Introduction: How to Make Brown Sugar

Picture of How to Make Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is simply white sugar mixed with molasses. It is not quite as sweet as white sugar due to the bitterness of molasses. It has a higher moisture content and is sold in light and dark varieties. The only difference between the two is that dark brown sugar has a higher molasses content than light brown sugar. Light brown sugar can be used as a substitute for white sugar, but due to the slightly higher moisture content can change the texture of a baked good.

Brown sugar is commonly used in cookies, muffins, and quick breads where a stronger flavor is warranted.

To learn more about the different kinds of sugar visit the Sugars lesson in my Science of Baking Class!

Step 1: Ingredients & Instructions

1. Add one cup of white sugar to a food processor. Pour one tablespoon of molasses onto the top of the sugar.

2. Whiz in a food processor until the color is uniform.

For dark brown sugar, follow the same steps as for light brown sugar but add one extra tablespoon of molasses (two tablespoons molasses per cup of white sugar).

How to Save Rock Hard Brown Sugar

Brown sugar contains moisture. If left unused long enough, moisture will eventually evaporate creating rock hard brown sugar crystals. When this happens, there is no need to throw it out. It's just dehydrated and can easily be saved. Place a small piece of bread or a few apple slices in the container and seal tightly. Let sit for one day, remove the bread or apples and give it a good stir.

If you need to use brown sugar straight away you can place it in a bowl with a damp paper towel, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about an hour. Give it a good stir and you'll be good to go!


Mickleblade (author)2017-07-18

hmm, now where can I buy molasses in France? they're a bit backward in their food here!

mpwall (author)Mickleblade2017-07-21


Mickleblade (author)mpwall2017-07-21

Bingo! La mélasse, disponible á Thanks buddy, I'd forgotten they sell food stuff

jannie.lloyd (author)Mickleblade2017-07-20

If you find it in France please give me a shout. I'm also in France and find it sadly lacking in many "exotic" foodstuffs that would be the norm in UK

Mickleblade (author)jannie.lloyd2017-07-20

ok, don't hold your breath though. I have found malt extract, google 'brassage', i.e. beer making, and buy a kit. Of course, you could just make some beer...

jannie.lloyd (author)Mickleblade2017-07-21


Kevindewaine (author)2017-07-21

I like you idea. For some of use we don't have to make this. I just go to the sugar mill and we get it there. Thank you for your information.

gpradel (author)2017-07-21

This is a GREAT Instructable! It gets right to the point in the first paragraph. There is no fluff. It is clear, concise, and easy to follow. I really appreciate your work and will try this cool idea as soon as I can. Nice job!

BOSFLASH (author)2017-07-20

Very nice to know. A short burst in the microwave seems also to soften. As often as I've used it. never knew brown sugar was so simple to make. No longer need both in my baked beans; just add more molasses to my brown sugar.

Mick Gibson (author)2017-07-20

The sugar is brown before they developed it and turn it in to white! That why it is brown sugar and molasses sugar is molasses!

dotbox (author)2017-07-20

This is just coloring the white sugar. Real brown sugar is just a by-product of the refining process, just as is molasses. Dark and light sugar are less processed obtaining the white sugar and leaving the molasses which actually contains many healthful nutrients and components that make up the flavors of the cane, beet or other source of the juice that was used.
Molasses retains a strong flavor which some mistake for bitterness, but there is no bitterness at that point. Another by-product is the "Cane Syrup" sometimes eaten on pancakes and Light or Dark "Karo Syrup" which also come from different phases of processing.

JGDean (author)2017-07-20

If you're in a hurry, hardened brown sugar can also be softened by placing a dampened (not wet!) paper towel in the plastic bag with the brown sugar, sealing with a twist and microwaving it in 15 second stages until it's softened enough to work with. This generally takes just 2-3 of the 15 second bursts. alternately the brown sugar can be placed in a bowl, covered with a damp cloth or towel and microwaved.

emmer (author)2017-07-20

this is an easy substitute for actual brown sugar, which is less processed and unbleached than what you buy at the grocery store. this recipe produces a light brown sugar. if you want a sub for dark brown sugar, just use 2 tablespoons of molasses in the mix.

EuniceO (author)2017-07-20

I make my own brown sugar; in fact since I learned about this process, I have not bought brown sugar ! The only change I would suggest is that you use the food processor's whisk attachment rather than the blade. In my experience, the blade has caused the sugar to become rather powdery. Or you could use a kitchen stand mixer, using the paddle attachment. Great tip! Thanks for posting this!

bill2009 (author)2017-07-20

geez. I'm sure we all thought that brown sugar was less refined white sugar! In hawaii I saw a machine that was extracting molasses from ground sugar cane with a centrifuge. I guess i figured they stopped sooner when they wanted brown sugar.

Cheese Queen (author)2017-07-20

Be advised that the brown sugar you make at home with molasses will tend to taste stronger and more "molasses-y" than the stuff you buy in the store. Use a mild-flavored molasses and pour with a light hand.

I use my Kitchenaid mixer to blend it.

mrsmerwin (author)2017-07-17

I have done the bread trick to revive old brown sugar but never knew why it worked.

LachlanR (author)mrsmerwin2017-07-18

get white sugar... spray paint brown... epic fail!

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, my name is Jen! I'm a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time I'm a crafter, food lover, cake decorator ... More »
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