Brown sugar is used in everything from baked goods to pasta sauces as it adds a touch of sweetness and molasses flavor to any dish. But, if you’ve ever reached for a package of brown sugar after it’s been opened and realized that it’s hardened into a lump, cooking with it can be extremely frustrating as it’s hard to measure. Here’s everything to know about why brown sugar hardens and how to soften it.
Why Does Brown Sugar Harden?
Brown sugar is white granulated sugar coated with molasses and when it’s exposed to air, it hardens because the molasses coating evaporates over time and the sugar granulates stick back together.
How Can You Soften Brown Sugar?
Unless your brown sugar has gone bad, you should be able to soften it again. You’ll know if your brown sugar has gone bad because there will be bugs or contaminants in it. The fastest way to soften brown sugar is to put the sugar in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl, draping it with a napkin, and heating it up for 20-second intervals until it’s soft again. If you have more time, you can soften brown sugar by putting in a slice of bread in an airtight container for a day or two.
How to Store Brown Sugar
To prevent your brown sugar from going hard in the first place, you should store it in an air-tight container. If you don’t plan on using your brown sugar for a few weeks, you can store it in the freezer. It can stay frozen for as long as you need and it only takes two to three hours to defrost.