Cookbook:Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar

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Brown sugar is a soft sugar whose crystals are covered by a film of refined molasses.



Historically, brown sugar referred to less-refined sugar where the molasses is not completely removed.[1] However, this is rarely the case currently, and modern brown sugar is typically made by combining refined white sugar and molasses in precise quantities.[1][2] This can either be achieved by cooking white sugar with molasses and recrystallizing the mixture, or by simply mixing the sugar and molasses together.[3]



Brown sugar is brown in color and has a more complex flavor than white sugar due to the added molasses.[2][4] Dark brown sugar has more added molasses while light brown sugar has less.[2] It consists primarily of sucrose, with some glucose and fructose—these make the brown sugar hold onto more environmental moisture, so it is stickier and clumpier than white sugar.[1][3] Because of the added molasses, brown sugar is slightly acidic, which is useful when using baking soda as a leavener.[4]

Selection and storage


Because brown sugar varies in molasses content and crystal size depending on the manufacturer, select the kind of brown sugar most appropriate for your dish. It should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.[2] If it does dry out and become hard to scoop, you can soften it in the microwave or oven and knead in a little water if desired.

Brown sugar can be used in the same ways as white granulated sugar, and it can be exactly substituted by weight.[2][3] Do note that it will impact the flavor and texture of the final product. For example, it will add a more complex flavor, cause baked goods to brown faster, and may increase the spread of things like cookies.[1]

A brown sugar substitute can be made at home by massaging together white granulated sugar and molasses (not sorghum).[3] The molasses should make up 3–10% of the final weight, depending on the desired characteristics. When measuring brown sugar by volume, make sure to pack it well into the measuring utensil.[2][1]




  1. a b c d e Amendola, Joseph; Rees, Nicole (2003-01-03). Understanding Baking: The Art and Science of Baking. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-44418-3.
  2. a b c d e f Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.
  3. a b c d Figoni, Paula I. (2010-11-09). How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-39267-6.
  4. a b Gisslen, Wayne (2016-09-21). Professional Baking. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-119-14844-9.