How to Store Brown Sugar So It’s Not Full of Clumps

Say ‘goodbye’ to that brick of brown sugar once and for all.

<p>Fotografia Basica/Getty Images</p>

Fotografia Basica/Getty Images

Brown sugar is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in baked goods, sauces, marinades, and anything else that needs a sweet yet rich, nutty burst of flavor. But if you’ve ever bought a big bag of brown sugar, you’ve probably also noticed how quickly it can harden, making it really difficult to use. 

When the moisture in brown sugar evaporates, it can cause the sugar crystals to clump together, creating that unscoopable brick. However, if brown sugar is stored properly, it will retain its moisture and stay fresh (and largely clump-free) for up to six months. Here’s how to store brown sugar so you can easily use it for all of your cooking and baking needs.

Related: Brown Sugar vs. White Sugar: What's the Difference?

How to Store Brown Sugar

Just because brown sugar comes in a resealable bag, doesn’t mean it should be stored that way. The trick to making brown sugar last for several months is to keep it in a cool, dark space with a tight-fitting lid. That means, if you’ve been waiting to reorganize your pantry with those sleek, clear food storage containers, this is your moment. You can also store brown sugar in a moisture-free plastic bag, but be sure to remove any air before sealing it.

Can You Freeze Brown Sugar?

If you don’t use brown sugar often, or just want to make a bag last for a while, you can store it in the freezer. Keeping brown sugar in the freezer helps lock in moisture, which prevents it from spoiling as quickly. Simply place the brown sugar in an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bag with the air removed and store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. 

Related: 5 Ways to Get Clumps out of Brown Sugar

How To Soften Brown Sugar That Has Hardened

No matter what brand you buy, brown sugar is known to harden soon after a bag is opened. If you notice your brown sugar is too hard to use, you can soften it with a few different techniques:

  • Microwave: Place the sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel. Heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time so it doesn’t get too hot and melt. The texture should be crumbly and easy to use.

  • Oven: Warm the sugar in an oven-safe bowl at 250 degrees for just a few minutes, until it’s soft and easy to handle with a fork.

  • Food processor: Put the sugar in a food processor and pulse until it breaks up into your ideal consistency.

Related: Does Sugar Expire?

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