Here’s a cooking secret that might be news to you: making brown sugar at home is easy, and takes less than 5 minutes. Making brown sugar with molasses and white granulated sugar couldn’t be easier: simply combine and stir.
Is it really that easy? Yes, indeed. Here’s a homemade brown sugar recipe that will upgrade any recipe calling for either the dark or light brown stuff, from chocolate chip cookies to streusel toppings for homemade pies to New Orleans-style pralines and so much more.
Although the recipe is very simple, there are some important things to consider.
Why make your own brown sugar?
It’s fresher, fluffier, and (in the writer’s opinion) has an overall superior flavor, and if you use it right after you make it, you’re guaranteed a perfect, lump-free consistency. Plus, telling your friends that you made not only your recipe but the brown sugar contained will certainly make you the most impressive baker on the block.
What type of molasses do I need?
Many grocery stores will only have one or two types of molasses, though several types do exist. If you have a choice, go for molasses marked “unsulphured” (this means it has no additives) and “dark.” Blackstrap molasses will also work, but some say it has a slightly bitter taste.
What type of sugar do I need?
Granulated white sugar — you know, the kind that comes in the big bag at the grocery store. Superfine or confectioners’ sugar will not work well for this recipe, as they may be too fine to absorb the molasses without dissolving.
What’s the best way to get all the molasses off of the measuring spoon?
As long as you get most of the molasses out of the measuring spoon, you should be fine. But if you need a little help, a light mist of non-stick spray on the spoon before pouring in the molasses can help it all come off of the spoon easier.
Speaking of the molasses…help! It’s stuck in the bottle.
If your molasses has solidified to the point where it won’t pour, don’t panic, but do follow these steps.
First, smell it. If it has a funky smell, it may have fermented — do not use the molasses in this case.
If the molasses smells fine but still won’t pour, simply run the (sealed) bottle under hot water for about a minute — that should do the trick. Or, you can also place the bottle in a bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes if you don’t want to hold it under the sink. The heat should help to soften the molasses to the point where it will be pourable.
Storing homemade brown sugar
Place the brown sugar in airtight bags or containers and store as you would regular brown sugar — either at room temperature, or freeze the sugar and let it thaw before using. If the brown sugar becomes hard or lumpy, see our post on the secrets to softening brown sugar.
Can I make more than 1 cup at a time?
Yes, but follow the ratio of the recipe below (for 2 cups, use 2 cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses, and so on). For larger quantities, you may find using a stand mixer handles the mixing much better than using a fork or spoon.
How to make light brown sugar at home:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
Place the sugar in a medium bowl. Pour the molasses evenly on top. Stir with a fork until combined.
There may be a couple of small dark brown lumps; you can squeeze these between your impeccably clean fingers to break them up.
How to make dark brown sugar at home:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
Repeat the steps above for light brown sugar.