How to Make Brown Sugar from Molasses (2 Ingredients!)

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Have you ever been in the middle of a delicious recipe only to realize you’ve run out of brown sugar? This won’t be a problem again once you know how to make brown sugar from molasses! It’s so much easier than you’d expect, too.

closeup of a vintage mason jar with homemade dark brown sugar from molasses.

I’ve been making my own brown sugar for years! I started out of necessity after running out of brown sugar for a recipe. Once I realized how easy it was to make it in my own kitchen, I started making it at home all the time. It adds so much flavor to my gravenstein apple crispbutterscotch pudding pie, and apple crumble scones. Honestly, brown sugar is in all my favorite recipes!

Since organic brown sugar is often more expensive than conventional, this quick recipe helps us keep it in stock at all times without spending a small fortune on it!

Can you make brown sugar from molasses?

Yes! In fact, most brown sugar is made this same way, just on a much larger scale. We often think of brown sugar as being sugar that still has a high molasses content, but it’s usually regular white sugar mixed with molasses. If you have those two ingredients in your pantry, you can make your own homemade brown sugar, too!

It’s very easy to make your own DIY brown sugar! I’ve been using this method for years and don’t even really bother buying brown sugar at the store unless I have a ton of baking to do. It’s way easier to make it myself instead of heading to the grocery store!

overhead view of a vintage mason jar with homemade brown sugar.

Why you’ll love this homemade brown sugar recipe


  • Skip a trip to the store – Instead of whizzing down to the store to get a new bag of brown sugar, just make your own! It takes just a few minutes.
  • Save money – Since everything seems to be so much more expensive these days, you’ll be pleased to know that brown sugar can be very inexpensive to make at home. This is especially true if you prefer using organic brown sugar. It really adds up!
  • Increase the quality – You can easily use conventional (non-organic) sugar and molasses, but this recipe makes it easy to make organic brown sugar at home. You just need organic cane sugar and organic blackstrap molasses. That’s it!

Equipment

There are several different ways to make your own brown sugar, and the supplies can vary depending on your method.

  • Stand mixer method – Stand mixer with either the whisk or paddle attachment
  • Electric mixer method – Medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer and beaters
  • Bowl method – Medium mixing bowl, a spatula, and your hands

You’ll also need an airtight container for storage.

ingredients to make brown sugar at home.

Ingredients

  • White granulated sugar – Feel free to use any quality of white sugar you have on hand. It works with the cheap stuff from Walmart (usually made from sugar beets, surprisingly!) or the fancy organic evaporated cane juice. They all work. I usually use the organic sugar from Costco.
  • Blackstrap molasses – I recommend using organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses. One jar will last a while, and it’s great to have on hand for holiday baking!

How to Make Brown Sugar from Molasses

  1. Combine the sugar and molasses in the mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer.
  2. Turn on the mixer or begin mixing to incorporate the molasses into the sugar.
  3. The molasses will begin to clump up on top of the sugar. Use a spoon or spatula to press the molasses pieces into the side of the bowl.
  4. Continue mixing like before until all of the molasses clumps have broken apart and fully integrated into the mixture. Scrape the bowl with the spatula to make sure all of the molasses has been added.
  5. Store the brown sugar in an airtight container, like normal. Use however you’d like!

Storing

Just like normal, store your brown sugar in an airtight container at room temperature. If you have problems with your brown sugar clumping, consider buying some terracotta brown sugar savers to keep it soft all the time.

How to Make Light or Dark Brown Sugar at Home

Did you know that the only difference between light and brown sugar is the amount of molasses? That’s it. The extra molasses adds a darker brown color and a richer flavor, perfect for molasses cookies or gingerbread cookies. Otherwise, they’re the same! You can easily make your own light or dark brown sugar by adjusting the amount of liquid molasses in your bowl.

  • Make light brown sugar – For this recipe, I used 1 cup of cane sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses. You can see the color is quite rich and dark. For light brown sugar, use up to 1 tablespoon of molasses (or slightly less).
  • Make dark brown sugar – For a darker, bolder flavor, add up to 2 tablespoons of molasses per cup of sugar.
closeup of homemade brown sugar.

Tips & Variations

  • There are no rules here. If you want lighter brown sugar, use less molasses. If you want a darker color, use more. You can easily adjust the shade to your preference. No one is grading you!
  • If you accidentally make your brown sugar too dark, add in a small amount of white sugar to thin it out.
  • Want to make light brown sugar darker? Add up to 1 additional tablespoon of molasses per cup of sugar.
  • No molasses on hand? Try substituting another liquid sweetener, like honey or maple syrup, for a totally different flavor profile!

FAQs

Why are there dark clumps in my brown sugar?

The molasses wants to clump to itself, which makes it a little hard to mix into the sugar. If you see dark brown clumps of molasses, press them against the side of the bowl with your spoon. This will break apart the clump and make it easier to mix into the rest of the sugar.

Can you make brown sugar without molasses?

Technically, no. Regular brown sugar is made by adding molasses to white sugar. However, remember what I said about doing what you want? You can replace the molasses with liquid sweeteners, like maple syrup, honey, date syrup, and more. The flavor and color will be different, but they’ll work in a pinch. For the best results, use a darker-colored syrup like buckwheat honey or robust maple syrup.

Can I make brown sugar with a stand mixer?

Yes! This is my favorite way to make my own brown sugar from molasses because it’s so hands-off. Just set the ingredients to mix and go! However, I’ve also had great success making it with an electric mixer or by hand. You can even try pulsing it together in the food processor!

What’s the difference between brown sugar and demerara sugar?

​There are so many different types of sugar out there, it’s a little overwhelming. The main differences depend on the source of the sugar and the molasses content. For example, raw sugar, muscovado sugar, and demerara sugar are generally made by dehydrating cane juice that still contains some of the natural molasses. White cane sugar is made by dehydrating the juice after removing the molasses. Regular white sugar is usually made from sugar beets instead of sugar cane! 

The easiest way to remember is that you have regular white sugar and traditional brown sugar for baking. Brown sugar naturally clumps together from all the moisture in the molasses, unlike demerara or muscovado sugar, which are generally free-flowing. 

Related Recipes

jar of diy brown sugar from molasses.
jar of homemade brown sugar from molasses.

DIY Brown Sugar From Molasses

All out of brown sugar for your recipe? Try this easy recipe to make your own brown sugar at home from molasses and regular white sugar!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes

Equipment

  • Stand mixer optional
  • electric mixer optional
  • Mixing bowl optional
  • Spatula
  • airtight container

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses, up to 2 tbsp

Instructions
 

  • Combine the sugar and molasses in the mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • Turn on the mixer or begin mixing to incorporate the molasses into the sugar.
  • The molasses will begin to clump up on top of the sugar. Use a spoon or spatula to press the molasses pieces into the side of the bowl.
  • Continue mixing like before until all of the molasses clumps have broken apart and fully integrated into the mixture. Scrape the bowl with the spatula to make sure all of the molasses has been added.
  • Store the brown sugar in an airtight container, like normal. Use however you’d like

Notes

For light brown sugar: Add 1 tbsp of molasses to 1 cup of sugar
For dark brown sugar: Add 2 tbsp of molasses per cup of sugar
Always store your brown sugar in an airtight container to minimize clumping.
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to leave a star rating!

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