How to Keep Brown Sugar Soft

If you’ve ever gone to your pantry to find rock hard brown sugar, today’s post is for you.  I’m going to fill you in on the secret of how to keep brown sugar soft or to soften it once it has become rock hard.  I’ve got good news for you – it’s not past the point of no return if you have hard brown sugar!

Seriously, it’s the worst when you want to do some baking and find your brown sugar has completely hardened.  I mean, I know who’s to blame when that happens in my house.

Me.  I can only blame myself.

Because, once again I did not seal the brown sugar up properly.  

Please tell me I’m not alone in this?

One day I’ll do better.  I promise.

Anyways, today I’m going to talk to you about how to keep brown sugar from going hard.  I’m also going to share tips on how to soften brown sugar if you are like me and you’ve found rock-hard brown sugar in your pantry.


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The easiest way to keep brown sugar from going soft is to seal the bag up properly.  Twisting the opened package tightly and sealing it with a twist tie or clip is a great idea.  

You know what else would be a great idea? Selling brown sugar in a sealable bag.   I can’t be the only one wondering why they don’t sell it like that, can I?

Anyways, twisting the opened package closed works, but if you are like me and tend to not seal it up properly with clips or twist ties, there’s a better solution.

Pour the brown sugar into an airtight container or jar.  I like to use these jars for brown sugar but there are also these airtight containers that are used specifically for brown sugar.

For added security, add one of these terra cotta brown sugar savers to your airtight jar and it will keep your brown sugar soft for up to three months.  I don’t know about you, but brown sugar doesn’t last more than three months in my house.  With three kids there is a lot of baking happening over here!

So, those are the ways you can prevent your brown sugar from hardening, but what about when it’s too late and you’ve got rock-hard brown sugar?  Is it too late?  

Not at all.  Don’t think about throwing out that brown sugar.  You can actually soften brown sugar that has developed into one big hard lump.


So, one of the first ways you can soften it is with the terra cotta brown sugar saver I mentioned up above.  Not only are those brown sugar savers a great way to prevent brown sugar from hardening but they will also soften brown sugar that’s already gone hard.

You want to soak the terra cotta brown sugar saver in some water, dry it off and then throw it into your brown sugar (which hopefully has now been moved to an airtight container to prevent a repeat episode. 🙂 )

It will take a bit of time to soften the brown sugar.  More than likely if you put the brown sugar saver in the brown sugar you will notice it soft the next day.

Need your brown sugar to soften quicker than 24 hours?  Put some brown sugar in the microwave in a bowl and place a damp paper towel over it.  Put your microwave on high for 20 second increments.  In between you want to stir up the brown sugar to break up clumps.  You don’t want to overdo it or you’ll beautiful brown sugar will become a syrupy or burnt mess.

What if you want to soften your rock-hard brown sugar but you don’t have a terra cotta brown sugar saver?  Place a piece of bread into your brown sugar container. 

This is what our grandmothers did and it definitely works.  Now, there are some who have said that over time their bread has molded.  I imagine this is because their brown sugar still wasn’t sealed up.  However, if you are worried about this happening, just take the bread out after the brown sugar has softened again (and of course, seal it up to avoid the brown sugar from hardening again.)

You can also use a big marshmallow instead of a piece of bread.  It will add moisture back into your brown sugar bringing it back to life.

And, if you don’t have a marshmallow or a piece of bread (because who knows, you might be gluten-free ), you can use an apple slice.  Just like the bread slice, terra cotta brown sugar saver, and marshmallow, you’ll want to give about 24 hours for it to work.


Unfortunately, no.  Brown sugar hardens because it is losing it’s moisture.  White sugar gets lumpy or starts to clump together because it has come into contact with moisture.

Add a saltine cracker to your white sugar container and it will fix it.

And, just like the brown sugar, if you store the white sugar in an airtight container you will prevent your sugar from hardening.


The next time you have brown sugar or white sugar that hardens you can easily fix the problem so don’t throw it out.  So many times something goes wrong in our kitchen and we think that the food is beyond saving.  Many times that isn’t the case.  Thanks to the internet it’s easy to do a quick search and find out how we can save the food we thought we have ruined. 


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