Easy Kitchen Trick: How to Make Confectioners’ Sugar at Home

Here’s a nifty little food and cooking trick: how to make confectioners’ sugar at home. That’s right: you can make your own confectioners’ sugar at home, by simply grinding granulated sugar until it reaches a powdery consistency. It will save you a trip the the grocery store if you’re in a pinch, and it certainly won’t hurt your baking credibility to say, “I made it.” Plus, the light texture of homemade confectioners’ sugar lends itself perfectly to fluffy buttercream, and is perfect for dusting stenciled designs, so your decorated cakes can really shine.

Looking to refine your buttercream technique? The Craftsy class The Wilton Method: Buttercream Skills will teach you over 30 classic buttercream techniques, including basics from how to spread smoothly to creative piping methods with decorating tips.

"How to Make Confectioners' Sugar at Home" - on Craftsy.com

What’s in a name?

Baking recipes don’t only call for granulated sugar — they also commonly call for confectioners’, powdered, icing or superfine sugar. What’s the deal?

Confectioners’ sugar is, quite simply, granulated sugar that has been ground to a fine powder. There are different levels of fineness, but the most readily available type is ground 10 times, which explains why the packaging sometimes says “10x”.

Powdered sugar and icing sugar are actually the same thing as confectioners’ sugar; different generations, cultures and regions may favor different terms — sort of like “soda” versus “pop.” The fine consistency helps this sugar dissolve easily into toppings and fillings, such as buttercream, rather than creating the grainy texture that would come with using granulated sugar.

Superfine sugar (also known as caster sugar), however, is not the same. It is ground finer than granulated sugar, but not as fine as confectioners’ sugar. The smaller crystals cream smoothly and easily into butter and dissolve easily into delicate mixtures, such as meringue, and help yield a fine texture in the finished baked goods. Some recipes for particularly delicate baked goods, such as meringues or angel food cake, work best with this fine sugar.

Confectioners' Sugar

Recipe notes:

Equipment

This recipe is extremely simple: take granulated sugar and grind it to a powder. But what should you use to grind? A blender or food processor are best, but a spice grinder or coffee grinder will also work. Keep in mind that the latter two will be more prone to impart a flavor.

Warning: if you have a plastic blender, consider the fact that it’s possible that the sugar crystals can scratch the surface. This is not likely, but it is possible, so it’s best to keep in mind. This is not a concern with a glass blender.

Corn Starch for Making Confectioners' Sugar

Adding cornstarch

Commercial confectioners’ sugar typically contains cornstarch, which prevents caking and clumping. You’ll see it listed as “optional” in this recipe. If you are using the confectioners’ sugar right away, it’s not necessary to add cornstarch. However, if you plan on storing the sugar, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the sugar before blending to ensure that it has a consistency that will keep well.

Granulated Sugar

How to make confectioners’ sugar at home

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:

Place one cup of granulated sugar (and cornstarch, if using) into a blender or food processor.

Pouring Ingredients into Blender

Step 2:

Use the “pulse” or “blend” setting. If you’d like to make superfine sugar, just pulse for just about 30 seconds. If you’d like to make confectioners’ sugar, continue blending until it has attained a powdery consistency.

Blending Ingredients for Confectioners' SUgar

Step 3:

Whether you’re making superfine or confectioners’ sugar, sift the sugar through a strainer into a container, and you’re done.

If you’re not using the sugar right away, store in an airtight container.

Sifting Powdered Sugar

If you loved making confectioners’ sugar at home, you’ll adore combining it with homemade butter for a truly remarkable and completely homemade buttercream.

Tomorrow on the Craftsy blog, we’ll share a recipe for homemade Parker House rolls, perfect for your holiday table!

Have you ever made confectioners’ sugar at home?

13 Comments

Patti Brundle

I use to do this years ago when I had three preschoolers and it was hard to get out when I needed confectioners sugar and didn’t have any. Always had regular sugar.

Reply
Suzie the Foodie

I had no idea you could do this! I am super impressed, that rocks and is so liberating. Thank you!

Reply
Lise

Hi,

This sounds – and looks – great, but am I misunderstanding something?

In Step 1 you write “Place one cup of confectioners’ sugar…” Isn’t confectioners sugar what we are making? From granulated sugar? Step 2 is also a little unclear to me. What is it about NOT adding confectioners’ sugar? I don’t get it.

Do you see my troubles or am I totally off? :-)

(Maybe I should just go ahead and do it and not read the instructions: Granulated sugar (+ cornstarch) + food processor = confectioners’ sugar)

Thanks a lot anyways!

Lise, Copenhagen, Denmark

Reply
Karen Kelty

Hi Lise!

Thanks for catching that! We adjusted the recipe to hopefully make it less confusing. I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions!

Reply
Chuck Tillinghast

As an add , as many of us have replaced sugar in our recipes with either Stevia or Splendor , I have decided to grind my Stevia and use it when powdered sugar is called for.

Reply
Chuck Tillinghast

As an add , as many of us have replaced sugar in our recipes with either Stevia or Splendor , I have decided to grind my Stevia and use it when powdered sugar is called for.

Reply
Chuck Tillinghast

As an add , as many of us have replaced sugar in our recipes with either Stevia or Splendor , I have decided to grind my Stevia and use it when powdered sugar is called for.

Reply
Bonnie Ardoin

Hi, I have tried to make powdered sugar in a food processor…mine is a Kitchen aid….it did not work. will try my blender next time.

Reply
karen

Just as a precaution, keep the lid on the sugar in the blender while blending. Fine sugar suspended in the air can spontaneously combust, especially with the added heat from friction of the blender. You probably keep the lid on anyway so you don’t have a huge mess to clean up, but just in case…

Reply
von

I also tried making it in kitchen aid processor but didn’t work. Didn’t get fine enough. There’s a button that says thick or thin that’s set in middle maybe I should have moved it to thin don’t know

Reply
Rosetta Beck

Thank you. I was just about to run to the store so I could make my husbands birthday cake. Saved me the trip. Hope it works.

Reply
D

It doesn’t work, making it at home. The manufacturer most likely has special grinding equipment to make the sugar as fine as it needs to be,….. to be the powdered sugar we expect.

Reply

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