How To Make Brown Sugar

Last updated 09/20/2019 | |

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Run out of brown sugar? You can make light or dark brown sugar for cookies, cakes, and sauces right in your kitchen. Two ingredients, two minutes!

How to make brown sugar:

Around here, a lot of DIY kitchen projects start like this (read in "whiny internal monologue voice"):

Awww crap, we're out of ______ (insert item here).
I don't want to load the kids in the car and go to the store for just one thing.
There's gotta be a way I can make it myself.

Tortillas and pie crusts have magically appeared in this fashion. Last weekend, a similar situation arose when I was out of brown sugar.

What the heck? I thought (read in "confident kitchen DIY voice"). Brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses added, so why not just make it myself?

Tools Used to Make Brown Sugar

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowlthe no-skid base of this bowl makes it one of my favorite mixing bowls.

KitchenAid mixer: an excellent mixer for getting rid of all of the lumps

How to Make Brown Sugar

It couldn't be easier. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of molasses for each cup of sugar.
Make Brown Sugar:

Zip it with your mixer until all the molasses is incorporated.
Make Brown Sugar:

It will start to look like a lumpy disaster.
Make Brown Sugar:

Don't give up! Keep mixing until the lumps are gone. If it's too light, add another tablespoon of molasses.
Make Brown Sugar:

How cool is that? You've made brown sugar!
How to make brown sugar:

What's your favorite kitchen DIY? Share with us in the comments!

How to Make Brown Sugar

  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 cup white sugar
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of molasses for each cup of sugar. 

  2. Zip it with your mixer until all the molasses is incorporated.

  3. It will start to look like a lumpy disaster.

  4. Don’t give up! Keep mixing until the lumps are gone. If it’s too light, add another tablespoon of molasses.


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  1. Gg Immer on September 10, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you for the great tip! Right now with Covid restrictions anything we can make at home without extra trips to the store is a winner in my book!

  2. Joy on March 2, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Why are people being such assholes about sugar?

    Great tip, by the way!

  3. Gwen on January 3, 2015 at 8:21 am

    If you buy “brown sugar” with molasses in it then you aren’t buying REAL Brown Sugar. You are buying fake stuff and thus creating fake stuff following these directions.

  4. tina on August 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    @ Brandon, thx for correcting her, I have seen brown sugar made from scratch in the caribbean n that’s not made from white sugar but from cane, its a whole process too

  5. Brandon on January 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I’m sorry I have to correct you. Cheap brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added back in. The good brown sugar is processed right from the cane.

  6. LynAnne on December 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    For the thought that you could use 1 cup of sugar & molasses (1tbs) and just put it straight in the recipe…great idea…probably won’t work…if you noticed that brown sugar recipes often call for packing down the sugar…that would make it probably 3 to 1 in the recipe.

  7. Blueonthefarm on December 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    To make sugar cane.. Go to a farmers market or an ethnic food store. Buy a few sticks of cane , make sure they are about 6 foot tall or so. Get them home, find a nice swampy place with moderate sun, chop the canes in 5-6 segment pieces (it looks bamboish, count out the “knuckles” ) plan it a few inches under, mark the stalks with a flag of some type,water and wait. Map it out, let your kids know where they are, just incase… You will see fresh shoots in about a year… Heavy rains will produce them faster… Let those grow to about 6′ then harvest. Then make rum… (that is a totally different post…).

  8. J Hardy on November 30, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Great lessen, I will try it soon…..Ty

  9. Marjorie Dumais on November 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm


  10. Karen F on November 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    A friend of mine needed Sweetened condensed milk so she just googled it and made her own!

  11. Todd on November 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Can you use turbanido sugar or organic sugar instead?

  12. sue ames-lillie on November 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I’ve been doing this since the ’70’s when I first worked in a food co-op and found out that brown sugar that you buy is nothing more than white sugar with molasses added back into it. And yes, I often just add the molasses to the liquids in the recipe. Thanks for the tips on powdered sugar.

  13. Kay Huston on November 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I thought they extract the “brown” during the process of whitening our sugar. That liquid is called molasses.

  14. Shirley Bass on November 25, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Too Cool!

  15. Natalie on November 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Can you store this? If so, how long, and what’s the best way to store it? Just like the brown sugar you buy from the store?

  16. Maplesyrupmama on November 24, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Could you use maple syrup in this process?

    • Tommie Bazzell on November 25, 2013 at 4:52 am

      To make maple syrup boil one cup of water with one cup of sugar till sugar if dissolved and add 1 teaspoon maple flavoring

      • on March 24, 2014 at 9:38 am

        That is NOT maple syrup…that is maple flavored sugar water. Maple Syrup comes from boiling down maple sap.

  17. confused on November 24, 2013 at 5:53 am

    wouldn’t it be easier just to add molasses to the recipe instead of creating an extra step of mixing them?

    • nova on November 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Sometimes the ingredients need to be dry. This could save a trip to the store

  18. Andrea Raymond on October 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    This is an awesome tip!!!! Isn’t there also a way to make powdered sugar? We use a lot of brown sugar, I just have a hard time storing it because the ants keep finding it!

    • Gloria Damron on November 24, 2013 at 6:01 am

      TUPPERWARE!!! Or any container that is air tight container- also makes it ant proof. If brown sugar gets hard… put 1 slice of bread in the container and put the air tight lid on it. It will soften over night.

    • Simple Living on November 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

      To the person who wanted to know if you can make powdered sugar… it’s just white sugar that’s ground fine with a little cream of tartar to keep it from caking. Use a food processor.

      I do the same thing to sea salt to make it fine as well.

    • Marty on November 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      Making powdered sugar – you need a very high powered mixer, like a vitamix. just throw in granulated sugar and turn on the mixer until you have powdered sugar. Can’t remember if I used the regular blades or the dry blades though.

      • kimberley caton on November 26, 2013 at 10:25 am

        You can also make powdered sugar with splenda. All I do is put it in a blender and blend til it is powder I dont use anything else in it. Every year we make a texas delight and I cant eat it because I am diabetic so I decided to try making powered sugar with splenda and now I get a sugar free version of the texas delight .

        • BeckyJo Middlebrooks on November 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

          be careful with the splenda though, all “fake” sweeteners have been found to cause cancer and if you get migraine headaches often (like I used to), mine were caused from the ingestion of any “fake sweeteners”

          • Bill on December 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm

            Xylitol does great, or Truvia for diabetics!

      • Bill on December 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm

        Or a coffee grinder!

    • Nikki Boyce on December 23, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Powdered Sugar is just as easy. 1 Tablespoon of corn starch to 1 Cup of white sugar and blend in blender until desired consistency. Viola!

  19. Kimmie on September 28, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Ha, I am lazy! Couldn’t I just add the proper amount of molasses to the recipe, instead of mixing the sugar and molasses together?

    • Diana Kelly on November 25, 2013 at 11:51 am

      My thought exactly!

    • Cindy Deer on November 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

      That is exactly what I do when I make something that calls for brown sugar. It saves a big step by just putting it all in the batter or baked beans… But if you are making a topping like crumble for pie etc you must mix the sugar. I always use unprocessed cane sugar… not white sugar.

  20. Darren on November 29, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Aw crap, I’m out of molasses. How do I make that?

    • Brown Thumb Mama on November 29, 2012 at 5:48 am

      1. Grow sugarcane.
      2. Harvest, strip leaves.
      3. Boil.


      1. Go to store. ;o)

    • Beth on January 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I’ve actually used dark Karo syrup in a pinch. Not exactly the same, but it’s worked if I just need a little brown sugar for a recipe.

  21. Katie Swanberg on November 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I had to laugh when I saw this post! I had to make my own brown sugar last week too! Thanks for sharing – I bet a lot of folks don’t know you could make brown sugar.

    • Brown Thumb Mama on November 29, 2012 at 5:52 am

      Ahhh, great minds think alike. Were you making banana bread? Then I’ll know we’re really on the same wavelength.

      Lots of people at work have have said they didn’t know they could make brown sugar. I should call this a public service announcement!

      • Dan on November 25, 2013 at 4:33 am

        yes i was thinking the same thing.I would thing it would be more likely that you would have brown sugar than molasses.Yes brown sugar is just molasses and sugar + somthing to keep it from clumping.

    • Linda on April 7, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      That’s ok if you are out of it and don’t want to go to the store, but how many have molasses on hand?
      Anyway, you are just reversing the process of the sugar. Unrefined sugar is the brown sugar,and then it is processed to white sugar. Kinda like the wheat is processed to white flour. I’d rather use brown sugar for most everything because it is sweeter, therefore taking less to accomplish a satisfying taste. Actually, I use Stevia mostly.

      • Nik on July 1, 2014 at 8:13 pm

        If you look on the package of brown sugar, the ingredients are sugar and molasses. And, I always have molasses on hand. The jar is tall and lasts forever. Anywho, you may be thinking of raw sugar which is brown. But it’s not brown sugar.

      • Jen on May 14, 2015 at 6:24 pm

        I never have Molasses on hand.

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