How to Make Brown Sugar


There is nothing worse than jumping into a baking project and realizing I am out of brown sugar.  Where does it all go or is it the fact that it’s often sold in those tiny little annoying boxes…never enough to last a few batches of cookies.

So making my own brown sugar has become the norm around here.  The taste far surpasses anything you can buy commercially and your baked goods have a much richer flavor.  Not to mention it’s so easy to do.

Making light brown or dark brown sugar is just a matter of changing the amount of molasses, and with a hand mixer you are well on your way.

Try it out, you may never purchase store bought again.  Plus, it kind of makes you feel very “Little House on the Prairie”, except they didn’t have electricity, but you know what I mean.

All you need is granulated sugar, molasses and a hand mixer.

For light brown sugar add 1 Tablespoon molasses to 1 cup granulated sugar.  Combine with an electric mixer, starting on a low speed, gradually increasing the speed to high until all the little molasses balls are incorporated, it will take about 5-8 minutes.  To make dark brown sugar, add 2 Tablespoons molasses to every 1 cup granulated sugar and follow the same mixing instructions.

In no time you will have the fluffiest, best tasting, rich brown sugar you can imagine.  Even the color does not compare to what you buy in the store.

With budgets very tight for many people this holiday season, this is a great little gift and is very economical.  A mason jar filled with homemade brown sugar, both light and dark, with a favorite baking recipe attached, would be something I would love to receive.

Or fill the brown sugar in vintage sugar bowls you pick up at a thrift store for an even homier look.

Remember, it’s not the gift but the gesture. 

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32 Comments

  1. I’ve always known you can make your own brown sugar, but have never done it. This makes me really want to try it. And I LOVE the idea of filling a cute container and giving it away as gifts. Love it. I’m always looking for easy, acquaintance type-people gifts.
    Great post, Cathy!

  2. I have always wondered how brown sugar came to be! I love this!

    Now all I have to do is get some molasses!

  3. Tom Saaristo 3

    Fantastique! Thank you!

  4. Darryl in Austin 4

    This is an awesome idea…I bet the taste is the best.

  5. Greg 5

    Cathy – I never thought to do that. Such a great idea. How does it compare cost-wise? I’m going to try it today.

  6. Lisa 6

    I have to try this! It never occurred to me to make my own and I often run out of brown sugar. Great idea!

  7. Noble Pig 7

    Well, it depends, I buy my granulated sugar and molasses at Costco so the price of those items are quite good.  Then since I am always running to the store to get “brown sugar” there is gasoline involved and I don’t have a grocery store immediately around the corner.  So the benefits are big for me, but the taste is so much better…a much richer flavor. You’ll see.

  8. Philly 8

    This is great! Hope you don’t mind, I’m going to post this on my wall on fb and pass it on.

  9. Larry 9

    Thanks. No more “bricks” of brown sugar

  10. What a great idea! I want to give this a try right now.

  11. Barbie with a T 11

    Well! Now I know. You are so smart. I would have never thought that brown sugar was white sugar mixed with molasses. I thought it was browned in the oven or something like that. The consistency does look better than store bought brown sugar. This is something I will never forget. Thanks!

  12. this sounds awesome!! I love molasses, I bet this tastes great. Thanks Cathy!!

  13. I had never thought about making my own brown sugar, but it makes sense, especially when you go through so much. I know I just bought another 2 pound bag today. I’ll put molasses on the next shopping list, as we too have to drive at least 15 minutes to town to pick up that one item I forgot to check :)

  14. wow you can actually make brown sugar at home???! Great tip! Thanks!

  15. Susan 15

    I will admit it…I have never thought of making it myself. But, why not. I now have the simply, easy directions and I am actually anxious to try it. Thanks.

  16. Aislinn 16

    I also made my own brown sugar this past weekend and LOVED it!! I found using a hand-mixer to be quite tedious (maybe because my molasses had been in the refrigerator, I don’t know) so I transfered it all into my food processor and it worked incredibly well as long as I stirred it with a spatually every minute or two! (be careful when using a food processor to not leave it in there for too long because the bottom of the bowl starts to heat and we all know what happens when you add heat to sugar!!)

  17. Alicia 17

    This is a fabulous idea! I bet co-workers would love to receive a vintage sugar bowl filled with home made brown sugar and the recipe on how to make their own! I’ve recently found recipes on how to make vanilla sugar as well.

  18. Wow! I’m impressed! I had no idea that you could make brown sugar! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Jules 19

    Wow-how easy is that?! Thank you for sharing!

  20. Shawn 20

    I appreciate this post. Now, I will never run out of brown sugar! The only question I have is: I usually store my brown sugar in a container with a tight fitting lid. Do I do the same with homemade brown sugar and how long is the shelf life? Hopefully the same…

  21. Noble Pig 21

    It will not be a problem storing it that way.  I’ve never had any shelf-life issues because I use it so often, so I don’t really have an answer. 

  22. Serene 22

    I’ve done it for recipes, but never considered packaging it as a gift. Good idea!

  23. Susan 24

    I was going to make some oatmeal cashew cookies this morning and realized I didn’t have enough brown sugar, then I thought…WAIT, I have white sugar and I have molasses, AND I just saw how to make my OWN brown sugar on Noble Pig! Bada Bing, Bada Bang…DONE!! Yummy…thanks so much! And the cookies are divine!!

  24. Leanne 26

    What a great idea, thanks so much for sharing it! Do you know if this would work in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment?

  25. Terri A. 27

    I had run out of brown sugar last weekend and made some for the first time. So quick and easy! I used a fork to incorporate and then my hands to get the little molasses balls out. Worked like a charm. (My hands were very clean, by the way).

  26. Faith 28

    I just made chocolate chip cookies with homemade brown sugar. Can’t wait til they come out of the oven so I can try one. I wanted to bake but didn’t want to shop – no brown sugar – no problem made my own. Thanks for the recipe. :)

  27. Terra 29

    Enjoy your blog. Looking forward to a good read!

  28. Jeffrey 30

    I’m a little confused about this recipe in two ways. 1) I tried it out last night hoping to use it in a batch of root beer I was making because I have used brown sugar in previous batches with positive results. Maybe the molasses needed to be warmed up a little or something because, even after 10 min or so of the gradual speed increases like you said, it barely looked like I had even started breaking up the little molasses balls. Since I was just mixing it with hot water anyway, I eventually heated up a pot of water to about 150 degrees and dumped in the whole bowl to dissolve it. 2) after I dissolved it in the hot water, the odor from it, though pleasant, was very “molasses-y”. I was confused that I didn’t really smell anything like regular brown sugar. (Granted, I didn’t dissolve some store bought in another pot to compare.) Unfortunately, it didn’t make into my root beer this go around because I wanted to get a better idea of what the outcome of this recipe should be.

    Were the results I got normal? Is it supposed to smell like molasses and sugar instead of store bought brown sugar? Any advice would be extremely helpful! If this works out next time, I’ll be sure to send you my homemade root beer recipe. It is a smash hit just about everywhere I take it!

  29. Noble Pig 31

    I make this all the time and have never had any of these problems, I really don’t understand what went wrong…sorry.

  30. Carrie 32

    Hey!
    I’m really interested in making my own brown sugar because I live in Mali and can’t buy it here. The other problem is that molasses isn’t available here either. I was wondering if a dark honey would work similarly? I’m sure the flavor would be different, but would it still work for baking? Or do you know of another substitute?