Baking Blog

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

Here's a nifty little baking 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.

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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

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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 learning how to make confectioners' sugar at home, you'll adore combining it with homemade butter for a truly remarkable and completely homemade buttercream.

Have you ever made confectioners' sugar at home?

Make More DIY Pantry Staples With This FREE Guide!

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Store-Bought: 6 DIY Pantry Staples

Trying to eat fewer processed foods? Stock your pantry with homemade essentials like butter, confectioners’ sugar and more, with this FREE printable guide. Get My FREE Guide »

24 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.

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Suzie the Foodie

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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

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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.

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Zakirah G.

Thank you, thank, thank you, THANK YOUU so much

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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.

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Patti Murolo

How can I color the sugar blue? Will adding blue food color work?

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Candy

I’ve done this and liked the results. The results were a little grainy or granular, and this added extra appeal to frosted cookies.

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Jess

I did this to make a glaze. I used my blender. It was grainy so I just heated my glaze a bit stiired and it melted to a smooth glaze. Don’t know what you could do about icing though.

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Hannah Maria Rodriguez

To make icing mix the sugar with butter so its blended to bit thicker then normal icing then all a tad bit of vanilla. Add the milk very very VERY SLOWLY untill you get the right texture.

About 3 cups of powdered sugar
1 and a half stick of butter (cut into pieces and add a little at a time untill the right consistency
A teaspoon or a tablespoon vanilla
Then add tablespoons or milk until you like the thickness

You can also leave out the milk and instead add whipcream and mix until smooth

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Tracy

Instead of cornstarch (made from corn and probably GMO) can you use Cream of Tartar?

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Lisa

Use arrowroot powder if you don’t want to use cornstarch

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Ray

You can buy organic cornstarch on Amazon at a pretty reasonable price. That takes care of the GMO problem.

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choden

I want to try.thank you.

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Kathy Eldridge

My recipe calls for a box of powdered sugar. How much granulated would I need to make that amount?

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Bartholomew Radelet

1 to 1 ratio the package weight of the powdered sugar will be the same, just because it was ground the volume area is greater

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Marisa Orito

i work s for me ,i use the blender the small one for grinding spices ..thanks for the info. now i can make more when i need it in the future ,,i made 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch it works ! now i can make my cinnamon roll..

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Veronika Dueck

I want to try making it, but I’m wondering if it will work to blend it in a magic bullet instead of a blender because I don’t have a blender.

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Clara Coffey

I make powdered sugar all the time. I also make fish fry from regular cornmeal. I use my Vitamix that has a metal pitcher. You save a lot of money as well as knowing what is going into your food. As for measuring I have found weighing is the best way. A pound is a pound no matter how fine it is ground.

Reply

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