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Thursday, September 2, 2021

What to Use When All Out of Brown Sugar

It was so chilly this past week that I made crockpot steel cut oats for breakfasts. We like brown sugar, dried fruit, and chopped nuts on our oatmeal. I don't keep brown sugar on hand. It tends to turn into rocks in my kitchen. Instead, when I have a recipe that calls for brown sugar, or if I want a dish of brown sugar for oatmeal breakfasts, I make my own with granulated sugar and molasses.

For the most part, I just eyeball the amount of molasses that I use. But I do follow these rough estimates:

  • 1 tablespoon of molasses for every cup of white sugar for light brown sugar 
  • 1  1/2 to 2 tablespoons of molasses for every cup of white sugar for dark brown sugar 

When a recipe calls for brown sugar, such as cookie recipes, or if I'm making a pitcher of pancake syrup, I don't bother "making" the brown sugar, instead adding the white sugar and molasses separately. When I want to have a small bowl of brown sugar available for adding to hot cereal or sprinkling on individual pancakes as I stack them, I mix the molasses and sugar together at that time.

Mixing the two together is as easy as using the back of a spoon to mash the molasses into the white sugar. No special tools required.


  1. I have done this trick before, but we usually have brown sugar on hand. We don't use much, so I have experienced the rock hard sugar, too. Who hasn't? There are various ways to soften it, but those all take more time than adding a little molasses.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      That's how I've felt, that it's more work to soften brown sugar that's hardened than it is to drizzle molasses into white sugar. Anyway, I just stopped buying brown sugar and have been very satisfied with this substitution.


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