How to Save Rock Hard Granulated Sugar

Dear Home Ec 101,

I have a 5lb bag of white sugar that is rock hard. Can it be saved? Is it safe to eat?



Heather says:

Don’t worry your granulated sugar is not unsafe, it’s just inconvenient in its current form. White sugar does not support microbial growth, so it’s not going to go “bad.” Sugar is hygroscopic -it absorbs water from the air- this is why it is recommended to store sugar in an air tight container.

All you have to do is break your sugar back into very small pieces.. There are a variety of ways, but whichever you choose, just make sure you plan wisely.

If you choose the drop the bag on the floor repeatedly method, you’ll want to be sure the bag is INSIDE another bag. If the bag bursts open, well that’s not going to be fun to clean up.

Meat mallets, rolling pins, or even hammers are all useful in this chore. Just make sure you aren’t pulverizing the bag into the sugar. No one wants paper or plastic bits in their morning coffee. Any of these have the added bonus of being a fantastic stress reliever.

Once the pieces are small enough you can use a food processor or blender to finish the job. Just make sure you don’t overload the motor. Sugar is relatively inexpensive compared to replacing an appliance.

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5 thoughts on “How to Save Rock Hard Granulated Sugar”

  1. Live in Florida, this happens to me a lot. You have to put the sugar in an oven proof container. Put in oven at lowest temp 150-200 degrees, for 15 minutes. Turn off oven, let sugar remain in oven and completely dry out, 30-60 minutes. Remove from oven and sugar will break apart. I’ve saved many a 5lb brick this way.

  2. Responding to Keter: for brown sugar, they have those clay pieces that you throw in the bag – mine is shaped like a heart. Keeps your brown sugar from going rock hard. Might work on white sugar as well.

    • Thanks, Emily. I haven't seen one of those clay things; I will "keep an eye peeled." My grandmother used to keep her sugars in giant jars and she put a slice of white bread in with it to do the same thing, which worked, but I found it also changed the flavor slightly in a way I dislike, so I don't do it. I've been told that my taste is hypersensitive, so others might not notice a taste change…it's certainly an inexpensive solution.

  3. I'm not sure it will work with white sugar because I haven't tried it, but with brown sugar, try putting the bag in the microwave. Zap it for 15 seconds, flip over, zap for another 15 seconds…continue until it starts to get squishy. Don't overheat and melt the bag.


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