Baking season is HERE which means it’s time to get your sweet tooth fix and countdown to AK Cookie Week. Today’s Back to Basics tutorial is almost too easy to write about, but is truly magical if you’ve never tried it before!
If you’ve ever run out of brown sugar before or are missing just a bit for your baking project it’s time to learn exactly how to make brown sugar from scratching using two simple ingredients. That’s right, just like you can make paleo powdered sugar and even oat flour right at home, you can skip the store-bought brown sugar and DIY!
Get all of my tips and tricks for making, storing, and even measuring brown sugar below, and use it in all of your baked goods (and even savory recipes) this season.
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What is brown sugar made out of?
If you’ve ever made any sort of baking recipes I’m sure you’ve used (or at least are familiar with) brown sugar. Did you know that it’s made with just two basic ingredients? Yep! In this homemade brown sugar recipe you’ll need:
That’s it! The addition of molasses to the white sugar adds that lovely, caramel-like flavor that you probably recognize in brown sugar.
Fall in love with molasses
You’ll only need about a tablespoon or two of molasses in this recipe tutorial, but feel free to stock up on it for even more delicious recipes like sweet treats and baked goods. I LOVE using molasses in recipes because it’s:
- Naturally packed with iron, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Just 1 tablespoon of molasses has 20% of your daily iron needs. Amazing.
- It’s amazing in baked goods and even savory marinades, BBQ sauces and chilis!
- Perfect for making ginger cookies, gingerbread, and tons of your favorite holiday recipes.
Try it in my Paleo Ginger Molasses Cookies and my Fluffy Gingerbread Pancakes!
How to make brown sugar: 2 different ways
You have two super simple ways to combine white with molasses to make the perfect brown sugar:
- Option 1: add the white sugar and molasses to a large bowl and mix with a fork until the sugar is completely coated in the molasses. It should be a tan color.
- Option 2: add the white sugar and molasses to the bowl of a food processor and pulse the ingredients together until they’re well-combined.
Light vs. dark brown sugar
If you’ve ever bought brown sugar before you’ve probably noticed that it comes in light brown or dark brown. The difference is in the amount of molasses that’s mixed with the regular white sugar. I love the flavor that dark brown sugar gives baked goods like my brown butter chocolate chip cookies because it’s even richer and deeper.
This recipe makes light brown sugar, but to make dark brown sugar you’ll just increase the molasses from 1 tablespoon to 2. Easy!
How to measure brown sugar
Many recipes ask for “packed” brown sugar, which means you’ll want to tightly pack it into your measuring cup before adding it to the recipe.
- Carefully spoon the brown sugar into your measuring cup
- Firmly press the brown sugar into the measuring cup using the back of a spoon or your fingers
- Repeat this process until the brown sugar is about level with the rim of the measuring cup
- Level it off with the back of a knife and then add it to your recipe
Store your homemade brown sugar in an airtight container at room temperature. It will start to lose moisture and create dry clumps if it’s exposed to air, but you can prevent this further by adding a slice of bread to the container or bag (if storing it in a bag).
Use homemade brown sugar in these delicious recipes
- The Best Tart Cherry Pie You’ll Ever Eat
- Brown Butter Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Coffee Tahini Date Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
- Apple Pie Bars with Salted Peanut Butter Caramel
- Soft Brown Butter Ginger Cookies with Lovely Lemon Icing
- Homemade Slow Cooker Baked Beans
- Oh So Good Chicken Meatballs in Pumpkin Coconut Curry Sauce
- 30-Minute Sesame Chicken Green Bean Stir Fry
Remember to get even more of our dessert recipes here, and kitchen tutorials here!
I hope you love this tutorial on how to make brown sugar. If you try it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how it went!
How to Make Brown Sugar
Learn how to make brown sugar from scratch in just five minutes using two simple ingredients! This easy tutorial is the perfect resource for any time you're out of store-bought kind, and you can use your homemade brown sugar in all of your favorite sweet and savory recipes!
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses*
Option 1: add the white sugar and molasses to a large bowl and mix with a fork until the sugar is completely coated in the molasses. It should be a tan color.
Option 2: add the white sugar and molasses to the bowl of a food processor and pulse the ingredients together until they’re well-combined.
This recipe makes light brown sugar. To make dark brown sugar, increase the molasses to 2 tablespoons.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
I use allulose or erythritol in place of the white sugar to make (relatively) sugar free brown sugar. 😊
I see Rebecca’s comment that she made it with allulose to make it sugar-free. I’m thinking of doing that as well. I do wonder if the texture will be the same.