make your own brown sugar

by Patricia on November 4, 2009 · 24 comments


Sunday night, Dan and I were cooking dinner when we found ourselves in negotiations over the last half cup of brown sugar. He wanted it for the ham, I wanted it for the sweet potatoes and acorn squash. Just as Dan offered to split it with me, leaving us both a little short of what we really needed, I remembered the Molasses Episode of Good Eats in which Alton Brown made white sugar into brown sugar. But… was there any molasses in Dan’s kitchen? I checked the baking pantry and came away happy. We both had enough brown sugar to cook without compromises, and dinner was saved (cue heroic music).

molasses molasses-pour making-brown-sugar made-brown-sugar

Make your own Brown Sugar:

You may already know this tip, but I thought it was a useful thing to know as we enter the Holiday Season. Never run out again…

1 cup granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons molasses

  • Mix sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses with a fork until well blended (I found using a mash and scrape motion worked best).
  • If you like a darker brown sugar, add another tablespoon of molasses and mix well.

More reasons to keep molasses in your pantry:


1 missy August 24, 2010 at 8:09 am

Ok so I live in Montenegro and can’t find brown sugar. Can you substitue maple syrup?


2 Patricia August 24, 2010 at 8:18 am

Hi Missy,

I wouldn’t substitute straight maple syrup for brown sugar, but if you mix the maple syrup with regular granulated/cane sugar you would get maple syrup… not the same as brown sugar but could be good. Do you have molasses or treacle in Montenegro?

3 Memoria November 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Um, well now I need a recipe for molasses, so I can make brown sugar haha. I guess I will have to go to the store for that. Lovely photos!

4 sue November 7, 2009 at 7:30 am

wow. not likely i’m going to try it (i’m really lazy), but good to know how it can be done!

5 Bread and Jam November 6, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Wow, this great to know. I am going to forward this on to my sister who has a running list of baking substitutions/recipes. I like the new look of the blog. :)

6 CB November 6, 2009 at 9:05 am

Whoa. This just opened some delicious time portal for me. I had no idea you could make your own brown sugar. Thanks for the tip!

7 Amanda November 6, 2009 at 5:28 am

I actually never tried to make brown sugar, so this is a great tip. I’ve made powdered sugar, but never brown :)

8 Charles Thompson November 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Fantastic tip. Would have never thought to do that. Thanks!!

9 Jim November 5, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Thanks so much!!! I really didn’t know this,and I just went and got 1/2 gallon of homemade syurp,for some of the old molasses cookies.Thank you again,and we’ve learned to expect some of the “Best”,out of you!!!

10 Jackie November 5, 2009 at 10:40 am

I did not know that. Great tip.

11 Jenny November 5, 2009 at 8:24 am

You know, I was in bed this morning thinking about how I could infuse sugar with orange flower water – I bet this method would work just fine. Thanks for another excellent post!

12 Laurel November 5, 2009 at 7:54 am

Isn’t molasses what they call treacle in England? Hope that helps some.

13 Margie November 5, 2009 at 6:36 am

Wow, glad to find this recipe! I am in Italy now and cannot find brown sugar. I used to add caro syrup to the colored brown sugar I found in Hungary but this is better.
I brought molasses back with me last time I was in the states. It is great for Gingersnaps!!

14 Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets November 5, 2009 at 4:14 am

Love this tip! I’ve been doing this for years. Nice not having to buy one more variety of sugar at the grocery store.

15 Brit Hammer November 5, 2009 at 3:57 am

Annemarie, I’m pretty sure we have molasses in Holland. It’s usually just called “stroop”. Try a Jumbo, which has a larger section of “import” food items.

Wow, fancy meeting an entire delegation in the Netherlands on a food blog. How cool is that?

16 Brit Hammer November 5, 2009 at 3:53 am

Patricia, I’m in the dark. Would you enlighten me as to what else molasses is good for? I mean this in all sincerity and am not being cheeky. I’ve never-ever bought a jar because I never knew what to do with the stuff. And they come in BIG jars. And I don’t like wasting stuff. And I rarely bake sweets because I’m the only one in our home (aside from eager kitties) who will eat it. Granted, the post office workers like me when I bring them extra goodies, but still. Please, Master Yoda?

17 Annemarie November 5, 2009 at 1:31 am

Chris, they do have brown sugar in Holland…light and dark, right next to the white sugar! Only the molasses, where am I going to get that here? ;)

18 Chris November 5, 2009 at 12:03 am

Thank you so much for this post. I did not know about that. I am currently living in Holland…and they don’t have brown sugar..I really miss having it!. But now I can make my own, yea.

19 alice November 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I am so intrigued by this recipe.. I want to experiment with holiday baking using this.. thank you!

20 Rachel November 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Good to know. I just bought some molasses to bake cookies but probably won’t use it again for a long time. Now I can put it to work.

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