How To Make Brown Sugar

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Learn how to make brown sugar in just five minutes with only two ingredients! Whether you run out or just want a BETTER version of store bought, this is the perfect recipe.

What is Brown Sugar

Light brown sugar is white sugar combined with molasses. The molasses gives the sugar moisture (giving it the soft texture), a darker color and a light caramel-like flavor. 

Dark brown sugar calls for twice the amount of molasses giving it a darker color and richer flavor.

Brown sugar gives such a nice flavor to baked goods and even cooking. Here are some of our favorites: Granny Cake, Pineapple Ham, Pecan Pie, Banana Upside-Down Cake and Candied Pecans.

Key Ingredients You’ll Need

Sugar: You need regular granulated sugar for the base of the recipe.

Molasses: Use this to add that warm and slightly smokey flavor you get with regular sugar.

How to Make Brown Sugar at Home

Step 1. In a standing mixer, add the sugar and molasses and combine until fully incorporated. All the stickiness should be gone when it’s done.

Step 2. Use this recipe for all of your favorite baked recipes! Enjoy!

How To Soften Brown Sugar

First, you will need to make sure to store correctly. This homemade recipe can last almost indefinitely.

It’s very frustrating to open a box, bag or jar (both light and dark) to only find a rock solid clump. This happens when the moisture dries up, likely due to improper storage. It’s best to store your sugar in an airtight container.

If hardening does occur, use this method to soften. Just place your block in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Lay a damp paper towel over the bowl and microwave it in 20-second intervals, loosening with a fork between each interval, until it’s soft.

Homemade Brown Sugar next to a checkered blue cloth.

Brown Sugar Substitute

Homemade brown sugar is not only easy to make but tastes like any store-bought recipe. You can use this for any recipe you need! Be sure to share this simple hack with your friends and family who run out of sugar.

Here are alternative brown sugar substitutes.

  1. Honey
  2. Maple syrup
  3. Agave nectar

Stir about 2 tablespoons of honey, maple syrup, or agave into 1 cup of granulated sugar.

NOTE: These three substitutes will not produce the same results. The result will not be as dark and the flavor will not be as deep and rich. Your baked goods will be lighter in color and the results can vary based on the recipe. However, these will work if needed.

Tips & Tricks:

  • You can make this light or dark by adjusting the recipe a bit. By adding more molasses you can have dark brown sugar if needed instead of light.
  • Some other substitute sweeteners instead of molasses. You can use things like agave or maple syrup.
  • And, finally, the way you are mixing the ingredients together is important. Using an electric mixer or food processors is great. However, you can use a simple plastic bag full of your ingredients and massage it to combine. Make sure it is fully mixed in though with no stickiness.
Homemade Brown Sugar in a glass jar.

More Homemade Pantry Staples:

Homemade Brown Sugar on a wooden table.
Homemade Brown Sugar feature
5 from 5 votes

Homemade Brown Sugar

Learn how to make brown sugar in just five minutes with only two ingredients! Whether you run out of brown sugar or just want a BETTER version of store bought, this is the Homemade Brown Sugar recipe you are looking for.
Servings: 2.5 cups
Prep: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins


Light Brown Sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp molasses

Dark Brown Sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 Tbsp molasses


  • Mix the ingredients together by hand or stand mixer until sugar is fully coated and no longer sticky to touch.
  • Enjoy your favorite baked recipes


2-ingredient Homemade Brown Sugar recipe

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7 comments on “How To Make Brown Sugar”

  1. Margaret Lunt

    5 stars
    I have heard of doing this, but until today, I had never tried it. In the middle of making apple dumplings, I realized I was out of brown sugar. Followed this recipe and it turned out perfect. I will be telling every friend and family member about how to do this. Thanks so much !!

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