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Friday, December 2, 2011

Kitchen Tip: Keeping Your Brown Sugar Soft

I’m doing something I’ve never done on my blog before…reposting a post! But I have a very good reason: this Kitchen Tip is awesome. I almost wrote about it today thinking I hadn’t before, but then I did a quick search and found that I had! The post is over four years old, so I figured I could bring it back. And I really want to make sure you all know this little bit of knowledge, so here we are! (And, eternal editor that I am, I made a few tweaks to the original copy. I just couldn’t help myself.)


The other night I was thinking that it’s been a while since I did a Kitchen Tips post”¦then later that evening a friend stopped by to borrow some brown sugar and was excited about the piece of bread inside my brown sugar container. Tah-dah! A post!

Want soft brown sugar? Just throw a piece of bread in the container. That’s it. Simple, easy, cheap. I change it out, oh, I don’t know…hardly ever. I use whatever sandwich bread I happen to have lying around. The bread never gets moldy (seriously, it doesn’t) and the brown sugar always remains a perfect, soft consistency. Just a little something I learned from my mama at a very young age.

My friend Adrianne’s scientist husband tried to explain why it works to us…he said the explanation really wasn’t complicated, but I think Adrianne and I only caught a couple words, like “the bread won’t go moldy” and “there’s a scientific reason it works.” Good enough for us cooks!


  1. 1

    When my husband is deployed overseas, they say to put a slice of bread in with homemade goodies to keep them fresh. I haven’t tried it, but they say it works!

  2. 3
    Ada Reid-Watson

    I’ve done this and it works well. I keep brown sugar in a small container and have found that even a small piece of bread works. But, any time my husband decides to bake something he says “why is there bread in the brown sugar?”

  3. They also have this little bear you can get at Bed Bath and Beyond for $4 that you just push down into your container of brown sugar. I love it!

  4. I like it! You can also affix bread with toothpicks to a cut cake to keep that moist, too…..but who ever has a half-eaten cake left??! 🙂

  5. Great tip! Scary, yet fascinating that the bread won’t mold. I’ll have to give this a try. BTW, I just found your site while doing a search for the healthiest honey (turns out most store-bought honey doesn’t have any pollen in it! WHAT?!) It brought me to your post about your favorite pouring bottles, including Trader Joe’s honey which, by the way, had one of the HIGHEST amounts of pollen in it and was rated one of the best resources for buying REAL honey inexpensively. GO TJ’s! 😉

    I look forward to exploring your site more! ~Becka 🙂

    • Jane Maynard

      I love that’s how you found my site – so funny! that bottle seriously does rock, and I’m happy to know the honey inside does, too! 🙂

  6. 7
    Stephanie P.

    Yes, this is a great tip. Especially if you buy a rock solid bag of brown sugar from the store. If you’re smart enough to know your brown sugar is hard and you’ll be baking the next day, toss some bread in the sugar container and it will be soft the next day, and stay soft. (You can also microwave the sugar with a moist paper towel in small–20 seconds or so, stirring in between–increments in a pinch, but I’ve burnt some sugar that way, the bread is definitely the way to go.

    As stated above, this also works with baked good. Our house has dry air especially in the winter, and I always toss some bread pieces in with cookies to make sure they keep their moisture. (The basic gist is that the bread sucks up the dry air, keeping the other stuff moist and since the bread looses its moisture, it’s to dry for mold to form.)

    We also have some of the ceramic sugar bears, and, at least in our house, the bread actually works better. I would also recommend OXO Pop containers, they are more airtight and well-sealed than any other containers I’ve had.

    Thanks for re-sharing this!

  7. 8
    Nicholle Cousino

    I’ve never heard of the bread in the brown sugar idea before – definitely will have to give that a try – wondering does it work with regular sugar too?

    I had learned from my mom (and her mom) about putting a slice of bread in with things like left-over cookies if they start to get a little too hard, it will soften them right up so they’re still very enjoyable even a few days after they were baked.

  8. 9

    My mom has been doing this for decades 🙂

  9. 10
    Elke Mahalak

    I learned from a co-worker to use bread on top of cookies to soften them if you accidentally bake them to long, I was amazed how well that worked, and it really makes me wonder how it works specially when I think about the brown sugar trick… 🙂

    • yes, definitely related! and, yes, a scientist once explained it to me. and, yes, I absolutely can’t remember what he told me! 😉 will have to use with cookies sometime!

  10. 11

    What anexcellent idea! Will try it, thanks a lot

  11. 12
    Pam Terra

    I freeze brown sugar, tightly wrapped in its plastic bag with an elastic around the bag. When I want some sugar, I loosen the bag and throw it in the micro wave for maybe 15 to 20 seconds. Take it out, measure the amount you want for your recipe and rewrap the sugar as before and put it back into the freezer. I haven’t thrown out any brown sugar since I started to store it this way.

  12. 13

    I use Tupperware containers and my brown sugar stay soft. I’m not a Tupperware retailer… as I never had this problem, I thought should share.

  13. 14

    My aunt taught me to put an apple slice in with the brown sugar and it won’t go hard…been doing this for more than 35yrs.

  14. 15

    I know this is an old thread but I need to share that after 30 years of using the bread trick to keep brown sugar from getting hard, I am about to toss a new bag of sugar in the trash because the bread was covered with thick mold. If I hadn’t experienced it myself I would have agreed with everyone here, but not any longer. FYI, the sugar was in a sealed container and the bread was inside a fold-over baggie.

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