid is ideal, but if you have to leave it in the bag be sure the bag is sealed or place it in an air-tight Ziploc bag.

More Recipes from Tip Junkie:

What cooking tips or questions do you have?


  1. Jennifer

    Another way is to put a whole, unpeeled apple right in there with your brown sugar. The apple will keep for quite a while, but eventually it’ll go bad so you do have to check it occasionally.

  2. Kara

    thank you thank you thank you!!! It took me 15 min to scrape, pound, pick, poke, and prod my brown sugar the other day! BOY IS THIS HELPFUL!

  3. Joyce

    I didn’t know there were so many ways. I read somewhere to put a huge marshmallow in the container and it should soften up too.

  4. [email protected]

    Thank you for this! I was going to google it tonight. 🙂

  5. the Blah Blah Blahger


  6. Charlene @ Secrets of a Southern Kitchen

    I’ve done the bread method, it works perfectly, but I’ve never heard of the others. I like knowing that I can use the microwave for a quicker solution when I’m in a hurry!

  7. Marsha

    I keep my brown sugar in the freezer and take it out a little while before I need it and it is always soft and moist. If I’m in a hurry, I just microwave it for about 1 minute, long enough for it to thaw/soften. By storing it this way, it never gets hard. – Marsha

  8. ANKH

    Oh! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    I didn’t know there was hope for brown sugar once it hardened!

  9. Donna

    I use a terra cotta circle that I have soaked in water for about 20 minutes. Pat it dry and put it in your brown sugar container. It will keep the sugar soft for three months plus. You can find them online.

  10. Tara Miyasaki

    I am giggling as I read this post. I made so many things over the holidays that required organic brown sugar. I was constantly trying to break up my sugar. I think I might have beat it on the counter a few times and bent a fork trying to loosen it up LOL! Thank for the info. I really should try to store it correctly. It would save me a lot of screaming later!

  11. Tristen

    The last time I needed to keep my brown sugar soft, and didn’t have a paper towel to keep wet, I used a new coffee filter, dampened it, placed it over the bowl I had it in, and put it in a large plastic bag. The next day, when I went to use it, it was soft again and broke up well with just a fork. Worked really well!

  12. Sharon Penney-Morrison

    you can also soften brown sugar by putting a couple of cut apple slices in a
    seal tight bag with the brown sugar. Letting sit overnight, it should be soft
    in the morning.
    The dry sugar pulls the moisture out of the apple slice.

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