Learn how to make brown sugar at home! This recipe works as a brown sugar substitute and if you have 5 minutes, granulated sugar, and molasses, you won’t need to make an emergency trip to the store when you run out! I include alternative options if you don’t have molasses on hand, too!
Brown Sugar Substitute
We’ve all been there. In the midst of making a recipe (maybe chocolate chip cookies?) only to reach for the bag of brown sugar and find out you’re completely out. While you might be tempted to substitute granulated sugar, it’s just not quite the same. You won’t get precisely the same depth of flavor and your recipe will lose some moisture.
So what do you do?
Well, if you happen to have regular (granulated) sugar and molasses on hand, you’re in luck. With just these two ingredients I’m showing you how to make brown sugar (it takes less than 5 minutes). This isn’t just a substitute for brown sugar this is it, the real-deal, legit stuff that you can use in any recipe.
What You Need
This is probably one of the easiest to make recipes on my site because it only requires 2 ingredients!
- Granulated sugar. Simple white sugar is the base of this “recipe”.
- Unsulphured molasses. This is what gives brown sugar its moist, slightly sticky texture and what makes it brown. If you don’t have molasses I do have some recommendations for alternatives in my FAQ section below.
How to Make Brown Sugar
There’s no fancy equipment needed, all you need is a mixing bowl and a spoon or spatula.
- Combine the granulated sugar and molasses in a mixing bowl.
- Stir the sugar and molasses until completely combined and sugar is one cohesive color.
SAM’S TIP: The molasses will form clumps and little balls in the sugar. To work them out, use a spatula to press them against the side of your mixing bowl and grind them between the spatula and the side of the bowl until no clumps remain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this is brown sugar, so if you’re out at home, all you need is some granulated sugar and molasses and you can make your own light or dark brown sugar
This is best stored in an airtight container, or a Ziploc bag with as much air pressed out as possible. It will keep for several months (or longer).
Air hardens brown sugar. To keep it soft make sure you remove as much air from the container you’re storing it in as possible. For this reason I prefer to use a Ziploc bag, it’s easy to press out most of the air. If storing in a different container (like a tupperware container) it can be helpful to press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the sugar before securing the lid.
If your sugar has hardened, don’t panic! Put a slice of bread in with it (weird, right!?) and it should soften within hours. The sugar will pull moisture from the bread, making the bread hard, but the sugar nice and soft.
Unfortunately if you use anything other than molasses it is no longer true brown sugar. However, many people have reported recipe success using maple syrup or buckwheat honey instead. Do a 1:1 substitution for the molasses, the end result will be lighter in color but this is OK).
Keep in mind maple syrup and honey have different flavor profiles than molasses so you may have a subtle variation in your end product.
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Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
How to Make Brown Sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 1 Tablespoon unsulphured molasses increase to 2 Tablespoons of molasses if you would like to make dark brown sugar
- Combine sugar and molasses in a mixing bowl.
- Use a spatula to work the ingredients together as well as you can. Use the spatula to press any lumps against the side of the bowl and smash them out.
- Continue to mix until no lumps remain and the brown sugar is uniform in color.
- Store in an airtight container.